Sunday Times

Ace & Co ‘med­dle’ in league

- By ZIMASA MATIWANE, ZINGISA MVUMVU and APHIWE DEKLERK Jacob Zuma · African National Congress · The Sunday Times · Ace Magashule · Maine · KwaZulu-Natal · Cyril Ramaphosa · Singapore · Eastern Cape · Cape Town · One Direction · Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

● Pow­er­ful pro-Zuma fig­ures have been ac­cused of us­ing their po­si­tions to en­sure an ally of theirs be­comes the next pres­i­dent of the ANC Youth League.

The Sun­day Times has learnt that sev­eral of­fice­bear­ers in the league, in­clud­ing sec­re­tary-gen­eral Njab­ulo Nzuza, con­fronted ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule and na­tional spokesper­son Pule Mabe last week over their lob­by­ing for Than­dux­olo Sa­belo as suc­ces­sor to Collen Maine.

The youth league is a pow­er­ful ally for those who want to strengthen their po­si­tions in the party.

Sources said the de­ci­sion to lobby for Sa­belo, who is pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary of the league in KwaZulu-Na­tal, was taken at a se­cret meet­ing at the Ma­ha­rani ho­tel.

The Sun­day Times broke the story of how al­lies of Ja­cob Zuma, in­clud­ing Ma­gashule, for­mer North West ANC chair Supra Mahumapelo and Sa­belo him­self, held a sep­a­rate meet­ing at the ho­tel with the for­mer pres­i­dent to dis­cuss ways of oust­ing Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

For­mer youth league leader Andile Lungisa on Fri­day ad­mit­ted to act­ing on the Ma­ha­rani meet­ing de­ci­sions, and main­tained that he was not apolo­getic cam­paign­ing for Sa­belo.

“My sup­port for Than­dux­olo must never be con­fused with any­thing else, Ma­ha­rani ho­tel or no Ma­ha­rani ho­tel. I sup­port him,” Lungisa said.

Nzuza is part of a group who sup­port an­other con­tender for the league’s top post, the present trea­sur­ergen­eral, Reg­gie Nk­abinde.

Mem­bers of the group sup­port­ing Nk­abinde, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, ac­cused Ma­gashule, Mabe and Lungisa of med­dling in the af­fairs of the league by lob­by­ing for Sa­belo. They said al­though Ma­gashule had de­nied this when con­fronted, they had been re­li­ably in­formed that he was among those push­ing for Sa­belo.

“The SG [Ma­gashule] has as­sured our lead­ers that he is not part of any plot, but some KwaZulu-Na­tal mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee have told youth league mem­bers that the SG sup­ports Sa­belo,” one of the sources said. “He was also in those Ma­ha­rani meet­ings where it was de­cided that Sa­belo must be the pres­i­dent.”

Mabe de­clined to dis­cuss the mat­ter on Fri­day, and Ma­gashule could not be reached for com­ment.

An­other insider said Lungisa was lead­ing the proSa­belo lobby in the East­ern Cape, which is likely to be the sec­ond-big­gest vot­ing bloc af­ter KwaZulu-Na­tal at the sched­uled league con­fer­ence next month.

The con­fer­ence might still be post­poned, how­ever, ow­ing to out­stand­ing branch au­dits from prov­inces in­clud­ing Gaut­eng, KwaZulu-Na­tal, North West and the East­ern Cape.

“Lungisa sum­moned the youth league to tell them that the na­tional NDZ cau­cus [the group that sup­ported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last year] has re­solved to go ‘One Di­rec­tion’ [Sa­belo’s cam­paign slo­gan] and that they must fol­low suit,” this insider said.

An East­ern Cape leader, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that when Lungisa had lob­bied for Sa­belo, “we told him to go jump”.

“We can­not be dic­tated to by Mban­jwa [Lungisa’s clan name] and the peo­ple he is tak­ing in­struc­tions from,” this leader said.

Sa­belo de­nied any knowl­edge of a “plot” to cap­ture the league.

Nzuza said the league would en­gage with the mother body. How­ever, he could not com­ment fur­ther “about in­ter­nal party pro­cesses”.

Sources said Nzuza re­cently pre­sented a branch au­dit re­port to the league’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, but Sa­belo’s al­lies were unhappy with it.

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