Chaos, killing mar revival of young lions
Johannesburg - Efforts to revive the once-vibrant ANC Youth League have hit a snag following a string of chaotic and violent clashes, including the killing of a member this past weekend.
As a result, the ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) has cancelled all its planned meetings with ANCYL structures throughout the country.
The infighting within the ANC's youth wing escalated at the weekend when the organisation's Tshwane member, Lethabo Nkoana, was gunned down during one of the meetings following a fight among members who attended the event.
The NYTT, predominantly composed of ANC members of the national executive committee (NEC), was established by the ANC’s top brass in July after it dissolved the national structure of the young lions.
It instructed the task team to rebuild the youth structures ahead of its conference scheduled for March next year.
Since its establishment, the NYTT has conducted “youth assemblies” with the branch, regional and provincial structures throughout the country in a bid to assess the state of the organisation.
These gatherings have, however, been marred by disruptions.
On Sunday, NYTT convenor Thandi Mahambehlala, said the task team was alarmed by the violence which resulted in Nkoana’s killing.
Another member was also seriously injured and subsequently rushed to a hospital.
“The cadres' assembly was adjourned as a result of disruptions and after the adjournment violence escalated outside the venue of the meeting leading to the killing of a comrade Lethabo Nkoana,” Mahambehlala said.
She added: “The NYTT is treating this matter with urgency and the necessary sensitivity and urges all those with information with regards to this matter to report all information to the police.”
In a video clip seen by Independent Media, ANCYL members can be seen entangled in a scuffle and hurling chairs at each other inside the Hammanskraal meeting venue.
Mahambehlala said the NYTT has since called off all its meetings until further notice. Last month, some of the NYTT meetings in Limpopo degenerated into chaos as violence erupted, resulting in their cancellation. Two cars were burned and members of the NYTT were forced to flee one of the meetings as factional fights continued to plague the organisation.
“This tragedy comes at a time when those who are determined to derail the organisation from its renewal process are heightening their activities and we implore every member to be vigilant of these counter-revolutionaries and criminal elements within our movement,” Mahambehlala said.
The organisational woes of the once-powerful ANCYL have been compounding ever since the expulsion of then-president Julius Malema in 2013. The presidency of Collen Maine, from 2015 until the ANCYL dissolution in July this year, has seen its political influence declining.
As part of the preparations for its national elective conference, the ANCYL has committed itself to verifying the legitimacy of its membership database across the country.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said on Sunday that no arrests had been made for Nkoana’s death.