The Free State branch of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has released a statement that begins as a message of gratitude to those who voted for the governing party in the 2019 elections, before descending into an attack on the party’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula.
The statement from the Free State ANCYL – a branch in the province where ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was once premier – begins by making it clear that if any ANC politician deserves credit for the party’s victory it is, in their view, former president Jacob Zuma.
“While we fully recognise that our victory was as a result of the collective effort by all the volunteers of the movement, we are particularly impressed with the critical role played by the former president of the ANC, cadre Jacob Zuma in tirelessly campaigning for the moment,” the statement reads after thanking those who voted for the party.
The statement then takes a swipe at former president Thabo Mbeki, albeit not by name. Zuma, according to the statement, “demonstrated a deep understanding of our movement and did not choose to simply make statements undermining conference resolutions of our movement like other former presidents, who clearly believe they are more intelligent or politically cogent than the collective wisdom of branches,” in a clear reference to Mbeki’s recent comment in an interview indicating that he doesn’t agree with the ANC’s adoption of land expropriation without compensation.
The Free State ANCYL then uses the statement to voice concerns about the party’s performance in Gauteng, before launching an attack on Mbalula.
“In conclusion, we wish to remind cadre Fikile Mbalula that he is not the secretary general of the ANC and must stop acting as such,” says the statement.
“He tried in Mangaung conference and was rejected by branches because of his unprincipled and opportunistic postures.”
The statement then demonstrates that the Free State ANCYL is clearly loyal not only to Zuma but one of his strongest allies, the former premier of their province, Magashule.
Mbalula “remains warned that his continued political twerking is closely monitored and he must refrain from campaigning for a ministry at the expense of the organisation and through his constant attacks on the duly elected secretary general of the ANC,” the statement concludes.
The ANCYL is not a lone voice within the party taking issue with Mbalula giving Ramaphosa credit for their election victory.
Magashule himself said the ANC’s win is “not about” Ramaphosa, and Nkosasana Dlamini- Zuma on Monday called Mbalula’s expression of support for the ANC’s current president “divisive”.
— @KHAYANMedia_Publications #BringBackPresidentZuma (@BIzwelethu) May 12, 2019