/ 9 January 2008

PAC youth congress rebels against party leader

The Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania (Payco) has called for Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) president Letlapa Mphahlele to step down, accusing him of destroying the party.

In a statement on Wednesday, Payco president Hulisani Mmbara said: ”[Payco] has reached a conclusion that the [PAC] is facing a serious leadership crisis due to the disastrous and reckless leadership of PAC president Letlapa Mphahlele.

”We have resolved that the president must withdraw the decree immediately, call a special congress and resign as party president.”

Mmbara said that last year Mphahlele invoked a decree in terms of section 14.2 of the PAC’s constitution that allowed him to rule alone if there was a party crisis.

During 2007, the PAC lost key members — including its deputy, Themba Godi — during the floor-crossing period and expelled its previous leader, Motsoko Pheko. Mphahlele also disbanded the national executive committee (NEC) and was ruling the party alone, accounting to conferences only.

Payco met him on Saturday to inform him of its resolution that he step down, said Mmbara — but he said he would not.

PAC spokesperson Mudini Maivha confirmed that Mphahlele met Payco to discuss its call for him to stand down, but, in terms of the party’s constitution, this call could only be made by one-third of a party branch that was ”authentic and in good standing”, not by a ”component” of the party like Payco. ”Unfortunately they don’t qualify to do that,” he said.

Although the decree had suspended the NEC, the rest of the constitutional provisions remained in place, including procedure for the removal of a leader. The PAC had given Payco ”the green light” to canvass for his removal but it should be done procedurally, Maivha said.

Notice of this must be filed a month before the party’s conference at the end of April and must be circulated among branches to allow time for reflection and comment, he added. — Sapa