ANC youth league leader, Julius Malema and his executive, face charges of bringing the party into disrepute after they said they would mobilise opposition parties to oust Botswana president, Ian Khama.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary general, expressed his displeasure at the conduct of pro-Zanu PF youth groups, which include Pan-African Youth Union, Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action, Upfumi Kuvadiki, musicians and artists, saying the Malema disciplinary case is an internal issue, which should not concern the Zimbabwean party.
In response, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa is reported to have profusely apologised to the visiting Mantashe and even disowned the youths claiming they were not Zanu PF.
The new South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela confirmed that in one of the meetings he attended with Zanu PF officials and Mantashe, the ANC secretary general had raised the issue telling Zanu PF to stay out of its internal affairs.
“The secretary general (Mantashe) said it’s an internal disciplinary issue, we are disciplining one of our own,” Mavimbela said. Mantashe said the ANC would not interfere in internal Zanu PF processes and so it did not expect the Zimbabwean party to interfere in its affairs.
Bizarrely, however, Mutasa told state media after the meeting with Mantashe, that the ANC had said Malema’s thinking was influenced by Zanu PF.
Despite apologising earlier for the youths’ conduct, Mutasa denied any knowledge that a petition had been sent to the ANC through the South African mission in Harare.
The petition was presented to the deputy South African ambassador, Andy Makwabe early this month, with the youths saying they were sad that the maverick ANC youth leader was in the dock.
“We note with sadness the developments in the ANC that sought to tarnish the image and person of Julius Malema and the ANC youth league leadership,” Pan-African Youth Union deputy secretary-general, Tendai Wenyika said.
Malema is popular with Zanu PF for his nationalisation and anti-capitalist rhetoric, but the ANC is worried at his statements, arguing that some of them are wayward.