The return of Winnie, queen of the party

2011-10-30 10:00
Sabelo Ndlangisa
ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has promised there will be a change in the leadership of the ruling party in Mangaung next year.

In what seems to be defiance of the ANC national executive committee decision to muzzle any debate on leadership succession, Madikizela-Mandela suggested that the party would not keep the same leadership next year.

“Next year, we will be voting in Bloemfontein and trust me, we’re not into recycling. We shall get a new leader,” she told guests at an event to mark the 60th ­anniversary of Drum magazine at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

Earlier that day, the veteran politician testified in favour of embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema at his ­disciplinary hearing.

This is probably the most ­direct indication so far that Madikizela-Mandela supports the league’s bid to remove President Jacob Zuma in Mangaung next year.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe refused to comment on Madikizela-Mandela’s remarks, saying he considered them to be an act of ­“ill-discipline”.

Madikizela-Mandela reportedly blamed Zuma for Malema’s woes when she ­appeared before Malema’s disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

She told SABC news that there was nothing wrong with Malema’s claim that land had been stolen from black people, and that the land needed to be ­returned.

Malema faces charges of sowing divisions in the ruling party and bringing it into disrepute.

The closing arguments in the disciplinary hearing are due to be heard on Thursday.

Malema and his comrades in the top ­leadership of the youth league will know the verdict in a couple of days.

City Press’ attempts to speak to Madikizela-Mandela this week were unsuccessful.

Her public profile has increased in recent days, but it is not clear whether or not this is because of the internal squabble over leadership that will eventually be decided by the elective conference in Mangaung next year.
 
A Luthuli House insider said Madikizela-Mandela’s comment about leadership change suggested that she believed change was inevitable, irrespective of what the party branches want.

“This is not true. She is not the collective. If she loved Julius, she should be calling him to order,” said the source.

The source said the ANC stalwart’s “ill-discipline” was “undoing her history of dedication and discipline” in the ruling party.

“The issue is not who is leading the ANC, but the decision that has been taken on succession.

“When someone as senior as Winnie flouts ANC ­positions, she does so with many questions hanging over her ­intentions,” said the source.