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The hunter is hunted

Godrich Gardee

[/media-credit] Godrich Gardee

The articles in various local and national newspapers with screaming headlines “Makwetla must go!” cannot go unchallenged to let the cat out of the bag.

If the Youth League in general, and in Mpumalanga particularly, would decree what can be spoken and debated and what should not, then those who dare their decree may as well expect that their dissent opinions will be forever silenced and free speech constrained

Just as cde Rueben Mohlaloga has, to date not been found guilty of any wrongdoing by any ANC structure in order of hierarchy, so any reference to his case does not warrant venomous rubbishing.

As correctly put by “cde” Vavi, dictatorship does not announce its arrival, so may be this rubbishing of people with a different opinion could be assumed as the dictatorial tendencies engulfing the Mass Democratic Movement as is the case of former COSATU president, Willy Madisha. Stalin in the Soviet tried it making Trotsky the scapegoat and banished him to Siberia. Today history has vindicated Trotsky.  Lenin was very suspicious and upset on the party leadership in the hands of Stalin. South African citizens never escaped the brute force of “Cde” Stalin. It took the SACP Cuba conference in 1986 “Path to Power” to painstakingly acknowledge that the South Africans killed by Stalin troopers in Soviet Union on account of concocted charges of subversion were actually the heroes of the working class movement. Some communist exiles actively gave false evidence against these comrades whom the 1986 SACP conference re-admitted into the scroll of heroes of workers struggle. It is alleged that their sin was that they differed with Stalin on the approach to achievement of a communist state in South Africa. There they died in foreign lands for daring to differ in opinion.

Shallow minds never engage in reason, they are quick to trip the trigger to silence a dissenting view. Just as it happened to Reuben Mohlaloga, Trotsky and the communist 10, we are all not immune, including Makwetla, to go the same fate, for we dared repeat what the likes of the aforementioned did.  Today, cde Lindi Mtsweni of the Nkangala region Youth League REC and Landiwe Makhubela of Gert Sibande region YL task team have been suspended and the regional task team disbanded.  May be this is the purge of the victors to the vanquished.  Is it sustainable?

It is not the intention of the paper to examine whether the revolution is safe in the hands of David Mabuza (DD), Thabang Makwetla or the Mpumalanga Youth League Provincial Leadership.  Every ANC member who is in good standing has a right to nominate and be nominated for ANC leadership. The Youth League not only has a historical obligation but in terms of the ANC constitution, it has a right to nominate and vote.

The document “Through the eye of the needle” guides the organization in leadership selection to inform the kind and character of the leadership to be nominated. This is the accepted policy document though mostly if not in all instances; it has been thrown out of the window or gathering dust on the shelves of offices.  Membership nominating a preferred leadership has a responsibility to avoid a USA/UK political campaign system and also stay clear from malice, character assassination and prejudice. Such strategy not only do harm to a preferred individual if the Chief Campaign Lobbyists (Mbalula once referred to himself) premise the lobbying on this alien tendency, but infringe on the basic tenets of organizational discipline and revolutionary morality.

Experience in Mpumalanga indicates that “theatrical arrogant display of power” by the Youth League led to its redundancy until today. Any attempt of grandstanding is only a reflection of grandiose.  It is doomed to fail with devastating repercussions.

In mid 1998, Mpumalanga was flooded by screaming headlines provincially and nationally with a full portrait of current national treasurer of the ANC “ PHOSA MUST GO”.  It was a Thursday and the ANC PWC was expected to be influenced by the YL to boot out cde Mathew Phosa. This had just been preceded by the Youth League conference dubbed “Mgwenya Massacre”.

The opening address of the conference quoted extensively to Mrabulo No. 3 and Madiba’s political address at the Mafikeng ANC Conference (1997). Just as today we have the document “Through the eye of the needle” so was the document “Leadership challenges in the ANC – towards Mafikeng Conference”. The rest on James Nkambule is a closed chapter and good for the new ANC YL leadership to read well and learn what it means “Ukuphapha” in the policy.

Cde Mathews Phosa was then isolated as a leprosy individual by people including the then ANCYL national leadership who related to Phosa supporters as dissidents plotting the downfall of Mbeki and communist take over of the ANC soul and the use of SASCO by communist to take over the ANCYL soul.

What an irony that the then Secretary General became the chief antagonist of the third term Mbeki bid and promoted his once sworn coup plotter enemy. It was the old apartheid strategy of communist “gevaar” used to marginalize Mahlengi Bhengu, David Makhura, David Masondo and many others so that the holy lamb of the ANCYL NEC in the province James Nkambule should not be touched.

