The ANC has bowed to pressure to get rid of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national leadership and the party’s North West provincial executive committee (PEC), but President Cyril Ramaphosa’s opponents are occupying top positions in the new interim task teams that replaced them.
The dissolution of the league’s national executive committee came after months of protests by ordinary ANCYL members who were concerned about the continued existence of the league despite the fact that its term of office had long expired. The members protested at Luthuli House early this year, calling for the ANC NEC to disband the national structure, which has been replaced by an interim task team.
The interim structure is led by ANC national executive committee member Thandi Mahambehlala, who has been appointed as the ANCYL interim convener. Mahambehlala was in the news at the weekend after she questioned Ramaphosa’s failure to implement Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s remedial actions against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Mahambehlala, an ANC MP and Zuma backer, was concerned at the NEC meeting that Ramaphosa delayed implementing Mkhwebane’s orders despite the public protector’s remedial actions being interdicted by Gordhan, who wanted them suspended and her report against him set aside by the courts.
Mkhwebane then lost the case on Monday after the High Court in Pretoria found in Gordhan’s favour, with the judge, Sulet Potterill, lambasting the protector’s report as “vague, contradictory and nonsensical”.
Former Free State youth league member Sibongile Besani is the task team’s coordinator. Among other members were outgoing ANCYL leaders such as Collen Maine, Desmond Moela and Njabula Nzuza.
Besides the old ANCYL leaders in the 24-member structure, the inclusion of names of Zuma supporters such as Nomvula Mokonyane, Faith Muthambi and Malusi Gigaba raised eyebrows.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the inclusion of older members, including those known to be backing Ramaphosa, was meant to ensure people with organisational memory participated in the process to re-establish the league. Other former ANCYL leaders were Zizi Kodwa, Pule Mabe, Ronald Lamola, Lulu Johnson and Fikile Mbalula.
The disbandment of the structures was announced by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who was flanked by Duarte, ANC NEC member and department of information and publicity member Dakota Legoete and party national spokesperson Pule Mabe. Magashule said since the league’s mandate had expired the NEC decided to dissolve the league’s NEC, which would be replaced by an interim National Youth Task Team which would oversee the rebuilding of the league and organise its elective conference by not later than 31 January 2020.
The dissolved North West PEC which was replaced by a provincial interim committee, was for years led by Supra Mahumapelo, an ardent Jacob Zuma ally. The PEC appointed Mahumapelo’s staunch supporter Susan Dantjie and a Zumaite as interim convener. While Patrick Chauke is the co-ordinator, Mahumapelo himself is part of the provincial interim committee.
Dantjie was part of the old PEC that resisted orders from Luthuli House ANC headquarters to disband. They took Luthuli House to court and were later reinstated despite their term having expired. The interim structure comprised friends and opponents of Mahumapelo including China Dodovu and Nono Maloyi. But Kabelo Mataboge is not part of the interim team.
Magashule said the NEC noted that the ANC in North West remained weak, divided and unstable – something that impacted on governance in the province.
“The NEC agreed to dissolve the PEC whose mandate has come to an end and appointed a provincial interim committee in accordance with the constitution (of the ANC) to implement the process of renewal and rebuilding,” Magashule said.
The NEC also decided that the ANC 54th conference resolution on unity of Umkhonto weSizwe veterans must be implemented. A joint structure of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association and the MK Council would be established to organise an inclusive national conference and ensure the wellbeing of all former combatants.
“The joint structure will act as the only public voice of veterans in the build-up to the conference and will oversee and organise all conferences of MK veterans,” he said.
The NEC decision came as divisions between the MKMVA and the MK Council had worsened. The MKMVA, led by Kebby Maphatsoe, claims to be the only legitimate structure and operates from Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters. But the association had been accused of recruiting non-MK members into the association and has sided with the Zuma faction in the current ANC conflict.
The MK Council, led by General Siphiwe Nyanda, comprises senior former MK members emanating from the former ANC military wing’s detachments in exile. The Council believes it stands for the original values of the ANC and MK, and has refused to take sides in the current ANC infighting.