Mabe: I am not a double agent and I did not steal ANCYL funds
The ANC Youth League’s treasurer general, Pule Mabe, was relieved of his post by the league’s national executive committee this week amid claims that he misappropriated funds and was using his influence to position himself to take over the post of its expelled president, Julius Malema.
He responded to questions from the Mail & Guardian.
Why do you think the national executive committee passed a motion of no confidence in you?
The committee will be better placed to deal with a question like that because it’s their decision.
Are you satisfied with the decision?
I am obviously dealing with the issue internally, such as its constitutionality. What inspires us and what continues to inspire us is that the members [and not leaders of the youth league] should take decisions.
We [as leaders] only articulate resolutions.
Do you think the decision was politically motivated?
Some things will be expressed during the internal engagement. We will get the real reasons when we engage internally. I get worried when some of the committee members comment on the suspension. Why are comrades becoming impatient with us? There’s nothing in my character that will define [me] outside of the structures [of the league].
Was the decision in accordance with the league’s constitution?
Some of this belongs to the internal engagement [I intend embarking on]. Technically, I am still the treasurer general. [The decision to remove me] can be rejected. It [the decision] should be captured as a recommendation. There are two structures that can decide — the national general congress and the national conference.
The processes are the same. We did not elect ourselves. The structures of the organisation showed confidence in us when they elected us for two terms. It is our responsibility to ensure that we can tell the members we have made sure that all processes are followed.
The constitution of the ANC can oversee the work of the youth league. I can also ask the committee to review the decision. The organisation’s always believed that we should not use discipline to stifle debate.
Do you have ambitions to be the youth league president?
There have been countless media reports. And they [media reports] do not grow on trees - they are not mangoes. Perhaps this was derived from certain quarters. It’s not about individuals and what they want to come up with. The structures will decide.
It’s up to the members. I never knew that when I went to Gallagher [Estate, for the national conference], I would come back as treasurer general [for the second term]. It was interesting that I, in executing my duty of rolling out the funding policy, would be greeted with reports that sought to suggest that I was campaigning [for the position of youth league president]. How could it be that, having led for such a long time, we start to parade ourselves? In fact, it’s criminal to do that.
What is your reaction to the claim that you misappropriated the league’s funds?
I am sure I will have to deal with that question. Until such time that the youth league receives and attends to the report, the area of misappropriating of funds is a blurred line.
And what about reports that you failed to raise enough funds for youth league activities, including provincial conferences?
We took a resolution at Gallagher that comrades must pay a registration fee in the provinces. Provinces will have to advise national offices of the budget requirements well in advance. Provinces also have their own treasurers general and they inherit an obligation to make such submissions to the national treasurer general.
Do you think President Jacob Zuma should be elected to serve a second term as ANC president?
That [decision] belongs to the structures of the ANC. The ANC has expressed itself on how these issues should be handled going forward.
You have been labelled a double agent, someone who was sympathetic to the incumbent ANC leadership and therefore working against the unofficial campaign of the league to call for a change of leadership at the conference in Mangaung in December.
I have always subjected myself to the discipline of the youth league. Where I am sitting, Zuma remains president until Mangaung. The double-dealing [allegation] is far-fetched. We never sought to undermine the decisions of the organisation. The duty of the youth league is to mobilise the youth behind the mission and vision of the organisation, the ANC.
Have you spoken to Malema since your dismissal?
Our relationship is a private one and should remain that way.
Do you feel as though you are viewed as a threat to some in the youth league?
I don’t think I am a threat. I am a simple comrade. If there’s one thing I’ll miss it is laughing with them. I did not know that my own comrades would lose confidence in me.