ANC ‘disgusted’ by youth league verbal attack on Zuma

“ANC Youth League under fire after it reacts angrily to comments made by President Jacob Zuma about the expulsion of its leader, Julius Malema”

Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa

THE African National Congress expressed disgust on Friday over comments made by the ruling party’s youth league about President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

“The ANC is disgusted by the false and inaccurate response of the ANC Youth League to an interview of President Zuma on the issue of the disciplinary process that is currently unfolding,” Jackson Mthembu, spokesman for the ANC, said in a statement.

He was responding to an earlier statement issued by the youth league after Mr Zuma spoke at a business briefing in Port Elizabeth on Friday morning, hosted by The New Age newspaper and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Zuma said that should the ANC’s national disciplinary committee of appeal reject an appeal by youth league leader Julius Malema against his expulsion from the party, a new league president would need to be found.

The president said the league had to accept that it needed to appoint a new president and move on. “Once the process of disciplinary procedures has been concluded, there will not be anything else to do thereafter — the youth league will have to move forward,” he said.

The youth league responded by saying: “President Zuma’s utterances are not only shocking, but (also) undermine the ANC disciplinary process, the integrity and fairness of which is already under question.”

On Friday afternoon, the ANC said Mr Zuma did not pre-empt the current disciplinary process. “If anybody has tried to, it is the ANC Youth League with their public pronouncements of agitating against the findings.”

The youth league also questioned whether it should, in fact, pursue the appeal process as Mr Zuma had already pronounced on it.

“President Zuma’s proclamation … is a premature expulsion of the ANC Youth League president even before the national disciplinary committee of appeal could listen to evidence on whether the sanction of the national disciplinary committee is sound,” it said.

The ruling party said the league had incorrectly stated that the ANC had charged its leadership.

“We want to restate that the comrades that are facing disciplinary measures are not facing disciplinary measures as youth league leaders, but as members of the ANC,” Mr Mthembu said.

“Given this fact, we expect all ANC members to abide by the constitutional provisions of the ANC constitution and respect the processes as prescribed,” he said.

He added that the ANC was also concerned about the public rebuke of Mr Zuma by an ANC structure.

“This shows no respect for the leadership of the ANC,” Mr Mthembu said. “This matter could have been handled in a dignified manner as opposed to public false accusations. This tendency seems to be frequent when ANC-aligned structures, particularly the ANC Youth League, attack the leadership of the ANC in public.”

He added: “In the recent past we have noted gestures and comments that show little regard for the leadership. The tone of the ANC Youth League statement and the gestures underscore this lack of respect.”

Mr Malema was expelled by the ANC’s national disciplinary committee for sowing division in the party and bringing it into disrepute.

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Source: South African Press Association (SAPA)

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