ANCYL roasts Malusi Gigaba

03 August 2011 - 02:32 By AMUKELANI CHAUKE
Minister Malusi Gigaba. File photo.
Minister Malusi Gigaba. File photo.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has come under scathing attack by the ANC Youth League for telling the American Chamber of Commerce in SA on Monday that the nationalisation debate was damaging the country.

The league rebuked Gigaba yesterday, saying it hoped that the courage he had "suddenly" found to speak out on the nationalisation of mines had not been inspired by his audience.

On Monday, Gigaba, a former ANC Youth League president, said the people who were running the country understood what the "acrimonious" debate on nationalisation was doing to investment.

The youth league said yesterday that it was relieved that, at last, Gigaba, "who never held a political view on any issue before, now has the courage to speak about nationalisation of mines, though with a wrong approach, vigour and very wrong information.

"We hope his suddenly found courage to speak about nationalisation of mines is not inspired by the American Chamber of Commerce, which he unfortunately was addressing," the league said.

It also questioned Gigaba's track record when he was president of the ANC's youth wing between 1996 and 2004, claiming that he "never had any impact [or] influenced any policy shift, including on youth development".

"The only thing known about some people is government flowers, which have nothing to do with the national democratic revolution and the Freedom Charter.

"... Grand-standing and pleasing imperialists undermines people's integrity and further degenerates the little political respect comrades have," the youth league's secretary-general, Sindiso Magaqa, said.

In 2007, while deputy minister of home affairs, Gigaba was forced to refund more than R1000 of taxpayers' money after he was found to have used a departmental credit card to buy his wife flowers on Valentine's Day.

Magaqa said the league would soon ask for a meeting with Gigaba, "to take him through [the basics of] the nationalisation of the mines and its relationship [with] future investments and employment creation".

The league's rebukes were made as Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu entered the fray, saying the nationalisation debate was "not taking our people anywhere". She said the country and the mining industry should instead concentrate on finding ways to eliminate the evil triplet of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Political analyst Adam Habib said the rows between the ANC and its youth wing were becoming more "acrimonious" and this was a sign that there were divisions within the party.

"When you personalise debates, like they are doing with Gigaba, you are demonstrating acrimony.

"This is a sign of deep divisions, especially with the kind of language that is being used.

"Another thing is the way they confront this issue. [The youth league is] not trying to convince the ANC with the debate. If they were, they would not use the kind of words that they are using. They seem to be drawing battle lines."

The league yesterday accused ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu of jumping the gun regarding its position on Botswana.

The ANC on Monday publicly rebuked the league, saying its "insults" to and "disrespect" of Botswana President Ian Khama were a clear demonstration that it had "crossed the political line".

The spat followed the league's statement on Sunday that it would establish a "command team" that would promote unity among opposition parties in Botswana with the aim of regime change.

Yesterday, the league's spokesman, Floyd Shivambu, said Mthembu had jumped the gun.

"In true ANC tradition, internal discussions and consultations should be exhausted before any public condemnation is made for whatsoever reason," he said.