South Africa

‘Some thought he’d cause problems’: Why Yengeni wasn’t eligible for ANC Veterans’ League top job

Snuki Zikalala was on Saturday elected as the president of the ANC Veterans’ League.

Zikalala was elected unopposed after former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni was prevented from contesting for the position.

The veterans’ league conference has been taking place at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg over the weekend.

Although Yengeni was set to contest for president, the former ANC chief whip was told earlier in the week that he was not eligible to participate as a delegate.

The reason Yengeni was given for this was that he is not registered as a branch member of the veterans’ league in his region.

Mavuso Msimang was elected deputy president of the veterans’ league.

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Some didn’t see Yengeni as a suitable candidate

A City Press report quotes a source as saying Msimang was asked to run for deputy president, instead of president, to prevent others from being elected into top positions within the ANC veterans’ league.

“This is one of the reasons veterans such as Mavuso Msimang were forced to accept nomination for the position of the deputy president of the league. He was initially lobbied for the presidency, to contest Zikalala and Yengeni, but he declined,” said the source.

Although Yengeni was seen as a strong contender for the position of president, City Press reports that some within the veterans’ league thought he wouldn’t be suitable for the role because of his previous conviction for corruption in 2003, related to the arms deal.

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Yengeni is also a staunch supporter of the ANC’s radical economic transformation (RET) faction.

“Some viewed Yengeni as a person who was going to cause problems for them,” another source told the publication.

A letter, signed by the ANC veterans league’s deputy co-ordinator Susan Shabangu, invited Yengeni to attend the conference as a “special guest” rather than a delegate.

Yengeni reacted to not being allowed to run by snubbing the elective conference.

“I will not be going to the conference. No right-thinking person would go to the closing of a conference. To do what? I’ve never heard of such in my life,” Yengeni said in an IOL report.

ANC veterans league leadership positions

In addition to Zikalala and Msimang, Ilva Mackay (secretary-general), Connie September (deputy secretary-general), and Fazel Randera (treasurer general) were also elected into leadership positions.  

Zakes Tolo, Joel Netshitendze, Johnny de Lange, Lisa Seftel, Baby Tyawa, James Ngculu, Sheila Sisulu, Sue Rabkin, and Reverend Frank Chikane were elected to the national executive committee of the veterans’ league.

Meanwhile, former president, Kgalema Motlanthe, praised the ANC veterans’ league for the smooth running of the elective conference. He highlighted that no leadership squabbles were experienced over the weekend.

“This has been a cakewalk. I mean it has been very easy and they have nominated already and all we have to do was to allow them to affirm and also allowed them to nominate from the floor.”