Magasela Mzobe (right) and Mzwandile Masina (left) during the African National Congress Youth League's press conference at Luthuli house in Johannesburg. 200814 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League task team insists it will not prevent Pule Mabe from contesting the league’s presidency – even though he is facing charges of theft, fraud and money laundering.

The league will hold its national conference next month at a yet to be announced venue in Gauteng at which it will elect its leader to replace expelled president Julius Malema.

Mabe has emerged as a strong contender, along with the league’s former deputy president Ronald Lamola and its task team’s national co-ordinator Magasela Mzobe.

Mabe’s chances were bolstered at the weekend when the league’s Gauteng region nominated him for the presidential position. This is despite a dark cloud still hanging over him over the civil case he faces.

“We have not found (anybody guilty) and we have not tested those allegations, and it’s difficult to make comments (about) wild allegations,” ANCYL task team convener Mzwandile Masina said on Wednesday.

“From where we are sitting, the issue of those accused is that everybody is innocent until proved guilty.”

Mabe, a member of the ANC’s national executive committee, is out on bail of R10 000, along with SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) head of communication Paseka Letsatsi and Kabedi Ramosa.

Letsatsi allegedly solicited funds from the agency, which were given to companies owned by Mabe and Ramosa.

Masina asked what would happened if someone was prevented from standing for election, and was later cleared of all allegations.

“The ANC has put in a motion what happens if you are found guilty. You relinquish all responsibility,” said Masina, who was appointed trade and industry deputy minister in President Jacob Zuma’scabinet in May.

Under the league’s previous executive, millions of rand went missing from its now defunct investment wing, Lembede Investment Holdings, and its subsidiary companies.

A Gobodo audit report found a litany of financial irregularities implicating some of the league’s leaders. The league seems to have swept the matter under the carpet.

“We have not discussed the Lembede money that has gone missing. We will get the ANC to take charge. It’s safe to say the treasurer-general of the ANC (Zweli Mkhize) will give you a full account of what happened,” Masina said.

“What we can tell you is that Lembede was sold to Dali Mpofu. It was sold legally to somebody and no monies are missing. In our view, in the books that we checked, there’s nowhere we saw the money missing.”

He said the league had been stabilised and was ready for its national conference from September 24 to 28.

The task team was set up last year after the ANC disbanded the league following the expulsion of Malema.

“The situation has now stabilised and politically the organisation is coherent… We have assessed the progress we have made as we are building up to the 25th congress,” Masina said.

Chaotic scenes have marred the run-up to the league’s national conference, with some regions - notably North West - disputing the outcome of their respective elective conferences.

ANCYL members from some regions had often staged protests at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters over alleged irregularities, including vote buying.

Masina said the problem in North West had been resolved.

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The Star