Defend Truth


ANC bosses are alienating the party’s young supporters


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.

Branches of the ANC Youth League were not taken into confidence regarding its liquidation – and members have many difficult questions for the party’s leaders.

Young people need to rise and fight for the soul of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). It is clear the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) has no interest in helping the league to be rebuilt. Two national task teams were appointed by the ANC NEC in the name of rebuilding the league – one in 2013, and another one in 2015 which was led by ANC NEC members only. Then, in 2018 the ANC NEC appointed a task team to help the youth league’s NEC to prepare for its national congress which was supposed to sit in December 2018.

In 2013, the ANC NEC disbanded the ANCYL NEC and a task team led by Mzwandile Masina, which included three ANC NEC members – Mcebisi Skwatsha, Pinky Moloi and David Mahlobo – was appointed. The task team members were replaced by Malusi Gigaba, Fikile Mbalula, and Nathi Mthethwa in 2o14 and they delivered the 25th ANCYL NEC under the leadership of Collen Maine as the president of the ANCYL in September 2015.

Under Maine, the league was liquidated, but league members only got to know about this through a letter written by Secretary-General Ace Magashule to Mpoyana Ledwaba Inc Attorneys on 12 July 2019. It pains one to see this, and one wonders why the league was liquidated when there was an ANCYL NEC.

Branches of the ANCYL were not taken into confidence regarding its liquidation and members have many questions.

Why did the ANC NEC allow the league to participate in the list process of parliamentarians of the ANC if it is liquidated? Why did the league’s president and secretary-general sit in on the meetings of the ANC NEC?

The ANC NEC does not take young people seriously. The task team appointed in 2018 appears not to have even tabled a report to structures of the ANCYL explaining why the congress did not take place in 2018.

The ANC NEC continues to appoint task teams in the hope of getting different results. The current ANCYL national task team appointed by the ANC NEC is an insult to young people. What was the logic behind the appointment of the latest task team? It can’t be that young people sit back in the name of being disciplined while the ANC NEC is killing what is left of the ANCYL.

We can’t continue to be told that the ANCYL is in a rebuilding process since 2013 when we can see that the ANC NEC does not care about rebuilding the league. The latest ANCYL task team is a clear sign that the ANC NEC does not care about the league. The ANC NEC must tell us if they want a desk or a radical ANCYL. Did Julius Malema leave with the ANCYL? That is what the league’s members need to ask themselves during this difficult period.

As young people, we need to ask the ANC NEC difficult questions. We have kept quiet for a very long time in the name of being disciplined, and decisions have been taken on our behalf by the ANC NEC. We know that in 2012 the ANC conference gave a mandate to the then ANC NEC elected leadership to deal with the ANCYL matter that led to the disbandment, but they never reported to the conference in 2017 on the status of the league.

History will judge us badly for being cowards and not fighting for the soul of the ANCYL. We sacrificed our youth for the ANC. When our friends were having fun we continued to work door-to-door. Is this the thank you that the ANC NEC is giving us? What kind of an ANC are we going to inherit at this rate?

If we don’t stop this madness, which is an insult to the young people who died fighting for the liberation of this country, we will be seen as sell-outs. How are we going take this county forward if the ANC NEC takes decisions that don’t make sense for the future of the ANCYL?

Let’s call a spade a spade – the rush for the ANCYL national congress is for Thanduxolo Sabelo and Sifiso Mtsweni, who are both graduating soon from the ANCYL when they turn 35. This is not a genuine process to help rebuild the ANCYL. What is the rush to have a congress at the latest by January 2020? The rush is not for the ANCYL but for ANC factional battles going to the National General Council of the ANC in June 2020.

We can’t continue to hold back when the ANC NEC is creating this mess in the ANCYL for their own selfish interests and without applying their minds. One wonder if the ANC NEC understands that it is losing the youth vote due to a weak ANCYL that is the creation of the ANC NEC and not the doing of young people.

ANC support has dropped even in KwaZulu-Natal, and we have seen the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) grow between 2014 and 2019. We are here to serve the young people of South Africa and not to nurse our egos. Young people, let’s unite and reject the national task team, as we have seen in the past how national task teams led by ANC NEC members have failed us.

We need to rebuild the ANCYL. If we are not rebuilding the league, the ANC NEC must be honest that it wants to finish off the ANCYL so we can go home and close shop. We are not here for deployment and positions; we are here to champion the interests of young people in South Africa. Aluta continua. DM


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