National

Malema absent from ANC centenary programme

Staff Reporter

Embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema isn't included in the formal programme of the ruling party's centenary festivities in Bloemfontein.

Embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was not included in the formal programme of the ruling party's centenary festivities in Bloemfontein, ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete said on Wednesday.

Malema would address mini-rallies around the province instead, she told journalists.

"We don't have the possibility [of entertaining] any delivery of any messages of support in the programme on the 8th [Sunday]," she said.

"Messages of support from all leagues, alliance partners, other friends from the fraternal parties and those from the international communities will be compiled into a booklet."

The booklet will be circulated to the 100 000 people expected to attend. The ANC's leagues' traditionally delivers messages of support at such events.

Last year, reports suggested that plans were made to ensure that Malema did not share a stage with ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Skirting the issue
Malema has in recent public speeches avoided Zuma's name when praising former ANC presidents but instead mentioned his deputy and former president, Kgalema Motlanthe.

He has been seen mocking Zuma as the "shower man" at the Limpopo provincial conference where he was elected among 20 provincial executive committee members.

Malema and other anti-Zuma groupings were seen with their hand above their heads symbolising a shower head.

In an earlier statement the youth league said Malema would address three "mini-rallies" in the Free State on Thursday and Friday to commemorate the league's contribution to the ANC over the last century.

Malema would at these rallies reflect on "the important role of youth in the ANC throughout its history and contextualise the current struggles of the ANC Youth League within that context," league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement.

He was expected to speak at the Welkom community centre at 5pm on Thursday, at Moroka High School in Thaba Nchu at noon on Friday and in Bloemfontein at 4pm.

Stamp of approval
Mbete said the rallies had received a stamp of approval from the mother body. These were part of a directive from the ANC for structures, including the youth league, the ANC Women's League and its veterans, to galvanise support on the ground, she said.

"They are not doing their own thing. They are doing the work that the ANC must focus on in different structures leading on the centenary weekend."

ANC national executive committee (NEC) members were expected to visit all the regions in the Free State until Saturday, to ensure party supporters attended festivities.

The centenary festivities were also seen as a preview of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December where loyalty for Zuma would be tested.

The league wants Zuma replaced by Motlanthe and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe replaced by ANC NEC member Fikile Mbalula.

Former president Thabo Mbeki confirmed his attendance for the centenary celebrations on Tuesday.

This was the first time Mbeki would be present at an ANC event of this magnitude since his ousting from the presidency in 2008.

No clarity on Madiba
There was no indication whether former ANC president Nelson Mandela would attend.

"We continue to hope," Mbete said, adding the party was in contact with the Mandela family.

She confirmed that a total of 46 sitting heads of state would attend.

Former heads of state attending the gathering were named as Jerry Rawlings from Ghana, Sam Nujoma from Namibia, Kenneth Kaunda from Zambia and Joachim Chissano from Mozambique.

"We also have confirmation from 80 fraternal parties in the like of the MPLA, Swapo, Frelimo, PAIGC, the Norwegian Labour Party, Communist Party of Cuba, the German Social Democratic Party and the National Congress of India."

Holy attendance
The party said it had 50 participants from anti-apartheid movements from all over the world including the family of the late Father Trevor Huddleston and eminent persons such as Reverend Jesse Jackson.

All South African political parties were invited, some of whom had confirmed including the Inkatha Freedom Party, Congress of the People, APC, United Democratic Movement and the Democratic Alliance, the traditional healers organisations, religious and traditional leaders, organisations of civil society and individuals of good standing in society.

"Our celebrations will also be graced by the presence of the nine recognised kings, who are: King Goodwill Zwelithini, Ingwenyama Enock Makhosonke Mabena, Ingwenyama Mbusi Mahlangu, King Lekunutu Cavandish Mota and King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo, among others.

"We will also be graced with the presence of His Majesty Otumfo Ose II, the Asante Hene of the Ashante people of Ghana," the ANC said.

From the clergy and religious leaders, the ANC confirmed the attendance of the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and representatives from NICSA, which included major faith based organisations, such as the South African Council of Churches and All Africa Conference of Churches.—Sapa

Follow the Mail & Guardian's coverage of the ANC's 100th anniversary.

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