As history will repeat itself, co-incidentally from the ANCYL Mgwenya Conference, “PHOSA MUST GO” to the ANCYL Sivesethu Conference, “MAKWETLA MUST GO”. The one who replaced Phosa never stayed beyond one term and unceremoniously left to find him with 98 votes in Elijah mango conference (2002). Whosoever made poor cde Ndaweni Mahlangu a king and dump him like that is a reflection of dishonesty and political prostitution?

In the intervening period from 1999 to 2006, the ANCYL was a fifth column popularly known as the third force. That ANCYL refused to be drawn into supporting either of the groups that squared it up at the 2002 Elijah Mango Conference and the 2005 Tshwane University of Technology Conference (TUT). It was in the context of the contending groups that the document “Is the Revolution safe in your hands” was conceived.

As if it was not enough, cde Fish Mahlalela was supported to square it up with cde Thabang Makwetla. No sooner than cde Fish was elected, his downfall was plotted on singing of the National anthem closing the 2002 Conference. If Thabang Makwetla was not of a good cadre in 2002 in the EC Mango Conference, why all of a sudden in 2006 at TUT (Nelspruit) the chief campaign lobbyist of cde. Fish at Mango College was now the chief campaign lobbyist for cde. Thabang Makwetla.

Interesting enough, the chief campaign lobbyist of Ndaweni against Fish and Lubisi at Belfast (1999) was the chief campaign lobbyist of Fish against Ndaweni and Thabang at Mango College (2002) and also chief campaign lobbyist of Thabang Makwetla against Fish at TUT (2006).

The chief campaign lobbyists of Thabang at TUT are now the very same chief campaign lobbyist against Thabang in the upcoming July Conference. What hypocrisy of the highest order. Chief campaign lobbyist of Ndaweni (1999), Fish (2002), Thabang (2006) has been the same in composition and very constant to date. And now we wait and see what  may the chief campaign lobbyists produce that will be ditched in three years time as usual or maybe reconstitute themselves into kings having been king makers for long.  If you made three kings whom today you project as failures, the king maker has poor judgement and cannot be the king himself due to track record of poor judgement, and dishonesty with the subjects he is purportedly leading.

Do we need the kind of leadership character espoused by chief campaign lobbyist right from Phosa‘s downfall to date.  If that chief campaign lobbyist could not produce anything they could hold on in three terms, now that they may wish to avail themselves, what guarantees do we have that they will not re-constitute themselves otherwise. The whole scenario as outlined above depicts a very bad picture of the political situation in the Province. The conduct and behaviour of these characters indicates that after James Nkambule, the ANC in Mpumalanga has produced another shenanigan and an agent provocateur in a new dispensation, against his own movement and a dispenser of patronage, whereby government resources are used to patronize the people, and delivery postponed and to benefit the cronies of the chief lobbyist.

The concept of “Teka Yinkwaso” loosely translated to mean “take all” was the brand of chief campaign lobbyist as once known, has not proven sustainable right from the ANCYL Mgwenya conference (1998), to the ANCYL National conference in Mangaung (2001) and Johannesburg 2004 The unity is mechanical and shrinks during cold thus bursting. The Imbumbe of Mbombela and Ehlanzeni region is a case of reference, hence the section 106 and 109 of the Municipal System Act and the Constitutional interventions.

We speak and write from our experiences of both prior 1984 and post 94 era(s).  What must be done, the burning question in our movement, is a classic title of one Eastern Europe communist philosopher faced with challenges of party unity cohesion and discipline.

The concept of Ubuntu in African culture demands of biological younger generation to show courtesy to elders in all respect unconditionally. The traditions of ANC politics demand of a younger political generation to show political respect to politically elder generation.

This in no way is meant to stifle debate but to regularize and infuse decorum in conduct. There are better ways of expressing dissent and difference of opinion by younger generation contradicting an elder. Outright lambasting and bashing of an elder only reflects ill discipline and lack of ‘imbeko’.  When an elder has gone astray, the youth can only find a quieter corner to vent its anger. Open rebellion of a youth is indicative of adolescence gone extreme. An old African saying goes ‘Uzawumbathisa uyihlo no nyoko izambatho ukuze bavikeleke ehlazweni labantu bezizwe’. The forces opposed to the ANC take pleasure when the ANC children throw mud to their ANC parents. When ANC children, as an advance class and conscious movement of Youth realize that their elders in the ANC go astray, the answer does not lie in the children eating their parents. It is just un-African and apololitical to call names to elders. They can be better shouted in a boardroom where ‘abantu bezizwe’ (the opposition) will not draw laughter.  During my tenure in the ANCYL leadership, we disagreed strongly with the entire ANC provincial leadership but all was done in the boardroom behind closed doors and we achieved much than loud diplomacy.

