Johannesburg - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is vital that the ruling party's December 54th elective conference takes place as there is plenty riding on it - including the relevance of the country's opposition parties.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the ANC Youth League's 73rd anniversary celebrations at the Hillbrow Theatre on Saturday.
"Even the opposition parties want this conference to go well because they know it is only when the ANC does well that they have a role to be in opposition. If this conference does not provide direction for the country, the DA, UDM, all of them will be lost. They won't know what to do. That is why they are looking at this conference and focusing on it and praying that this conference goes well," he said.
Speaking further on the conference Ramaphosa said while there was a lot of uncertainty in various sectors, people were looking for a conference that will be a big saviour for the country and emerging out of that conference an ANC that is united, renewed, rejuvenated, youthful, honest and has integrity.
He said the party would also use the conference going forward to discuss plans how to reclaim the Joburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay municipalities which they have lost to the DA, adding: "We will even go after Cape Town."
Touching further on the leadership that will be elected in December, Ramaphosa who had earlier addressed the second day of an all-inclusive conference for former uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) combatants said the party needs leaders who were prepared to put people first.
"The ANC is not a vehicle for self-enrichment or patronage.
"If you want to be a leader put the people of South Africa first and serve them."
He also warned that the party was in need of astute young leaders such as OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu who would put the interest of the people first.
"The ANC today needs the imagination, foresight and political clarity of the youth league of 1944.... We don't want youthful leaders who are stupid. We don't want youthful leaders who don't know their stuff. We want youthful leaders who know where to take the country to. Who are educated," he said.
ANC Joburg Inner City Zone secretary Sasabona Manganye was clear in his message to Ramaphosa: "We want you to lead with young people so that in 2022 young people can take over."
He, however, said old leaders with ambition need to understand that in a few years they will have no place to govern in the ruling party as there would be no space for them to occupy areas of leadership.
"Immediately after that, in 2022, we are going to affirm young people in positions. The politics are very young... you old people must be in the Veterans Council of ANC," he told Ramaphosa.
Meanwhile, former ANCYL NEC member Abner Mosase said the current problems plaguing the ANC was continuous greed and corruption.
"The ANC is a leader of society hence we must reclaim its core values. We must do the right thing in December and that right thing is to elect Ramaphosa as President. If we do not elect Cyril Rampahosa in December, society will us be angry at us. We need a leader who will understand that business, civil society, and politics must go parallel in order to salvage demands of our people," he said.