ANCYL Freedom Fighters March September 2011

Pretoria Union Buildings

Pretoria South Africa Union Buildings

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is calling on South Africa’s “oppressed and exploited” to march on the Union Buildings, Chamber of Mines, and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) next month to demand what rightfully belongs to them”.

Pule Mabe, ANCYL Treasurer-General – Mail and Guardian

Announcing its plans for two days of “mass action” on October 27 and 28 the league said, “This serves as a clarion call to all economic freedom fighters that total liberation and emancipation of the oppressed and exploited people of South Africa will not only happen in boardrooms and conferences.” Some actions the ANCYL demands include:

  • Nationalization of mines
  • Expropriation of land without compensation
  • Expansion of government services
  • Free education
  • Jobs for all

Floyd Shivambu, ANCYL Spokesman – Daily Maverick Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic

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“Wherever Julius Malema goes, his spin man Floyd Shivambu is never far off. But while Malema crosses the line in comments about women in general and opposition politicians in particular, Shivambu goes after journalists, individually.”

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Julius Malema, ANCYL President

ANCYL leaders hope to attract at least 100,000 supporters for the march. An ANCYL statement said, “The ANCYL takes this approach of mass mobilization because of our strong conviction that bettering the lives of South Africans will not happen in boardrooms and through endless negotiations. It’s time that we mobilize South Africa’s youth and progressive forces to demand jobs and an equal share of wealth from big business and corporations who are benefiting at the cost and exclusion of the historically disadvantaged.”

Sindiso Magaqa, Secretary-General

Sindiso Magaqa, ANCYL Secretary-General

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The freedom fighters march comes on the heels of a “stone-throwing mob of youth league supporters who turned the streets of Johannesburg into a riot zone last month”.

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The rioting occurred in late August during ANCYL president Julius Malema’s appearance on disciplinary charges at the ANC’s Headquarters Luthuli House. See September 7, 2011 blog post.

Ronald Lamola, ANCYL Deputy President – Mail and Guardian

Asked if he could assure South Africans that similar riots would not occur during this march, youth league Deputy President Ronald Lamola said that his organization’s supporters are “the most disciplined members in society”.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Johannesburg Stock Exchange

The league hopes to attract a broad spectrum of potentially disaffected or dissatisfied sectors of society to the event by “mobilizing unemployed youth, underprivileged students, and under-employed youth – such as waiters, petrol attendants, farm workers, receptionists, landless people, and people without water and electricity”.

Kenetswe Mosenogi, ANCYL Deputy Secretary-General

The Chamber of Mines is a South African mining-industry employer in downtown Johannesburg. Founded December 7, 1887, its members include famous South African diamond and gold mining houses such as Anglo-American De Beers, Goldfields, and Harmony.

Chamber of Mines

Chamber of Mines

Located in Sandton, an affluent Johannesburg suburb, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is the largest stock exchange in Africa. In 2003 the “JSE had an estimated 472 listed companies and a market capitalization of US$182.6 billion, as well as an average monthly traded value of US$6.399 billion. As of 30 September 2006, the market capitalization of the JSE was at US$579.1 billion. The JSE is presently the 16th largest stock exchange worldwide”.

ANCYL President Julius Malema – Daily Maverick

The Union Buildings in Pretoria are a South African National monument and the official seat of the South African government. They house the offices of the current President of South Africa, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

ANCYL Secretary-General Sindiso Magaqa – Bongiwe Mchunu

Top ANCYL officials include:

Julius Malema ANC Disciplinary Hearing

Julius Malema President ANCYL

Julius Malema’s (see May 22 and July 28 blog posts) disciplinary hearing began on August 31st, 2011 at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. The building houses ANC headquarters and is named after ANC revolutionary Albert Luthuli.

Malema Hearing 2011

Malema, ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu, Deputy President Ronald Lamola, Secretary-General Sindiso Magaqa, Deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and Treasurer-General Pule Mabe face charges of misconduct and “bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in ANC ranks”. If the hearing conducted by a panel of senior ANC members finds Malema guilty of these offenses, he could be expelled from the party and find his political career in ruins.

Malema Hearing 2011

The day the disciplinary hearing began Malema’s supporters ran wild in the streets of Johannesburg’s city centre. They threw broken bricks at police and journalists and burned t-shirts with images of Jacob Zuma and the ANC flag. Several journalists were hit by rocks and one police officer was hospitalized. After the violence occurred, Malema asked his supporters to exercise “restraint” and not attack journalists or police.

Malema Hearing 2011

Malema lost his first battle against the misconduct charges when his lawyers failed to get dismissal of three ANC members on the panel reviewing his case. Malema’s lawyers argued for their dismissal on grounds that the three opposed Malema’s views on nationalization of mines and expropriation of land without compensation.

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Malema is popular with South Africa’s poor black majority, especially the youth, and as a future ANC leader he calls for state takeover of mines and white-owned farms.

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Malema Hearing 2011

Because of the disruption to people who work in the city centre, ANC leaders discussed a change of venue for Malema’s disciplinary hearing but later recanted. On September 2nd the ANC rejected Malema’s request to drop all disciplinary charges against him.

Malema Hearing 2011

If Malema is exonerated, Jacob Zuma could be fighting for political survival when the party elects its leaders during an ANC meeting in late 2012. If the ANC expels Malema, Zuma is in a stronger position for re-election. If Malema remains a member of the ANC and supports Zuma’s rivals, it could go the other way.

Malema Hearing 2011

Malema’s regular criticism of Zuma pushed the ANC to take action against him. Many think Malema went too far when his Youth League called for overthrow of the elected government of South Africa’s neighbor and ally, Botswana. ANC leaders say the charges against Malema relate to last month’s comments about Botswana, Malema’s description of whites as “criminals”, and statements that undermine Zuma’s leadership. In an ANC disciplinary hearing last year Malema was found guilty of criticizing Zuma.

Malema Hearing 2011

Expelling Malema from the ANC might silence his calls for naturalization but will it also anger his supporters? “Economists say nationalization would bankrupt the state and cost South Africa twice the annual national budget just to buy out the mining firms.”

Julius Malema

Zuma is hoping for re-election at the ANC party polls in 2012 and wants to run for a second term as president in the 2014 South African national elections. The ANC Youth League would like to see Zuma replaced by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Malema Hearing 2011

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Despite Malema’s popularity with impoverished blacks, he is known for his lavish lifestyle. He lives in the up-market Johannesburg neighborhood of Sandton.

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His wealth was the subject of a police investigation after a local Johannesburg newspaper reported he was the beneficiary of a trust fund that allegedly received kickbacks from businesses granted valuable government tenders (see July 28th blog).

Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma – Vice President and President of South Africa

On September 3 the ANC adjourned the disciplinary hearing against Malema until Sunday, September 11th.