Youth league smarts over court actions

Court actions resulting from infighting in the ANC Youth League have caused it such embarrassment that the national executive committee has convened a special meeting this weekend to deal with it.

Topping the agenda is the proposed expulsion of the ousted Limpopo chairperson, Lehlogonolo Masoga. He took this to court, but dropped the action this week at the request of senior ANC leaders.

It is understood that a deal has been struck in terms of which the youth league president, Julius Malema, will advocate Masoga’s suspension for at least two months instead of expulsion. In turn Masoga will not contest leadership positions in the league for 18 months.
Alec Moweni, the league’s prosecutor, is said to have been part of the on-and-off discussions on softening the stance on Masoga.

Masoga led the ousted Limpopo executive committee, which was up in arms after Malema’s allies were installed as the new leaders at the Makhado provincial conference, following a walk-out by Masoga and his group.

He is said to be anxious about this weekend’s disciplinary hearing. His supporters claim the rushed reconvening of the hearing is intended to remove him before the league’s national general council, expected to be held next month.

The council was postponed from July to give the national executive time to resolve tensions in the provinces, particularly with regard to leadership elections.

An NEC member, who asked to remain anonymous, said Masoga would probably survive expulsion only because of the important role he played in the league before his fall-out with Malema.

“The leadership is realising that to have Masoga outside the ANC youth league structures might be dangerous. He is a fierce campaigner who has done a lot for Julius and he knows Julius’s strengths and weaknesses,” the source said.

Masoga is credited with having campaigned tirelessly for Malema to become league president, travelling around the country to convince provinces to back his close comrade.

A source close to both Masoga and Malema, who has been involved in the mediation efforts, said the battle was almost over.

“Malema is committed to this plea bargain. It is just that Lehlogonolo did not trust him and went ahead with the court action. That messed things up for him and he eventually realised that.”

Although Masoga’s supporters are still pushing for the Makhado conference to be reconvened, an NEC member ruled that out because “the reality is that Masoga’s supporters are a minority in the NEC”.

Another matter on the table is the Grahamstown High Court ruling that found the NEC’s decision to dissolve the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee was unlawful.

The league can decide either to appeal against the ruling or to reinstate the committee and work with the national leadership to convene a fresh provincial congress that will elect new leaders.

Floyd Shivambu, the league’s spokesperson, said the weekend meeting would discuss the “new tendencies of court actions”, a matter about which the league’s secretary general, Vuyiswa Tulelo, is expected to table a report.

“We want to ensure that court actions do not find space in the organisation. It is a matter of public knowledge that, after discussions with the ANC, we all agreed that court actions are unacceptable,” Shivambu said.

He refused to comment on whether a decision would be taken on Masoga or the Eastern Cape PEC.

The broader fight in the league is between the supporters of Malema and those who want him replaced by his deputy, Andile Lungisa, at the league’s national conference next year.

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice.
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    Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.
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