Manamela pressed to quit YCL post

24 October 2010 - 02:00 By NKULULEKO NCANA

Young Communist League leader Buti Manamela is embroiled in a new power struggle that may have long-term implications for South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.

Manamela, a close ally of the SACP boss, is under fire from a group of Young Communist League members who want him ousted as the organisation's national secretary in December.

His detractors accuse him of turning the league into an Nzimande mouthpiece and say he should be replaced by his deputy, Khaye Nkwanyana, at the YCL national conference in North West at the end of the year.

Manamela's opponents are also unhappy about his dual roles as YCL national secretary and ANCMP, saying this has weakened the league.

"Everyone is surprised that (Manamela) still wants to serve another term. We had expected that, because of his vast experience and contribution to the YCL, he would have passed on that knowledge to other comrades. But now he wants to go again," said an insider who asked not to be named.

Nkwanyana confirmed that some of the league's provincial structures have said they want him to take over.

"I was approached by comrades and am currently seeking advice from both the SACP and the YCL on this matter and cannot really say where I stand.

"But if the majority of provinces say I should do so, then I have no choice. The November general council will paint a proper picture of what is to happen," he said.

Because of his close relationship with Nzimande, Manamela's ouster would weaken the SACP leader's hand ahead of the party's national congress in 2012.

Under Manamela, the YCL has consistently backed Nzimande and when the SACP leader fell out with Julius Malema's ANC Youth League, the YCL took his side.

This resulted in the suspension of ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu from the YCL early this year.

This week Manamela denied that Nzimande was interfering in the affairs of the YCL. He said the campaign against him was to be expected, because the league was preparing for an elective congress.

"It is in the nature of congresses that when leading up to them, all sorts of stories make the rounds. People will create all sorts of smoke to make as though there is a fire."

Anyone who wants to suggest that the SACP meddles in the business of the YCL is mischievous," he said.

There was "no interference whatsoever" from the SACP and YCL decisions were taken at its central executive level.

He also defended his dual roles: "The issue of parliament was discussed in the YCL and a decision was made.

"If there is a view that we can't go on with it, then so be it," he said.