/ 26 January 2010

Has ANCYL’s support for Maroga softened?

Early indications are that the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) may not back former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga in his legal challenge against the parastatal and the minister of public enterprise, after their vocal support in the past.

The league, notorious for its reactionary statements, was vociferous in its support for Maroga following the Eskom leadership crisis in November last year.

Maroga was ousted in a battle with the state-owned utility’s board in 2009 after a relationship breakdown between the two. At the time, the ANCYL and Black Management Forum lambasted Eskom and accused the board chairperson, Bobby Godsell, of being a “racist”. Godsell subsequently resigned.

But while firebrand ANCYL leader Julius Malema spoke in Maroga’s defence and the league issued statements defending him, its support for Maroga seems to have waned.

Last year the youth league said: “The time of treating black people, and Africans in particular, as subjects who can be fired as and when the white master wishes is over, and Bobby Godsell should appreciate that we are in a democratic state with principles.”

In marked contrast, the usually outspoken ANCYL spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, said this week: “We are not going to comment on whether we will support him or not, because those matters are legal issues and we do not want to politicise this matter.”

The ANCYL was responding to Maroga’s R85-million demands from the power utility following his departure from Eskom last year.

This after Maroga seemed to have overplayed his hand in November by going straight to President Jacob Zuma, over Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan’s head.

But despite the politicking around his resignation, Maroga was eventually forced out with no payout or severance package.

Now the ANCYL seems to have backed down, in the face of no high-level support for Maroga at present.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has lambasted Maroga’s “self-entitlement and greed” in his demands for compensation.

“What we said as the youth league is that we are supporting Maroga on transformation and other issues at Eskom,” Shivambu said.

When pressed whether the youth league will give him political support on his legal battle with Eskom, Shivambu was reluctant to commit to anything.

“No, I don’t want to comment on that because that is a legal matter and if you want any comment, phone the Black Lawyers’ Association,” he said.

Maroga, whose five-year contract had been due to expire in 2012, is demanding everything he was entitled to had he not been given the boot.

This includes R14,5-million for loss of salary, R45-million for incentives and R7-million for other benefits, the Sunday Times reported.