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The ANC National Disciplinary Committee has resurrected the legacy of Oliver Tambo

By Udo W. Froese
A defiant former ANCYL president Julius Malema declared war on the ANC mother body's National Executive for having disciplined and suspended him.

In front of a following of 300 in his hometown Polokwane in the northern Limpopo Province, Malema pushed the envelope even further when he called for the removal of president Jacob Zuma and his executive at next year's elective conference in Mangaung (Bloemfontein), aggressively announcing, "We are determined. We will be liberated by Mangaung in 2012. The real leaders of the ANC must now stand up and defend the ANC."

In typical Malema style, he thundered, "The enemy will smile for this few minutes' victory. Ours is a victory that will last forever."

This means, with not much further to loose, he showed his hand, not only declaring that president Jacob Zuma and his executive are not the "real leaders" of the ANC, but also forcing those in support of him out into the public eye. "The gloves are off", exclaimed Malema. But, it seems that the former ANCYL leader will be out in the political wilderness before year-end. A senior ANC member explained, "No one is bigger than the ANC." The organisation is currently preparing for its centenary celebrations in January 2012.

It is known, historic fact that the late ANC president, Oliver Reginald Tambo, managed the ANC for almost thirty years under extremely difficult conditions, leading various formations - the ANC, the Tri-Partite Alliance and being the Commanderin- Chief at the same time. In addition, Tambo also had to carefully manage international relations.

Against the background of having to live in exile and operating as an underground movement, O. R. Tambo managed to build a disciplined organisation in character and in outlook. Despite the rough times and challenges from the 'group of eight', Tambo was able to hold the centre in a consistent, well defined and coherent way in its policies, riding the moral high-ground.

One has to understand ANC processes. A leader does not just become a leader at a whim, or a magic personality cult. For a leader to emerge as a president, a long, well-planned education process takes place. It is a tried and tested programme from which a leader is identified at a very young age. A leader is virtually groomed from the cradle to the grave. This historic African programme has produced leaders like Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Duma Nokwe and many others, who put the needs of the poor majority above personal ambitions.

They led frugal lives. Together, they have one thing in common and that is that they all subscribed to the principles of life as a precious gift. Even your enemies' lives are respected as precious gifts. History proved that Umkonto we' Sizwe is a political army, not an army of killers, believing in persuasion rather than coercion. It is the ANC of old that had worked meticulously on the judgement of the ANCYL president. It should be understood in the political context it was compiled in. Right from the preamble, the document is all encompassing, sensible and polished.

The NDC delivered its verdict in a politically sound manner. It insured thorough due processes, assuring that Malema and his executive were not unfairly judged, or prejudiced. Malema also created confusion when he stated that the real leaders would be elected in December 2012 in Mangaung, Bloemfontein.

Could he shed the light for South Africans on the current leadership of the ANC? The general public needs to understand that the leaders were elected by a properly constituted conference in Polokwane. Is he now referring to them as fake, or unconstitutionally elected? Where was he during that conference?

What does he really mean?

Could Malema pronounce the real leaders of the ANC to the voting public, as the ANC has been elected into government? Are they fraudulent leaders? Malema was charged with provoking divisions with the intention to achieving a breakdown of unity in the ruling organisation and was found guilty. He was further found guilty on the charge of behaving in such a way that it would bring the organisation (ANC) into disrepute. However, Julius Malema was acquitted on a charge of sowing racial or political intolerance.

As far as Malema's call for a "regime change" in Botswana is concerned, the spokesman for the Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL), Maikgantsho Ramontsho explained that Malema responded to their (BNFYL) request at a joint meeting in South Africa. The BNFYL believed that president Ian Khama's government was fully controlled by imperialists, opposing the African agenda, referring to the strong and permanent US presence in that country.

Like Malema, the BNFYL supported Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, because of his commitment to redistribution of land and the economy to black Africans was justified, not understanding the history of the Lancaster House Agreement from 1979 and the reality of the situation imposed on the Zimbabwean government.

On Thursday, November 10, 2011, the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) of the ANC, ruled at their Head Quarters in Luthuli House in Johannesburg's CBD, that the ANCYL president be suspended from the ANC for five years and vacate his position as president and leader of the Youth League. The ruling takes effect immediately.

From the date of the verdict, Malema has fourteen days to appeal. However, he is effectively no longer a member of the ANC, of the ANCYL, nor of its leadership, nor is he the president of the ANCYL any longer as of Thursday, November 10, 2011. Malema can however, appeal to the organisation's Appeals Committee. Senior ANC NEC member and leading businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa, heads this committee. The Minister for Planning in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, ANC NEC member Jesse Duarte, who was former president Nelson Mandela's Personal Assistant and former Public Enterprises Minister and ANC NEC member, Brigitte Mabandla, all serve on this committee too.

If the Appeals Committee upholds the National Disciplinary Committee's decision, Malema's suspension will be with immediate effect.

Finally, if the Appeals Committee sticks to the National Discipline Committee's decision, the mother body's powerful, 90- strong National Executive Committee (NEC) can actually institute a review of the decision. This would however, be done at its own discretion.

The other factor is adhering to organisational discipline; it is viewed as robust engagement.

But, those are logically two different issues. Any organisation, including 'stokvels', have to respect rules and regulations. It is disturbing to hear political commentators claiming that Julius Malema is a 'leader-inthe- making', particularly against the background of him not being able to listen, or to understand other opinions than his own. It has been reported that if one does not agree with his point-of-view, one would be exposed to insults and being shut up.

The nation is mislead, when Julius Malema claims from public platforms that he and his executive are following in the footsteps of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Anton Lebede and Duma Nokwe. Those were classical scholars and intellectuals.

From a very early age they were able to manage complex issues. They were able to articulate their positions without threats, without shutting anyone up.

It is historic fact that Tambo, Mandela, Lebede and Nokwe and many others of their generation were able to come with an ANCYL plan-of-action, an M-Plan. They were in the forefront of canvassing for the Freedom Charter, which became a 'people's document'.

As far as the question of "economic freedom" is concerned, every sober minded person living in South Africa and beyond supports this concept.

The highest structure of the ruling African National Congress, the National General Council, has in between conferences accepted the debate on 'nationalisation'. This particular debate has to however, be thoroughly researched in the context of 'globalisation'. The best working model has to be found and debated before it can be implemented.

But, Malema and his group went outside the debate within the organisation and distorted the information to the general public. It seems that they do not understand to distinguish between organisational structures and personal fiefdoms with their own agendas, alien to the organisation.

It would be advisable for former ANCYL president Malema to read his verdict in its entirety and to understand it in that context without any hangups. It is astounding to hear a president of the Youth League referring to members of his own organisation as "enemies".





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