/ 15 June 2023

Godlimpi and Mkhangelwa in talks over ANCYL presidency

The 54th National Conference Of The African National Congress Party (anc)
Thirty years into its rule, the NP faced the reality of its demise. The ANC faces a similar reality

Two Eastern Cape ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leaders who have got the nod for the position of president are in negotiations over who will represent the province when it participates in the organisation’s conference later this month. 

Aphiwe Mkhangelwa and Zuko Godlimpi, who belong to the same faction in the ANC, are expected to decide this week who should bow out of the race. They have both been touted for party president by the same faction, to go up against Gauteng candidate Collen Malatji

Godlimpi who is already in a sweet spot having been elected as the youngest ANC national executive committee member is a late entrant to the race. He was initially pegged for the position years back however the league failed to make to its conference.

Mkhangelwa is believed to have the backing of Oscar Mabuyane and hails from the Chris Hani region, the home region of the Eastern Cape ANC chair. 

He told the Mail & Guardian that he would meet Godlimpi this week. As far as he knew, Godlimpi had not indicated that he would contest the position of president, although he had been strongly lobbied by league members in Eastern Cape. 

Godlimpi had not responded to questions by the time of publication. 

“We work with him even in the same group in terms of the Eastern Cape arrangement within us. His region of Alfred Nzo is with us. It’s part of the people that sat and agreed on myself being a candidate,” Mkhangelwa said, adding that he would like to see Godlimpi form part of the ANC parliamentary list in the 2024 general elections, due to his expertise in the economic sector. 

“We will try by all means to push him for further deployment — all the young people that are in the NEC. That would be my view, to say … we must be able to invest in them in terms of getting strategic positions that can deal with the fundamental problems that we have now.” 

He would also like to see former youth league task team convenor Nonceba Mhlauli be one of the young ANC leaders to make it to parliament. 

“If comrade Zuko wants to run the race, it is his right. He has a right to be elected and to elect. Even then, I would not stand against that, or speak ill of him, because it is his choice,” Mkhengelwa added. 

“But from one politician to another, I’m going to secure the meeting. We spoke but we agreed that we must have a physical meeting and we agreed that we must prioritise that meeting now, so that we can go through all those issues.”

The Eastern Cape has been divided over who its candidate should be for the league’s top six positions. Another faction in the province has nominated Mntuwoxolo Ngudle for the position of secretary general in the Malatji slate. 

Talk of interference by ANC leaders has been suggested. 

The Sunday Times reported that Mabuyane and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni allegedly laid a complaint against fellow NEC member Mduduzi Manana for allegedly taking over the running of the youth league task team structure.

Mkhangelwa confirmed this to the M&G, saying that Manana had interfered in structures in the Eastern Cape. 

“I’m raising this sharply, not to cause any confusion, and we have issues and we will raise them and continue to raise them internally,” Mkhangelwa said, adding that youth league members would raise their concerns over any leader who attempted to interfere with its autonomy. 

Youth league members had differed with Manana after he disbanded structures and appointed new structures without consulting the national leadership as well as the members who were affected. Two of the regions Manana allegedly disbanded include Joe Gqabi and Amatole, Mkhangelwa said.

“There has been a cry from other regions — you get to witness a letter coming from his [Manana’s] office to say that so-and-so must be co-opted to a structure while a structure had already been elected. That becomes illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.

Mkhangelwa added that while no interference with the national elective conference was foreseen, ANC members needed to follow processes, given that the league had failed to hold a conference since 2015

“Let’s follow processes accordingly and ANC leaders must assist us in terms of the congress. In the same spirit we appreciate the constitution of the ANC, we must go to congress and allow branches to nominate who they want to elect and rally behind the leadership that has been elected,” he said.