ANC rebukes youth league over Zille

The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday distanced itself from what it called the ANC Youth League’s “deeply embarrassing” attack on Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille.

“The African National Congress distances itself from comments by an ANC Youth League spokesperson yesterday [May 12 2009] about DA leader Helen Zille and her provincial Cabinet,” Mantashe said in a statement.

He said the ruling party strongly objected to Zille’s criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s sexual conduct that on Tuesday triggered a war of words, but could not tolerate the ANCYL’s outburst.

Zille was quoted in the press as saying: “Zuma is a self-confessed womaniser with deeply sexist views, who put all his wives at risk by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.”

She made the remark in response to criticism from Zuma’s new minister of women, youth, children and people with disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, on the all-male make-up of her provincial executive.

The youth league hit back: “Zille has appointed an all-male Cabinet of useless people, majority of whom are her boyfriends and concubines so that she can continue to sleep around with them [sic], yet she claims to have the moral authority to question our president.”

Said Mantashe: “Zille’s statements earlier in the week about President Jacob Zuma were indeed reprehensible and, quite correctly, were roundly condemned.

“She justly deserves criticism for the unrepresentative composition of her Cabinet.

“But this does not justify the comments by the ANC Youth League. These comments are deeply embarrassing to the ANC, and reflect a marked departure from the ANC’s approach to political engagement,” Mantashe said.—Sapa

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