Protests put a damp squib on ANCYL anniversary celebrations
As the ANC Youth League celebrated its 76th anniversary at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters on Thursday, its disgruntled members staged a march on the event as they called for the ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) appointed to revive the embattled organisation to be removed.
The ANCYL was marking 76 years since its founding in 1944 by the pioneering general of young political leaders who infused militancy and mass character into the ANC during the struggle.
Once a powerful and influential force within ANC policy and succession debates and in SA’s public political affairs, the organisation has now been relegated to perpetual irrelevance due to internal paralysis and dysfunction over recent years.
The disgruntled members were unhappy that the ANC had chosen to appoint members of the governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) instead of young people into the task team when the ANC disbanded the ANCYL national structure due to paralysis last year.
The NYTT’s failure to hold the scheduled national elective conference in March this year has further emboldened many ANCYL members to reject their work including the celebrations they organised on Thursday.
NYTT spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize said the task team had no choice but to celebrate the anniversary despite the challenges of rebuilding the ANC youth wing.
“Challenges are there, but as part of fixing the challenges, we need to celebrate this day as it is a reminder of the ANCYL that was formed back then in 1944,” Mkhize said.
This year’s anniversary was themed “Conceptualising rebuilding and renewal of the ANCYL”, but the disgruntled members have stressed the NYTT was not representing them in its programmes and work.
Former ANCYL president Lulu Johnson, who is also part of the NYTT, said the beleaguered ANCYL had to be urgently revived.
Johnson said the ANCYL was crucial, not only for championing the interests of young people but for growth and political sustainability of the ANC and its alliance.
Johnson said the NYTT had to work with speed to take the ANCYL to its elective conference as the youth body had enough young people who were able to lead it.
“I have a strong view that we have young men and women out there who can champion these programmes with distinction, raising a question of the need for speeding up of taking the ANCYL to the conference before we ourselves as the NYTT are chased away by the very same owners of this organisation,” John said.
The ANCYL conference is only expected to take place in March next year according to the NYTT.