ANC Youth League president Julius Malema. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

The ANC Youth League put final touches on their plans late on Saturday as speculation mounted that the ANC would dissolve the entire national executive and replace it with one which includes Julius Malema’s nemesis Lehlogonolo Masoga.

In what is billed as open defiance of president Jacob Zuma and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, the ANCYL members said last night that an estimated 23 buses would transport young people from across the country who will stage an unprecedented protest outside Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters. Some of them plan to stage a night vigil outside the ANC offices from tomorrow evening.

But ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said he was not aware if the youth league had notified the ruling party of the night vigil.

“We are not aware of it and we have not been notified,” he said.

The protest is against the charging of Malema, his deputy Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetsoe Mosenogi, treasurer Pule Mabe and spokesman Floyd Shivambu for bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions within the ruling party.

As part of their war chest, the Young Lions have also brought in unnamed senior counsel to fight the case, scheduled for Tuesday to Friday.

A member of the Johannesburg Emergency Services said on Saturday they had had a meeting to sort out logistics should huge numbers arrive on Tuesday morning.

On Saturday, four provincial general councils (PGCs) and what league spokesman Shivambu referred to as “cadre assemblies” dealt with the nuts and bolts of how they would support the league in its make-or-break battle with the ANC. At least five provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga – held their PGCs on Saturday. Limpopo and Gauteng are expected to convene their meetings today.

League spokeswoman Magdalene Moonsamy said: “We are at PGCs right now and that (supporting leaders) is what PGCs are calling for.

“Branches want to support their leadership,” she said.

Malema – who is facing his second disciplinary hearing since he became the league’s president more than three years ago – is being hauled before the disciplinary hearing for, among other charges, his comments on Botswana, calling white South Africans criminals and storming into an ANC officials’ meeting while his leadership cohort was charged for their Botswana remarks, publicly vilifying ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

However, some in the ANC leadership perceive the imminent charges as Zuma’s plan to deal with Malema who – according to several senior ANC leaders – poses a threat to the president’s second term as party leader. Malema’s league wants Zuma and Mantashe to be ousted, preferring the latter to be replaced by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Zuma by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa defended Malema when he was charged last year April – a move that showed the division that exists in the ANC’s topmost structure. Malema’s membership is on a caution after he was found guilty of sowing divisions in the ANC, and was warned that he would be expelled should he commit a similar offence.

Johannesburg Metro Police spokesman Wayne Minaar said:

“The plan of the metro police is to deploy a huge contingent of police officers in front of Luthuli House and the streets surrounding Luthuli House.”.

Minaar said where necessary the streets would be cordoned off and traffic would be diverted.

A member of the ANC NEC said on Saturday that Masoga, who was expelled from the league following a disciplinary hearing during Malema’s first term as league president, would be made one of the leaders of an interim leadership structure post Malema’s disciplinary committee (DC).

ANC spokesman Khoza said: “This is not true because the matter is still going to the DC and it is the DC that will recommend to the officials, who will make a final decision on the matter.”

But the ANC NEC member insisted, saying the point of the entire disciplinary exercise was to remove the entire leadership before the ANC’s 2012 conference in Mangaung.

“There are no charges here. This is a kangaroo court and these are trumped-up charges (against Malema). It is like an apartheid-like operation, you bring as many charges as possible with the hope that one of them sticks,” the leader said.

Malema, who told delegates at a Young Women’s Assembly event at St George’s Hotel near Irene, south of Pretoria, on Friday night that he was ready for his disciplinary hearing, reiterated that the charges against the league’s leaders were, in their nature, political.

He said the league has never “had peace” since its June elective conference because some individuals contested his re-election and the league’s resolutions on nationalising the country’s mines and expropriating land without compensation.

“The idea is out there. Play the ball, not the man,” he said amid loud applause from the women delegates.

“What the ANCYL is going through today… is a contestation of the outcome of the ANCYL congress – both at the leadership level, and from a policy point of view.

“Since that congress, the youth league has never had peace because people are refusing to accept the democratic outcomes of the ANCYL,” Malema said.

He said he was ready for whatever would happen to him and would remain a committed member of the ruling party.

“All those are resolutions of the ANCYL… You remove individuals, put an interim leadership team and have another congress, those resolutions will remain.

“Whatever happens to us, we are ready.

“This ANC is bigger than individuals. We will leave the ANC, but the ANC will continue to be there and… people must know that even if we are fired tomorrow, our blood will remain black, green and gold.

“It is not the membership card that defines you, it is your consciousness, it is your blood, it is what you believe in,” he said.

“The ANC, we want to agree with the elders, is a big elephant. It moves very slowly and when it has passed, it leaves a mark, but we need to remind the elders as well, the ANC is not a pig. It does not eat its own children because the ANC that eats its children is no longer the ANC we know.”

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu – who attended the event to receive an award for her late mother Albertina Sisulu – said she was “perturbed” by Malema’s comments that the ANC was “not a pig”.

“I have no authority to speak on behalf of the ANC but I can assure you, the ANC that I belong to, is not a pig. It will never eat its children. We love you because we know the future depends on you,” she said.

n Meanwhile, the ANCYL in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday sang a discordant note to its mother body, announcing that it wanted Zuma to serve a second term and Mbalula in Mantashe’s place.

This contradicts the general ANCYL position that Zuma must go, but also flies in the face of an ANC decision to bar party members from engaging in the succession debate.

Khoza said ANC officials – Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mantashe, his deputy Thandi Modise and Mathews Phosa – would handle the comments of the KwaZulu-Natal youth league branch.

“That is a matter that will call for the attention of the officials in terms of how it is dealt with because the ANC NEC decided that it must not be entertained,” he said. - Sunday Independent