The disbandment of the ANC's Limpopo provincial executive committee (PEC) and youth league national executive committee (NEC) will strengthen the ruling party and should not be interpreted as a purge, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.
"Rectification is not turmoil. When you correct your organisation, it's not turmoil. You are strengthening your organisation," Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg, after the ruling party's latest NEC meeting this weekend.
The ANC's highest decision making body – elected at the party's Mangaung elective conference – committed to dissolving the leadership structures of both Limpopo and its youth formation.
"This isn't a purge. Mangaung has come and gone, we are not purging anyone," Mantashe added.
"The life and death of the ANC doesn't begin and end in Mangaung. There were 52 conferences before that and there will be more."
Both the youth league and Limpopo were vocal opponents of President Jacob Zuma's campaign for a second term as ANC leader, choosing instead to back Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's bid to unseat him.
Following its decision, the committee has appointed a provincial task team that must convene an elective conference in Limpopo within nine months.
"The Limpopo PEC was dissolved for un-ANC and factional behaviour. This faction must not be replaced by another faction," Mantashe said.
The ANC Youth League's fate differs slightly as an interim team will be formed to direct the election of a new leadership for the body with no specific time frame.
"We can't be casual about the youth league. They are the future of ANC. This is what informed us to break and rebuild it and the interim team must take their time," Mantashe added.
But it remains vague as to how the interim team will be formed, with Mantashe only saying it will be constituted by young people who must see that the league appeals to young people.
The secretary general also hinted at further moves to "confront the ANC's problems".
"We are being bold and you can expect this type of boldness from us in the future," he added.
The decision to disband the ANC Youth League national executive committee came a few weeks after it was assured by the ANC's top six it would not be disbanded.
Asked to leave
The Mail & Guardian learnt on Sunday that immediately after the decision was taken, the NEC asked the youth league's acting president Ronald Lamola and deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi to leave, as they were no longer regarded as part of the executive.
NEC members who pushed for the disbanding of the youth league executive include Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo and former youth league spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.
Two ANC Youth League NEC members, who preferred to remain anonymous, said they were shocked by the ANC's decision at the party's NEC meeting, which is under way in Pretoria.
"The top six officials said they won't disband us. We met with them two times this year, we gave them our programme, we visited all the provinces and we were committed to work with the newly elected leadership. It came as a serious shock that they decided to disband us."
"We will encourage our members to respect their decision. Democracy must not work like this. This is equal to Stalinism – that's not how the ANC should operate," said one youth league NEC member.
Additional reporting by Matuma Letsoalo.