Youth league squab­bles over next ANC leader

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

Bit­terly di­vided ANC Youth League group­ings bat­tled it out over who should suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma as party leader dur­ing a sit­ting of its na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) this week­end. The can­di­dates for­warded are Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.

Ini­tially, there was con­sen­sus among the league’s of­fi­cials that the young lions would throw their weight be­hind Dlamini-Zuma, who al­legedly en­joys the sup­port of the pres­i­dent, but that ap­pears no longer to be the case.

Ear­lier this year, youth league pres­i­dent Collen Maine told the in­ter­na­tional me­dia that the can­di­dates be­ing tipped for the top job – Dlamini-Zuma and deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa – “have been part of the sys­tem” that the youth league wanted to change. He said the coun­try would be “shocked” by the can­di­date they would en­dorse.

City Press un­der­stands that a group that in­cludes Maine and the league’s deputy pres­i­dent, Des­mond Moela, will push for Mabuza dur­ing this week­end’s NEC sit­ting. All in­di­ca­tions are that sec­re­tary-gen­eral Njab­ulo Nzuza and trea­surer-gen­eral Reg­gie Nk­abinde are still firmly be­hind Dlamini-Zuma.

How­ever, some within the youth league have warned that sup­port for Mabuza could in­di­rectly be sup­port for Ramaphosa. This group­ing says that Mabuza has been in talks with Ramaphosa’s lob­by­ists to see if he could be ac­com­mo­dated on that slate.

The fi­nal de­ci­sion on who will ul­ti­mately get the youth league’s en­dorse­ment is ex­pected to be made by to­day. The NEC meet­ing started at Saint Ge­orge Ho­tel in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day, with day one hav­ing been an ex­tended sit­ting to which re­gional chair­per­sons and sec­re­taries had been in­vited.

Ten­sions be­tween the of­fi­cials of the youth league are noth­ing new, with a cold war of sorts hav­ing started shortly af­ter the elec­tion of these of­fi­cials in 2015.

It is un­der­stood that the ap­point­ment of Si­fiso Mtsweni as chair­per­son of the Na­tional Youth De­vel­op­ment Agency (NYDA) had added more fuel to the fire. His ap­point­ment is seen as a vic­tory for the Nzuza camp af­ter the Maine camp failed to se­cure the po­si­tion for Moela, who with­drew at the eleventh hour. The with­drawal came de­spite the dumb­ing down of aca­demic re­quire­ments for the po­si­tion, which was sup­posed to pave the way for Moela, who did not pos­sesses the ini­tially re­quired qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Sources say that the Maine group­ing pre­ferred Ndu­miso Mokako as chair­per­son of NYDA fol­low­ing Moela’s with­drawal, with Joy Maimela as his deputy. Nei­ther of them got the posts.

“The fight in re­cent months has been [about] the ap­point­ment of Mtsweni to the NYDA board. Also re­mem­ber that Moela was promised a po­si­tion if he backed down. There was talk of an MEC po­si­tion, but noth­ing has come from that,” an in­sider said.

This week, some youth league NEC mem­bers said they would fight tooth and nail to en­sure that Dlamini-Zuma came out on top at the end of this week­end’s meet­ing.

“There [are] some who want [Mabuza]. Those who are buy­ing into it have been [met with] hos­til­ity and the mood will be the same at the NEC. Re­mem­ber, there was a time when Collen and them tried to get rid of Nzuza and Reg­gie. They ... could try to im­pose Mabuza, but they won’t suc­ceed,” one mem­ber told City Press.

De­spite these claims, Maine told City Press this week that he main­tained his po­si­tion that South Africa’s next pres­i­dent should be a woman.

The youth league is a vot­ing struc­ture of the ANC. Although its del­e­ga­tion is not siz­able at the con­fer­ence it­self, it can pro­vide a cru­cial plat­form for its pre­ferred can­di­date in the run-up to the con­fer­ence.

Other names ex­pected to come up to fill the other five po­si­tions of the ANC’s top six in­clude Fik­ile Mbalula, Nathi Mthethwa, Ace Ma­gashule and Jessie Duarte.

The youth league has for some time been ad­vo­cat­ing for an ad­di­tional deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral to be added to the of­fi­cials’ num­bers. Nzuza this week told City Press that the league would take that cause to the ANC’s pol­icy con­fer­ence at the end of this month. He ad­mit­ted that it would be a tough bat­tle given that they would need two thirds of the con­fer­ence to side with them.

They also want the pol­icy con­fer­ence to en­dorse free ed­u­ca­tion and im­ple­ment it. Other de­mands in­clude the ex­plo­sive mat­ter of land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion through the amend­ment of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the scrap­ping of ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­quire­ment for en­try-level jobs.

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