ANC 'is in ICU'
The gloves came off yesterday as top ANC members took on President Jacob Zuma - pointing out how the ruling party was degenerating under his leadership.
ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola told Wits University students the ANC under Zuma's leadership was in the intensive care unit and that, if the youth were not careful, they would inherit a ''skorokoro'' or a wreck of an organisation.
At the same gathering, Sports and Recreation Minister and ANC executive member Fikile Mbalula called on the youth to mobilise society to support the struggle for economic freedom.
In Polokwane, where Zuma's nemesis, Julius Malema, appeared in court on money-laundering charges allegedly involving R4.6-million, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa said those found to have failed to deliver on the ANC mandate should be shown the door.
Phosa, who was addressing a fundraising dinner in the Peter Mokaba region, said the voices of those who criticised the government should not be silenced.
"We must not outsource our rights to take policy positions nor must we outsource our rights to choose leadership. We must not be prescribed to by anyone; it must not matter what their names are,'' Phosa said.
"We have, without fear or favour or prejudice, a right to pose questions of whether we have led from the front or whether we have made this country a better place."
Phosa said an explanation was needed on why, in the first six months of this year, there had been more service-delivery protests than the whole of last year.
"If you don't, then you are dancing with the destiny of our people. You are gambling the future of the nation. Not a single one of us isre-assured of re-election in the next conference for a second term. Comrades must assess each leader . on the basis of a performance assessment," Phosa said.
Yesterday's statements by the ANC leaders came just days before the ruling party officially opens the debate on the leadership race.
Zuma is expected to face a challenge from his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, for the top post at the party's elective conference in Mangaung in December.
Motlanthe's name has been publicly mentioned by some within the ANC who want Zuma removed.
In his address, Lamola said Zuma had failed in his mandate and was refusing to listen and respond to the needs of young people.
''The nomination in the ANC will start a real battle that we have been talking about.
''We are going to remove the organisation of OR Tambo, Albert Luthuli, Mandela, Mbeki and Seme from the ICU it has been put in by the current leadership. We have that responsibility as young people of the ANC.''
Lamola said elders in the ANC were too afraid to rock the boat.
Mbalula told the students that the youth under former president Nelson Mandela also faced challenges of a leadership that refused to change.
''The ANC Youth League has been always under attack, depending on where its leadership stands politically and ideologically at a particular conjuncture of contradictions in society and the ANC. We always survived because we were not easily intimidated or threatened by forces we have never seen or known.''
While Zuma's leadership came under attack from party members, Malema added his voice as he addressed crowds outside the Polokwane Magistrate's Court, where he appeared in court.
The money-laundering charge he faces relate to proceeds his Ratanang Family Trust allegedly received from companies that were awarded government tenders.
Malema also has to contend with a R16-million tax bill. He been granted R10000 bail.
In a fiery speech outside court, Malema, who has been expelled from the ANC for sowing divisions and breaking party rules, accused Zuma of being a ''thief'' and an ''illiterate''.
"We're not saying that our charges must be dropped. We have presented ourselves, we are not hiding anything. We're not like the head of state who runs away from the courts, who calls for umshini wam to shoot the courts. We don't want umshini wam, we want laptops and iPads so we can prepare our answers to the courts," he said.
The ANC yesterday issued a stern warning to those it said were stirring an internal ANC revolt and drumming up sympathy and support for Malema.
It was referring to the organisation's Limpopo provincial executive committee, which had accused Malema's political enemies of abusing state resources in their battles against the expelled youth leader.
ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu hit back, saying: "We reject this accusation with contempt as it is misleading and seeking to undermine the rule of law and jurisprudence of the country."
The party said it would not entertain "inflammatory and unsubstantiated accusations against the ANC and government agencies".