YCL backs Ramaphosa faction - League joins Cosatu's succession bid

As Cosatu today prepared to endorse Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader, the Young Communist League (YCL) also threw its weight behind the country's second-in-command.

The YCL, the SA Communist Party's youth wing, yesterday intensified the ANC succession battle, giving the strongest indication that the communists wanted Zuma to be succeeded by Ramaphosa instead of the African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The YCL weighed in on the debate, raising the ire of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and ANC Women's League (ANCWL), both of which the YCL attacked for backing Dlamini-Zuma.

YCL secretary Mluleki Dlelanga slammed the leagues of the ANC and the MKMVA - all staunch Zuma supporters. "The leadership of the ANC Youth League, the leadership of MKMVA and the leadership of the ANCWL have been campaigning during the day for local government elections and at night convening meetings on the succession debate which has been closed by the ANC national executive committee.

"As the YCLSA we don't have confidence in any candidate that is being proposed by the ANCYL, ANCWL, the MKMVA . [they] are part of those who are liquidating the ANC, part of those that are arrogant to our people."

MKMVA chairman Kebby Maphatsoe, who Dlelanga accused of running away from an MK camp, said the fact that the YCL discussed ANC structures showed their "political bankruptcy" and was proof that they did not have a programme for young people.

He said the YCL was being used by "other people" to attack MKMVA. "They are the youth league of the SACP. What they are saying is consistent with their national leadership," he said.

Maphatsoe said the succession debate had not been opened, but he blasted the YCL, saying "it is the branches of the ANC that are going to decide on who will be the leader of the ANC - not branches of the YCL".

ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba dismissed the YCL, while standing firm on the league's decision to endorse a female candidate.

"They must not annoy us. They must focus on their organisation. We don't know what communists are doing," she said.

Meanwhile, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru) warned yesterday against Cosatu taking a position on who should succeed Zuma.

Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said: "We wish that the federation should concentrate on building its own structures and building affiliates; a better Cosatu can offer better support to its members and be in a better position to bargain with alliance partners."

Popcru general secretary Nathi Theledi said the succession debate was divisive and Cosatu should not engage in it.

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