No Umshini Wam. No flashing of naked buttocks. No Black Label.
ANC Youth League delegates have been given a stern warning to behave themselves at the second half of the league’s national conference, which convened on Friday.
The conference programme this time sports a list of don’ts meant to put paid to any plans that delegates might have to turn the conference into the riot that was Mangaung. The warning is clear: behave yourself or kiss a career in politics goodbye.
The strippers in the making came up for the sharpest warning. ‘Nobody shall within the premises of the conference take off clothes to demonstrate anger or happiness of any kind whatsoever.â€
This follows the row that led to a delegate at the Mangaung conference pulling down his pants, in full view of flashing cameras, to display his buttocks to supporters of presidential contender Songezo Mjongile.
This image was beamed across the world and became the symbol of the league’s elective conference. ANC leaders, both young and otherwise, have realised this did nothing but re-enforce the youth league’s image as the ungovernables of the ANC.
Now the conference organisers insist delegates will behave like adults.
The organisers have tabled 12 commandments in simple language and written in a tone that means business. Clearly, the league has learned from the telling-off it got from the mother body after the shenanigans of Mangaung.
The young flashers have had a bollocking from, among others, ANC president Jacob Zuma and his stern deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
In the commandments, delegates are further told not to behave in an abusive and disrespectful manner, and that they are not allowed to do anything that might undermine the ‘business of the conferenceâ€.
No one may bring weapons (traditional or otherwise) to the venue.
Placards and banners are forbidden; no cars can sport posters of candidates in order to ensure there is no leadership cult.
The conference rules cover all eventualities and delegates are warned against violence or any activities that ‘expose others to physical harm or deathâ€.
So it’s clear that while president Julius Malema may be ready to kill for his president-in-chief, the organisers want to ensure the members don’t kill each other first.
Alcohol is not allowed on the premises because, as a conference organiser explained, they believe Dutch courage moved the delegate at Mangaung to flash his nether regions. This may also explain why the league is so keen to secure new laws to prevent alcohol abuse.
And then there’s the party-pooper commandment: ‘Nobody shall within the premises of conference convene a party for celebrating anything at conference.â€
Most delegates, however, neglected to read the don’ts before they left home. Quite a few quenched their thirst on the long journey to Johannesburg with a few Black Labels — the beer, not the whiskey.
Delegates are told that they shouldn’t leave their documents lying around because these might fall into the hands of ‘those who are not entitled to themâ€ — otherwise known as the media.
‘Certain documents distributed at conference may be confidential and delegates are not allowed to distribute such documents to persons who are not entitled to them,â€ says the code of conduct.
Remembering how the now-ousted ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota struggled to get a word in over the heckling and the constant back-chatting from delegates at Polokwane, delegates are told to ‘obeyâ€ the chairperson of the conference.
The airing of individual viewpoints is also discouraged. ‘Delegates are at conference to represent the views of their branches and are therefore expected to attend all sessions and commissions and be punctual.â€
Conference organisers invoke the fear of God in the delegates by threatening them with the punishment that spells disaster for any ambitious youth league delegate: ‘Anyone found guilty of an offence will be disqualified from standing for any position in the ANCYL.â€
The conference don’ts
- Nobody is allowed to bring weapons on to the premises.
- Nobody is permitted to bring and/or drink alcohol at the premises.
- Any alcohol will be confiscated and not returned to the owner.
- Nobody has permission to resort to violence of any kind on the premises.
- Nobody shall within the premises of the national conference act in a manner that exposes others to physical harm or death.
- Nobody shall within the premises of the national conference behave in a manner that provokes tensions.
- Nobody shall within the premises of the national conference act in a manner that undermines the business of conference.
- Nobody shall within the premises take off clothes to demonstrate anger or happiness of any kind whatsoever or bring banners, posters and placards in support of or against any candidate.
- Nobody shall within the premises of the national conference behave rowdy and aggressive.
- Nobody shall within the premises of the national conference engage in an abusive and disrespectful manner towards other comrades.
- Nobody within the premises of the conference is permitted to convene a party for celebrating anything at the conference.
- No cars shall be allowed on the premises of the conference.
- No cars shall bear or display any posters and materials in support of or against any candidate.
- Nobody without conference tags will be allowed on the premises.
Source: ANCYL conference programme