New faces brought in to revive the ANC’s moribund Youth League
The new National Youth Task Team, which is expected to resuscitate the beleaguered youth wing of the ANC, has outlined its plans to help bring the body back to life.
The new ANC National Youth Task Team has announced its readiness to begin reviving the ANC Youth League, which is beset by a “plethora of challenges”. The task team’s mission was revealed at Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters, on Monday morning.
The task team leadership comprises former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter Thuthukile Zuma as a fundraiser, Nonceba Mhlauli as national convenor, Kgomotso Joy Maimela as coordinator and Sizophila Mkhize in the position of spokesperson.
The task team said it would prioritise discussions on the party’s step-aside rule. ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, who is facing charges of corruption, has been at the centre of this issue.
Magashule and 15 co-accused face 74 charges of fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering in connection with a failed asbestos project in the Free State. They are due back in court in Bloemfontein on 11 August.
Magashule was given 30 days to step down from his position in the party or face disciplinary action.
The task team demanded that ANC leaders Enoch Godongwana and Tony Yengeni be hauled before a disciplinary committee. “We will not watch as elders tear apart our glorious movement,” national convener Nonceba Mhlauli said.
The recent ANC NEC meeting ended in chaos after delegates disagreed on how party leaders charged with corruption should be dealt with.
Mhlauli demanded that action be taken against the NEC for causing embarrassment to the party. “They should all be embarrassed about what happened at the last NEC meeting. We expect them to sit and deal with the challenges plaguing the country and not hurl insults at one another,” Mhlauli said.
The NEC eventually agreed to request that all its members and officials facing criminal charges step aside or face disciplinary action. The step-aside rule has caused an uproar and has the potential to divide the party even further.
Apart from Magashule, many ANC members, including former president Jacob Zuma, are facing criminal charges.
The task team said those accused of corruption should face the full might of the law. Corruption, it said, especially during the pandemic, caused social disorientation.
It did not wish to become caught up in ANC factional battles, the task team said. “Please detach us from the squabbles of the ANC. All of us have committed to the task,” Mhlauli said.
Mhlauli said the task team would assess its structures to facilitate a rehabilitation of the ANC youth wing. It was committed to prioritising issues affecting young people in the country, she said.
One of the biggest tasks was launching and cementing structures, task team coordinator Kgomotso Joy Maimela, said. “We will lead various campaigns that will seek to address many challenges faced by young people.”
The task team said the ANC had given it six months to carve a path to take the Youth League to its next elective conference. The ANC was open to extending this period if it became necessary.
On the issue of positions, the task team was “committed to working hard for the party” and that it expected young people, particularly women, to occupy some of the positions. Most of the leaders of the task team are women.
The task team said one of its priorities was to get companies to stop demanding years of experience when hiring young people. “You can’t expect 10 years’ job experience from young people,” said Mhlauli.
The task team called on the ANC to fast track land restitution and vowed to tackle the scourges of racism and police brutality during protests.
It said it would work towards promoting unity within the ANC, saying the recent NEC meeting indicated the organisation was in trouble.
Magashule announced the formation of the task team last week, saying the party was fully behind the structure. He said the ANC NEC also supported the structure in its efforts to revive the embattled Youth League.
The Youth League suffered a body blow when the party axed former leader Julius Malema and others in 2012. It never fully recovered and its national executive committee was disbanded in 2019. DM