WATCH: Cyril Ramaphosa calls recent ANC Youth League ’an embarrassment’
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Polokwane - ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa, says the ANC Youth League of the past few years has been "an embarrassment."
He added that as the youth arm of the ruling party looks to rebuild, they should never revert to that embarrassing state of factionalism and paralysis, proper branches are built and social media squabbles among leaders of the league cease henceforth.
Ramaphosa said this on Friday while addressing a Peter Mokaba memorial lecture in Polokwane in front of hundreds of ANCYL members from Limpopo and across South Africa ahead of the January 8 statement taking place on Saturday.
Ramaphosa described Mokaba, the former ANCYL youth leader, as a disciplined soldier and pleaded with current members of the league to emulate him.
Ramaphosa was expected to deliver the lecture inside the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane but it was delayed by over two hours following a number of unruly youth who battled with officials regarding accreditation.
To salvage the lecture, interim leaders of the ANCYL organised an outdoor stage, mounted on a van, where Ramaphosa addressed the youth while observing Covid-19 protocols.
“The youth league must never go back to a situation that it has been in over the past few years. It has been an embarrassment. While we headed to the elections, the youth league was absent. The ANCYL was present. I must congratulate you (youth) especially here in Polokwane for having a resounding performance in the elections,” said Ramaphosa.
He further said: “The youth league needs to unite the youth of our country to revive and rebuild the wing of the ANC through our branch constitutions.The ANCWL needs must be a youth league that leads young people in South Africa and breaks down barriers.”
Ramaphosa stressed discipline, adding that the youth league should not become paper branches by only issuing press statements in newspapers, social media or on the radio while swearing at each other.
He said he has seen people claiming to be ANCYL members fighting on social media.
“That must come to an end, we must have branches of the ANCYL, that’s what I want to see. I want to be able to know and say that our youth league has risen from the ashes like the disciplined Peter Mokaba.”
Ramaphosa said he was pleased to see a large turnout, saying the spirit of the league was still in their “chests.”
He said as they all headed to a conference to elect leaders, candidates should be selected carefully, they should be capable and focused on advancing the interests of young people not themselves.
Thabo Mabotja claimed success in getting the president to speak to the group outside the planned venue. He pointed out that “Slay Queens” were getting access instead of people who had been volunteering for the ANC for years.
On Thursday Ramaphosa walked out before he could address a number of ANCWL for the Lilian Ngoyi Memorial Lecture. NEC members and state security (SSA) deputy minister Zizi Kodwa said the event organisers had not observed Covid-19 regulations and they had nothing to fear.