The league faced one of the most difficult times – with the regional executive committee divided into two groups.
Fighting leaders of the ANCYL in the Nkangala region of Mpumalanga have now “put aside” their differences for the unity of chair Bobo Mtshweni and his rival secretary Thabang Mathebula.
This is according to Mathebula. He said the ANC intervened and the league in the region “resolved” to “find workable solutions” to their differences.
He said their suspensions have also been set aside.
Mathebula said they had established that congress was dividing them and had resolved to handle it in a manner that doesn’t divide them now.
He said they are coming from a difficult time of “factional tensions”.
“Then soon afterwards the ANC in the region intervened and took a view, a view that said they would lobby the ANC PEC to speak to the PEC of the ANCYL to lift the suspensions,” Mathebula said the past Sunday (10 Feb) when he spoke to 013NEWS.
He said the ANC saw that the suspensions “were not good for the ANCYL in the region”.
“But ourselves as leaders of the league we did have our own engagements on the matters that divide us together with the chairperson. We have asked ourselves ‘What is it exactly that divides us?’ If it’s congress we agreed and said, ‘let us not allow this congress to divide us’,” he said.
He said a January 2019 meeting between officials of the ANC and ANCYL in the region decided they “don’t have a choice but to unite for the sake of the ANCYL and young people”.
“So that is where we resolved all issues and we had called a regional working committee of the league last week as an REC and we discussed programmes of actions. So from where I’m sitting now I can tell you that the ANCYL in Nkangala is united,” he said.
Both Mathebula and Mtshweni were suspended late last year by their movement in their positions of secretary and chairpersons respectively.
Mathebula was suspended over a behaviour that was received with “deep regret” by the ANCYL PEC, according to a statement the league released last year. It was apparently a social media post lashing provincial leader Tim Mashele to be “clear” on which side he stands as they were preparing for congress.
It is still not quite clear why Mtshweni was suspended but he himself said it was over a meeting he attended with league PEC officials in which they planned to communicate the decision of Mathebula being placed on suspension.
This meeting was viewed as “factional” and allegedly running against a planned ANCYL programme or meeting in the region on that day.
Mtshweni is aligned to the Thanduxolo Sabela grouping that wants Trevor Nkosi as provincial leader.
Last year Mtshweni publicly campaigned for Mokako and Nkosi against an REC decision that resolved to support Mathebula as provincial leader and Pholoso Mbatsane as secretary.
The two were elected during a regional congress in May 2018.
Mathebula said they will no longer allow congresses to divide them and are focusing attention on the upcoming general elections.
ANC regional spokesman Sello Matshoga said it was their responsibility as the mother body to ensure “that the ANCYL operates within the constitution of the ANC and if there is disunity in the ANCYL it doesn’t assist the ANC”.
“We have called both chairperson and secretary. We engaged. We all agreed. They have put everything aside. After the processes we were then able to convene a first REC of the ANCYL last week and that REC meeting was successful. And we have resolved that we are going to call the sub-regional meetings of the ANCYL,” Matshoga said.
He said the RGC will have the powers to “correct all wrongs” and will be headed by him.
ANCYL national leader Collen Maine has told scores of Nkangala branches that picketed outside party headquarters in Johannesburg that next week Saturday the Nkangala region will convene an RGC.
Maine said the date of the regional general council is 24 November 2018 and will be held at the Khulisile Palace.
He said he will lead the team that will be presiding over the RGC, working with the provincial leadership.
“Comrades,” Maine told the scores of branch leaders who have been picketing outside Luthuli House waiting to talk to him for most of the day.
“Next week Saturday there will be an RGC in Nkangala,” said the President to thunderous applause outside Luthuli House Friday evening.
The branch chairs and secretaries from Steve Tshwete, JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani had taken their anger to Maine after the Nkangala REC snubbed their BGMs weeks ago.
The BGMs were important because they allow branches to nominate favoured candidates ahead of congress.
The branches want Ndumiso Mokako as the secretary general against the position of the Nkangala REC that wants Pholoso Mbatsane for the secretary general position.
They also want Trevor Nkosi to be provincial chairman and the REC wants their secretary Thabang Mathebula to contest this position on 7 December 2018 when a provincial congress is held.
