Elders rely on ANCYL to stay in power – Can the youth save the ANC?

Analysts weigh in on the role of the newly elected ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and their connection to the ANC's pursuit of power.

The newly elected ANC Youth League (ANCYL) will be used as foot soldiers to make sure the ANC elders remain in power, despite their failures in the past, according to analysts.

On Sunday, while delivering closing remarks at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg following the 26th ANCYL congress, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the newly elected ANCYL leadership to come up with ideas on how to lure young people to vote for the party in 2024.

Ramaphosa told delegates during the 26th ANCYL congress the party must become attractive to the young people.

“You are the motive force that we long to have so that we bring out our people in their millions to support and vote for the ANC to ensure an overwhelming victory in 2024,” he said.

“You must rebuild the ANCYL …and mobilise for the decisive victory of the ANC. Now that there is an elected leadership of the ANCYL, there will be new impetus to mobilise young people on behalf of our movement.”

Political analyst Prof Sipho Seepe said the ANC government wanted power rather than being obsessed with delivering.

Seepe said the calls by Ramaphosa was about young people being used as soldiers to make sure the elders remained in power, even when they have failed.

“What he is saying is that you guys must save us. The youth league must decide what it wants to be. It can be a lackey of the leadership that is failing young people, or it can come up with their own plan of action in the same way Julius Malema’s ANCYL was determining the future,” Seepe said.

“The ANC is failing young people – young people must discover their own mission and they can not be told what that mission is. This shows that we have a crisis of ideology and that we have a president who does not understand the mission of the ANC.”

He said the mission of the ruling party was about the liberation of black people in general and Africans in particular.

However, right now, Africans were in an economic bondage.

“This is what the ANC used to exist for. But for Ramaphosa, the ANC’s existence is for him to be in power; it is no longer about changing the society.

“For young people who are political, it should be an insult for the president to ask them to help the ANC to deliver votes. Young people should be concerned about the conditions of black children,” Seepe said.

“The ANC is no longer interested in the revolution; it is no longer interested in changing society from being an apartheidinformed society. Black people are trapped in poverty, unemployment and landlessness.”

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Another political analyst, Xolani Dube, said the newly elected leadership of ANCYL would not be able to deliver on Ramaphosa’s calls because they, themselves, were part of the young people who were suffering under the ANC government.

Dube said the new leadership was searching for greener pastures in the ANC.

“When you have about 80% of people unemployed, you can not expect anything from such a population except survival instincts. They [ANCYL] are not there because they just want to check if they can extract anything from this organisation,” he said.

“The politics of pre-apartheid are gone. We live in a fully capitalist society – it is about the survival of the fittest. What Ramaphosa was doing was paper-covering but there is a big hole and the league cannot do it if the ANC itself has failed.

“There is nothing we can expect from the league. What votes are they going to deliver?”

ANCYL president Collen Malatji said the request of the president was not an easy task as they were new in office.

“We do not have time to waste; we must immediately go on the ground and work and mobilise young people behind the ANC.”

READ: ANCYL needs stop selling its soul to the elders and fulfil its mandate to survive