The office of the ANC Chairperson as the first official has its own integrity to be upheld. The outburst of cde Julius Malema against Premier Moloto is co-incidental with the Mpumalanga ANCYL outburst against Premier Makwetla, may be because they are also the province said to have not disputed the ANCYL conference results that gave the presidency to Julius Malema. There is no amount of political excuse that would justify disrespect and name calling of a biological and political elder holding an office serving the rest of human kind in the province regardless of political affiliation. James Nkambule is alive and would tell the story of how the effects of disrespect to Phosa and Ndaweni cost him his political career to date. Rebellious young lions (cubs) in Kruger National Park who dare come out of the hideout care whilst the parents are on hunting expedition get devoured by the wild dogs, hyenas and jackals that are found at a walking distance always following the lions and leopards hunting for meal and later to collect the young ones for a meal of the day only to find bones and smell of a hyena scent. The hunter is hunted.

The opposition to name calling of Premier Makwetla and chairperson of the province is neither premised on a show of interest that he should continue in either of the two esteemed offices nor is it on opposition to the preferred choice of the ANCYL as Thabang’s chairpersonship replacement.  It is only premised on the calling of ubuntu and teachings of the ANC.

The same fate would befall the ANCYL preferred choice for years to come in a different disguise. Conferences come, conferences go, and broken bridges serve no one than to perpetuate hatred and sheer political shenanigans. We will always meet each other many years beyond the conference. It is not a matter of life and death

Going back to the basics of Umrabulo no.3 (1997) and ‘Through the eye of the needle’, the YL should be able to say “When cde Makwetla assumed Provincial Chairpersonship these were the challenges… in the organization and governance.  In his term of office, he has been found inadequate to deal with these… sets of challenges despite some progress here and there. The challenges in the current political conjuncture of the province are as follows… These challenges need a leadership with strength on the following dimensions and experience in this regard… Accordingly, cde X complemented by these pool of other comrades have been found suitable and consequently identified to take over the mantle.”

This is neither diplomacy nor inadequacy to call a spade a spade, but the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ and the best way to honorably replace a leadership. This incumbent leadership has never sold out during and after the struggle, they do not deserve to be shouted out of office as if they were apartheid agents before the 1994 dispensation or colluded with the apartheid regime. Experience has taught us that the world is as small as a village and people will always need each other sometimes to come.  Accordingly, you do not break the steps as you climb the ladder because you will need the steps as you climb down to avoid bruises and broken ribs.

It is not enough to say ‘we do not care who becomes Premier, we just want him replaced as the Chairperson of the ANC in the province”.  If the two centre power theory as espoused by Mbalula and the ANCYL holds, then such statement by Mpumalanga ANCYL is contradictory and at best, hypocritical. Reuben Mohlaloga was expelled from the ANCYL for advancing an argument on the two centres of power theory contradictory to the ‘Sacrosanct’ theory of the NEC of the ANC Youth League on the same subject. For the Mpumalanga ANCYL now to come out and say they do not care if the chairperson of the province is different from the provincial Premier candidate for the 2009 elections is mischievous, misleading and at very best hypocrisy at its very worst. This alone indicates that the recently elected leadership of the ANCYL in Mpumalanga is not in touch with its own decisions and documents. This then further begs the question, does the Mpumalanga YL mean and wish good for the ANC and the citizen of Mpumalanga.

Polokwane conference expressed a very clear direction on the two centres of power theory. Why now in less than six months, it is of no concern who becomes the premier as long as Makwetla is replaced as Chairperson. Consistency demands that the two centres of power theory should be cascaded down to ANC branches and Municipality wards, ANC subregions and Municipal councils, ANC regions and District Municipalities and of cause, ANC provinces and provincial governments. Hypocrisy would only reflect dishonesty, a very greater ingredient of anti-revolutionist.  When President Thabo Mbeki raised the issue of lies and dishonesty at Polokwane, delegates shouted back at him.

Myopic grandstanding only serves to invite criticism of being labeled a populist who is most likely drugged and driven by marijuana (Insango). The ANC has never condoned marijuana in its ranks. It is believed that amongst other causal factors of Mkatashinga mutiny of MK in Angola (1984), it was found that some of the leaders of that dreadful mutiny to be high on dagga they smuggled into the camps from nearby Angolan villagers.

Here in our shores, at the ANCYL National Congress, the pro-Julius Malema group carried a mock coffin into the congress plenary hall. They showed their bare buttocks to the group that lost in the race. These two incidents alone amongst the litany of charges made Mbalula to apologize to the nation. ANC president Jacob Zuma was also howled when he cautioned the coffin carrying Julius Malema group. ANC Deputy President had to fly into Mangaung to give a political lecture, which in my mind wasn’t digested or found fertile ground amongst the delegates, since they were consumed by their individual interest and they forewent the ANCYL interests. This is an indication that the politics of the ANCYL and the basic tenets of the Movement has evaporated from these new crop of leaders including the former President of the ANCYL, who by example failed to lead the way. In most instances he would utter insults and venom to the then President of the ANC. At no stage did he realize that such behaviour and conduct from his side will haunt him as he convenes the ANCYL National Congress in four months time. I think we should thank Mbalula for the role he played whilst a Secretary-General of the ANCYL and further thank “age” that allowed him to surrender the leadership baton, although to another political demagogue who has no respect for his elders.