Collen Maine and ANC secretary Ace Magashule came to listen to the cries of the branches.
Maine said the RGC will have powers “to make corrections in the leadership of the ANCYL in that region”.
“As NEC we are aware of all your problems. You must continue to defy anybody who wants to intervene in the business of the ANCYL,” he said to applause.
He came with ANC national secretary Ace Magashule and league NEC member Dakota Lekgoete.
The branches arrived at around 11 in the morning but the leaders were only able to attend to them at 4 in the evening.
Maine urged the disgruntled Nkangala branch members to continue to guard processes of the ANCYL and “even if it means staying unemployed”.
“Don’t sell your soul to the highest bidder,” he said to them.
The branch members said they were happy with the response they got from Luthuli House and they will be “for actions”.
“He said when the RGC takes place we must take decision as branches and we will do just that. We are happy and we will wait for actions because talk is cheap,” one of the branches members who drove all the way to Luthuli House Friday morning said.
They say the province has done nothing to help them.
ANCYL branches from three sub-regions in the Nkangala region of Mpumalanga aligned to contender Ndumiso Mokako took their anger to party headquarters in Gauteng.
They want national office to disband the Nkangala ANCYL regional executive committee for “not doing the work it was elected for”.
They say REC deployees have been snubbing their BGMs for weeks now, allegedly because they favour candidates different from those preferred by the REC.
Those picketing outside Luthuli House are the chairs and secretaries from 20 Thembisile Hani branches as well as 27 from JS Moroka and 5 from Steve Tshwete.
Regional spokesman Banele ‘Masheleni’ Nkosi has said that the reason the REC didn’t come to their BGMs was because these branches never sent an invite to the REC but instead to the PEC.
One of the picketers, William Mokwele, a secretary from ward 18 in JS Moroka, said other branches that the REC attended were not given the printed attendant register by the REC deployee and this was done “deliberately” in order to “deny them” at a later stage.
“When they don’t give you the printed attendant register from the region to sign next to your name as a branch member and only give you a piece of paper to write on with a pen you will fail the audit,” Mokwele said.
He said they would picket the whole day outside Luthuli until national leader Collen Maine or secretary Njabulo Nzuza comes to attend them.
Just after mid-day on Friday, the NEC sent one of their members to go hear the branches but the branches refused to be addressed by this NEC member, saying they will picket till Maine or Nzuza attend to them and they give him “the petition”.
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“We are living in a very divided region. The chairperson [Bobo Mtshweni] has his own REC members on his side and the secretary [Thabang Mathebula] has his own. A very divided region and we never elected them to be divided but to service us as branches,” Mokwele said on the sideline of the picket.
The Mpumalanga province is preparing a provincial congress set for 7 December 2018. The national one is set for 16 December 2018.
The branches are divided between those who want Mokako and those who want Pholoso Mbatsane for the position of national secretary.
The Mokako group wants Trevor Nkosi to be the provincial chair while the Mbatsane group wants Thabang Mathebula as the chair.
This week the Nkangala REC said those those who choose to operate “outside the parameters” of ANCYL will be dealt with.
“They will face very serious consequences,” regional spokesman Masheleni Nkosi said.
He is yet to be charged and the league says they won’t say what charge he will face until a disciplinary committee has done its work.
Nkangala ANCYL secretary Thabang Mathebula has spoken up about his suspension, saying he was still “shocked” as to what he did.
News of the soft-spoken regional youth leader were brought to light by provincial secretary Pholoso Mbatsane this week, confirming they have decided to send Mathebula home pending a disciplinary hearing.
Mbatsane didn’t say why they have decided to suspend the regional secretary but said the suspension comes after they “noted with deep regret” his “recent conduct”.
“We have deliberated on the matter and decided to suspend Comrade Thabang Mathebula pending his disciplinary hearing,” Mbatsane said in a statement.
Mathebula said he saw the press statement that Mbatsane released on behalf of the provincial executive committee and was “shocked, what is it that I did”?
“Currently as I’m sitting here I’m not sure what is it that I did,” he told the 013NEWS reporter over the phone.
