Mthethwa, who is also the arts and culture minister and member of the ANC national executive committee, said at Luthuli House yesterday: “Anybody qualifies to be a member of the youth league if they are between the ages of 14 and 35.
“The constitution is clear that ANCYL members should be from the age of 14 to 35. If you are 36-years-old, you cannot be a member of the youth league.”
Mabe, the former ANCYL treasurer-general, is 35 and if elected, his term as president would lapse in 2018, when he is 38.
Attempts to contact Mabe yesterday failed.
Mabe enjoys support in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Free State and North West. The ANCYL in Gauteng has thrown its weight behind him.
Other front-runners for the position include former youth league national coordinator Magasela Mzobe, former youth league president Ronald Lamola, National Youth Development Agency deputy chairperson Kenny Morolong and Lesego Makhubela, ANCYL’s Tshwane region chairperson.
The youth league, which has a membership of about 400 000, has been without a sitting president since Julius Malema, now leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, was found guilty of sowing division in the party and bringing it into disrepute in April 2012.
The youth league is expected to elect Malema’s replacement at a conference scheduled to take place between June 25 and 28 in Gauteng.
“We are on track for the congress,” said Mthethwa. “The auditing of members has been completed.”
About 3 000 delegates are expected to attend the congress.
Mthethwa said the ANC wanted to see the youth league rejuvenated.
“We want the youth league [to] represent young people,” he said. “We want to see ANCYL driven by devotion to a cause.”
Mthethwa added the “roar of the young lions” was missed.
Last year, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe roped in Mthethwa and former youth league presidents Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula to help the league prepare its congress after the national task team was disbanded and the elective congress adjourned.