Western Cape ANC 'youth activists' slam Cabinet reshuffle

Cape Town - The Western Cape ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is divided once again, this time over its response to President Jacob Zuma's latest Cabinet reshuffle.

The official youth league in the province and a splinter group, labelling itself "youth activists", have publicly contradicted each other this year on a number of issues.

At the heart of the discord has been the league's preferred candidate for the party's national leadership race, with activists unhappy that the ANCYL have publicly backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

This week, they have disagreed again.

The ANCYL on Tuesday said it backed Zuma's latest reshuffle and the "long overdue" axing of SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande.

- Read more: Western Cape ANCYL welcomes axing of 'distracted' Nzimande

The activists, who comprise 15 members, three of which are on the ANCYL provincial executive committee, have called the official stance "hogwash".

"The statement welcomed the pro-nuclear deal cabinet reshuffle, chastised and mocked the General Secretary of the SACP who was removed from the cabinet, and celebrated the move to retain Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in the cabinet," the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This is the same Lynne Brown who is alleged to have used Eskom tenders to enrich her lover and the family of her former PA, Kim Davids."

The grouping wanted to place on record that those were not the views of all young people in the ANC in the Western Cape, claiming it was the views of the provincial ANCYL's top 6.

A shocking change

The reshuffle was "shocking" in the face of rising unemployment, it said.

"Young people of the ANC in the Western Cape understand clearly that the reason the organisation performs badly in the elections, is partly a consequence of the nonsensical decisions - like a pro-nuclear deal reshuffle by the president.

"In this regard, we would never celebrate such decisions that will, in return, haunt the organisation."

They also said it was "rather puzzling" that the president reshuffled the Cabinet and left certain positions vacant.

"That could only mean he is not done yet. We also maintain that, if it had anything to do with strengthening the Cabinet, then President Zuma is not the right person for the job as he has been strengthening the Cabinet every now and then with no positive result."

Give deadwood ministers the boot

They called on the president to use his prerogative to "clear out deadwood ministers", such as Faith Muthambi, Nomvula Mokonyane, Mosebenzi Zwane, and Bathabile Dlamini and Brown.

The group thanked Nzimande for his service.

Six members of the 15 held a press conference in September to officially break ranks from the stance of the Youth League, including Moyisi Magalela, Luvuyo Mpofu, Aseza Gungubele, Nzulu Gona, Mesuli Mama and Mandisa Vika.

The Youth League in the Western Cape welcomed the reshuffle as a whole on Tuesday evening, and Nzimande's axing.

"It has been clear for some time that he was distracted by the SACP's debate on whether it should participate in the 2019 general election from driving the ANC’s agenda of free higher education," said provincial secretary Andile Mbali.

"Comrade Blade is now released to canvass for 2019."

A relentless attack on Brown

They also defended Brown, saying: "She has been the target of a relentless attack by many in the media, with no proof of wrongdoing on her part."

Provincial ANC Youth League chairperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed told News24 previously that the ANCYL doesn't recognise the "illegitimate" activist structure.

All administrative issues were formally dealt with by the provincial secretary of the youth league, and they therefore do not recognise the activists' statements.

If they have grievances, they should raise it in formal structures, he said.

Provincial spokesperson Siyabulela Tom said the activists "clearly show people who have no intention of making a contribution".

"There is nothing progressive in what they have sent. They are speaking about one negative issue to another."

'Misleading the public'

Tom said the public should not be "misled" by the group, as they do not represent a structure.

Sayed maintained that the league's national leadership had determined its preferred choice of candidate, which was Dlamini-Zuma, and that was a formal decision.

The provincial Youth League's troubles form part of a larger divide in the ANC Western Cape's leadership structures.

The Western Cape is the second smallest in terms of branches for the party, but has still seen regional leaders publicly warring with provincial executive members over leadership issues this year, particularly in the Cape Town metro.

The provincial battle intensified this year as a proxy for the larger presidential succession debate at national level.

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