Motlanthe, Zuma fight over Malema

Julius Malema's public attacks on the ANC and his threats to destabilise the mining industry have revived a sore point among the party's leaders about its relationship with its youth wing.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe expressed different views about how the ANC could have dealt with the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) soon after its leadership began to make speeches about the mining industry following the league's resolution to nationalise mines.

Zuma and Motlanthe were part of a meeting attended by officials from the ANC and its allies - the South African Communist Party, Cosatu and representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Those who attended the meeting, which took place at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, toldSowetan on condition of anonymity that Zuma and Motlanthe gave different views on how the organisation should have resolved policy differences with its youth league.

Motlanthe allegedly told the meeting that immediately after the youth league's congress - where radical resolutions and speeches were made about the mining industry - the ANC should have called a meeting with the league and its membership to inform them that their resolutions contravened the mother body's constitution.

But Zuma allegedly responded to this by saying the ANC leadership was itself divided over how to deal with the league's leadership.

Zuma allegedly reminded the meeting that when the youth league's leaders were charged in 2010, some members of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) supported them.

At the time, Malema was facing charges by the ANC.

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa - one of the organisation's top six officials - subsequently became Malema's legal representative.

Zuma allegedly added that the same divisions had emerged amongst the ANC top leaders when Malema was charged again last year.

Malema was subsequently expelled from the organisation after a disciplinary hearing.

The discussion about Malema came about when Cosatu and the NUM briefed the ANC and SACP about how to stop the growing instability in the mining sector.

Malema and his supporters are seen to be encouraging splinter unions and mineworkers to embark on illegal strikes.

Malema, who has gained support among disgruntled mineworkers, had launched a campaign for higher wages in the mining sector.

The meeting resolved that Cosatu would convene a meeting with the youth league to discuss the latter's policies on mines.

Sources told Sowetan that the meeting discussed a number of issues including the current challenges in the mining industry where several workers have gone on strike demanding that their salaries be increased to R12500 a month.

There were concerns among those who attended the meeting that the strikes could cripple the economy and that some mining houses could close down.

Some ANC leaders tried in vain to get NEC meetings to discuss Malema's charges, but these had only been discussed after his expulsion. During those meetings, those who wanted the decision reversed were defeated.

However, a recent meeting of the NEC raised a concern over ANC members who were associating with Friends of the Youth League, an organisation formed to support Malema.

Their concern was that Friends of the Youth League was used to attack the ANC leadership. This group is associated with suspended youth league leaders Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa.

But Motlanthe, who seems to have a soft spot for the league, told a recent NEC meeting that the ANCYL leaders should be taken through ANC processes and be told they could not be ANC members while associating with the group.

Zuma and Motlanthe are set to contest the ANC's presidency at the party's elective conference in Mangaung, Free State, in December.

This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 3 October 2012