The ANC Youth League has denied that it had made plans to boycott Friday’s official Freedom Day celebrations, which will take place at the Dr Rantli Molemela stadium in Bloemfontein and will be spearheaded by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The president will deliver the keynote address as the country marks 24 years since the first democratic elections.

Some within the party pointed to a poster promoting a Youth League Freedom Day soccer tournament in Jacobsdal, Xhariep as an attempt by young people within the governing party to undermine its president, who is also the head of state.

“They just want to humiliate the old man,” said a source from the embattled province.

The source added that those who were close allies of the former provincial chairperson and premier Ace Magashule, still did not like Ramaphosa.

The province backed Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the ANC’s president during the party’s watershed elective congress in December, but she was defeated. However, the province’s bid to see Magashule ascend to the secretary general’s office was successful.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa elected ANC president

“They want to see what happened to [Jacob] Zuma in Bloemfontein happen to Ramaphosa,” said another ANC insider, who lobbied for the latter to become president of the 106-year-old liberation movement.

Zuma was booed by thousands of people during a Workers’ Day rally in Bloemfontein last year.

READ: Cosatu cancels May Day rally as Zuma is hackled and asked to step down

The insider also told News24 that they believed there was a plan in place on Friday to treat Ramaphosa in a similar manner as Zuma.

“They want to create a picture that it’s us, who supported his ascension to power, who are behind the booing,” said the ANC member.

No plans to boo the president

The ANCYL’s provincial chairperson Makalo Mohale denied the claims and said their Freedom Day celebrations were planned long before it was announced that Ramaphosa would be speaking in Bloemfontein.

“We deny and condemn claims that we want to boo the president. It cannot be, that we would do such a thing. It is wrong,” said the provincial chairperson.

Mohale said he would only join celebrations in Xhariep after the official celebrations.

“I, the chair will be at the stadium in Bloemfontein listening to our president,” he told News24.

The youth league will be in full support of the president, continued Mohale.

Mohale said the Xhariep event would still go ahead on Friday, in an attempt to cater for those who could not travel to Bloemfontein for government’s official celebration.┬á He added that he would deliver a keynote address at that event on Saturday.

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