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Concerned South Africans Unhappy With ANC Youth Wing Pronouncements

Some concerned South Africans are reportedly unhappy with remarks by the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress party (ANC) saying that it would demolish any splinter group that backs deposed President Thabo Mbeki. The ANC youth league in the Limpopo province suggested that it will do everything in its power to smash the formation of any party formed in support of ousted President Thabo Mbeki.

Speculations intensified after supporters of former president Mbeki reportedly began contemplating forming an opposition party over his controversial resignation ahead of next year's elections.

Correspondent Delia Robertson in our Southern Africa Bureau tells reporter Peter Clottey that some South Africans are uncomfortable with recent pronouncements of the ANC youth league.

"As you know there have been statements coming from provincial youth league formations, but also from the national body the leader from the ANC Youth League Julius Malema has made similar statements with respect to Mr. Zuma saying that the youth league would be willing to kill for Mr. Zuma. I think these kinds of statements don't contribute greatly to the national discourse may certainly show intolerance for people's right of association. In our constitution, we have a freedom of association in our bill of right, and so they have a disregard for that," Robertson pointed out.

She said it is not yet clear whether some members of the ruling party would defect to form an opposition party ahead of next year's election.

"We don't yet know whether in fact there is going to be an establishment of a breakaway party," she said.

Robertson said growing dissent among some urban South Africans could significantly hurt the ruling ANC.

"Well, if you had asked me that question a year ago, I would have said very little chance of success. But for the past year or so, research polls gauging people's opinions and views about the ANC have indicated that there is a growing tide of dissatisfaction with the African National Congress and it has become even great since the Polokwane conference, the national conference of the ANC last December, in which, Jacob Zuma became president," Robertson noted.

She reiterated that urban dwellers are concerned about some of the rhetoric of the youth league.

"I don't think it is a reaction against his (Zuma) presidency, but a reaction against the style of leadership and the kinds of things we were talking about such as those we've seen from the ANC Youth League. People are very uncomfortable with that," she said.

Robertson said newly elected President Kgalema Motlanthe would have a difficult task to resolving the divisions within the ruling party.

"Well you see it's difficult because he (Kgalema Motlanthe) is a member of the group that brought Mr. Zuma to power, and so, he is sort of seen with both feet in that side of the rift, is going to be very difficult for him to bridge the divide, I think. And especially, he is what you might call stalking horse president. He is actually not there on his own account. He is there as a president in waiting for the ANC hopes to be the permanent election, but for a full term of Jacob Zuma next year," Robertson pointed out.