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'ANCYL campaign against banks must continue'

Politics
Durban – The campaign started by members of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) against Absa and other banks must be "sustained and extended", KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairman Sihle Zikalala said on Friday.

“The revelation of banks’ collusion on fixing and manipulation of the rand should not be allowed to be downplayed as the South African media is doing. We appreciate the campaign initiated by the ANCYL against Absa but it should be sustained and be directed to all [banks],” Zikalala, who is also economic affairs MEC, said at the opening of the league’s ninth provincial congress in Durban on Friday night.

The event started five hours late with heavy security of over a dozen private security guards carrying rifles. All food and drinks brought in by delegates and media was confiscated at the entrance to the venue, with a catered dinner being provided instead. Zikalala said the campaign against banks would need “young and energetic” people to sustain it.

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Members of the ANC Youth League protest inside an ATM vestibule of Absa. They say the bank is benefiting from an apartheid-era bailout. Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

“The parents of the young people were robbed by these banks and that had an impact on how young people were able to get a better life.” There were no so-called "born frees", as youth and their families were victims of apartheid secret operations benefitting from "white monopoly capital".

“The ANCYL should focus its efforts of dealing with this matter because if the counter revolutionary wins it will mean no realisation of the good and progressive struggle of economic freedom in our lifetime, as espoused by the ANCYL.

“The ANCYL will require a quick but well-crafted strategy of reclaiming its position in the minds and hearts of young masses in the country and in our province in particular,” he said.

Zikalala said the ANCYL congress was being held at a time when the ANC was under “heavy siege” by counter revolutionary forces being led by "white monopoly capital". “

The ANC and its leadership, especially the president, have been under constant attack. The issue of the Guptas capturing the state is just a contest of emerging bourgeoisie and the well-established bourgeoisie.

“The [establishment] in the name of Ruperts, Anglo-American, and others are protecting their territory being entered by people like the Guptas. Ours is not to defend any of the monopolies, but to fight for the poor as the discipline force of the left.” He said the leadership to be elected at the ANC's national conference in December should be principled and firm when confronting factionalism. It also needed to be committed to radical economic transformation.

“[The new leadership] must determined to consolidate our relations with Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] and protect our national interests and acknowledge and defend the centrality of the movement as the leader of society and government.”

He urged the youth league to use its congress to concentrate on the politics of what was needed to advance the national democratic revolution instead of focusing on candidate names for the national conference.

The congress ends on Sunday. A new provincial youth league leadership was supposed to be elected on Friday night but it is unclear if this happened given the lengthy delay.

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