/ 16 May 2010

ANCYL denies lashing out at Zuma

The ANC Youth League has denied that its “one boyfriend, one girlfriend” campaign to discourage having multiple sexual partners was directed at President Jacob Zuma, who is married to more than one wife, the Sunday Times reported.

“The youth league has started the one-boyfriend, one-girlfriend campaign because multiple sexual partners can not be fashionable in an era where many people are dying of Aids,” spokesperson Floyd Shivambu told the newspaper.

The campaign comes amid the finding of ANCYL president Julius Malema guilty of fostering disunity in the ruling party following his public attack on Zuma.

Malema was fined R10 000 and ordered to attend anger management and political education classes.

This has resulted in the campaign being viewed as the ANCYL’s way of lashing out at Zuma for his perceived failure to prevent the disciplinary hearing held against Malema.

“Our campaign is aimed at all cultures and all ages. We are not attacking President Zuma, we believe he is a responsible man,” Shivambu said.

“We don’t want to be drawn into a debate where people think we are disrespecting him with our campaign, but it [the campaign] does apply to everyone,” he said.

M&G report
However the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that moves are afoot among supporters of newly elected Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile and ANC Youth League leaders to look for a new leader to replace Jacob Zuma at the 2012 party conference.

Some senior party leaders have steadily lost confidence in Zuma since his election as ANC president at Polokwane in 2007, and even his traditional support base in the youth league is having second thoughts.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), however, appear to be wavering on the matter.

Supporters of Mashatile are planning to lobby for a new leader to replace Zuma as party president. And the M&G has established that, in a related anti-Zuma move, Mashatile supporters also want Joel Netshitenzhe — ANC national executive committee member and former head of policy in the Presidency — to replace Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary general during the party’s elective conference at Mangaung in 2012.

Zuma available
Zuma has hinted that he is available for another term, but the Mashatile group is punting Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale as the strongest contenders to replace him. Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s name has also been mentioned.

Mashatile was believed to have supported Sexwale for president before the 2007 ANC Polokwane conference but his own province defied him by opting for Zuma.

In an interview with Business Day this week, Mashatile said no one, including Zuma, was guaranteed re-election in 2012. “I have not made a choice at this stage. I support the current leadership, but for 2012 no one is guaranteed,” he was quoted as saying.

The youth league’s second thoughts on Zuma follow the ANC disciplinary committee’s ruling this week that league president Julius Malema must apologise for behaviour that provoked division and a breakdown of unity within the party. He was cleared of three other charges.

Sources close to Malema say he is smarting from what he regards as Zuma’s public humiliation of him and that the league is therefore unlikely to throw its support behind Zuma. The league has already indicated its support for Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to take over as ANC secretary general. The M&G understands the league will now intensify this campaign, Matuma Letsoalo reported.

It is not clear which alternative candidate for party president the league will support, but some youth leaders have mentioned Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of defence, as a possibility. A national youth leader told the M&G her election would be desirable on gender grounds and would “serve as an honour to her father”, former ANC deputy president Walter Sisulu.

The plan to lobby for Netshitenzhe as ANC secretary general gained momentum after Mashatile’s re-election as ANC chair last weekend. Reliable party sources told the M&G that some ANC delegates informally discussed the plan during Mashatile’s victory party at the Tshwane showgrounds on Saturday.

“There is a general sense between comrades that the ANC, under Zuma’s leadership, has marginalised intellectuals and capable leaders in the party,” said a member of Mashatile’s inner circle.

“The current crop of leaders lack depth and are unable to articulate ANC policy in line with the Polokwane resolutions.

The poor handling of the Chancellor House “debacle” was indicative of the “kind of leadership we have”, the close Mashatile ally said. “Currently, provinces are doing their own things. ANC leaders are facilitating tenders in various provinces and if you tell JZ [Zuma], he says, let’s debate.”

Track record
A “radical leadership change” is needed “if we are serious about restoring the image of the ANC”, the Mashatile supporter said. “Netshitenzhe’s track record on ANC policy issues speaks for itself. He is one of the few leaders groomed by [former ANC president] OR Tambo.”

But Netshitenzhe’s close relationship with former president Thabo Mbeki might be a disadvantage when other provinces are lobbied. And another ANC insider pointed out that the Gauteng ANC is no longer the leading force it was in the 1990s.

“The lead-up to Polokwane in 2007 showed they were so confused themselves,” the insider said. “Of course there are people who enjoy JZ’s lack of leadership — so they can do whatever they want. But many feel he was a transitional leader from Mbeki and we now need a younger leader …”

But Gauteng ANC spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli this week objected to the persistent lobbying by some ANC cadres. “The ANC Gauteng fully supports the collective of the national executive committee under the leadership of comrade Jacob Zuma,” Ntuli said. “The strange agenda to talk about the leadership collective two years before the conference is not only divisive but [also] a deliberate attempt to sway leaders from the key organisational task … We strongly appeal to cadres to desist.” — Sapa and M&G