Johannesburg - In a radical departure from the character of the ANC Youth League under Julius Malema, the ANC has now demanded a new league leadership that would appeal to young people on the basis of knowledge rather than “rowdy” behaviour.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the ruling party would not treat the league “casually”, because the quality of the youth league’s leadership today would determine the quality of the ANC’s leadership in 20 years’ time.
Confirming the dissolution of the ANCYL national executive committee (NEC) by its mother body at a media conference at Luthuli House on Monday, Mantashe said the league’s NEC was sacked because of ill-discipline.
“The ANC national executive committee resolved to dissolve the NEC of the ANC Youth League as a consequence of its continued ill-disciplined behaviour that brought the organisation into disrepute on numerous occasions. An interim team will be selected and put in place by the ANC’s national working committee.
“In respect of the pending provincial and regional conferences of the ANC Youth League, the NEC has instructed that they be stopped immediately with a view to the interim committee taking over and directing such promises,” Mantashe said.
He said it was impossible for the ANC to retain the youth league’s leaders because of their public perception.
He denied that the league and the Limpopo ANC provincial executive committee were being purged for disagreeing with President Jacob Zuma and demanding his removal as ANC president in Mangaung.
The unprecedented move by the ANC is likely to redraft the rules of engagement between the league and its mother body, after the Malema-led ANCYL terrorised, insulted and questioned the leadership qualities of several senior ANC leaders, including Zuma and Mantashe.
The ruling party needed to “do something drastic” to rebuild the league’s structures and instil discipline within its ranks, Mantashe insisted.
He added that this was why the ANC NEC had opted to rebuild the league from scratch, rather than simply replace Malema.
“We do not want a youth league that is a post-Mangaung youth league. We want a youth league that appeals to young people… You do not need to be rowdy to lead the youth league. We must emphasise knowledge,” Mantashe said.
He said the task team, comprising young people, would run the league’s affairs, rebuild its branches and take it to an elective conference. He said it would be given more than nine months to rebuild the league, adding “the youth league is important and we can’t be casual about it”.
Former ANCYL spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said they were not commenting on the ANC’s decision to dissolve their national executive.
However, insiders told The Star that the youth league’s national leaders were aggrieved about their sacking as they were already prepared to toe the ANC’s line.
Some ANC members believed that the sacking of the entire executive was a ploy to install Zuma supporters as new ANCYL leaders.
The ANC did not give an indication on when the interim structure would be made public.
But, according to insiders, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana was tipped to become the task team’s convener.
Deputy Minister of Communication Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and SA Students Congress leader Lazola Ndamase were among the favourites to serve on the task team.
“Pule Mabe will not be considered to serve on the task team because he is already an elected member of the ANC national executive committee,” the other source said.
Mantashe denied that the league had paid the price for challenging Zuma.
“You will recall that a decision was taken by the conference to look at the status of the youth league. If it is a purge, it is a purge by the conference,” Mantashe said.