– Taking a closer look at NDC Members Bias and denied Opportunity for Mitigation as flawed arguments –
The NDCA hearing has come to an end for its chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed such without saying anything yet, accept the decision will be made in due course.
I guess we may begin to speculate on the actual outcome. Yet I will highlight two issues that constituted a cardinal part of the ANCYL leadership defense and rightful claim to appeal, that being NDC members bias and the issue of opportunity for mitigation.
The issue of NDC MEMBERS BIAS is not a new one, it was first raised and entertained in the 2009 Malema hearing when he was defended by Matthews Phosa. The outcome of that hearing whilst first securing the recusal of three NDC members back then, was no different in my assessment than if these were allowed to sit. Let us not forget the first hearing against Malema came out with a ruling against Malema with a sentence.
The ANCYL’ leadership in the 2011 NDC hearings again raised issues around amongst others Collins Chabane and Susan Shabangu as those who are necessarily bias against the ANCYL agenda of nationalization. It is also claimed that these have made pronouncements on ANCYL in a bias fashion or they have crossed swords before.
This argument whilst at face value perceived to be a valid one has more challenges in itself.
The challenge with this assumption of bias truthfully argues that everyone who ever has had a view opposite to the ANCYL literally is asked to be disqualified from a legitimate structure wherein members are deployed to serve informed by the ANC’ trust as custodians of organisational discipline. This is a flawed contention for it in essence negates the independence and intention of the NDC as a structure in organisational context birthed to maintain order and discipline.
The illogic with the ANCYL contention is that it by – default asks that only members who have been silent or have spoken in favor of the ANCYL qualifies to be serving in disciplinary structures. What would the ANCYL have said if one of their so-called defenders was a member of the NDC?
This argument if taken to it’s logical question would also mean the very NDCA members are questioned for the contention has already been raised around for example Jessie Duarte, whom the ANCYL believes hold a grudge against it. Not only is that the case for Duarte, but the Youth League has crossed swords with another member of the NDCA Trevor Manual when at Polokwane a Fikile Mbalula proved vocal in attacking even getting as personal as talking about Manual’s appetite for alcohol.
Not even the sitting chairman Ramaphosa is excused in this, recusal claim for should the NDCA rule against the ANCYL leadership you almost can literally expect a backlash that Ramaphosa is a ‘capitalist businessman’ and billionaire who do not share the philosophy of nationalization as a means of redress, the same the Youth league has proven very vocal and adopted at it’s 24th ANCYL Conference as a cornerstone argument for economic redress.
I guess what I am arguing is that entertaining the issue of members bias would not be limited to just the NDC hearings but also the very NDCA which now has to share their fair adjudication of that which was tabled for a decision.
The NDCA should not give any weight the claimed members bias contention for it another level compromises the structures of disciplinary as established in the ANC. Entertaining such holds ramifications for it could make the disciplinary hearings of the ANC weak and questionable in every facet where any member could argue bias at the drop of a hat even for absolute obstructionist and frivolous reasons.
It is therefore my view that this issue of members bias though raised would not be entertained for the ramifications it hold for democracy and freedom of speech in organisational context.
The second issue OPPORTUNITY FOR MITIGATION in my assessment rings hollow too as an argument for it kills the original claim of a political motif in that it subliminally confirms an acceptance of the case as legitimate.
I shall dare speculate an outcome on the entire appeal. For in my assessment the only sticky issue could be was the accused offered opportunity to argue in mitigation? The challenge could be was the accused given sufficient opportunity for arguing for such mitigation.
Yet, to argue in mitigation is to inherently concede that the case against the accused was duly made and stands. Anyone who argues in mitigation has innately accepted and conceded that the case against them had been made and now asks for factors to be considered informed by a genuine remorse.
If the issue of potential NDC members bias and opportunity for mitigation is dealt with and literally proven hollow what is left is to argue that the case from inception had political motif.
Yet political motif in my view is a difficult case to make in material corroborative evidence and the NDCA will steer clear from seeking to deal with such. Yet we are comfortably beyond this argument as material evidence though in nuanced it may be read outside the NDCA room as such.
The truth is in the case of Malema he was already sanctioned before the 2011 hearings and was serving a sentence, which explicitly argued that he should not make him guilty of the same in a two-year period. He accepted the first hearing findings; the question is why accept such first and on what grounds then reject the very structure and its outcomes in a second hearing? Hence the second case stands in the umwelt of such first case.
I shall venture to conclude; the NDCA will uphold the findings of the NDC as a case that stands and the ANCYL leadership had to answer. Secondly it may find that the accused was not given opportunity to mitigate. In the light of such mitigation opportunity claim Malema may have a reduced sentence from 5 to 3 years and the rest a cautioned 1 year sanction, with clear a set of recommendations that outlines discipline in the ANC is not an optional issue but a constitutional demand of members.
Yet as we all know the ANCYL still have opportunity to escalate its claim to another forum, yet what cannot be argued is that the NDC and NDCA findings makes the playing fields of opportunity significant smaller of success at a NEC sitting.
Then again I may be so wrong and have to eat my proverbial hat, yet I hold it’s in the interest of the ANC to restore discipline in the ANC and to set the tone for such respect in a polarised and factionalised organization. The NDCA has therefore a responsibility to be seen to work to the ethos of discipline, and I am afraid if Malema and Co argues for mitigation they have implicitly conceded the case against them hold.
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine