The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) has granted ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members’ wishes by calling for the league’s disbandment.
A growing number of “young lions” have been calling for the removal of leaders elected at the league’s 25th national conference in 2015. They have asked its mother body to replace “old” leaders with a national task team that will take it to its 26th conference.
News24 understands that the NWC granted the wish for the collapse of the league’s beleaguered national executive committee during a meeting on Monday. This, amid growing calls from party members for the renewal of the ANCYL.
Following a hiatus, Collen Maine was elected ANCYL president in 2015, along with his deputy, Desmond Moela, secretary general Njabulo Nzuza, deputy secretary general Thandi Moraka and Reggie Nkabinde as treasurer general.
Their term of office lapsed last year and they failed to take the league to conference so far. Some members have even accused the leaders of using the league to advance their personal political careers.
In April last year, ANCYL leadership hopeful Ndumiso Mokako accused the wing’s top five of excessive gatekeeping, sidelining those who held different views, and only focusing on branches in the lead up to congresses where leaders would be selected.
Four out of the five are now serving in the National Assembly or provincial legislature. Nzuza was recently appointed Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.
Throughout their tenure, they were also criticised for failing to live up to the standards young members of the party had for the league, which has a rich history of producing firebrands and influential leaders who have been respected in society.
Instead, the five were often accused of being “henchmen” and “proxies” for some of the elders in the mother body.
An NWC official told News24 the decision to dissolve the league was due to its failure to take the branches to conference in 2018, despite three attempts to do so, with logistics and finances often blamed for the delays.
“It’s a reasonable and valid request to ask for a disbandment,” said one ANCYL NEC member, who spoke to News24 anonymously and said that he supported the move.
He said it was time to revive the league and ensure it becomes both relevant and credible.
In an attempt to help the Youth League in 2018, the NEC set up a task team to administrate and oversee the preparations for the conference. This task team was led by party secretary general Ace Magashule and included prominent former ANCYL members Dakota Legoete, Pule Mabe and Zizi Kodwa.
However, not all league members are happy with the composition of the task team.
“We don’t want a national task team that is composed of the elders. Zizi and Dakota are part of the administration,” said a second NEC member.
He said youth leaders under the age of 30 should be given the responsibility to lead the process, naming popular party members such as Zuko Godlimpi and Ekurhuleni’s Collen Malatji as options to include in the national task team (NTT).
This will be the second NTT appointed in the last 10 years, after the ANC disbanded its league in 2013 following the expulsion of then president Julius Malema, who is now the leader of the EFF.
Other youth league members have voiced their concerns at having to start over again.
“A disbandment is a distraction. It takes too long to start the process over and by the time the league is ready, a year or so would have passed,” said one ANC member.
He described the move as lazy and a short cut, which the ANC should avoid.
It’s a view which others on the youth league’s NEC disregard, saying it’s possible to set down terms of reference that ensure the conference goes ahead within three months.
An Eastern Cape provincial task team member also ruled in favour of the disbandment, saying the league is present in regions and wards, which would make it easy for the task team to take the organisation to a conference.
“There is no other way around it. The NEC is forced to disband. What makes the decision easier is that the regions and wards are ready to go to conference. Our problems are in provinces and nationally,” said the Eastern Cape party member.
He added that starting over placed the youth league in a better position to revive it and to eliminate members wanting to “enter and manipulate (processes) through the back door”.
The decision is expected to form part of the agenda when the NEC meets in Cape Town next week.