‘Youth must ponder if ANC is right vehicle to lead SA’
Johannesburg - National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board chairperson and member of the now-disbanded ANC Youth League’s national executive committee, Sifiso Mtshweni, has warned that leading the youth league is not a popularity contest.
“For the Youth League to revive itself, it does not need a beauty contest. It does not need a contest of names or that Mcebo (Dlamini) walked from Pretoria to the Union Buildings and therefore he can be a leader.
"No. What the Youth League needs is for us to have a sober discussion about the future of this country and look at whether the ANC is still the correct vehicle to lead the aspirations and the future of this country,” he said.
Furthermore, Mtshweni said, if the league’s parent body did not pull its socks up, it would plunge itself into further ruin.
Mtshweni, whose name has been thrown in the hat for candidates who could lead the crisis-ridden structure, was speaking in an exclusive interview with Independent Media just two months before his tenure at the NYDA comes to an end.
Parliament has already initiated the process of sending nomination lists that will be later sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new board - which Mtshweni may yet again lead if he is called up.
Speaking on the negative publicity the ANC has garnered over the past few years, he said: “The ANC cannot continue to be an organisation that is in the papers for the wrong reasons. There is corruption, the Zondo Commission and whether ministers are flying business class or economic class.
"Those things do not matter to a young person who is sitting on a street corner. What matters is whether their future in this country will be secure under the vehicle of the ANC.”
Commenting on the ruling party’s decision last year to disband the Young Lions, he said: “I think the ANC is beginning to lose ground. I think it sometimes takes decisions that are not informed. That is my view. If young people are restless and raise certain views, your first response is to dissolve them. It’s wrong. They (senior leaders) took a wrong decision to dissolve the Youth League because the same league they dissolved is the same one giving them a headache in Parliament.”
Mtshweni’s remarks also come amid the ANC National Youth League Task Team again postponing the Young Lions’ much-anticipated conference to May.
In giving reasons for the conference being postponed, the convenor of the task team, Thandi Mahambehlala, highlighted that there had been glitches concerning, among other things, branch and membership credentials in the various provinces.
The firebrand leader also pointed out that urgent action was needed by the ANC to claim its place as the only party to help South Africans.
Asked whether he would serve as president of the Youth League, Mtshweni said: “I’ve always been a youth and student activist. I’ve got quite rich credentials within the league and the ANC.
“I was humbled to realise that there are those structures who felt that I could lead the Youth League.”