The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is hopelessly incapacitated by the same factionalism and power battles that ailed its mother body, an expert says.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga was responding to news of a bizarre protest held outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday by a few hundred ANCYL members who called for the disbandment of the body’s national executive committee (NEC), citing old age and claiming the group’s term had technically ended.
According to Mathekga the group may have a point, but he doubted this move was anything more than a push from a faction of the ANCYL which was competing for more power over another.
The group, calling itself the ANC Youth Revivalists, demanded to speak only with ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, refusing to hand over a memorandum of demands to ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete.
“When I heard the story today I had almost forgotten about them,” said Mathekga. “It’s more like a show of what the ANC has come to. It is not about principles, they are all contesting power within the youth league. It is not different from the culture in the ANC which is more like various interest groups competing for power rather than a single entity with a central shared value system.”
The ruling party’s youth wing was already a shadow of its former self when a court declared the institution bankrupt and liquidated it last year after it amassed R15 million in debt.
President Collen Maine, who turns 38 this year, has been criticised along with other members of the body’s national executive for accepting leadership positions despite being older than the 35-year benchmark.
A member of the rogue group, Kolobe Mamabolo, expressed concern at the unlikelihood of the 26th national conference of the ANCYL taking place in the next three months, given the internal battles within the organisation. Mamabolo believed only new leaders would ensure the event takes place this year.
“There was some love letter issued by the current deputy minister of home affairs [ANCYL NEC member Njabulo Nzuza] that there would be a conference in three months,” said Mamabolo.
“That is impossible because we have got leadership that is expired so it is not going to happen. Like we said, our immediate task is to dissolve and disband the ANCYL.”
The ANCYL spokesperson was not available for comment at the time of publishing.