ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe faced a barrage of criticism at the ANC Youth League (ANCY)’s three-day lekgotla in Pretoria this weekend about his comments at a Zanu PF meeting last year in which he called on the Zimbabwean former ruling party to fight imperialism.
The Sunday Independent has learnt that Mantashe, who got a hostile reception at the league’s gathering at St George’s Hotel in Irene, south of Pretoria on Friday, was taken to task about the inconsistency in the application of ANC policies, especially his comments, which some interpreted as similar to those ANCYL president Julius Malema made on Botswana.
Malema has been convicted for saying the league would set up a command team in Botswana which would work towards uniting all opposition parties in that country to oppose the puppet regime led by the Botswana Democratic Party.
He is expected to present evidence in mitigation next Friday.
In his remarks to the Zanu PF national conference in Bulawayo in December, Mantashe committed the ANC to supporting Zanu PF in the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. However, the date for the election has not been set.
“The ANC will wait for Zanu PF to come to us for advice about elections. Our teams stand ready to share experiences. It is important for us that Zanu PF regains the lost ground and again represents the interests and aspirations of all Zimbabweans.
“We must fight the imperialist project because if it succeeds here, we are all in trouble,” he said.
His comments also drew criticism from certain quarters as the government was mediating in the fight between Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change.
Three youth league NEC members who were present during the closed sessions said the league’s leaders questioned Mantashe over his statements that the ANC should help Zanu PF to remain in power in Zimbabwe.
The league’s Limpopo provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo, a staunch Malema ally, is said to have asked Mantashe why he had not been charged for his comments on Zimbabwe.
“Gwede said he is articulating the resolutions of the ANC and the meeting of liberation movements . . . he said we shouldn’t look for a crisis where there isn’t,” the leader said.
Lebogo allegedly gave Mantashe a letter calling for a political solution to Malema’s disciplinary hearing.Yesterday, Mantashe said he did not know about the letter.