‘Anything is possible’
With just more than two months left until the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung, Carien du Plessis speaks to Fikile Mbalula.
Do you think the ANC has waited too long to open nominations for leadership positions?
The debate has ensued and the horses have bolted. People are doing all sorts of indications, sign language indicating change, and indicating the second term.
Nobody has called us to order. We must have a decent debate.
If you make leadership debates a taboo and you discuss it underground, that is when all the wrong people will rise to the occasion.
Out of a process of a debate and nominations (we could get to a point) where there is no necessity to contest at all.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has resolved to nominate you for ANC secretary-general.
Will you be able to turn down the youth league’s call?
The youth league has not approached me formally.
It is not for me to make that choice on where I want to be.
It is un-ANC and I am not going to be the first to break that record.
I will seek advice from my peers and from the veterans if I am approached.
I will also measure myself whether I’m ready for that position.
As much as there are people who love me, there are those who actually don’t like me.
All that I know is that I’m ready to serve, and that is the point.
So to me leadership is not the alpha and omega.
Should President Jacob Zuma continue as president of the country?
President Zuma was not put there by me, as much as I championed the cause.
He is my president.
I will defend him till the end in Mangaung.
I will never actually say the president who leads us is basically a weakness, but the president won’t be immune from scrutiny and public debate about his ability as president to lead us in the ANC.
And it will be debated by branches, it is not my call.
Do you think the expulsion and suspension of ANCYL members has weakened the league?
I think for young people the experience of being expelled is traumatic so they have to be imbued with the understanding that having people expelled in the organisation or suspended is not the end of the road.
We too have never been exposed to that in history.
It is the first time that this has happened in the youth league.
Do you think Julius Malema will be back?
I cannot make that determination.
Unfortunately, I’m not a witch doctor or a fortune teller.
What I know is that he is an expelled member of the ANC.
I don’t know (if he will come back). But in politics anything is possible.