‘Stokvel of elders masquerading as youth leaders,’ says ANCYL crisis committee

African National Congress (ANC) flag. Picture: Gallo Images / Thapelo Maphakela

The ANC youth league has struggled to hold a conference since 2018.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has until a newly imposed deadline of 30 November to convene a national conference after a leadership vacuum left it limping.

This is the fourth date set by the National Youth Task Team (NYTT) – a group of ANC seniors – since it was established after the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was disbanded in 2019.

In a statement, the NYTT said 40% of branches had been verified, but that some provinces and regions had not submitted members.

The task team, headed by ANC national executive committee (NEC) members Tandi Mahambehlala and Sibongile Besani, added that two weeks would be dedicated to submissions and membership renewals.

The process will then be succeeded by branch general meetings and branch annual meetings.

“The national congress will be convened on the basis of branches, however provinces and regions which are ready for congress will be allowed to sit before congress.”

The NYTT said it would also embark on a “Ziveze” campaign for members to check their membership and share disputes.

On Sunday, members of a faction of the youth league calling themselves the crisis committee, staged a picket outside Luthuli House and handed over a memorandum of demands.

The committee is calling for the disbandment of what they say is purposeless “stokvel of elders masquerading as youth leaders” and for members of ANCYL provincial executive committees in each province to be removed.

“Having noted that the ANC is committed to playing marbles with the youth league, and undermine its constitution and that of the youth league, the crisis committee has resolved to initiate a legal process against the ANC, demanding a declaratory order and interdicts against the NYTT and all ANCYL PECs.

“We have therefore instructed our legal sub-committee, comprised of members of the ANCYL, to initiate the legal process,” the group said.

In 2019, the ANC NEC heeded the call of many young members for a national task team to be established in its place. The NYTT was then established.

However, many members of the structure did not approve of the task team’s members and found that they were too old to address challenges faced by the young lions.

At the time, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the NEC appointed a task team which had people who had organisational memory “because the only mandate of this task team is to take the youth league to the conference”.

Many in the structure, however, felt that the task team was illegitimate and made up of elderly ANC members.

The league was left bankrupt when the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of then-Western Cape premier Helen Zille who sought compensation in a defamation case. It was then forced into liquidation.

The case relates to an incident in 2010 when Julius Malema, Andile Lili and Floyd Shivambu allegedly referred to Zille as a racist.

The youth league has struggled to hold a conference since 2018.

This was the second dissolution of the structure. Malema (now the leader of the EFF) was president of the previous structure in 2012.

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