In a veiled reference to the Economic Freedom Fighters, Ramaphosa said: “You must defend the ANC leadership at all costs, against individuals who are unruly who do not show respect. As the youth you must take them on, after all they are of the same age group as you. You know who they are.”
Ramaphosa was speaking at the ANC Youth League’s Freedom Charter Forum in the Pietermaritzburg city hall on Tuesday. He also challenged the organisation to be more inclusive of all the country’s ethnic groups.
“You must get young whites, young Indians and young coloureds to be part of the league because the freedom charter is about non racialism,” said Ramaphosa in a hall where there was only a handful of Indians, coloureds and whites.
This was not the first time that Ramaphosa has expressed worries over the racial makeup in the ANC as he made a similar observation at the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association national general council a couple of weeks ago.
Ramaphosa called for fresh ideas on how economic transformation could be achieved. He warned against the dangers of simply brandishing slogans for the sake of having a slogan.
“We expect youth league members to understand our economy, how it functions and hear of the alternative ideas brought forward. If you do not know what Gross Domestic Product of the country is, then you will not be able to influence discussions,” Ramaphosa said.
He admitted that the ruling party was still battling to give meaning to the freedom charter’s clause of the people sharing in the country’s wealth, citing areas such as manufacturing, agriculture and mining as the key areas that government was looking at for economic growth.
Ramaphosa, who congratulated the youth league on electing new leaders without drama, promised that the ANC would always provide support to ANCYL as it was crucial in the development of the ANC.