The Youth League of the African National Congress’s (ANCYL) official Twitter account was briefly taken over by an unidentified hacker on Wednesday morning who called for the body to be disbanded.
The hacker claimed they were doing this in an effort to “protect people from themselves” through a “principled call to disband the ANCYL”.
The hacker then went on to claim that the account was not hacked and that there were just “angry at old people” – a reference that many believe is in relation to the age of ANCYL president Collen Maine, who is 38.
The account seemed to have been briefly retrieved by the ANCYL who deleted the initial offending tweets but the hacker fired off another message.
“Whoever is deleting our tweets, you are not going to silence us,” tweeted the hacker.
A tweet claiming to be from the official ANCYL communications office stated that the account had been hacked and asked followers to disregard all the posts that had been sent out earlier.
They also claimed to be working with authorities to resolve the matter.
This show of defiance comes hot on the heels of calls for the ANCYL national executive committee (NEC) and provincial structures to be dissolved.
There have even been marches by disgruntled youth league members in demand of these changes.
In addition, there have been calls for the long overdue congress to elect new leadership and these calls are gaining momentum.
The protests are being led a group from various provinces, calling themselves the Revive ANCYL Movement.
Thabo Mabotja, one of the group’s leaders from Limpopo, said ANCYL members did not recognise the leadership led by president Collen Maine.
“We have support for the disbandment in provinces and are engaging the ANC on this issue, not the ANCYL. Part of our complaint against the ANCYL is that the leaders do not have a constitutional mandate anymore – theirs expired in September 2018. We will not engage the ANCYL because by doing so, we would be legitimising them. They are illegitimate,” said Mabotja.
Maine and team were elected in 2015. At least two of the leaders, Maine and secretary general Njabulo Nzuza, were appointed members of parliament after the May 8 elections. Maine has been accused of “burying” the weakened ANCYL by concentrating on the ongoing factional battles within the party’s mother body instead of fighting for the youth, majority of whom are unemployed and unable to access higher education.
In an interview with the weekly Sunday Times, Maine said he wanted to deliver a political report at the conference to elect new ANCYL leaders and was therefore against the dissolving of the ANCYL NEC.
On Friday, ANCYL members marched in Limpopo and handed over a memorandum at the provincial ANC’s Frans Mohlala House and later did the same in Gauteng at Luthuli House.
Speaking to PowerFM last week, Eastern Cape youth league member Zuko Godlimpi said with 35 as the cut-off age in the league, Maine, aged 38, along with other leaders were elders who should not be allowed to converge an ANCYL elective conference.
“Collen is an elder, and not a young person. If Collen convenes a youth league congress, it would be an elder organising a congress for young people. Our argument is that the constitution of the ANCYL is the one that sets the parameters of legitimacy. The reason we are calling for disbandment is because we want to reinforce the constitution and its legitimacy. The sitting ANCYL NEC doesn’t have that legitimacy.”
ANCYL spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said on Monday that the matter was now subject to internal processes in the ANC as disgruntled members would not meet with the ANCYL leadership.