/ 28 June 2023

ANCYL withdraws Gigaba conference invite, only to invite him again

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba says the lessons learnt from the megaproject will bode well for future ones.
Malusi Gigaba

The ANCYL conference organising committee has reinstated an invitation to its former president — and key state capture enabler — Malusi Gigaga to attend this week’s elective event, days after rescinding it due to a lack of funds.

The ANCYL last held a national conference in 2015 and has been run by a succession of task teams since its national leadership was disbanded in 2018 over a failure to elect a new national executive committee (NEC). It was also liquidated over unpaid debts, but has since had this set aside by the courts.

Gigaba — who served as ANCYL president between 1996 and 2004 —  was among the former presidents and secretaries general of the governing party’s youth wing who had originally been invited to attend its 26th national congress, which is set to begin on Friday.

However, on 25 June, Nomasonto Motaung, the national youth task team national coordinator, wrote to Gigaba — who served in several ministerial capacities during the state capture era — telling him that the invitation had been rescinded.

“This communiqué serves to inform you that due to financial constraints, the ANC has advised us to reduce the number of days and guests for the 26th national congress,” Motaung said in the letter.

“We therefore have to withdraw the invite sent to you as we are in the process of   reviewing all invitations. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused,” the letter said.

However, on Tuesday, the rescission of the invitation to Gigaba, who resigned as an ANC MP in 2018, was itself rescinded, and he was contacted by the organising committee to confirm that he was again invited to attend.

It is not clear whether other former top officials, including presidents Lulu Johnson and Collen Maine and secretaries general Nathi Mthethwa and Sihle Zikalala, had been uninvited — and re-invited — in the same manner as Gigaba.

Gigaba, one of the ANC’s rising stars, gained notoriety during the Zondo Commission during which witness testimony implicated him in the capture of state-owned entities by companies linked to the Gupta family.

Gigaba denied the allegations against him at the commission, which recommended that he be investigated over his role in the capture of Transnet, along with former chief executive officer Brian Molefe and others.

On Wednesday, he declined to comment on the rescission and reinstatement of his invitation.

ANCYL task team convener Xola Nqola had not responded to a request for comment from the Mail & Guardian at the time of writing.