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The Confusion of Leadership of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC).

By Udo W. Froese
Comrades in struggle - ANC Youth League President Julius Malema campaigns against second term of office of incumbent ANC president, Jacob Zuma, when the ruling party elects its leaders in 2012.

At the same time senior ANC NEC member and cabinet minister, Tokyo Sexwale, and other senior leaders plot to oust president Zuma.

Is South Africa's ruling African National Congress leading, or divided in its leadership? ANCYL's Julius Malema has to answer the ANC National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) on charges of trying to undermine the ANC, bringing the ruling party into disrepute and sowing disunity. It is not common practice that an attorney represents an ANC member at hearings of the mother body's NDC.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Sexwale called on the ANC leadership, not to destroy the youth league leader, but to guide and forgive him. Sexwale also warned the ANC that Malema's disciplinary hearing should not be used to "settle political scores". He went on to say, "it (the disciplinary hearing) is not a court process, not a persecution. It's a last opportunity given to anyone to solve their issues."

Sexwale also maintained, "ANC officials need to be made aware of the possibility that they were wrong in charging Malema." The ANC is however quite clear. In the spirit of the ANC, the disciplinary matter of Malema and his executive followed the correct procedures. The ANC's NGC debated disciplinary matters in Durban. The debate included violations of ANC Youth League leaders, or any other person, undermining ANC policies. It was decided to deal with them when need arises. Members found guilty, would be expelled from the organisation. That resolution resonated with Congress members and was fully endorsed by the overwhelming majority present.

To the credit of Jacob Zuma and many other sober minded and informed ANC leaders, they allowed a due process from the onset when the ANCYL President was charged and found guilty by the 'mother organisation'. They followed their organisation's policies; rules and regulations while Malema continued to attack his mother organisation from public platforms.

During the time of the NGC summit in Durban, neither the ANC president, nor any other leader called for the expulsion of Julius Malema.

At the Durban summit President Zuma raised the matter saying, "we have noted some regrettable incidents, particularly relating to the ANCYL conference, which are unacceptable and need to be dealt with."

He added "after the NGC, leadership would work with the Youth League intensively to deal with these organisational problems and to strengthen the Youth League so it can perform its role as the grooming school for future ANC leadership." Zuma also referred to " . . . all sorts of opportunistic tendencies." The leagues inside the ANC, which would exclude the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), were subject to party discipline. "The ANC is not in alliance with its own leagues. Nor are the leagues alliance partners with the ANC", Zuma pointed out.

However, a new phenomenon showed up at that summit. The top six most senior members of the ruling party were supposed to demonstrate coherent and united leadership. But, one of them broke the ranks, public defending ANCYL President Julius Malema. That was senior ANC NEC member and ANC treasurer, Mathews Phosa. Then the question arose, how can the ANC effectively function and lead?

Meanwhile, the musical chairs changed. It is no longer Mathews Phosa supporting Julius Malema and his executive, at least in public. Tokyo Sexwale took over. Could Tokyo Sexwale and Mathews Phosa shed some light on the aforementioned situation that seems to make the ANC look like being dysfunctional? Where was Tokyo Sexwale during the Durban NGC when matters of organisational discipline were raised and agreed upon?

It would seem that Tokyo Sexwale's approach is immature and uninformed. On the one hand, he sells himself as the ruling party's and the country's future president. On the other hand, he shows off his poor understanding of ANC policies and the need for disciplining its own. It is ironic that Sexwale now uses public platforms and internal lobbying tactics to talk about Jacob Zuma and Jackson Mthembu, when he had the opportunity at the ANC NGC in Durban to do so. It was also the time when Julius Malema's first disciplinary hearing was conducted. But, Sexwale kept mum then.

The senior ANC NEC leader later compared Jacob Zuma's court battles with the internal organisational disciplinary hearings of Malema. What Sexwale forgets to mention, the ANC never prosecuted Zuma, or charged the incumbent president for ill discipline. Why did Sexwale not raise these issues earlier, when those were topical, for example at the NGC in Durban?

It is on record that whatever trials and tribulations, Zuma never rented crowds to toyi-toyi against the ANC. Zuma's conduct did not contradict, or break ANC policies, or announced from any public platform that he is critical of, or against ANC policies. The masses that followed Zuma to the courts behaved in the context of a disciplined ANC. The 'Zuma case' differed further as it was the 'State vs. Zuma' and not the 'ANC vs. Zuma'.

Julius Malema's Equality Court hearing was not the ANC that had charged him. His charges are an internal case of the ANC, involving its own constitution, rules and regulations. This could further mean that Malema's backers too are against the organisation's constitution, rules and regulations.

Malema shows contradiction in his approach calling for assisting Botswana's opposition parties to unseat the souvereign head-ofstate of Botswana. On the one hand, he condemns NATO forces for bombing Libya in order to topple Muammar Kaddafi. On the other hand, he called for the toppling of Botswana's president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama.

The above-mentioned is not ANC policy. The ruling party has a long-held non-interference principle in internal matters of independent, souvereign countries. Its own people thus manifest their revolution. The ANC will not involve itself.

Senior party insiders point out that as time progresses, Tokyo Sexwale shows deep flaws in his political character. It is ANC policy to enhance the position of the poor majority of the country.

Sexwale however, "arrogantly and recklessly enhances his personal position only". His public visit of a shack in Diepsloot in Johannesburg's north is just one case in point, where his promises to built new houses for all have not materialised.

What would the ANC do about this? Knowing the ANC as its members do, the time will come when the ANC will advance against such recklessness of trying to cease power by all means. Sexwale's comrades say, "he is not fit to be in the leadership, as he shows no interest to really build the poor majority of the population so they can grow to become part of the country's economy".

In its document under the title, "Leadership Renewal, Discipline and Organisational Culture", South Africa's ruling party explains in one of its last points of the conclusion, point 76: "The 52nd National Conference will go down as the conference that not only gained the alarm about the negative impact of incumbency, it also called for renewal to defend the traditions of the ANC as a liberation movement that must remain loyal to the people of South Africa."


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