Monday, June 18, 2012
Listen up, or else !..Tokyo Sexwale
AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 18 June, 2012 00:0646
GLOVES SLIPPING OFF: ANC national executive committee member Tokyo Sexwale in Alexandra, Johannesburg, on Sunday
Image by: Picture: ALON SKUY
Presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale has warned that a president who stopped listening to his people would be removed at the ANC's elective conference.
In a thinly veiled reference to President Jacob Zuma, Sexwale - who, in recent months has repeatedly come to the defence of expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema - also cautioned against efforts to sideline the party's youth.
Lecturing on the life of former ANC president Alfred Xuma yesterday, Sexwale said the party stalwart dug his own grave in the 1940s and was removed after he refused to implement the league's radical and "militant" tactics in fighting the apartheid regime.
"Young people say: 'If you don't change, we will ask for your removal at the next conference'. And the conferences are always in December, just like Mangaung,'' said Sexwale.
He has been criss-crossing the country in recent weeks in what Zuma's backers say is a campaign to take on the ANC president at the party's elective conference in December. Party members have been forbidden to campaign for new leaders until October.
Sexwale told a packed community hall in Alexandra, Johannesburg, yesterday: "At these conferences, we change leaders, not because we want to change leaders but because the struggle is about moving forward.
"People come and go. Change comes with new ideas. And one thing if you are a leader, do not stand in the way of new ideas, otherwise the ideas will change you," he said.
Sexwale's speech was warmly applauded by a mix of elderly people and youth league supporters - who later sang struggle songs while using the hand gesture used by soccer fans when they call for a substitution during a match.
Sexwale, who is the human settlements minister, then attempted to play down suggestions that he would stand against Zuma at the Mangaung elective conference.
"Now, sometimes people always say: 'The way he is talking, he is talking about Mangaung.' I am not standing, I am not running for anything but I am also not running away from anything," he said.
Though the youth league has been pushing for Zuma to be replaced by his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, and for former league leader Fikile Mbalula to take over from ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, Sexwale has stood by Malema and other youth league leaders since they were charged with ill-discipline last year. His stance is seen by some ANC insiders as a bid to win the support of the league.
Sexwale has been touted by Zuma's opponents as an alternative candidate for the ANC presidency should Motlanthe choose not to stand.
Zuma appears to be aware of the threat. Delivering an earlier Xuma memorial lecture at the Johannesburg City Hall, on Friday, Zuma, in an apparent reference to Sexwale, a successful businessman, said: "I don't think we should allow that situation ... delegates should be ashamed of electing somebody because he has money. Whether you have money or you don't, it must be principles that inform us in electing our leadership."
Sexwale's remarks yesterday were made after Zuma became embroiled in controversy for cancelling at the eleventh hour his scheduled speech at a Youth Day rally in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. It is thought at he cancelled to avoid being heckled by disgruntled youth league supporters.
The Presidency said he had had to fly to the G-20 summit opening in Mexico today.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said Sexwale's comments were part of what has been unfolding in the past few weeks: Zuma, Motlanthe and Sexwale have started to declare their candidacies "openly".
"The gloves are off in terms of candidates publicly trying to differentiate themselves. We have seen in the past week especially Sexwale and Motlanthe coming out with statements ... indirectly declaring their candidacy by making prompted and analytical remarks about where the ANC is.
"The current state of the ANC is now being publicly questioned by Motlanthe and Sexwale ... candidates are no longer shy and are campaigning at a mainstream level," he said.
Minister in The Presidency Collins Chabane was asked by Zuma to deliver the keynote address at the Youth Day rally on Saturday. But rebellious youth league members reportedly tried to disrupt the proceedings and sang pro-Malema songs while dancing in the Wolfson stadium, in Kwazakhele.
Silke said leading up to Mangaung, Zuma and other presidential hopefuls will find it difficult to speak at rallies because of their fear of facing an audience that might oppose their campaign.
He said the ruling party could move into a new phase of politics in which the president's public appearances were stage-managed to prevent his being subjected to open hostility.
"In future. the ANC and The Presidency are going make sure that whatever audience listens to the president, that audience is hand-picked in order to be an accepting audience," Silke said.
A report on e.tv news last night said that Young Communist League chairman Buti Manamela, speaking in Modimolle, Limpopo, hit out at Motlanthe, Zuma's main opponent, for saying that the ANC does not need the SA Communist Party.
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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has shown he has no interest in young people by failing to remain in the country on 16 June, the Democratic Alliance Youth said on Sunday.
Chairperson Mbali Ntuli said it was a "slap in the face of young people" that Zuma pulled out of attending a Youth Day rally in Port Elizabeth and instead went to the G20 meeting in Mexico.
"By failing to remain in South Africa on Youth Day, one of the most important days in South African history, President Zuma has demonstrated once again that he has no interest in engaging the youth of South Africa," said Ntuli.
"This facade of concern about youth issues is wearing thin. It started with the refusal of the President to implement the youth wage subsidy, despite overwhelming evidence and support in favour of its implementation."
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane replaced Zuma at the event at the Wolfson Stadium in Silvertown.
Before Chabane could deliver his Youth Day speech on Saturday, Silvertown residents embarked on a service delivery protest outside the stadium.
Residents claimed they were not informed about the Youth Day event.
"The protesters told us that they were not properly consulted about the event and complained about the lack of service delivery," said police spokesperson Major Ernest Sigobe.
Police had to intervene to calm down the crowd who had been burning tyres and barricading roads nearby.
"We explained to them that their protest was illegal and requested them to follow the right procedures to address their grievances," Sigobe said at the time..
"Fortunately they listened and the situation returned to normal."
Read more on: da youth | jacob zuma | collins chabane | mbali ntuli | politics | service delivery | protests