Thanduxolo Sabelo File picture:Sibonelo Ngcobo/The Mercury
Durban – In a move signalling the ANC Youth League’s seriousness about “radical economic transformation”, it is demanding that 40% of government construction contracts be set aside for youth and local communities.

But the youth leadership at its provincial conference yesterday said this was still not enough. It wants the main contracts given to these groups, and in turn they should subcontract.

It is demanding 10% more than has been put forward by the national government.

The youth league elected its new provincial leadership at its conference, which was held at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban from Friday.

Kwazi Mshengu was elected as the new chairman, Thanduxolo Sabelo retained his position as provincial secretary, Thembela Hlabangane is deputy chairman, Nomfundo Zwane-Dlamini the deputy secretary and Thobelani Ncamphalala is the treasurer.

The issue of setting aside part of the work in construction for local communities has been topical in recent days with eThekwini Municipality releasing strict guidelines on how this will be handled.

“We want the issue to be legislated, we do not want its implementation to depend on the mood of the officials,” said Mshengu.

He said 40% was not enough.

“What we want is for the contracts to be given to the youth companies, and they will be the ones who will be sub-contracting.

“If they are not ready, they should be capacitated to be able to do the work.”

The new leadership also implored the youth to make Ithala bank their bank of choice.

The provincial government plans to develop a state financial infrastructure with Ithala bank central to those plans.

It was proposed that league members should pay their membership fees to Ithala bank, which was welcomed by most delegates.

“We want the licence of Ithala bank to be expanded so it can operate across the country,” said one of the delegates.

“There should be new technology like the use of cellphone banking so the bank would be attractive to the youth,” he said.

However, other delegates believed there would be challenges with the proposal.

“The challenge is that where we come from in the Hlabisa area, there is no such Ithala branch,” said one.

“If I need to pay my membership fees, I would need to travel about 50km to do so. I propose that the Department of Economic Development should prioritise the rehabilitation of small towns and putting up infrastructure there,” he said.

The youth league also passed a resolution that it would support former AU Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the position of ANC president in the party’s conference in December.

“This is a special resolution that came from this conference. We will be lobbying the national leadership on this position,” Mshengu said.

The Mercury