Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Police and politicians are bracing for an influx of thousands of ANC youth league members into Joburg’s city centre on Monday.
On Friday night, youth league leaders in all nine provinces were making preparations to bus in members to support the league’s embattled president Julius Malema and protest against the mother body’s decision to charge him and the league’s national leadership.
The ruling ANC charged Malema and his spokesman Floyd Shivambu last Friday with bringing the party into disrepute, ending a fortnight’s silence over the embarrassment the two caused by threatening to overthrow the Botswanan government.
On Wednesday, the rest of the league’s executive were charged; deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer-general Pule Mabe, laying the ground for a possible purge of the league’s entire national leadership.
Shivambu and Malema’s disciplinary hearing will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the ANC’s head office, Luthuli House in Joburg. The dates for the hearings of the other four are yet to be decided.
Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said that the department had been informed of the planned protests.
“A huge contingent of officers will be stationed in and around Luthuli house. We will divert traffic and hold order when it is necessary,” he said.
National youth league spokeswoman Magdalene Moonsamy confirmed that extended meetings would be held over the weekend at branches across all nine provinces.
“Those meetings are ultimately to decide on the course of action, but of course the provincial leadership has been unanimous in their support for the national leadership.
“From tomorrow those provinces will hold their regional and branch mass gatherings. We must listen to our branches and they will be decisive on this issue. They will guide us. Mobilisation of our members wouldn’t be done without consulting our branches,” Moonsamy said.
League members are expected to mass on Monday, holding an overnight vigil.
Eastern Cape secretary Mzonke Ndabeni said provincial leaders were organising one bus for every region in the province. There are eight regions in the Eastern Cape.
The province’s spokesperson Nkosinathi Nomatiti said the province was “firmly behind” and “in full support” of ANCYL leadership.
“We are unflinchingly behind our leadership in these trying times,” he said. “We will defend our organisational autonomy; our right to raise our views without fear and we will defend our leadership in the most disciplined manner. Thus, we are calling for level-headedness, calm, prevailing of political maturity and political engagement with the ANC.”
Northern Cape secretary Dikgang Stock vowed its members would bring Joburg to a “standstill”.
“We will be in Joburg by 5pm. Our vigil will be worse than the rape trial, because we are rallying behind Malema and our leadership,” he was reported as saying.
ANCYL leaders in North West claim about 5 000 of their members will protest at Luthuli House on Tuesday.
In Gauteng, league secretary Ayanda Kasa said there would be a provincial general council meeting tomorrow.
“We will then take a decision to mobilise members to gather in Joburg,” she said.
Malema was boosted by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela yesterday. Speaking in KwaZulu-Natal, she said: “How can you ask me about Julius Malema? He is my grandson. He is a rebel like all youth. He is on a learning curve and he will be a great leader in the future.” - Saturday Star
*Additional reporting Sihle Mlambo