Johannesburg - The ANC is facing a revolt among its young members over its decision to disband its youth wing and replace it with what has being called a “useless” interim structure led by “lame duck” leaders.
The Star has reliably learnt that a group of young members are rallying together to “save” the ANC Youth League and restore its culture as a radical and militant organisation.
The disenchanted group have already held several secret meetings with the aim of resuscitating the ANCYL.
The clandestine campaign is said to be gaining momentum, with at least three ANC national executive committee members backing it. The NEC members are former ANCYL senior leaders. Their names are known to The Star but have been withheld.
Three sources familiar with the campaign to resuscitate the league independently corroborated each other in confirming the strategy. They accused the ANC of weakening the league by appointing “blind loyalists” to lead it, in the guise of a national task team.
The ANC last year disbanded the youth league – just a few weeks after the NEC gave the assurance that it would not be dismantled.
The move, which was seen as a purging of the vestiges of President Jacob Zuma’s opponents, followed the expulsion of the league’s senior leaders, including Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu.
The disbandment was followed by the formation of the ANCYL national task team, led by Mzwandile Masina, who has since been appointed as trade and industry deputy minister. This task team refer to themselves as the ANCYL. The daggers are now out for the ANC for dismantling the league.
“After the disbandment, we accepted our fate. But it’s now clear that there was an ulterior motive to turn it into a puppet organisation paying blind loyalty to the ANC and the government,” said one source.
Successive ANCYL leaders have always seen the league as the kingmaker, with great influence on who gets appointed to the ANC’s senior positions, including the presidency. The disgruntled said the league had lost this influence.
“Mzwandile Masina has never taken the issues of the ANCYL seriously. He doesn’t know anything about its constitution or its administration, except to defend some leaders to advance their ambitions to go to Parliament,” said the first source.
“How can you say (Public Protector) Thuli Madonsela is the agent of the DA and imperialism when she is doing her job? We can’t continue like that. If we are not going to have a radical and militant league, who will save the ANC?” asked the source.
Said another source: “There is a culture of purging, gate-keeping and all things that led to the ANCYL being disbanded. But the league must remain the breeding ground for future members of the ANC. It must remain a militant youth wing of the ANC, and if that is not the case, the ANC might wither away.”
ANCYL national spokesman Bandile Masuku dismissed the group’s claims, saying they were confused.
The ANCYL is expected to hold its national conference in September.