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Revolutionaries are needed to lead the ANCYL


Rebone Tau is a political commentator and author of The Rise and Fall of the ANCYL. She is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Pan-African Thought & Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg. She writes in her personal capacity.

Right now, as the national congress approaches, the ANCYL is at it weakest. The current NEC has really failed the young people of SA.

Is the ANCYL ready for its national congress, which is due in September as the term of the current NEC comes to an end?

We do not even recall when last the ANCYL NEC called for a press conference; we have not even had the leadership engaging publicly about the state of the readiness of the upcoming congress. The discussion documents have not been released to the structures; you would think that there was no congress in September.

The current ANCYL NEC has failed young people in the congress movement, not only those who are members, but also young people in South Africa.

In June the ANCYL NEC did not even have a youth programme; the current league’s NEC did not host the OR Tambo games during their term of office.

We have an absent ANCYL NEC in society. I feel sorry for young people as even the #FeesMustFall campaign was led by the students themselves. We are in this mess because some leaders within the ANC who wanted their stooges to lead, and the best among us are overlooked, as they don’t subscribe to politics of the stomach.

One wonders what did the outgoing ANC NEC that was elected at the 53rd Conference report to conference in Nasrec 2017 on the status of the league. They were given a mandate by conference in 2012 that the elected 53rd NEC must look into the matter of the ANCYL, which led to the disbandment of the ANCYL NEC in 2013.

Those who are contesting for leadership need to do some introspection: do they really love the league? It can’t be that people want to lead the ANCYL at all costs; the league is not ready for its national congress. The process of congress it is not an easy one, we know. Just for a branch to get a quorum it is not easy.

All we see is some ANCYL NEC members campaigning and having lectures while we don’t have an organisation – the league is at its weakest. Leading the ANCYL is no longer about serving the interests of young people. We no longer have activists leading the ANCYL, opulence in the league is the order of the day and that is what brought the downfall of the league.

Guidelines to congress state clearly that branch general meetings throughout the country should have started on 9 July 2018 and finished on 16 August to be followed by dispute resolution by 23 August.

It is high time that the ANC NEC engages with the ANCYL NEC. It can’t be business as usual. The league must account to the ANC about the status of the organisation, give a true and honest reflection. They owe it to young people in the congress movement. As the outgoing ANCYL NEC, they must also admit that they failed as a collective to champion the interests of young people as they have been preoccupied with factional politics within the ANC since their election into office.

When Ambassador Eddie Funde died earlier this year the ANCYL said nothing about him as they don’t even know how the current logo of the league came about. I don’t think that they know that Ambassador Eddie Funde led the ANC YSS delegation to the World Youth Festival in Cuba and was asked to speak on behalf of the youth of the world.

He shared the stage with Fidel Castro who was at the time the President of Cuba. We failed to celebrate the life of Ambassador Funde as young people. It is known how Mama, the late Winnie Mandela, had a soft spot for young lions; the ANCYL NEC also failed us again. Recently Ambassador Billy Modise died too, he was a former branch secretary of the league in Fort Hare. We also failed to celebrate him too in the league. I wonder how many members of the ANCYL even know who Patrick Molaoa is?

Political Education is needed in the ANC and not some online political school, we lack political discipline in the ANC. It’s high time that the ANC NEC takes political education seriously and invest in its comrades. People are recruited into the ANC and its leagues daily and some end up being elevated to leadership positions without understanding the congress movement and its core values. In 2012 the ANC said this was the decade of the cadre – the ANC NEC must ask itself if this is indeed a decade of the cadre.

The ANC must invest in its young cadres. We can’t have young people who are not revolutionaries leading the ANCYL, we are tired of opulence and populists who don’t care about the interests of young people of South Africa. The current ANCYL NEC is failing to champion the interests of young people. DM

Rebone Tau is a Former ANCYL National Task Team Member, writing in her personal capacity


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