ANC Youth League president Collen Maine. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - The ANC will have a difficult time attracting the youth vote ahead of next year’s elections if the current Youth League national leadership is not changed.

This is according to disgruntled members of the ANCYL who have accused the league’s national executive committee under Collen Maine of lacking credibility among young people.

This comes as calls are growing for the national executive committee to be disbanded, as lower structures are accusing it of being too old and deliberately delaying the national conference which has been postponed numerous times.

While some structures have been reluctant to officially come out in their call for disbandment, some members marched on Luthuli House on Friday to vent frustrations and loss of confidence in their national leadership.

Regional spokesperson Thabiso Hlongwane said Maine and his collective would compromise the ANC campaign.

“We must have a task team that will be formulated by young people to prepare election work for the youth league ahead of 2019. If the ANC does not act now they are running a risk of becoming irrelevant. I mean you find (EFF leader) Julius Malema everywhere. Opposition generally is on our neck and it is using our own strategies but we have opportunists within our ranks who want to advance factional interests,” he said.

Hlongwane has refuted Maine’s claims that the failure of the sitting of the conference was due to not meeting the quorum, adding that no communication was coming to structures to explain the problems.

ANC Gauteng provincial chairman Matome Chiloane said the structure would go ahead with its own provincial conference immediately after the ANC’s 107th anniversary rally scheduled for January.

Chiloane said branches in the province have sat and met the required quorum.

“Our weakness has always been administrative and not lack of political will. We want to go and give way to younger people.

“We have taken a decision to ignore Collen Maine when he says conference cannot sit. Now we are going to take Gauteng to conference,” Chiloane said.

He said the challenges included disagreements over who must be deployed to oversee structures.

Chiloane said the disgruntled members who called for the dissolution of the national structure had the right to make the demands in protection of their organisation.

“The decision lies with the ANC NEC to dissolve the national leadership structure of the youth league, but members are allowed to make that call and raise their frustrations. The NEC of the ANCYL might decide to dissolve itself. If there is a grievance that is raised by members, the ANC must responsibly listen to it,” he said.

Both Maine and ANCYL secretary general Njabulo Nzuza did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

ANC acting national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said only secretary-general Ace Magashule - who could not be reached - could respond on behalf of the task team set up to assist the youth league to hold its conference.

Political Bureau