ANCYL in KZN backtracks on defiant stance and Ukahlamba Regional Conference canned

ANCYL spokesperson Mandla Shange said the ANCYL representatives on the PEC would take up the matter in Friday’s meeting with the NEC. (AFP)

ANCYL spokesperson Mandla Shange said the ANCYL representatives on the PEC would take up the matter in Friday’s meeting with the NEC. (AFP)

The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has backtracked on its defiance of the ruling by the party’s top brass that the provincial executive committee cannot appeal the High Court order declaring it illegitimate.

Its leaders now say they will abide by the decision of the scheduled September 23 meeting between the province and the National Executive Committee (NEC) as to whether or not the appeal can go ahead.

And in a related move, the province’s Ukahlamba regional conference — scheduled to be held this weekend — has been put on ice pending the outcome of Friday’s meeting and a number of appeals by branches which failed to make the cut for participation. 

Supporters of the branches which took the PEC to court had on Sunday clashed with supporters of chairperson Sihle Zikalala at Ukahlamba. They wanted the conference postponed while Zikalala’s supporters wanted it to go ahead under the supervision of the now-illegitimate PEC.

Last week, the ANCYL in the province, along with the ANCYL and representatives of its KwaZulu-Natal regions, told the media that they wanted the PEC to defy the court ruling, which found that the November 2015 conference electing it was unlawful and null and void. The PEC declared their intention to appeal, sparking the ire of Luthuli House, with secretary general Gwede Mantashe saying that the PEC could not take the decision to appeal with NEC go-ahead. 

ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Thanduxolo Sabelo then challenged the authority of the NEC over the province, saying the appeal would go ahead.

On Tuesday, they backtracked, with Sabelo issuing a statement saying that after having an opportunity to “engage with the leadership of the ANC,” the ANCYL wanted to “affirm the centrality” of the NEC as the party’s highest decision making body between national conferences.

“At no point did the leadership of the ANCYL intend to undermine this role and any interpretation of the utterances made by the leadership to this effect is regrettable,” Sabelo said in the statement.

“We will abide by the decision of the NEC with regards to the matter.
Unlike the applicants were are not in the business of liquidating the ANC as this is our only home,” he said.

Sabelo said the ANCYL still viewed the act of taking the party to court as an “attack on the ANC” and “stood combat ready” to defend the ANC.

“It is conceivable that in the pursuit of this revolutionary responsibility, an interpretation may be drawn that we are undermining the leadership role of the NEC….to this the ANCYL remains very regretful,” he said.

ANCYL spokesperson Mandla Shange said the ANCYL representatives on the PEC would take up the matter in Friday’s meeting with the NEC.

Shange said the statement was an “attempt to clarify” the ANCYL position following the meeting with Luthuli House and indications from them and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu that they should apologise.

“The ANCYL will be represented at that meeting. The ANC is a democratic organisation and we therefore hope that our view will be put forward and the leadership will then have to decide. We will abide by that decision,” he said.

ANC media liaison officer Mhlaba Memela also confirmed today that the Ukahlamba regional conference would not go ahead from Friday as scheduled due to a number of disputes from branches. The PEC had intended to push ahead with the conference despite the High Court ruling, but also appears to have walked back on its decision.

“The PEC has taken a decision that the conference will not sit at the weekend as they need to deal with issues of disputes at branch level from branches which have failed audit and are appealing,” he said.

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