The ANC Youth League has lashed out at the “alien behaviour” of senior party leaders declaring their availability to succeed president Jacob Zuma despite the succession debate not being opened yet.
At a briefing held at the St George Hotel in Irene on Wednesday, the league called on party members to curb their excitement ahead of the 54th elective conference in December.
“The youth league calls on comrades, especially senior leaders, to desist from launching lobby groups to advance their nominations and publicly confirming their availability to the media, especially when they have not even been nominated by a single branch,” said league secretary Njabulo Nzuza.
The league’s statement is seen as criticism of deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa who, in a recent interview on Power FM, availed himself for the position of president.
“It would be very humbling to get into a key position like that, to lead,” Ramaphosa said at the time. I am available to stand.”
The league cautioned alliance partners against publicly declaring their support for certain leaders and interfering in ANC processes.
Last year, labour federation Cosatu released a statement saying it would back Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma.
“The ANC has never interfered in their [Cosatu’s] processes of electing their leadership and, as such, they must not attempt to interfere with the processes of the ANC,” the league said.
Despite the league’s assertions last year that it would support the election of a woman president, it now says it will only support leaders who will pursue radical economic transformation, land restitution and the collapse of “white monopoly capital”.
The league said it will not be forced to pronounce on any names.
“The national executive committee of the youth league will ultimately take the decision on who to support, having looked at principles of leadership, and promote unityin the ANC.
We will not be forced to become petty and announce names without a framework on what the ANC needs,” it said.
The treasury has also been criticised by the youth league for its “huge appetite” to protect large financial institutions, even in the face of corruption.
On Thursday, the league will march to Absa buildings in the country to demand that the institution pay back R2.25‑billion to the fiscus for an unlawful apartheid-era bank bailout. It says it hopes to retrieve funds from Absa to fund free education and youth development.