'I want to be top dog, not just a puppy' - ANC Youth League's Reggie Nkabinde
Music mogul and ANC Youth League presidential hopeful Reginald "Reggie" Nkabinde has fired a broadside at his main rival Thanduxolo Sabelo.
In what was clearly a swipe at his opponent for the ANC Youth League presidency, Nkabinde told Sowetan on Monday he was "not a puppet" who needed the backing of top party leaders to get elected.
"Others have defined themselves as puppies, and for me, I am not going to sit with former president Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa and claim to be supporting either of them. In fact, I am going to force them and pull them together going into elections," he said.
Nkabinde was reacting to a social media storm that saw him attacked by his rival and his supporters after he had posted a Facebook message ridiculing Sabelo.
In the post, Nkabinde accused Sabelo of purporting to support Ramaphosa during the day while at night he supports Zuma's faction.
This comes after the Sunday Times reported that Zuma held a meeting with ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, ousted North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, ANC Women's League secretary-general Meokgo Matuba and Sabelo in Durban on Thursday.
The meeting was said to be about a strategy to "challenge the outcome of last year's ANC national conference" which saw Ramaphosa elected ANC president, beating his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who Sabelo had supported heading to the Nasrec conference. The ANCYL will elect new leadership from October 18-21.
Nkabinde, Sabelo and ANCYL national executive committee member Ndumiso Mokako are all vying for the president position. Although the nomination process has not yet officially opened, indications are that Sabelo or Nkabinde will succeed Collen Maine.
Sabelo said on Monday night he has never been a puppet of any leader in the party. "If indeed that's how he [Nkabinde] perceives me, it is unfortunate. It would seem that in mobilising support for his candidacy, Cadre Reggie has made it his business to perpetuate untruths about me. I don't wish to be drawn in mudslinging with the fellow," Sabelo said.
"... throughout my activism in the youth movement, I have never subjected myself to being anyone's puppet. I remain committed to serving the youth of our country, who remain trapped in unemployment."