Maine defends ANCYL decision to announce preferred presidential candidate

ANC Youth League president Collen Maine has defended the league’s decision to announce the names of its preferred candidates ahead of the party’s elective congress in December. He also berated the strategy and tactics document for not explicitly referring to “white monopoly capital” and called for a scrapping of experience as a prerequisite for jobs in government and the private sector.

Last month, the league announced former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a suitable candidate to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC president in December. It wants Free State Premier Ace Magashule as the secretary-general, Jessie Duarte and Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula as the first and second deputy secretary general respectively, Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as the treasurer general and Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as the deputy president.

This is despite after opening the succession debate in May, the National Executive Committee (NEC) urged its structures to discuss names in principle, not publicly say who their preferred candidates were.

In his scathing diagnostic report presented to the policy conference, secretary general Gwede Mantashe bemoaned comrades defying the decisions of the organisation.

“We defy the organisation, because the faction say[s] so. When the NEC takes a decision, which directs that only principles must be discussed on the succession question, comrades go ahead and pronounce on their preferred candidates.

“The NEC decides that we can discuss names against the principles, [but] comrades go ahead and pronounce on their line-ups. It is not because comrades do not understand, but they are deliberately undermining the organisation,” reads the report.

Maine said the league would not express its views about the report through the media and would take them to plenary, but told the Mail & Guardian the league had done nothing wrong by announcing its preferred candidates.

“Myself and the secretary-general of the ANCYL [Njabulo Nzuza] sit in the [ANC] NEC and the NEC said that this thing is opened, and hence we took advantage of that and informed South Africans of what our view is on the leadership question. We did not do it because we are ill-disciplined; the ANC said names can be discussed,” said Maine.

He also defended President Jacob Zuma’s stance of rebuking certain veterans during his opening address at the conference.

Zuma on Friday launched a scathing attack on the ANC veterans who called for a consultative conference to address the challenges facing the party.

The veterans boycotted the party’s policy conference underway in Soweto. They issued a statement on Saturday saying they were shocked at the way Zuma abused the conference to attack them.

Said Maine: “We respect the veterans but they must not think the ANC can’t be the ANC without them. They don’t own the ANC, they are members of the ANC like all of us.

We respect their role and contribution in the struggle, but they must understand now that there is new leadership, they must allow themselves to be led.”

On the expectations of the league out of the conference, he said one of the big issues that the league would be pushing for is the scrapping of experience as a requirement for entry level posts in government and in the private sector.

“Our people struggle to access education. After that they go and complete their degrees but sit at home with their degrees because they don’t have the experience.”

Maine also said that the strategy and tactics document is “shy and not talking boldly about white monopoly capital” — it only refers to it as monopoly capital.

“We believe that the economy of South Africa is white and there is black monopoly poverty. So we want the strategy and tactics document to explicitly say that the enemy of the revolution now is white monopoly capital”.

Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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