The battle for control of the ANC has thrown the ANC Youth League into further disarray, with some of its provincial and regional structures facing internal turmoil as factions square off in support of their preferred candidates to take over the governing party.
The Citizen has learnt the national leadership of the league is under pressure to consolidate its support and intensify its lobbying of branches in support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Sources say the uneasiness of the league’s national structure stems from provinces and regions that have not pronounced their preferred candidates ahead of the ANC’s December conference, at which Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will face-off with former African Union Commission head Dlamini-Zuma.
Several provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga, are divided in their support for Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma. Limpopo, which held its conference last week, has thrown its weight behind DlaminiZuma.
But the conference outcomes are being disputed by several branches, which believe there was vote-rigging.
It is understood that moves are underway to postpone the youth league’s much-anticipated Gauteng conference from next month to February next year to ensure that its chairperson, Matome Chiloane, retains power until after the ANC national conference.
Chiloane, who is seeking another term in office, is being challenged by Tshwane regional chairperson Lesego Makhubela, who is believed to be neck-andneck with the incumbent – a situation that has led to the current turmoil in provincial structures.
The youth league’s Gauteng leadership is now being accused of plotting to torpedo three regional conferences – Tshwane, the West Rand and Sedibeng – which are meant to take place in September, ahead of the planned provincial conference later that month.
“What we are seeing now is that the national leadership is seeking to retain Chiloane so that they are sure of Gauteng’s support for Dlamini-Zuma,” said a leader contesting one of the regions.
Most regional structures are holding their cards close to their chests, with some saying they had not pronounced their preferred leadership because they had not been lobbied by either Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma’s faction.
The West Rand regional conference will be watched closely by the ANC’s provincial leadership as it also looks to consolidate its support for Ramaphosa. The region has, in the past, delivered massive support for current Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile.
ANC leaders told The Citizen that a scramble for the league’s support, especially at branch and regional level, was underway, given that youth league members are also ANC branch members.
“The youth league is fighting for its relevance right now. Once positions are clear, it will be doing most of the running around and canvassing branches with a view to sway votes at the national conference,” said an ANC leader, who asked not to be named as he is not authorised to publicly comment. – email@example.com