The “decision” by the ANC Youth League national executive committee (NEC) to throw its weight behind its embattled president, Julius Malema, is not the cut and dried affair that its statement, issued on Sunday, seems to suggest.
ANCYL NEC member Mduduzi Manana told The New Age yesterday the statement was a “misrepresentation of the facts”.
“While we always supported Malema through the disciplinary processes, we also had a responsibility to abide by the decisions of the NDCA (the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal),” said Manana.
“The support for Malema was based on previous decisions by conference but we also resolved that once the NDCA concludes its proceedings, we will respect its decision and consider it as binding.
“As the youth league, we cannot be seen as an opposition to the ANC or for that matter be seen to be defying it. The suggestion by the league that Malema will remain president until 2014 is also incorrect,” he said.
The comments by Manana further fuel speculation that the youth league is seriously divided over the Malema saga and comes on the back of a stinging attack yesterday by the ANC on ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.
The latest rebuke by the ANC of its errant youth wing follows a no-holds-barred attack on Cyril Ramaphosa, a member of the party’s NEC and the chairperson of the NDCA.
In a strongly worded statement, party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the ANC was appalled by what it called a crude, disrespectful, insulting attack on Ramaphosa.
“This attack is both mischievous and disingenuous. It also smacks of ill-discipline,” said the ANC statement.
“We want to warn the likes of Floyd that their pronouncements that seek to castigate the integrity of good members like Ramaphosa will never stick.”
This altercation is yet another sign of the ongoing political shenanigans that have taken their toll on the relationship between the ANC and its youth body.
The war of words started at the weekend when the youth league’s spin doctor accused Ramaphosa of putting his personal interests before principle. This was in relation to ruling against the youth body in their last appeal.
“Under no circumstances should anyone who considers himself a true revolutionary and leader of the people sacrifice principle on the altar of political convenience. What Ramaphosa is doing and has done is to sacrifice principle on the altar of political convenience,” Shivambu was quoted as saying.
Last year, Shivambu, Malema and other league leaders appealed to the NDCA after they were found guilty of various breaches of the ANC constitution. The committee, under Ramaphosa’s leadership, upheld the guilty verdicts and sent the matter back to the national disciplinary committee for mitigation.
Shivambu claimed Ramaphosa ensured that the verdicts were upheld partly because “a faction in the ANC promised him the position of deputy president”.