The ANC Youth League has declined a nomination for its president, Julius Malema, to the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY), saying it needed to focus on its “domestic challenges”.
“Maximum focus is required to carry out all the political and ideological battles in the country and that is where our attention and energy will be until liberation,” the ANC Youth League said in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon.
“The ANC Youth League did not accept the nomination at the Congress for any position in the Presidium of IUSY as we need to focus on the domestic challenges we face.”
It said the Youth League's former president, Fikile Mbalula - now the minister of sport - previously occupied the position as IUSY president.
The organisation “extended its gratitude” to those who nominated Malema for vice president of the IUSY, saying the league had already twice served leadership terms in the international political organisation.
However, this was not the right time to serve again.
“These are trying times in the history of the ANCYL and we do not want to divert our attention, we want to focus on economic freedom in our lifetime in order to liberate our people from poverty, unemployment and inequality.”
It would support a candidate for the IUSY position from Western Sahara.
“The ANC Youth League will continue to provide ideological leadership to all progressive forces in the African continent and the world.”
Malema, who is also a member of the league's Limpopo executive committee, was expelled from the ANC in November last year for sowing divisions within the party and for bringing it into disrepute.
He was found to have done so by unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, and for remarks about regime change in Botswana.
Despite the expulsion Malema remained the youth wing's leader until all options to overturn his sentence were exhausted.
He was gagged earlier this month when the ANC's national disciplinary committee suspended him from the party after he called Zuma a dictator.
The conditions of the suspension prohibited him from exercising any duty as an ANC member, president of the ANCYL or member of the province's executive committee.- Sapa