In a statement issued on Sunday night, the youth league said the specially convened national executive committee meeting reaffirmed its “total support” for the ANC Youth League leadership and was “convinced the issues contained in the charges are political issues”, which required discussion in ANC structures.
The league said it would request an urgent meeting with the ANC leadership to discuss the issues, some of which it said could have been discussed before the charges were laid against the league’s leadership.
While the league would subject itself to the discipline and policies of the mother body, it reaffirmed its determination to fight “tirelessly and fearlessly” for its signature policies of economic freedom in our lifetime, nationalisation of mines, and expropriation of land without compensation and provision of free quality education for all.
The league leadership met behind closed doors on Sunday to cook up a plan on how to deal with the charges laid against its president Julius Malema and his close ally and league spokesman Floyd Shivambu.
On Friday, the ANC charged Malema and Shivambu with various violations of the ANC constitution. These include bringing the ANC into disrepute through their statements on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ranks of the ANC. The pair will face the ANC’s national disciplinary committee in separate hearings scheduled for August 30 and 31.
On Sunday, there were claims by some in the league that the entire top five leadership had been charged by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee.
But ANC spokesman Keith Khoza rejected the allegation on Sunday night, saying he had no knowledge of charges being brought against any more people.
Sunday newspapers reported a plan by youth league members to march to ANC provincial and regional offices as part of a defiance campaign, a response to the charges against Malema and Shivambu.
Malema is still subject to a suspended sentence, still valid for eight months. If imposed it would lead to his mandatory suspension from the ANC. This came after he pleaded guilty to undermining President Jacob Zuma last year.
He was warned not to commit a similar offence for two years or his ANC membership would be suspended.
He was fined R10 000, ordered to attend political education at the party school for almost three weeks, and to attend anger management classes under the supervision of ANC officials.
But the league’s statement about the “puppet regime” in Botswana, and saying that the league would set up a task team to mobilise opposition parties to topple the Botswana government, angered party elders once again.
The league withdrew the statement last Saturday – two weeks after it was issued.
The charges came a day after the public protector decided to probe a company linked to Malema, On-Point Engineering, which has been fingered in the irregular awarding of tenders in the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department.
The Hawks are also investigating Malema.
Meanwhile, Malema’s troubles with the ANC and the law have sparked mixed reaction on social networks.
Fans of Malema posted messages of support, while his detractors believe he must face the music.
The league’s Limpopo secretary Jacob Lebogo posted on Facebook that “our generation” is under siege, saying various forces and tendencies were out to destroy the league’s leadership, adding: “Pres Malema remains our leader; our existence is being undermined at all costs. Each generation must fulfil its purpose, ours is economic freedom.”
Lebogo said it had never been easy for the 1944 generation either, in reference to the radical leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Anton Lembede, who had formed the youth league in 1944.
“Let’s soldier on, unshaken, neva (sic) test patience of youth. amandla,” Lebogo’s post read.
Some Facebook users were critical of Malema and his policy proposals. “This has nothing to do with economic freedom in our lifetime but the ill discipline that is eating our youth organisation and disrespect of our senior leaders. Fumbling on foreign policy of the ANC.
The mother body did not have a choice but to arrest the decline,” said a Facebook user. Some even went on to describe Malema’s behaviour as cancerous.
“(UDM leader Bantu) Holomisa went the same route and he is now out in the cold,” said the user. – Pretoria News