Opinionista Rebone Tau 29 March 2018

Meritocracy must rise in the ANC Youth League

It is in the best interest of the ANC for the ANC Youth League to go to its national elective congress this year, as the mandate of the current ANCYL NEC is coming to an end in September.

The ANC can’t be talking about a youth vote while we, as young people, are led by the current ANC Youth League NEC, which does not even inspire confidence in some of its own members. How can they get the youth vote for the ANC if some of their members have lost confidence in them?

The current ANCYL NEC has been bypassed by too many events in the past and has failed when it comes to its role of implementing the twin tasks of the league, which are to champion interests of young people and rally them behind the banner of the ANC.

We need a militant and vibrant ANCYL. We need a vocal league that will talk on issues affecting young people and not be used to fight elders within the ANC as we have seen in the past.

We have had an ANCYL of a faction within the ANC and not a league of the ANC which will claim its space in society and make sure that they become the mouthpiece of young people in South Africa.

Meritocracy must rise in the ANC Youth League if we want to see a league which brings new ideas in the ANC. It must be in the best interest of the current ANC NEC to have a league which is alive and hands-on at all times.

People must lead based on merit and the capacity that they have to assist in rebuilding the league’s image in society. Well-off young people must take a back seat as we need young men and women who are activist and grounded to lead the league.

The best among us must lead the ANCYL. There are so many members who have been overlooked because they don’t subscribe to politics of the stomach and are not seen as puppets.

Now it is the time for the playing field to be levelled and some ANC leaders must stop interfering in who must lead young people as we have seen in the past. The disbandment of the ANCYL NEC really killed the ANCYL generation which was clear in its mission as a generation and it will take some time for the league to reclaim its space in society.

At this upcoming congress, young people must be allowed to define their own mission and rectify some of the mistakes that happened in the past.

Progressive young people must rise to the occasion and fight for the soul of the league. They must not allow elders to use them to fight battles within the ANC. Now is the time for patriotic young people within the league to rise and fight.

We need an ANC Youth League which will have robust and frank debates and actually do research and base their arguments on facts. Let me quote Che Guevara when he said:

Our youth must always be free, discussing and exchanging ideas concerned with what is happening throughout the entire world.”

We need young people who are knowledgeable and prepared to learn more to take the baton from the current ANCYL NEC. It can’t be business as usual going to the upcoming ANC Youth League national elective congress as we have seen in the past. We must learn from our past mistakes if we want a league that will be relevant to its constituency as we prepare for the upcoming national general elections, as it is a contested terrain. DM

Rebone Tau is a former ANCYL NTT member who writes in her personal capacity

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