ANCYL says it knows nothing about 'impimpi' complaints lodged against Maine

Johannesburg – The ANC Youth League has stuck by its president Collen Maine's comments about izimpimpi. It also insists Maine did not call Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan an impimpi.

"It's a comparison, we can't have media houses telling us what is the average and measurement of recklessness in South Africa," ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize told News24.

According to reports, Maine, speaking at the league's KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference, called Gordhan an impimpi and said "something needed to be done about him".

The term refers to what apartheid-era spies were called in the townships during the struggle. Some of them were killed by being necklaced with a burning tyre.

Mkhize said Maine was merely making a comparison between those who sold out the liberation movement's operations during the struggle and those who are selling out the ANC government's plans for the country now.

"He said people who refuse to drive transformation in South Africa are acting like izimpimpi in the olden days and thus are weakening the ANC and its government," explained Mkhize.

Huffington Post reported earlier that two complaints had been made against Maine in connection with his remarks, but the ANCYL spokesperson said the league knew nothing about the charges. The report said the complaints were sent to the ANC's integrity committee.

"I can't even respond because I don't know what we are being charged for, maybe we cough too much in meetings, it could be anything," said Mkhize.

'Nothing irresponsible about a comparison'

He also dismissed criticism levelled at the league by the ANC over the comments. This week the ANC's Zizi Kodwa distanced the young lions' mother body from the remarks.

He also labelled them reckless, irresponsible and completely out of order.

"When have you ever heard Zizi [Kodwa] say anything by the ANC Youth League is not reckless?" asked Mkhize.

"We can't be accused of being the centre and epitome of recklessness," added the ANCYL spokesperson.

The youth league has been at the forefront of calls for the minister to be fired, claiming he has failed to transform Treasury and that he is protecting the interests of white monopoly capital.

Mkhize said there was nothing wrong with disagreeing with Maine's view, but it was unfair to call it reckless.

"I don't know what is irresponsible about a comparison, we are saying don't sensitise the word izimpipi."

He said the league often doesn't hesitate to apologise if it is convinced that it has made a mistake, however, it doesn't feel that was the case in this instance.