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ANC Youth League leaders in Limpopo have challenged President Jacob Zuma to charge them for announcing their support for his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, before the succession debate officially opens in October.
On Wednesday, the league reiterated that it wants Motlanthe to replace Zuma and the league’s former president, Fikile Mbalula, to take over from secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at the ANC’s December conference in Mangaung.
“We make this call knowing that the long hand of abusing rule 25 of the constitution of the ANC might reach us any time. We are, however, unshaken and more determined,” said the league in a statement read out by provincial deputy secretary Romeo Mogohle at a press briefing in Polokwane on Wednesday.
League chairman Rudzani Ludere, secretary Jacob Lebogo and regional chairman Jossie Buthane were kicked out of a church hall shortly before Zuma delivered the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture on Tuesday afternoon.
The three had demanded “change” shortly before Zuma arrived.
Five supporters of axed league leader Julius Malema were arrested during a scuffle with the police outside the hall and later released. On Wednesday, the league criticised Zuma’s leadership for the arrests and the chaos that erupted.
“It is noteworthy that after realising that the disciplinary committee is not an effective deterrent to dissent, they have now reinvented the apartheid-style corporal punishment and detentions carried out by modern-day askaris in fake military attire,” said the league.
This was partly a jibe against ANC security personnel who were dressed in MK uniform. Ludere claimed that the ANC had “rented” Zuma’s supporters from KwaZulu-Natal to control the Mandela lecture in Thohoyandou.
“Zulus were telling us what to do and what not to do in that part of our land. Zulus were in charge of Vhembe (region),” said Ludere.
Treasurer Khomotso Malatjie clarified: “We don’t hate the Zulus. We love the Zulus. In fact, my first girlfriend was a Zulu.”
Ludere was confident that Zuma would lose in Mangaung.
“There are only three provinces that support Zuma, it’s KZN, and you know the reasons, Free State and Mpumalanga. The rest of the provinces don’t support him,” he said. “That is why at the policy conference everything that looked like Zuma was rejected,” he said.
The recent ANC policy conference renamed the “second transition” document, which is said to be Zuma’s concept, and called it the “second phase”.
Ludere also took a swipe at Dickson Masemola, the ANC Limpopo deputy chairman and Limpopo MEC for Education.
He accused him of supporting Zuma against the province’s resolution to back Motlanthe.
“We don’t like that Dickson. We have made it clear,” he said.
“He is failing to deliver textbooks, yet he goes around begging to be appointed premier,” Ludere said.
Lebogo stopped short of calling for the expulsion of Masemola as Education MEC by Premier Cassel Mathale, who is also ANC chairman.
“We urge the premier to take action against the leadership of that department.”