A crowd of disgruntled members of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was on Friday protesting in Pretoria at the venue where the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was meeting, demanding the immediate disbandment of the league’s provincial and national leadership led by Collins Maine.
Bongiseni Dladla, a coordinator of the ANCYL Revival Movement, said: “We are simply saying take us to a national conference, and we can elect comrades who can take the Youth League to its former glory. The is a lot of talent in the ANC Youth League… we don’t understand why we must keep these old crooks in the Youth League when they are old, illegitimate, and unconstitutional.
“We are members of the Youth League from the North West, KZN [KwaZulu Natal], a bus has just arrived from the Eastern Cape… I can tell you we are members of the Youth League from across the board. No non-member could just come here for no reason. These are genuine members calling for a process to establishment of a once-powerful Youth League.”
The top structure of the ANC, the NEC, is holding its meeting, which ends on Sunday, at the St George Hotel in Pretoria.
Groups of party youths from various provinces, calling themselves the ANCYL Revival Movement, are pressing to have the league structures dissolved and new task teams appointed leading up to a national elective conference.
The long-overdue elective conference for new leaders has been postponed numerous times, reportedly due to a lack of quorum and unaudited branches.
The last elective conference was held in September 2015 in Johannesburg, where the incumbent Maile was elected president.
The disgruntled ANCYL members have previously held marches to ANC offices in their respective provinces including the party headquarters, Luthuli House, in Johannesburg, where they handed over memorandums of demands.
Maine has been labelled an “elder” by the members, who want him and his executive committee gone.
They accuse him of “burying” the “weakened” ANCYL by concentrating on ANC factional battles instead of fighting for the youth, the majority of whom are unemployed and unable to access higher education.
Maine is reportedly against the dissolving of ANCYL structures and instead wants to deliver a political report at the next conference.
The ANCYL has lost ground at tertiary institutions, with the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command gaining popularity and winning some of the Student Representative Council elections.
– African News Agency