Youths vow to protect Zuma

By ZINE GEORGE and ZINGISA MVUMVU
Politics Desk

President Jacob Zuma’s cheerleader, the ANC Youth League, has vowed to oppose any attempts to have him recalled at today’s special national executive committee (NEC) meeting in East London.

DOING THE ROUNDS: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu at Nqadu Great Place yesterday Picture: LULAMILE FENI

Speaking to the Dispatch in Duncan Village during a door-to-door visit to child-headed households yesterday, ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza said anyone who called for Zuma’s removal would be “vindictive”.

The meeting, to be held at the East London ICC, will give an indication of the balance of forces within Cyril Ramaphosa’s NEC.

The NEC, which is the highest decision-making body in between ANC conferences, is meeting for the first time after the election of the party’s new leadership last month at Nasrec.

Officially the meeting is to discuss the January 8 anniversary statement to be delivered by Ramaphosa on Saturday.

But talks of a motion to remove Zuma being forced into the agenda have been gaining momentum.

However, Nzuza said they would not take kindly to any talk about recalling Zuma.

“We have always reiterated our stance as the Youth League that President Zuma should finish his term in government,” said Nzuza.

“If comrades start being vindictive, that will spark divisions within the organisation, so there is no need for comrades to behave as victors and I can tell you now if such an issue comes up, the Youth League will argue that President Zuma must remain the president of the republic until 2019.

“And we must make it clear that the perception that support for President Zuma is support for corruption is unfounded – nobody is guilty until proven so by a court of law.”

Nzuza’s utterances come a few days after NEC member Fikile Mbalula said the NEC would decide Zuma’s fate. Nzuza, by virtue of being ANCYL secretary-general, sits in NEC meetings along with league president Collen Maine.

Mbalula was addressing the media in the Eastern Cape on Sunday when he said the question of whether President Zuma stays or goes was a matter for the NEC.

“None of us have the locus standi to say what the president must do. The NEC will deliberate on those questions and brief the nation.”

Yesterday, Ramaphosa and the party’s top officials criss-crossed the Eastern Cape to drum up support for the 106th anniversary celebrations, which will be held at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London on Saturday.

Among the important public meetings he held during his second day in the province was a visit to AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu at Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale.

Earlier he had laid a wreath at the graveside of ANC founder member Dr WB Rubusana.

Addressing the media at Rubusana’s graveside in Braelyn, Ramaphosa said: “We are here because we are going back to the roots of the ANC. We are delving deep into the memory bank of the ANC in terms of what the ANC stood for, in trying to rekindle that spirit, that commitment.”

The former union leader sang the praises of founding members of the governing party, such as Rubusana, Pixley KaSeme and Langalibalele Dube.

Ramaphosa jetted into East London on Monday afternoon following a visit to the deeply divided KwaZulu-Natal province.

He said the ANC members should use the lives of these founders of the ANC “as a mirror to see whether we are fit for the purpose that they conceptualised right at the beginning of the ANC.

“This process is the revival of the ANC. Through this, membership is becoming galvanised, and membership is going to be focusing on the great values which have always driven the ANC. For us this is memory lane, the historic lane and also a lane full of lessons and examples that we need to draw from,” he added.

Also present during the wreath-laying event were ANC provincial chairman Oscar Mabuyane, Dr WB Rubusana regional chairman Xola Pakati, and the Rubusana family, led by family spokesman Madoda Kashe.

Kashe thanked Ramaphosa and his executive for visiting the world-acclaimed academic and author’s grave, saying the family felt honoured. “This signals good things to come from the movement.” — zineg@dispatch.co.za/ zingisam@dispatch.co.za

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