Without smearing Malema with anything, it is best to give him a benefit of doubt that he will lead the ANCYL with vigour and a clear vision, provided of course that Mbalula does not become his adviser and that the league’s branches become the critical advisors of the new leadership.

The political consciousness of some of our esteemed members has deserted them without a warning, hence the arrogance and venom attack directed to our Provincial Chairperson. Let these matters be opened and the ANC Leadership play its role to correct these alien tendencies before it is too late, failure to do so will erode the very values and traditions of the ANC.

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe reiterated the words of ANC President Jacob Zuma on the conduct of the delegates. These two incidents were captured in the BBC, CNN and Sky News and Aljazeera. They are today jingles of this world wide media houses.

The billions people of the world can access these images from the internet.  The Mail and Guardian wrote “Echoing Rapu Molekane’s disenchantment, were Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla, a member of the league’s national executive committee from its relaunch in South Africa in 1991 until 1994, and Thabo Masebe, a three time NEC member elected national treasurer in 1994. This is a reflection of the problems of the ANC more generally over the past few years, resulting from an exclusive focus on the ANC leadership issue.” Masebe  said, “They were magnified because young people were involved”.   In the second convening of the YL conference, ANC President Jacob Zuma spoke at length about the issue of the coffin and bare buttocks of Malema’s supporters.  President Zuma, has not been chastised by the national leadership of the Youth league nor the Mpumalanga Youth League. Why?  Is the Mpumalanga Youth League genuine in lashing out Premier and Chairperson Thabang Makwetla whilst keeping quite on Rapu Molekane, Thabo Masebe, Deputy President Kgalema and President Jacob Zuma?

The ANCYL structures in Cde Rapu Molekane and Cde Thabo Masebe‘s provinces have not taken them to task for being quoted in the Mail and Guardian.  Why? May be in those provinces, the ANCYL is led by militant young people who espouse revolutionary morality, organizational discipline, spirit of Ubuntu and comprehension of the concept of political seniority and political respect whilst in Mpumalanga, it is the opposite and thuggish rubbishing of people for the sake of removing them from office.

The most logical reasons for the ANCYL in Mpumalanga to criticize the ANC Provincial Chairperson in the manner that they did, would be that they wanted to launch the campaign of leadership change and a better strategy to do so was to abuse the ‘Makwetla’ statement and use it, as the right springboard. Whosoever advised them or their intelligence for lack of advisers, failed this ANCYL dismally and exposed them to be fake, artificial, intellectually and political bankrupt. The former secretary of the ANCYL in Mpumalanga could attest that such thuggerish strategy not only woefully failed but caused him his career, to date he is in a political limbo.

Such unguarded utterances of “We do not care who becomes the premier, Makwetla must be replaced” expose the ‘unwanted’ individual, in this case, Thabang Makwetla, to vulnerability of physical harm as it happened to ANC provincial secretaries of Western Cape and North West.  It also exposes the leadership different from the one wanted by the Youth league to physical harm in case they triumph over the preferred YL line up in the upcoming conference.  Is that what the YL wants… – to expose its fellow comrades to physical harm? If no, then the YL should find better diplomatic political militancy to raise its views than to contaminate a volatile explosive leadership race.

The silence of the ANC to defend the office of the chairperson and the office of the Premier leaves much to be desired.  It is unknown if the last PEC ever discussed this foreign tendency or they tacitly condone it!  It may be someone else and not Thabang Makwetla beyond the upcoming August conference and 2009 elections, will the ANC PEC continue to condone such treacherous disrespect of an office?

The position of the Mpumalanga ANCYL is what Mbalula once described as “policy of indicating left and turning right” those times when chips were down bashing the COSATU secretary on the Zimbabwe issue.

If only the Mpumalanga Youth League leadership could realize the dangerous self destruction path they have chosen and how it may put certain people’s lives whom they disagree with in danger, particularly Thabang Makwetla and the rivals of their preferred choice in the upcoming July ANC conference.  The Youth is known for its militancy and it is possible that if their preferred choice of leadership is not elected, chairs and tables may fly around, going by their continued systematic reckless utterances against outgoing chairperson of the province.

In conclusion, the question that begs to be asked and answered by the ANCYL in Mpumalanga is, “Is the revolution safe in our hands?”



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