Pule Mabe slams 'illegitimate' youth league for 'trying to be louder' than ANC on Zuma

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ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe has lashed out at different ANC youth league structures releasing statements defending former president Jacob Zuma and insulting the ANCYL's national task team co-ordinator Sibongile Besani for quitting.

The league, which was dissolved last year, is set to sit for its 26th national conference next month.

Different provincial structures of the league including those in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the national task team, expressed anger at a warrant of arrest being issued against the former president for his failure to attend proceedings in his corruption trial.

READ | 'I was not consulted' - ANCYL co-ordinator quits after being left in the dark on Zuma statement

They have condemned the decision by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, labelling it as "vindictive". It threatened to mobilise in defence of the former leader.

The ANC NYTT statement, which was issued on behalf of both its convener Thandi Mahambehlala and Besani, resulted in him resigning from his role, complaining that it was done in his name without his awareness of such a stance.

"It's never happened that structures of the league that don't have legitimacy can speak in a manner that the youth league is doing today," said Mabe.

READ | Zuma arrest warrant: Niehaus, Masina, ANCYL in KZN express anger over treatment of their 'hero'

He was speaking at the funeral service of former ANCYL Peter Mokaba regional chairperson Castro Modiba in Limpopo on Saturday.

"For you to speak and champion the revolution, you must be a legitimate structure, you must enjoy the support of the people you lead. You must emerge out of a democratic process, you do not lead beyond your term of office and still claim legitimacy, never," continued a visibly vexed Mabe.

The national spokesperson, who also sits on the task team, questioned why the league felt it had to make "louder noise", than its mother body - the ANC - which had already made its views on the matter known.

The ANC in a statement defended Zuma, saying it believed he was not a fugitive from justice and for patience as the judicial process unfolded.

"I spoke out against a president I was elected with for two terms, what makes you think I can't speak when the youth league does wrong things today?" he asked.

Mabe, referring to expelled ANCYL president and EFF leader Julius Malema whom he served with as treasurer general, said even then he took a stand when he felt the former leader was steering the organisation toward a state of "paralysis".

READ | We track down the mysterious doctor who issued Jacob Zuma's 'unclear' sick note

We are leadership and will act

Mabe also slammed a provincial task team in the Eastern Cape for releasing a statement insulting Besani, following his decision to step down as the NYTT's co-ordinator.

Besani - who leads party president Cyril Ramaphosa's office at the ANC headquarters and further serves in the ANC national executive committee, which is the highest decision-making body in between conferences - resigned following the league's statement on Zuma.

In a resignation letter, he questioned audit processes leading up to next month's conference and complained of statements being issued in his name, while he was never consulted about them.

"Comrade Besani resigned on his own, he was not elected. You are swearing at him for resigning? That's not even swearing, this is just disrespect," said Mabe, describing it as "something unheard of" in the structure's history.

Mabe suggested they might be undermined because they were young leaders, but quickly reminded those at the funeral that they sat in the NEC and were elected to the structure by ANC members.

"We will act against dissent. We ourselves, your age group, are going to act against VBS the same way we do when Tito Mboweni is out of line. We call him to order, the same way we do when Supra Mahumapelo is out of line. We call him to order," he said.

"We are the leadership of the ANC and we will direct the movement."

Mabe said it remained difficult "removing the youth league from its problems", emphasising that since it was disbanded in 2012 by Zuma it has never been able to recover.

He said they wanted the league to succeed but warned that he would not tolerate being disrespected.

"I do not speak on behalf of factions; I speak on behalf of the organisation of Nelson Mandela," said Mabe.

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