Zuma not welcome - President snubbed by youth league
THE ANC Youth League has begun to intensify a campaign to isolate President Jacob Zuma as part of its push to oust him as ANC president.
With Julius Malema expected to vacate office following his suspension from the ANC, the youth league has decided to virtually snub Zuma during the party's centenary celebrations in the coming months.
Zuma was also conspicuous by his absence as he was not invited to address the league's national executive committee lekgotla at the Saint George Hotel and Conference Centre in Tshwane, Pretoria, this week.
Most other ANC leaders were invited. The plan to jettison Zuma will also see the youth league sideline him as it lines up former president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma's deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to address their centenary celebrations.
The league's centenary programme was unveiled by its secretary Sindiso Magaqa at their lekgotla on Friday. Magaqa told members that the programme was adopted by the league's National Working Committee. He did not explain Zuma's glaring omission from the programme.
Asked why Zuma was not invited and why he didn't feature as part of their centenary celebrations and why he was not part of their programme this week, a senior youth league member told Sunday World that it's their right to choose who to invite for their programmes.
This week's gathering was attended and addressed by several senior ANC leaders including Motlanthe, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, his deputy Thandi Modise, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande and former youth league leader Rapu Molekane.
The league has on several occasions openly stated its desire to lobby for Motlanthe to replace Zuma at the much awaited ANC national elective conference in December.
They have also openly made it known that they want their former leader Fikile Mbalula to replace Mantashe.
Still rattled by the ANC appeals committee's decision to uphold Malema's suspension, this week's meeting also considered the battle plan to support Malema.
They appeared to be in disarray as the lekgotla touched on who will replace Malema when his suspension kicks in although they avoided mentioning potential candidates.
A suggestion was also mooted that all youth league NEC members must leave with Malema when he vacates office as part of the strategy to openly defy the ANC.
It is understood that the meeting was vague on details relating to specific actions they will embark on in their defiance.
Sunday World understands that Mantashe - whose address was closed to the media - told youth league leaders that some of the songs they sang were divisive.
"This after they welcomed him into the venue with a song calling for his replacement with Mbalula.
They also sang their now famous shower man song, which mocks Zuma.
But it was Motlanthe who outlined to the meeting how the relationship of the ANC and the youth league should work.
"He told the meeting that the league cannot adopt policies that are in conflict with the ANC constitution and policies.
"Understanding this provision that the youth league remains autonomous in its operations but not independent from the ANC, provides the backdrop for how we may be able to comprehend fully the role of the youth league within the ANC today," he said.
"From this perspective, the ANCYL was therefore established, in the first place, with the intention for it to remain an organ of the ANC subject at all times to its constitution and policies."
Motlanthe said this does not imply that the ANCYL cannot take independent and autonomous decisions. But Malema has argued that the youth league has the power to decide on its programmes.
Malema had 14 days to go and argue in mitigation of the sentence before the ANC disciplinary committee after he was found guilty of sowing divisions in the ANC.
His ANC membership is suspended for five years, a decision that was also upheld by the party's national appeals committee.