Despite the brave face shown by the ANC national leadership, the party’s performance in the recent local government elections has exacerbated the clear divisions in the ruling party.
Cracks emerged yesterday when the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza told the media at Luthuli House that the ANC should go to an early national conference to elect new leaders who would propel the ANC forward.
“The ANCYL believes that all current national executive committee (NEC) members must come to the early conference and account for themselves. The early conference must not be contested and there is a need to introduce young leaders to the officials.”
League president Collen Maine said there were public spats between the leadership of the ANC at the highest level.
“We are convinced that the ANC, in its current form, would not be able to get over the challenges in the leadership structures of the ANC at the national level,” Maine said. “We are saying that because we must inherit the ANC.”
However, Maine said the league had not discussed names.
“But what we are saying is that South Africa is a young country and that must find expression in the leadership of the ANC,” he said. Asked about the relationship between the ANCYL and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, Maine replied: “We don’t have a romantic relationship with the SG. He is not our girlfriend or boyfriend.
“We have a political relationship with him.”
This latest reaction is likely to split the bruised ANC even further.
The ANCYL and ANC Women’s League have openly called for a woman to succeed Zuma as ANC president next year. The league also wants action to be taken against ANC Gauteng leaders for alleged nomination list irregularities in the build-up to the elections.
“The culprits who manipulated the process must be dealt with thoroughly, especially in Gauteng,” Nzuza said. “They must be expelled, they don’t respect the organisation.
“This overhaul must start from the bottom, right to the highest office dealing with the issue of lists.”
As expected, the league leapt to the defence of President Jacob Zuma, saying he remained the ANC leader until the next conference.
“We want to make it clear that attributing poor performance to a single person is opportunistic and lacks honesty,” Nzuza said.
The ANCYL also wants the number of NEC members reduced to make it more efficient and effective.