Juju’s still our leader, say young lions in E Cape, Limpopo

The ANC Youth League in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape came out in support of their expelled president Julius Malema on Wednesday.

Malema’s expulsion was upheld by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeals on Tuesday evening.

But the youth leaguers in the two provinces said that as far as they were concerned Malema remained their leader until their next elective conference in 2014.

“We have taken a decision, among other resolutions, to support our president until 2014. So we will rally behind the president until 2014,” said Che Selane, spokesperson for the league in Limpopo.

“We are not going to appoint anybody [else]. We will go to him for advice,” said Selane, of Malema, who hails from Limpopo.

Although Malema would not be articulating the league’s views, there are other leaders in the league who could do so.

“Like myself, I’m articulating the views of the youth league, so it doesn’t warrant an individual. Wherever he is, he is still the president of the youth league,” said Selane.

“He was elected by a membership that was converged at Gallagher [Estate], he was not elected by [ANC president Jacob] Zuma.”

‘Silly decision’
As far as the league in Limpopo was concerned, as long as people were still living in poverty, battling to get an education or a job, the journey was not over.

Selane said Malema was unshaken by the “silly decision”.

“They have tried and tested him for many years.”

He said appointing an acting president was out of the question as far as Limpopo was concerned.

However, an anti-Julius Malema group in his hometown of Seshego, Limpopo, welcomed the expulsion.

“This is the news we have been waiting for,” the group’s spokesperson, Boy Mamabolo, told SABC radio news.

“We are happy that Malema has finally been expelled. He has been running the youth league as if it is a family trust,” said Malema’s political rival.

He said the group was planning to hold celebrations later on Wednesday.

Parallel conferences
Mamabolo was part of a group that held its own youth league provincial elective conference at the weekend, parallel to the main conference that happened at the same time.

In Eastern Cape, Mziwonke Ndabeni, provincial secretary of the youth league there said: “These are difficult moments in the history of the struggle of the history of young people in South Africa, [like] when we wake up in the morning and we hear that we don’t have a leader.

“But we are coping with the situation.”

The biggest blow was losing the “face” of the league’s broad mandate to lobby for the nationalisation of mineral wealth, for free education, for jobs and for the expropriation of land without compensation.

“Julius Malema was elected unopposed … This demonstrated the confidence of young people [in him] and he was given a mandate to champion a programme of action. He was the face of that mandate,” said Ndabeni.

He said his province believed the charges against Malema did not warrant a political process, but rather engagement between the league and the ANC.

“But to come this far, represents to us a particular trend which in our view will not take the struggles of young people in South Africa forward.”

Taking the struggle forward
Malema was not the only one who could take the struggle forward, but it was never anticipated that his term would end the way it did.

The Eastern Cape expressed concern over what it described as the media’s portrayal of the youth as unruly, careless and ungovernable.

“There are unintended consequences beyond Julius Malema.”

Ndabeni said he believed the events had damaged the image of the league, but there was also no question that Malema was still the president.

The Eastern Cape differed from Limpopo in that it felt it important that an acting president be appointed until there was a final resolution at the ANC conference in Mangaung — Malema’s last chance to contest his expulsion.

“Our view as the Eastern Cape is that we advance a particular programme of action and we can’t do it without a face or head of that campaign.

“Between now and December, somebody must act, so that we continue to advocate the policies. Not to say we are replacing Julius Malema. Because at this stage it is not a closed matter.”

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