Pretoria - The ANC’s newly elected leadership is to meet urgently to decide on the future of its youth league.
This was the mandate given by delegates at the ANC’s conference in Mangaung on Wednesday.
It follows a failed bid to get delegates to back a call to have the league’s national leadership under acting president Ronald Lamola disbanded.
Lamola stepped in after former league president Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC.
The call for the current national executive to be disbanded came during one of the commissions debating the ANC’s organisational renewal on Wednesday night.
Delegates from Mpumalanga raised the matter and, it is understood, were backed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape during a session that saw heated debate.
When no consensus could be reached the matter was referred to the plenary session following the commissions.
Delegates resolved that the newly elected national executive committee (NEC) should intervene urgently.
Commission rapporteur, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, said: “The motion (to disband the youth league’s membership) was put to conference, but after discussions it was decided that the NEC must meet to discuss the matter and also look at resolving the issues.
“The youth league is an important structure of the ANC, especially as the majority of voters are under the age of 35.”
She said it was an “important and urgent matter” which the NEC would look into. Potgieter-Gqubule said the NEC would look at the national and provincial structures of the league to assess the state of the organisation “and their behaviour towards the ANC”.
A debate over the league’s autonomy - and the control the ANC has, or should have, over it - has been raging ever since Malema started striding across the political stage.
Malema was decisively dealt with by the party’s disciplinary machinery, his expulsion not only stalling his political ambitions but also destabilising the league, which refused to elect a new leadership, insisting that he was targeted because of his opposition to President Jacob Zuma.
A youth delegation this week failed to raise from the conference floor the issue of Malema’s expulsion.
As the highest-decision making body in the ANC, his expulsion could have been set aside if such a proposal was backed by more than half of the delegates.
Malema has lost support both within the ANC and its youth league.