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ANGRY provincial ANC Youth League leaders have challenged Luthuli House and President Jacob Zuma to clarify whether they wanted to “dismantle” the ANCYL and reduce it to a desk in Mangaung.
The league was a “banned” organisation that would either be “liberated” at Mangaung or have its demise confirmed, they said.
Five ANCYL provincial chairmen or secretaries in provinces such as Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape told The Star Africa this week that ANC leaders planned to change the league’s character, mandate and position in order to reduce its influence on the mother body.
They implored ANC top brass to come out openly about their intentions or face the consequences of “disbanding the structure of young people”.
They said the party wanted to change the position of the ANCYL president to national chairperson, and the secretary-general’s post to national secretary in order to reduce the league’s influence.
Zuma’s allies had decided, at a caucus in Durban recently, to push for a conference resolution in Mangaung that would disband the pro-Julius Malema ANCYL national executive committee.
They apparently decided to take over the league from Malema loyalists by establishing an interim national committee to be led by Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mdu Manana. He is also a Zuma man and ANCYL NEC member.
Since its inception in 1944, the league’s leaders had been seen as king-makers in the ANC succession.
Ironically, Zuma owes his presidency in part to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Malema’s support when they were in charge of the league. The pair later fell out with Zuma. Malema was subsequently fired from the ruling party for misconduct.
ANCYL Eastern Cape secretary Mziwonke Ndabeni said the league was a “banned” organisation within the ANC.
“Just imagine going to the conference of the ANC and passing a motion of no-confidence in an organisation of young people?; going into Mangaung and saying the president’s position must change into chairperson; going into Mangaung and saying the secretary-general’s office must be changed to national secretary.
“It is a complete demise of the youth league. But for me, the critical question is whether the current leadership of the ANC still needs the youth league or not. It is what must be answered by the ANC,” said Ndabeni.
He said that the life and existence of the ANCYL was all that mattered now.
ANC national spokesman Keith Khoza denied last night that Luthuli House and Zuma planned to take over or dismantle the league to reduce its influence.
He said if the issue of the future character and mandate of the ANCYL arose at the conference, it would be “debated and I think it will be guided by the collective strategic mind of the ANC”.
The ruling party has always said the league was the future of the ANC because it would produce the party’s future leaders, Khoza added.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe ruled out the possibility of the party disbanding the ANCYL NEC. He said: “Mangaung is not going to be a victor’s conference.”
But some ANCYL leaders, like the league’s Limpopo chairman, Rudzani Ludere, insisted the ANC harboured ambitions to kill or capture the league.
He said Malema’s expulsion was part of a wider agenda to take over the league or anoint its leadership. a Zuma supporter said they were ready for a Mangaung takeover “or at the first NEC in January”.