Ace Magashule & Co 'meddle' in ANC Youth League

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.
ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.

Powerful pro-Zuma figures have been accused of using their positions to ensure an ally of theirs becomes the next president of the ANC Youth League.

The Sunday Times has learnt that several office-bearers in the league, including secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza, confronted ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and national spokesperson Pule Mabe last week over their lobbying for Thanduxolo Sabelo as successor to Collen Maine.

The youth league is a powerful ally for those who want to strengthen their positions in the party.

Sources said the decision to lobby for Sabelo, who is provincial secretary of the league in KwaZulu-Natal, was taken at a secret meeting at the Maharani hotel.

The Sunday Times broke the story of how allies of Jacob Zuma, including Magashule, former North West ANC chair Supra Mahumapelo and Sabelo himself, held a separate meeting at the hotel with the former president to discuss ways of ousting President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Former youth league leader Andile Lungisa on Friday admitted to acting on the Maharani meeting decisions, and maintained that he was not apologetic campaigning for Sabelo.

"My support for Thanduxolo must never be confused with anything else, Maharani hotel or no Maharani hotel. I support him," Lungisa said.

Nzuza is part of a group who support another contender for the league's top post, the present treasurer-general, Reggie Nkabinde.

Members of the group supporting Nkabinde, who did not want to be identified, accused Magashule, Mabe and Lungisa of meddling in the affairs of the league by lobbying for Sabelo. They said although Magashule had denied this when confronted, they had been reliably informed that he was among those pushing for Sabelo.

"The SG [Magashule] has assured our leaders that he is not part of any plot, but some KwaZulu-Natal members of the provincial executive committee have told youth league members that the SG supports Sabelo," one of the sources said. "He was also in those Maharani meetings where it was decided that Sabelo must be the president."

Mabe declined to discuss the matter on Friday, and Magashule could not be reached for comment.

Another insider said Lungisa was leading the pro-Sabelo lobby in the Eastern Cape, which is likely to be the second-biggest voting bloc after KwaZulu-Natal at the scheduled league conference next month.

The conference might still be postponed, however, owing to outstanding branch audits from provinces including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Eastern Cape.

"Lungisa summoned the youth league to tell them that the national NDZ caucus [the group that supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last year] has resolved to go 'One Direction' [Sabelo's campaign slogan] and that they must follow suit," this insider said.

An Eastern Cape leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that whenLungisa had lobbied for Sabelo, "we told him to go jump".

"We cannot be dictated to by Mbanjwa [Lungisa's clan name] and the people he is taking instructions from," this leader said.

Sabelo denied any knowledge of a "plot" to capture the league.

Nzuza said the league would engage with the mother body. However, he could not comment further "about internal party processes".

Sources said Nzuza recently presented a branch audit report to the league's national executive committee, but Sabelo's allies were unhappy with it.

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