ANCYL members across the country mobilised on Sunday in support of league president Julius Malema and national spokesman Floyd Shivambu, who will face an ANC disciplinary committee this week.
The league's members across the country were asked to gather in front of Luthuli House in solidarity, to show their support for Malema.
“We want our members to know that this is a peaceful march and is not against the ANC,” said Ayanda Kasa, ANCYL Gauteng secretary.
“We think of ourselves as disciplined, and we are appointing marshals to ensure that there are no troublemakers,” she said.
Over 350 representatives from branches around Gauteng gathered at a league meeting in Braamfontein to discuss the charges. Members danced sung songs in support of the two.
“Julius Malema… Floyd Shivambu… There is no one like you… Juju is coming back,” members sang and stamped their feet in unison.
“This is not a disciplinary matter, it is a political matter,” said Kasa.
She said the decision to support their leadership was unanimous.
Free State ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members were likewise called to join the gathering.
“We say disciplinary charges can never be used to settle political issues,” ANCYL national executive committee member Lerato Mofokeng said, addressing members at the FET Motheo College campus.
Malema and Shivambu were charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing division, related to comments on helping to bring about regime change in Botswana.
Malema recently said the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was “in full co-operation with imperialists” and was undermining the “African agenda”.
On Sunday, Mofokeng explained how the ANCYL got to their view point on Botswana and reiterated that “Botswana was a security threat” in Africa for collaborating with imperialists.
“The interest of the US was not our interests,” she said after referring to the US building air force base in Botswana.
Mofokeng said the ANCYL called for a freer and more democratic society in Botswana and not a regime change.
She indicated that the ANC youth movement's apology in this regard was more for the “media” and that the movement stood by its statement.
Mofokeng said the gathering should not be seen as a march against the ANC. She urged members for “high discipline and order” during the gathering and that “no burning of T-shirts” and “pamphlets against leaders” would be allowed.
Mofokeng said the ANC was the youth's “home” and the movement would support Julius Malema with or without charges.
“They want a fight, let them come,” said Mofokeng referring to individuals within the ANC, in closing the meeting.
One of the members said that the charges were a way for the ANC to “get back” at the youth league.
“Botswana isn't the issue. The ANC is not respecting the autonomy of the youth league,” Kabelo Matsepe said.
“This is all about what will happen (at the ANC national conference) in 2012.”
Meanwhile, the SACP welcomed the move by the ANC, to reaffirm “respect for organisational democracy and discipline”.
SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande emphasised that the statement was not directed at ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema.
“Our statement is not talking about the individual. Whether it is a particular case about the individual, we are just welcoming the reaffirmation,” Nzimande told journalists in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Sunday..
SACP deputy secretary general Jeremy Cronin said “a very clear line” needed to be drawn between the majority of the alliance and all those “who are reckless and negligent of our constitution and the key principles of our alliance”.
Cronin said problems of ill discipline recently had created a door for people to pose as “a defender of our democracy.”
On Friday Malema said he was ready to face his disciplinary hearing.
“Whatever happens to us, we are ready for that... People should know that even if we are fired tomorrow, our blood will remain black, green and gold,” he said.
Malema and Shivambu are due before the ANC disciplinary committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The ANCYL's national leadership was not immediately available for comment. - Sapa