ANCYL pres­i­dency con­test a two-horse race

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE and HLENGIWE NH­LA­BATHI news@city­

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) con­fer­ence will prob­a­bly be the next plat­form on which proxy bat­tles for the ANC 2017 lead­er­ship race take place.

The youth league pres­i­dency con­test ap­pears to be a two-horse race be­tween the can­di­date from the “premier league”, North West MEC Collen Maine, and for­mer league deputy pres­i­dent Ron­ald Lam­ola, around whom many young lead­ers dis­il­lu­sioned with how the ANC has treated its youth struc­ture in the past few years have gath­ered.

The con­fer­ence is sched­uled to be held on Septem­ber 4 at the Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Midrand.

Lobby groups with in­ter­est in the 2017 elec­tion out­come have started to emerge around the lead­ing can­di­dates for the league’s pres­i­den­tial post, in­clud­ing the premier league, which con­sists of key ANC fig­ures such as Free State Premier Ace Ma­gashule, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The premier league scored a vic­tory last week when its can­di­date, Batha­bile Dlamini, was elected pres­i­dent of the ANC Women’s League.

This week saw another as­pi­rant youth league pres­i­den­tial can­di­date – Le­sego Makhubela from Tsh­wane – mak­ing it clear he was ready to join forces with Lam­ola in­stead of chal­leng­ing him for the post, as pre­vi­ously ex­pected.

The move could be seen as a con­ces­sion that de­feat­ing the premier league’s can­di­dates would re­quire unity among the other con­tenders.

How­ever, for­mer lead­ing can­di­date and ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Pule Mabe has not been ruled out of the race, de­spite fall­ing out of favour with the in­flu­en­tial premier league lobby group.

A for­mer sup­porter of Mabe’s said he would never merge with Makhubela and Lam­ola.

“Pule feels be­trayed. He as­sisted Le­sego and played an in­tri­cate role in his cam­paign, which saw him emerge as the re­gional chair­per­son of Tsh­wane,” said the source.

This week, an anony­mous “mem­ber of the ANCYL’s Mpumalanga pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive” wrote an open let­ter of com­plaint ad­dressed to ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe.

In the let­ter, which City Press had seen, the com­plainant ac­cused ANCYL na­tional task team lead­ers Fikile Mbalula and Nathi Mthethwa of im­pos­ing their pre­ferred can­di­dates on other mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, cit­ing Lim­popo, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal as ex­am­ples.

“We have ev­i­dence that ... lead­ers of the ANC have a vested in­ter­est in who should emerge as the youth league pres­i­dent, and we just feel that this is an in­sult to the young peo­ple of the ANC,” reads the let­ter.

Sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions were put by City Press to Mthethwa dur­ing a media brief­ing in June. He de­clined to com­ment, say­ing that no leader of the ANC had an in­ter­est in med­dling in the af­fairs of the youth league.

How­ever, those close to Lam­ola and Makhubela said this week that the premier league was strug­gling to keep its re­la­tion­ship in­tact, although in public it ap­peared to be firmly in charge of its af­fairs.

“The premier league is not that pow­er­ful. It ap­pears to be on the sur­face, but it is not,” said a league mem­ber.

The mem­ber cited as an ex­am­ple Mabuza’s re­cent de­ci­sion to fire three may­ors in Mpumalanga, say­ing it showed that he was in­se­cure about po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

Mabuza had also fallen out with his deputy, David Dube, and pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, Lucky Ndin­isa, who are linked to a slate op­posed to Mabuza’s third-term cam­paign for the chair­per­son post of the ANC at a con­fer­ence that is sched­uled to be held later this year.

In North West, Mahumapelo was also fac­ing in­ter­nal re­bel­lion from lead­ers of the party in the Bo­janala re­gion. They had re­jected a de­ci­sion by the province to reshuf­fle po­si­tions at one of the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

But the youth league in North West on Wed­nes­day said Maine’s cam­paign was be­ing re­ceived “warmly” in other prov­inces, and there was “a will­ing­ness to join the ship”.

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