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15 Dec 2006 16:50
The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) announced on Friday it will hold its national conference in March 2008, at which it will elect its new leaders.
President Fikile Mbalula said this is to ensure that the current executive members have an influence on the outcome of the ANC elections, where a new president will be chosen during the ANC national conference in December 2007.
Mbalula was addressing the media in Johannesburg after the last ANCYL national executive committee meeting (NEC) for this year.
The ANCYL has thrown its weight heavily behind ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma to succeed Thabo Mbeki as president of the ANC.
“The ANCYL has political interest in the outcome of that election.
We want to influence and be influenced by the ANC conference.”
Mbalula said it would be “suicidal” to have divided attention by conducting its own elections ahead of the ANC national conference.
“We have positions that we are lobbying for.
The ANCYL will convene an extended NEC meeting in the first quarter of next year to prepare for both the ANC policy and national conferences.
“We are also currently engaging structures of the ANC about the issue of two centres of power, which is currently being discussed. If we are defeated we are defeated,” said Mbalula.
Postponing their conference to 2008 will be going against their constitution, as members are only allowed to serve a three-year term and not be over the age of 35 years. Mbalula is already 35 this year.
Doctor Tshwale, a member of the ANCYL national executive, said that the league will not be going against its norms by conducting elections in 2008, as their last national conference was held late in 2004.
“You will recall that the last elections in 2004 happened in August—and there were no complaints. There is a lot of work [that] is supposed to be done ahead of the ANC’s national conference. There is no time to have a parallel conference running in the same year,” said Tshwale.
In choosing a new leader the youth league said it will avoid members who abuse wealth accumulation to destroy the culture and traditions of the ANC by viewing the organisation as a “stock exchange” or “auction floor” where political votes for leadership are bought and acquired by the highest bidder.—Sapa
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