/ 23 November 2007

ANCYL throws weight behind Zuma

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has thrown its weight behind Jacob Zuma for president of the ANC, with 34 out of 38 regions nominating him, and only two nominating current president Thabo Mbeki, the league announced in Johannesburg on Friday.

”We didn’t support him [Mbeki] for president of the ANC. We believe as a past president of the ANC he has a special role to play,” said ANCYL president Fikile Mbalula.

”It is not a position that we are eradicating him. We believe he has played his role. He has got nothing to lose, nothing to win; he has nothing to prove.

”We believe he must give others a chance — one leader at a time.”

Two regions did not submit nominations, which the league did not want to discuss.

After Zuma on the list, the ANCYL has nominated ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe for deputy president, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe for secretary general, Baleka Mbete for deputy secretary general and Mathews Phosa for treasurer.

Zuma’s endorsement reaffirmed the league’s stand that the president of the ANC should go on to be the president of the country.

The league was against ”two centres of power” on the grounds that it would polarise the movement.

The list of 60 additional members nominated was negotiable, but the top six positions were not, said Mbalula.

Anyone who suggested Mbeki should stay on for another term was being ”very sentimental”, he said. Although he was still young and was intelligent, leadership was elected on the basis of succession.

The league said a protocol should be developed to define the role of past presidents, as they had a role to play in sharing their experience and wisdom. A possibility was for them to join the ANC Veterans’ League.

The league believed in the proposal that women’s participation in party structures be increased to 50%, and said its current list containing only 22 women was in line with the current policy for 30% female representation.

Mbalula topped the list of additional members, which includes former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni (number 3), axed director general of intelligence Billy Masetlha (4), former Cape Town mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo (20), Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi (22), South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary general Blade Nzimande (25), Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (36), Transport Minister Jeff Radebe (56) and SACP deputy secretary general Jeremy Cronin (60).

The ANC holds its 52nd national conference in December and part of the agenda will be the election of the top six positions and 60 members of the national executive committee. — Sapa