/ 31 March 2006

ANC needs ‘quiet, disciplined’ cadres

Echoing the message of his last weekly newsletter, President Thabo Mbeki on Friday called on members of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) to serve the people of South Africa ”with no expectation of reward in terms of personal wealth, power, position or prestige”.

The missive comes as the ANC experiences a rift between supporters of the president and those of former South African deputy president Jacob Zuma, who is facing separate charges of rape and corruption, in what could be a long-running struggle for the succession to the presidency in 2009.

Members of the ANCYL have largely backed Zuma to date, blaming his downfall on conspiracies among Mbeki supporters.

Writing in the latest edition of ANC Today, the party’s weekly newsletter, Mbeki said ANCYL members have a responsibility to act in the mode of their predecessors by helping mobilise South Africa’s youth to act together to achieve social transformation and improve their level of competence in all fields, while also helping to entrench the value system that inspired earlier generations.

He held up the example of Solomon Mahlangu, a famous member of Umkhonto weSizwe who was hung by the apartheid government at the age of 23 on April 6 1979, noting that the anniversary of his death is rapidly approaching. The president also cited the examples of the founders of the ANCYL in 1944 and the league members of 1976 who helped mobilise and unite the youth behind the ANC revolution.

”The gift of freedom bestowed on our people by the sacrifices of the youth of 1944 and 1976 has placed the additional responsibility on the youth of 2006 to defend and help entrench the value system that inspired the earlier generations of our youth,” wrote Mbeki.

”That value system was based on a set of moral injunctions that prescribed that our revolutionary youth must be inspired by one objective and one objective only — to serve the people of South Africa, with no expectation of reward in terms of personal wealth, power, position or prestige.

”The ANCYL, the rest of the progressive youth and our movement as a whole have a revolutionary duty to honour the memory of Solomon Mahlangu, the martyrs of June 16 and the pioneers of 1944 by focusing on the uncompleted and ‘great purpose and mission’ of the ANC — which is to secure the genuine and all-round emancipation of all our people within the context of the vision spelt out in the Freedom Charter.

”Those who act in a manner contrary to the noble and heroic example set by Solomon Mahlangu, the martyrs of June 16 and the pioneers of 1944, and seek to divert us away from the daily struggle to realise the goal of the genuine emancipation of our people, necessarily define themselves as being outside of and separate from the mass movement for the fundamental social transformation of our country.”

The president added that in conclusion that the mass movement needs cadres who have the humility to serve the people as ”quiet, unassuming, disciplined” young people who are ”defined by their practical deeds rather than deceitful words”. — I-Net Bridge