This is the view of senior ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Nocawe Mafu, after the past week saw young ANC members, including 25-year-old #FeesMustFall movement leader Nompumelelo Mkhatshwa, Nomasonto Motaung, 33, Moleboheng Modise, 34, Jane Mananiso, 35, and Mikateko Mahlaule, 35, sworn into the National Assembly.
The inclusion of young people into Parliament has also been a trend among parties such as the EFF, who boast 25-year-old Naledi Chirwa who was also among those who spearheaded the #FeesMustFall movement, while the DA has the youngest MP in 23-year-old Sibongiseni Ngcobo.
“These are young people of the ANC, therefore it will definitely have a positive role in making sure that the Youth League becomes vibrant and has a voice even in the corridors of power both in the legislature and everywhere,” said Mafu.
However, she said the incorporation of young people into leadership positions in the ANC was nothing new because the party believed in injecting young blood within its body of politics in Parliament and political structures.
“It assists the ANC as the leader of society to actually be able to say we are leading everybody, young and old.
"It is important to have young people, be it in politics or the private sector, because you ensure continuity because when the older generation exit then the young people would have learned from them and there is a sense of continuity,” Mafu said.
Kwazi Mshengu, chairperson of the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal, said that the presence of their young cadres in Parliament and the provincial legislatures bodes well with their agenda of fair representation of young people in positions of authority.
“This is so that the governing of the country also represents the real demographics and the population of South Africa which is getting younger and younger, so we are happy to see a number of young people in the legislatures and the national assembly,” Mshengu said.
He said that when he was sworn into the KZN legislature on Wednesday, he accepted the responsibility knowing that he was representing not only his generation but generations to come.
Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said that he does not see an opportunity to revive the Youth League in the incorporation of young ANC members into Parliament.
“What we might be seeing is just a strong generational mix within the mainstream leadership of the ANC as it’s already beginning to reflect where you’re seeing very younger people directly elected to the NEC instead of being members of the NEC through the Youth League,” said Mathekga.