The national working committees of the ANC and its youth league will meet on Monday to explore the possibility of a “political solution” relating to the suspension of league president Julius Malema and his deputies.
Malema is pushing for a political solution that does not involve disciplinary action and his supporters believe that party leaders, including Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, favour this to resolve the political impasse between the mother body and its youth wing.
There are fears that uncertainty over Malema’s fate could negatively affect the party’s centenary celebrations next year. Some ANC leaders are said to be uncomfortable with the idea that Malema could share the stage with President Jacob Zuma at the celebrations if the appeals processes have not been concluded.
There will be only one national executive committee meeting before the centenary celebrations and preparations for the January 8 occasion will be discussed.
Approached for comment, league spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy refused to confirm the date of the meeting but said: “We [the party’s national working committee and the youth league’s national working committee] did agree to meet but as to the agenda of the meeting or what will be discussed, I cannot pre-empt that.”
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu could not be reached for comment.
Pro-Malema supporters in the executive committee, including ANC election campaign head Fikile Mbalula, stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and committee member Tony Yengeni, are expected to raise their displeasure over the disciplinary committee’s conduct at the national executive committee meeting in Bloemfontein on Friday.
They will face off Zuma and his supporters in the national executive committee, who are expected to oppose any attempts to discuss the disciplinary committee’s ruling. The Mail & Guardian understands that they intend to argue that the disciplinary processes should be exhausted before the executive committee can discuss the matter on review.
Last week, the youth league also criticised the disciplinary committee ruling, arguing that it had failed to present them with an opportunity to present mitigating evidence before pronouncing penalties or sanctions, and that it relied on an out-dated section of the youth league’s constitution, which was amended at the league’s conference in June. The amendments by Malema and his supporters have been disputed by some in the youth league.
On Thursday, the league confirmed that Malema, spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer Pule Mabe had appealed against the disciplinary committee ruling.
Moonsamy said lawyers representing the youth league, advocates Patrick Mtshaulana and Dali Mpofu, had submitted appeal applications to the appeals committee, chaired by businessperson Cyril Ramaphosa. Other members of the appeals committee include national executive committee member Brigitte Mabandla, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe and National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.
The youth league will argue that the cases against Malema and his deputies were political and that some senior ANC leaders, such as secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Mthembu prejudged their case when they made public statements before the hearing was finalised. The youth league will also argue that the charges against it were instituted by national officials, also known as the top six, rather than a constitutionally recognised structure such as the national working committee or the national executive committee.
The issue of national officials, the youth league argues, was dealt with in 2007 during the watershed Polokwane conference when delegates agreed that the debate about 50/50 gender parity could only be applied on constitutional structures such as the national working committee and the national executive committee, and that the top six positions were not a constitutionally recognised structure.
The youth league will also say that disciplinary committee chairperson Derek Hanekom, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu should have recused themselves from the disciplinary proceedings because they had previously clashed with its officials in public.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a succession struggle is underway in the youth league over who should replace Malema should he lose his appeal. Some ANCYL members prefer Lamola while others Mabe.
This week’s national executive committee meeting is also expected to discuss the National Assembly’s passing of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill and the finalisation of a report on nationalisation by the party’s research team.
For more news and multimedia on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema view our special report.