Wednesday, March 29, 2023

ANC meeting with Youth League over Botswana aborted

A planned meeting between South Africa’s ruling party with its youth wing over the latter’s call for a regime change in Botswana was abandoned on Monday.

The African National Congress (ANC) National Spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, told The Telegraph on Monday that the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.

He was not at liberty to disclose reasons for the postponement.

Asked if the meeting would be held anytime this week, Mthembu said “no.”

He only offered that both the ANC and the Youth League would find time from their diaries to reschedule.

The Botswana Democratic Party had hoped the meeting would end in a public rebuke of the ANC Youth League.

President Jacob Zuma, his Deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and party Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, were to come face to face with the ANC Youth League leadership on Monday to discuss, among others, the embarrassing statement by the League’s President Julius Malema that the League would establish a “Botswana Command Team which will work towards uniting opposition forces in Botswana to oppose the puppet regime of Botswana led by the Botswana Democratic Party”.

Mthembu said South Africa and Botswana are good neighbours.

The ANC has maintained that a threat to destabilise and effect regime change in Botswana is a clear demonstration that the ANCYL’s ill-discipline has clearly crossed the political line.

The party said it had no policy of effecting regime changes anywhere in the continent and or in the world, and therefore, it was totally unimaginable that the Youth League of the ANC could even think of such, let alone lead and put such in the public domain.

“We can’t live with insults to our neighbours. The policy of the ANC is to respect elected leaders in the continent. The position taken by the ANCYL flies in the face of the policy framework of the ANC. The ANCYL has been disrespectful to President Ian Khama. The ANC has no policy of assisting anybody to unseat a democratically elected government,” Mthembu said on Monday.

The aborted meeting has given rise to speculation that the ANC top brass may be divided over Malema’s pronouncement on Botswana.

There is also growing speculation that what Malema said in public may actually be the views widely held in private among senior ANC leaders.

The party has previously reigned in its feisty youth leader when he openly said he supported Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land redistribution programme.

The ANCYL was last week hostile to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party youth leader, Bontsi Monare, over his attempts for a truce.


Read this week's paper