“I don’t even know of a suspension because from where I’m sitting now I haven’t received anything that seeks to say ‘Comrade Thabang you are suspended or here’s an intent to suspend you’. No. I’m still waiting for anybody to come to me and say ‘you are suspended and this is what you have done’,” he said Thursday morning.
He said it was “unorganisational” of the PEC to suspend him through a press statement and “[that] is not how we process issues in the organisation”.
“So I’m not sure whether the person who wrote the press statement felt he had to put my name in it or is that of somebody else. I don’t know. But what I can say is that I have had an regional executive committee meeting and the convener of the region from the province was here and I can confirm that there is no message of that nature that was communicated,” he said.
In the press statement, Mbatsane said that a disciplinary hearing is meant to restore order and “not meant to resolve private problems”.
“The PEC wants to put it on record that and in a clearer context that disciplinary procedures are not meant to resolve private problems, intimidate or silence a particular member. The whole purpose of DC processes is restore order and discipline within the organisation,” he said.
Mathebula wants to be the provincial chair of the ANCYL when a congress is held on 7 December 2018. He will face-off with Trevor Nkosi, the provincial deputy chair who is also gunning for the same seat.
Provincial spokesman Bheki Sithole said they will not reveal what Mathebula did because he still has to appear before a disciplinary committee.
“He is suspended. The disciplinary committee will summon him. But for now we are not gonna be able to publish the detailed charge sheet, I can only confirm that he is suspended,” Sithole said, adding the matter is “sub-judice”.
” He is yet to receive his charge sheet from the disciplinary committee and the date of appearance. After everything has been done we will then make it public. We will come back and say ‘this is what he is charged for’,” said Sithole.
He was responding to a statement by a grouping of some branches opposed to his rule as well as Pholoso Mbatsane and Reggie Nkabinde’s ‘factional’ 74th birthday celebration.
Nkangala ANCYL secretary Thabang Mathebula has slammed all ‘mushrooming’ groupings in his region, saying they were all claiming to belong to ANCYL branches.
Mathebula was responding to a statement released by a formation of Nkangala ANCYL members, criticising the ‘factional’ ANCYL 74th celebration at the Sydney Choma community hall the past Sunday.
ANC deputy president DD Mabuza and league leader Collen Maine snubbed the 74th birthday celebration.
Sources say Mabuza was briefed on Saturday after arriving from Gauteng that the event would be more of contestant Reggie Nkabinde’s campaign than a celebration and Mabuza was going to be “used to endorse it”.
Reason Maine didn’t come was because he was aligned with the faction of Ndumiso Mokako, a presidential contestant who also snubbed the birthday celebration.
In a statement released this week, the Nkangala formation, calling itself ‘Progressive and Revolutionary Forces’, and which boasts 80% of ‘legitimate branches’, said the Nkangala youth league leadership was a “group of individuals parading as the REC”.
Group spokesman Mfundo Masombuka said the Mathebula faction “continue to claim to lead the region unmandated and in their attempt to convene the RGC they spectacularly failed, and their goons ended up assaulting rank and file members of the YL”.
“They are capable of thieving and stealing the BGMs because they are nothing but a group of marauding thugs in colours of the movement and we shall not rest until they have handed back the ANCYL to its rightful owners, which is the youth of Nkangala,” Masombuka said, adding they would go to the ground and mobilise branches towards the nomination of Trevor Nkosi, Bheki Sithole, Sipho Mahlangu and Tshepo Seema.
But Mathebula said he never heard of “such a group”.
“‘I’ve never heard of such a[n] existing structure or group.
“All members of the ANCYL in the region belongs to a particular branch,” Mathebula said.
“Well we have observed the mushrooming of structures within the region such as PRET, UETSA and now this one. They all claim to be members of the ANCYL and the ANC,” Mathebula, who is contesting Nkosi for the position of provincial chair, said.
He said BGMs will convene once the region has received an audit report from national secretary Njabula Nzuza.
Two NGOs are heading to the Tshwane High Court to force government to respect the constitutional rights of people with regard to the air pollution being caused by Mpumalanga’s Sasol and Eskom power plants.