President Jacob Zuma. File Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Limpopo - The ANC in Limpopo has ruled out the possibility of sanctioning Julius Malema’s backers for attacking President Jacob Zuma’s top ally in the province.

Provincial ANC spokesman Makonde Mathivha said on Sunday the matter would not be considered unless Education MEC Dickson Masemola himself raised it “formally”.

Masemola, the provincial ANC deputy chairman, has been the target of personal attacks by the Limpopo ANC Youth League led by provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo, who is Malema’s confidant.

This came after he broke ranks with the province’s resolution not to support Zuma’s bid for a second term.

Zuma himself has not been spared the ridicule and personal attacks by the league.

Masemola said at the weekend that the ANC needed to discuss the league’s personal attacks on him.

Earlier, Malema’s supporters - in the form of the Friends of the Youth League - clashed violently with those who backed Masemola and Zuma’s bid for a second term.

The Friends of the ANCYL has kept Malema in politics after his expulsion from the ANC.

The Sunday Independent reported that the group’s rally at Motetema in Sekhukhune on Friday had turned into an ugly battle.

Warring factions aligned with Malema or Zuma assaulted, stoned and threatened to shoot fellow comrades.

Mathivha said it was up to Masemola to raise his concerns with the ANC because he sat in all leadership structures.

“Masemola has the latitude and freedom to suggest that the matter be discussed. If he suggests it to the media, it will remain like that… The ANC will discuss the matter as and when it is on the agenda and take a decision on the basis of facts,” Mathivha said.

He would not say whether the Limpopo ANC would sanction the league for attacking Masemola.

Mathivha added that provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane had publicly condemned the attacks.

The skirmish Iin Sekhukhune erupted while Malema was apparently on his way to address the gathering.

He never pitched up. Malema denied there were any clashes at the meeting.

Malema has used the Friends of the Youth League’s platforms to launch an assault on Zuma’s leadership and personal integrity.

He has called for Zuma’s removal at the ANC’s elective national conference in Mangaung in December.

Malema, who wants Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to take over as ANC leader, has questioned Zuma’s “thinking capacity” and polygamous lifestyle.

Malema said last week the country could do without a president who “gets married every weekend”.

ANC top brass at Luthuli House have repeatedly refused to comment on the Friends of the Youth League.

National spokesman Keith Khoza said the group had no standing in the ruling party.

But Zuma allies, including SACP leader Blade Nzimande and Young Communist League secretary Buti Manamela, have publicly condemned the group as “renegades” and called for the expulsion of those linked to the group, from the ANC.

The league has publicly called on Premier Cassel Mathale to fire Masemola, ostensibly for the textbook scandal.

Richard Maabane, a member of the ANC’s Tswaledi Maile branch in the Makhuduthamaga sub-region, said he and his fellow comrades clashed with Malema’s supporters because they used the Friends as a platform to insult Zuma and Masemola.

Maabane accused Malema and Mathale of marginalising Sekhukhune economically and politically.

He suggested that the two were using Masemola’s failure to deliver textbooks as an excuse to get rid of him and Zuma “because they differ with them politically. We are saying nobody must touch Masemola. The textbook issue is a matter for the administrators”. - The Star