‘#FeesMustFall is trea­son’

ANC Youth League pres­i­dent pays trib­ute to his Premier League men­tor and out­lines elec­tion plans

CityPress - - News - S’THEM­BILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za

ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Collen Maine says South Africa’s in­tel­li­gence agen­cies should probe the #FeesMustFall move­ment, claim­ing it is part of a “counter-revo­lu­tion­ary” move­ment bent on over­throw­ing govern­ment. Speak­ing just a week af­ter he and lead­ers of the Young Com­mu­nist League and the SA Stu­dents’ Congress called on stu­dents to call off their protests, Maine ac­cused the #FeesMustFall body of hav­ing ul­te­rior agen­das. He told City Press that #FeesMustFall, which has been driv­ing the four-month-old na­tion­wide univer­sity protests, was meant to be a cam­paign and not a move­ment. He called on the State Se­cu­rity Agency to do its job and look into who was sup­port­ing the “highly funded” move­ment.

“The so-called #FeesMustFall move­ment is highly funded, so who is fund­ing them? Who­ever is fund­ing them is counter-revo­lu­tion­ary. State se­cu­rity should be look­ing into that be­cause th­ese peo­ple are very dirty. They know how to op­er­ate; they will not de­posit money into your ac­count.

He added: “They know how to bring cash to you, but it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of state se­cu­rity to deal with that ... One of the re­al­i­ties is there are pock­ets of peo­ple who are very im­pa­tient with the ANC and the demo­cratic govern­ment, as you saw dur­ing the #Zu­maMustFall cam­paign.”

He found par­al­lels with the #FeesMustFall move­ment and a re­cent spate of racist in­ci­dents in the coun­try.

“The #FeesMustFall cam­paign and racism – it is all one thing, and has the in­tent to over­throw a demo­crat­i­cally elected govern­ment of the peo­ple. “Th­ese counter-revo­lu­tion­ary forces can’t win demo­crat­i­cally. Hence, you see the old flags rep­re­sent­ing apartheid, which goes to the is­sue of racism. It has be­gun to raise its ugly head in our coun­try,” said Maine.

He also opened up about his close ties with North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, say­ing the lat­ter had made him the political leader he is to­day.

“What you must write when you write a story is that there is one leader who has made me who I am, and his name is Supra Mahumapelo. If you want to call him Premier League, it is fine, but he has made me who I am po­lit­i­cally,” Maine said dur­ing a brief sit-down on the side­lines of the ANC’s three-day lek­gotla in Pre­to­ria.

Since en­ter­ing of­fice four months ago, Maine and his newly elected lead­er­ship have come un­der fire for var­i­ous rea­sons, in­clud­ing al­le­ga­tions that Maine landed his po­si­tion by hav­ing close ties with the so-called Premier League – made up of the ANC pre­miers of North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

Maine was ap­pointed North West lo­cal govern­ment MEC by Mahumapelo in 2014.

Maine dis­puted sug­ges­tions that he and his lead­er­ship were con­trolled by the Premier League, say­ing this would be a be­trayal of the 4 000 del­e­gates who had elected them in Septem­ber.

He ad­mit­ted to a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with Muhamapelo, who had ear­lier backed him for the po­si­tion of chair­per­son of the league.

“Un­for­tu­nately, in the world of pol­i­tics there are other things I can­not talk to you about, which he [Mahumapelo] and I have gone through, and it is through him that I was able to hold on and be who I am to­day. So I will al­ways re­spect that com­rade.”

On the ANC’s suc­ces­sion de­bate, Maine said that al­though the ANC had barred those within its ranks from speak­ing about it, the league was not go­ing to be a spec­ta­tor as the race un­folded. “We will have a very strong voice,” he said. He did give a hint as to who they would not be sup­port­ing.

“What we will pur­sue is the con­sti­tu­tion of the ANC. It says any mem­ber of the ANC can elect and be elected. If there is some his­tory that if you were what­ever you can au­to­mat­i­cally pro­ceed, thina [us] we are not driv­ing au­to­matic cars. We are driv­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.

“There may be some prece­dents, but some prece­dents are wrong. We will not fall into traps of prece­dence; we will ap­ply the con­sti­tu­tion,” said Maine, al­lud­ing to the fact that ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s as­cen­sion should not be a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

At the Cosatu congress in De­cem­ber last year, a num­ber of af­fil­i­ates en­dorsed Ramaphosa on the ba­sis of prece­dence that the deputy should be­come pres­i­dent.

Maine said the the youth league’s harsh crit­i­cism of Min­is­ter of Higher Education and Train­ing Blade Nz­i­mande had noth­ing to do with his role as gen­eral sec­re­tary of the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP). Nz­i­mande and the SACP have, with­out men­tion­ing names, been vo­cal about the emer­gence of fac­tions such as the Premier League.

Maine says their gripe was about Nz­i­mande’s fail­ure to im­ple­ment free education for the poor. He added that ten­sions be­tween his or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Young Com­mu­nist League (YCL) had also been patched up. “You would know the youth league has not been there for some time. The YCL then oc­cu­pied that space of lead­ing the youth al­liance. What we have em­pha­sised is that the youth league is back and we have to oc­cupy our right­ful place in terms of lead­ing the youth al­liance.”

On lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions, Maine said they had recog­nised that the key to win­ning would be to iden­tify met­ros and strate­gic cities, and cam­paign fiercely there.

“We have adopted a pro­gramme be­cause, if you look at the op­po­si­tion, par­tic­u­larly the DA, they are tar­get­ing big mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, met­ros and cities.”

Supra Mahumapelo

Collen Maine

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