ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Collen Maine has been roped to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for defaming Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
The leader had told a gathering at the ANCYL’s provincial elective conference in Durban, last week that Gordhan acts like an “impimpi“ (spy) for monopoly capital” and that “something must be done to this comrade”
The Active Citizens Movement (ACM) and Johannesburg Against Injustice (JAI) confirmed lodging complaints with the SAHRC.
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The organizations said they believe the leader’s reckless comments incited violence and violated Gordhan’s constitutional rights to life, dignity and personal security.
The JAI is a group consisting of former political, civic and youth activists from the 70s and 80s who played a role in the broad liberation struggle with the ANC and mass democratic movement.
The group pointed out in its letter of complaint that they were “deeply concerned at the defamatory and inflammatory label of ‘impimpi‘ … as people who were active in the 1970’s and 1980’s, were well aware of the repercussions those who were labeled spies faced. For Maine to suggest that Gordhan deserves such treatment is deplorable.”
The JAI added that ANCYL leader Collen Maine doesn’t deserve to be treated in such deplorable manner, adding that such statements are wholly unacceptable and “if left unchecked creates a precedence for others to settle political scores through character assassination and threats of physical harm.”
With the foregoing, the organization urged the SAHRC to charged ANCYL leader Collen Maine under the same provisions in the ANC’s constitution that former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa was charged in 2011.
In 2011, former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa alleged that then Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba “pleases imperialists” after he criticized the league on its nationalization proposal.
Magaqa was subsequently found guilty of contravening the constitution of the ruling party by making derogatory and potentially defamatory statements.
The ANC’s national disciplinary committee, at the time, gave him the option to publicly apologize within five days or launch an appeal. The committee ruled that he would be suspended for 18 months if he failed to do so.
No doubt, this move simply shows that apart from the ANC- Which had long distanced itself from Collen’s reckless comment – other independent organizations felt uncomfortable with the statement.
At the time, the ANC’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said they viewed Maine’s statement as “reckless and regrettable”.
“It is worrying to use the word “impimpi” in the same line as Minister Gordhan. Gordhan is a cadre of the ANC. He knows nothing else but the ANC. It cannot be suggested that he comes from somewhere else,” Kodwa said at the time.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has never been ANCYL’s favorite.
All through last year, prosecution cases against the minister were pursued by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and other corruption agencies.
The charges were widely viewed as an attempt to remove Gordhan from office without formally dismissing him.
Apparently, the minister’s supporters upheld that the reason why Zuma is fighting for his removal is to loosen controls over the country’s National Treasury.
On paper, Gordhan has served two terms as finance minister – from 2009 to 2014. He took over the position again in December 2015 after President Zuma abandoned the disastrous appointment of Des van Rooyen.