By: Lindokuhle Mnisi
The African National Congress (ANC) together with its under-wing league, African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), has been having difficulties in terms of unanimity and understanding among themselves. The tensions between the mother body and its youth league has been dragging for quite a while especially ever since the former leader of the ANCYL, Julius Malema, started undergoing disciplinary hearing and later got expelled, left with no political home.
The youth league developed a culture which has divided these too parties into many groupings. This is the culture of publicly lambasting and lampooning those who are in power and the leadership. This particular culture started trending and causing a lot of schisms and factions within the ranks of the ANC. It does not only affect the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC but it has gone to the extent of touching the president of the country, Jacob Zuma, where it is more painful. One can argue that the youngsters are feeding Zuma the similar vaccine he fed former president Thabo Mbeki when his lobby group forced Mbeki to vacate his office on the 24 September 2008.
Malema, who was one of the Zuma allies, was one of the first people who went in public and criticized Zuma for being a polygamist. He has made pronouncements that really brought Zuma’s reputation and dignity down to his knees. Even though Zuma pretend to be strong all the time, all these criticism are really getting to him. Recently, the former ANCYL president who is now a Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, pulled a massive punch at Zuma and nobody in the ANC wants to comment about it.
Mbalula, as reported by TimesLive on 21 October, said “I don’t have time for Zuma. He has caused his own problems. He marries every week.” His remarks come two weeks after it was reported that Zuma and Mbalula had a one-on-one meeting at Luthuli House. “They came to me and offered me a position (Deputy Secretary General of ANC or any NEC position) to neutralize me. They realize that they cannot survive politically. They only survive on the basis of corruption,” Mbalula was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper.
If Mbalula can pronounce such remarks, we tend to question “what is the difference between Mbalula, Malema and the current ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola?” because their surnames rhymes and what comes out of their mouth sounds the same too. And on top of that, the world’s greatest icon, Dr Nelson Mandela who was also a champion in the ANCYL in 1944, also has a surname that rhymes with their surname. (Mandela, (Peter) Mokaba, (Malusi) Gigaba, Mbalula, Malema and now Lamola) all these names sound the same. The culture of the ANCYL is very far from change; hence it is coming a long way. It is not new and will not expire.
The road to Mangaung seems to be very uphill than the 2007’s road to Polokwane. Many of those who supported Zuma in Polokwane have turned against him and are now in support of Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, who has been nominated by many branches of the ANC to challenge Zuma in the 53th’s Elective Conference in Mangaung, this coming December. The ANCYL is the league that has been championing the campaign for Motlanthe’s election, and in that process of campaign, they have been attacking Zuma and slamming at his leadership. There’s a still a lot that will happen on the run to Mangaung.