POLITICS

Two Complaints Were Laid Against Collen Maine For Calling Gordhan An Impimpi

Struggle veterans want the ANC Youth League's president to be held accountable for his comments against the finance minister.

01/03/2017 10:38 SAST | Updated 01/03/2017 12:16 SAST

Two official complaints have been laid with the African National Congress's (ANC) integrity commission against Collen Maine for referring to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as an impimpi, as well as saying that "something must be done" to him.

Johannesburg Against Injustice (JAI) and the Active Citizen's Movement (ACM) in KwaZulu-Natal, both groupings consisting of former ANC activists, say Maine's comments were inciting violence and that the ANC should discipline Maine, the leader of the party's youth league (ANCYL).

Maine told a gathering over the weekend that Gordhan was acting like an "impimpi" for monopoly capital" and that "something must be done to this comrade". The ANC has distanced itself from the comments, with party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa calling the comments "reckless and regrettable".

The ANCYL however have said it did not regret its leader's references to Gordhan.

Riedawaan Pillay has laid the complaint of JAI, 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".

In its letter of complaint, JAI says its members were "deeply concerned at the defamatory and inflammatory label of 'impimpi' ... as people who were active in the 1970's and 1980's, we are well aware of the repercussions those who were labelled spies faced. For Maine to suggest that Gordhan deserves such treatment is deplorable."

The group said Gordhan was well-respected as a sitting minister, a committed cadre since the 1960s, as well as a member of the party's national executive committee.

"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 ... Maine's statements were deliberately crafted to incite violence against the minister," the complaint reads.

The JAI labelled the youth league leader's comments as an "act of gross political intolerance which brings the ANC into disrepute".

The organisation wants Maine charged under the same provisions in the ANC's constitution that former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa was charged under in 2011 after he said Malusi Gigaba "pleases imperialists".

The ACM's complaint is similar, saying in its letter: "Maine clearly incited the audience to commit acts of violence against the Minister and, in particular, to engage in the act of 'necklacing'. Not only are these statements by Maine liable to civil and criminal sanction, but they are also a violation of several sections of the Constitution of the ANC."

The complaints were addressed to ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni, chairperson of the integrity committee, who has not yet confirmed receipt of the complaints.

The integrity committee was established after the ANC's national conference in 2012 to enforce greater levels if party discipline.