ANC officials who are said to be jostling for a position in the party’s top six in 2017 have been accused of trying to impose their preferred candidate for president of the ANC Youth League, to advance their ambitions.
This is the reason given by ANCYL members for the delay in holding the league’s long-awaited elective conference.
It is now expected to be held in the first week of September.
The ANC disbanded the ANCYL’s national and provincial structures in 2013 and replaced them with task teams.
Four independent ANCYL senior members, who did not want to be named, said there appeared to be interference by ANC leaders.
However, the interference is not by senior officials, but by provincial leaders and some ministers, according to the members.
“There has been those kind of signs of people working hard to impose leadership,” one of the ANCYL members told News24.
“Some of those wanting to impose leadership are people who would not necessarily have been part of the mainstream politics of the ANC in 2007.”
ANC North West chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo has been accused of being one of these leaders by a number of ANCYL members.
Mahumapelo is said to have ambitions of serving on the ANC’s top six.
“The one who is really involved in this thing is Supra. He is trying to make everyone believe he is with them in 2017. He talks Gwede Mantashe, he also goes and talks Cyril Ramaphosa.”
Another ANCYL member said Mahumapelo, Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza and Free State premier Ace Magashule were interfering in the ANCYL.
“There are some attempts by Supra, DD [Mabuza] and Ace to dictate who must lead the youth league,” he said.
“They won’t succeed. Members of the youth league are determined that they will vote for the people they want.”
Another member disagreed, saying Mabuza and Magashule were not involved, but that Mahumapelo was using the ANCYL to try and balance out the politics in the North West.
The candidate Mahumapelo was believed to be backing was North West local government MEC Collen Maine.
Another candidate being touted was Tshwane ANCYL regional chairperson Lesego Makhubela, who was said to have the support of the league’s former national task team co-ordinator Mzwandile Masina, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and State Security Minister David Mahlobo.
A senior ANCYL member claimed Maine and Makhubela had approached party leaders, assuring them that if they helped them become league president, they would in turn help them get leadership positions.
“They have approached certain leaders of the ANC and said, look we will support you if you aid our efforts in becoming leaders of the youth league.
“There is an attempt to impose a leader and it’s not done by the top six, it’s done by chairperson of the provinces and some ministers… it’s these leaders of the provinces who don’t want young people to decide for themselves who must lead the youth league.”
ANCYL national co-ordinator, and Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, said this was speculation he did not want to comment on.
However, he reiterated that the delay in the ANCYL conference, which was meant to be held last month, was because branches had not held meetings.
“The problem is that there can’t be a congress if there are no branch general meetings,” he said.
Congress was a meeting of branches, as stated in the ANC constitution.
Last month when the congress was meant to sit, only one province had almost completed its branch general meetings.
“Anybody from the ANC who wishes to control the youth league must… know that for them to control the youth league, if there is any such thing, that there must be branches. So nobody will be delaying anything. In fact people want to see this congress of the youth league.”
Mthethwa said he would get reports from provinces on Monday regarding progress made with branch meetings.
He said the ANC did not want to micro-manage the ANCYL, but would follow up with provinces every week to make sure the branches held meetings.
ANCYL members said the delay with branch meetings was because of the interference.
They said league members would not be bullied into picking leaders imposed on them.
“Logistically we are not ready and the reason we are not logistically ready is because we must still go to BGMs,” said a league member.
“But what delayed it is not young people in the ANCYL, but because there is too much interference.”
He said members would fight to retain the youth league.
“The youth will revolt. It is what we are asking young people to do, but [at the same time] we don’t want to have the same situation occur with young people fighting the leadership, like it happened with [Julius] Malema.”
Another ANCYL member said those looking for leadership positions in the ANC in 2017 were weakening the league.
“When you impose views on the youth league… you are effectively removing that authority that has made the youth league what it is.” News24