Ronald Lamola. Picture: SOWETAN
Ronald Lamola. Picture: SOWETAN

JULIUS Malema’s vacant post in the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League is up for grabs and at least four candidates are understood to have privately declared their ambitions for the role.

Among the names being touted are newly elected ANC national executive committee member Pule Mabe, league deputy president Ronald Lamola, as well as league national executive committee members Andile Lungisa and Abner Mosaase.

The successful candidate could see his political and public profile raised, particularly with the country’s general elections coming next year. Former youth league presidents Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula now serve as ministers in President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet.

Some of the league’s provincial leaders were on Thursday reluctant to disclose their preferred candidate.

Mr Zuma and the other ANC officials are expected to make a final decision on whether the league will go, in May, to a national general council or an early national elective conference. If Mr Zuma opts for the general council, then only Mr Malema’s position is expected to be filled. Financially, this would be the cheaper option since the general council takes fewer days to conclude.

However, if Mr Zuma decides on an early conference, then the entire national executive committee of the youth league will have to be disbanded and 35 new members elected, including the top five officials. The league presidency is a paid post, with Mr Malema reportedly having earned about R25,000 a month before he was booted out of the ANC.

Mr Lamola is said to have fallen out of favour with a section of the league’s national executive committee — linked to the exclusion of the league’s Limpopo provincial secretary, Jacob Lebogo, and its former spokeswoman, Magdelene Moonsamy, from the list of league delegates who attended the Mangaung conference. Mr Lebogo this week declined to comment on matters relating to the league’s national executive committee.

A source said Mr Lamola has also been accused of sidelining league delegates who favoured Mr Zuma in Mangaung.

Mr Lungisa is Mr Malema’s former deputy, but fell out of favour in 2011 when Mr Malema was re-elected for a second term. A source said Mr Lungisa enjoyed the backing of KwaZulu-Natal — the league’s biggest province in terms of membership — as well as the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

An insider in Mpumalanga denied this, saying Mr Lamola, also from Mpumalanga, was their only preferred candidate.

Unlike in the ANC, where branches were allocated a single delegate and thereafter those with more than 700 members were given additional delegates, each youth league branch will bring two voting delegates.

Both Mr Lungisa and Mr Mosaase were seen to be instrumental in the running of the youth league after Mr Malema was expelled. Mr Mosaase has served the organisation longer. He is also the national convener of the youth league in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Mabe had to ward off resistance when he was reinstated as league treasurer-general last weekend. The decision, taken on Friday, was almost overturned on Saturday morning when it emerged that his presence at the league’s executive committee meeting was not sanctioned by the ANC.