Back from brink: Pule Mabe eyes Malema's empty throne

ANC Youth League treasurer general Pule Mabe. (M&G)

ANC Youth League treasurer general Pule Mabe. (M&G)

The Times reported on Monday that Mabe, who was speaking at a Gauteng youth league meeting at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on Sunday, seemed to confirm reports that he had ambitions to lead the league – even though the rest of the young lions’ leadership is determined to the the back of him.

“If you are a leader and you don’t have ambition, then quit . Our members must be inspired that their leaders are not cowards. We have ambitions,” he said.

Mabe, who was removed from his position following a vote of no confidence last month, was reinstated after ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe reportedly intervened on behalf of the ANC’s top leadership, who appear to be backing the pro-Zuma Mabe as Malema’s replacement.

The Mail & Guardian learned that the top six officials of the ANC had unanimously agreed during a meeting last week week that Mabe’s dismissal was unprocedural and that the youth league had to review the matter.

The decision has infuriated youth league leaders.

ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola and national working committee member Abner Mosaase met Mantashe on Wednesday to seek clarity on Mabe’s political future. 

During the meeting, the young lions questioned the ANC’s motives, arguing that, although the elders had resolved Mabe’s case with speed, they had failed to make a decision about the disputed suspension of youth league secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, even though they were approached weeks before complaints were aired against Mabe. 

The ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals slapped Magaqa with a one-year suspension even though he had withdrawn his motion to appeal the three-year suspended sentence handed to him by the disciplinary committee.
The youth league believes this is a clear indication that the action against its leaders is politically motivated.

“The ANC leadership [accepted] our explanation that the matter will be addressed by the national general congress … Their job is not to run the youth league,” said one ANC Youth League source who was briefed on the meeting with Mantashe.

Vote of no confidence
Mabe lodged a formal complaint with the leadership of the ANC last month following his abrupt dismissal from the youth league’s national executive committee.

During a tempestuous meeting of the committee, youth league leaders passed a vote of no confidence in Mabe for allegedly misappropriating league funds and for sowing division by campaigning for the position of its president. Mabe subsequently argued that the motion was in violation of the league’s constitution and had been politically motivated.

Although Mabe was released from his official duties as treasurer general with immediate effect, he was not stripped of his membership.

This week the senior ANC leaders, according to several insiders, argued that proper processes had not been followed in relieving Mabe of his duties. They reasoned that because delegates at the youth league’s congress elected Mabe last year, only they had the power to dismiss him. 

On Thursday, Mabe returned to Luthuli House to attend the youth league’s national working committee meeting. “I’m here. Let’s start the meeting,” Mabe announced on entering the meeting room, sources said. But he was greeted with contempt from the other leaders, who then called security to escort him outside. The meeting was postponed. 

Double agent
An ANC Youth League leader reportedly vowed that Mabe would be removed either by private security guards or “officials from a mental institution” because no logical individual would attempt to force his way into a meeting he was not welcome to attend.

Those close to Mabe said he would continue to execute his official duties despite the decision by the league’s national executive committee. However, this is likely to reignite the bitter feud between the ANC and the youth league.

Mabe is viewed as a “double agent” by those close to expelled youth league president Julius Malema because he is regarded as sympathetic to Jacob Zuma’s campaign to be re-elected as ANC president. 

A youth league leader, who asked not to be named, said it was unlikely that the national general congress, planned for August, would overturn the national executive committee’s decision. “Even if the decision must be reviewed, that doesn’t mean that Pule must be reinstated. The decision is going to stand. To revive it is [merely] advice from the ANC .”

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said he could not confirm the ANC leaders’ leaders because he was not “privy to the discussions of the top six”.

Mantashe refused to comment.

Simon Molefe, the Gauteng ANC’s deputy chairperson, said the province would support Mabe.

“Comrade [Mabe] has been part of us and we will continue to make sure that people who have been expelled from the movement don’t run the organisation from their graves,” he said.

“We are not going to allow that. So no one must go and stay in his [Malema’s] farm [in Polokwane] and hope that the youth league worship him continuously,” he said. – Additional reporting by Sapa

Client Media Releases

NWU specialist receives innovation management award
Reduce packaging waste: Ipsos poll
What is transactional SMS?
MTN on data pricing