ANC Youth League presidential hopeful Reggie Nkabinde. Picture: Facebook
Johannesburg - ANC Youth League presidential hopeful Reggie Nkabinde has accused the mother body of undermining the league after the organisation was sidelined during Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.

Madikizela-Mandela, who died on April 2, was buried in Fourways on Saturday afternoon, after a day-long service at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium earlier.

Former ANCYL president, now leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, spoke at the funeral service on behalf of his party.

Another former league president, now head of ANC elections, Fikile Mbalula, spoke “on behalf of young South Africans”, a matter that outraged the league.

Read: #WinnieMandelaFuneral: Mbalula asks Malema to return 'home' to ANC

On Sunday, Nkabinde said the sidelining was the result of a lack of respect the ANC leadership had for its youth wing.

“That was definitely a sign of the extent to which the league is undermined by the ANC. You cannot have a funeral of Mama and not give us space. Mama has been known to be closer to young people during her activism.

“For me, this was a clear vote of no confidence in the league, and the ANC needs to explain to us why they sidelined us from paying tribute to Mama. It is clear the ANC does not take the leadership of the league seriously,” Nkabinde said.

Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency/ANA

Nkabinde’s complaints come just days after league president Collen Maine admitted to having met with the controversial Gupta family.

Speaking at Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service in Potchefstroom last week, Maine said he was introduced to the Gupta brothers - who have now fled the country - by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

Also read: ANCYL wants 'sell-out' Maine out

#WinnieMandela: Maine told to resign for being a 'coward and liar'

Maine’s admission, in which he called on ANC supporters not to support him should he be prosecuted, has irked the league’s deputy secretary-general, Thandi Moraka, who called for his removal.

Nkabinde said the revelation by Maine was a result of the meddling of the ANC leadership in ANCYL matters, including its elective conferences.

Maine was elected ANCYL president in 2015 with the backing of the so-called ANC “premier league”, which included Mahumapelo.

“I don’t blame him. I know how ANC leaders have always tried to capture the league for their business and political interests.

“The admission by Maine shows that he is tired of being captured by Mahumapelo and wants to regain his independence and respect. This is a lesson for the ANC to learn to stop interfering in the matters of the league, including its conferences,” Nkabinde said.

He said he would stop the capture of the league by unscrupulous leaders within the governing party if he was elected as Maine’s successor when the organisation holds its conference later this year.

ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Kwazi Mshengu said Maine should answer to allegations that he had also apologised for campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma before the ANC’s Nasrec national conference in December.

“It has not only reflected badly on him as the president of the youth league, but it has quickly cast doubts on all of us as leaders of the youth league,” Mshengu said.

He said Maine had made the league believe that the reports linking him with the Guptas were false.

“Over the past period, he had been very firm in rejecting his alleged links with the Guptas.

“You will remember that at some stage, it was reported that they bought him a house, but we have always believed him when he said he has no link with the Guptas. Now all of a sudden he confesses without even alerting us,” he said.

Political Bureau