Meet the ANC Youth League’s new top guns

Re-elected ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is a national figure, but his new fellow officials are less well known. Mmanaledi Mataboge and Matuma Letsoalo profile the other members of the league’s “top five”.

Sindiso Magaqa: Secretary general
Newly elected ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa (27) sees deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as his role model. But he shares a love of singing with President Jacob Zuma.

This was evident during the league’s weekend conference, when Magaqa often led delegates in struggle songs. Softly spoken and shy, Magaqa is said to hold radical views.

Born in Idisi village in KwaZulu-Natal, Magaqa joined the ANC Youth League in 1997 and was elected branch chairperson a year later. He also served as chairperson of the ANC’s Harry Gwala branch and, until the conference, was deputy provincial chairperson of the league. He has administrative experience in local government, having worked as special project manager in the Umzimkhulu municipality.

Ronald Lamola: Deputy president
Growing up on a small farm in Mpumalanga, Ronald Lamola said he didn’t regard politics as a career. The sole connection he had with the outside world was a tiny Omega radio that belonged to his father, a farmworker. He says his father instructed all members of the family to listen to the news and it encouraged an interest in politics. “What dominated the news then was the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the first democratic election and Codesa [the Convention for a Democratic South Africa]. It became interesting,” he said.

He joined the ANC Youth League in 1996 at the age of 14. In 2004, after being enrolled as a student at the University of Venda, he was elected SRC president and later became provincial chairperson of the South African Students Congress in Limpopo. He served as the Young Communist League secretary of the Gert Sibande region between 2008 and 2009, before joining the youth league’s provincial executive committee.

A lawyer by profession, Lamola serves as spokesperson for Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. But this may come to an end after he defied the premier’s instructions to support Gauteng youth league chairman Lebogang Maile’s challenge to Julius Malema for the league’s presidency.

Kenetswe Mosenogi: Deputy secretary general
Little is known about Kenetswe Mosenogi, the new deputy secretary general of the ANC Youth League and the only woman in the top five. Unlike former secretary general Vuyiswa Tulelo, Mosenogi seems to shy away from taking a position on anything, including gender issues.

A former councillor of the Tlokwe local municipality in Potchefstroom, Mosenogi was not re-elected in the municipal elections. She says she’s using her time off to focus on part-time MBA studies at the University of North West. She holds a diploma in financial information systems from Unisa.

Mosenogi built a national profile in the ANC Youth League when it deployed her as a national executive committee (NEC) member to the Free State, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga. She has served on the league’s NEC since 2008.

Pule Mabe: Treasurer general
Mabe has been the league’s treasurer since 2008. Under him, the organisation’s finances have improved from a disclaimer to a qualified audit report. “Our income is increasing and our expenditure is decreasing,” said Mabe. “We need to ensure that we meet our budgetary commitments.” Beyond this, the 31-year-old former journalist and businessman flatly refuses to discuss ANCYL finances.

He was in charge of organising the league’s first business networking lounge at its weekend congress. Mabe said the lounge generated “good money”, but refused to disclose how much. He led the charge to raise the R37-million to pay for the conference.

During his first term as treasurer, Mabe helped close the league’s controversial investment arm, Lembede Investment Holdings, and sold off its assets. Mabe owns a publishing company, KG Media, which also runs a journalism training programme. He holds a national diploma in journalism from Tshwane University of Technology and is studying for a master’s in business administration.

For the latest on the ANC Youth League conference click here:

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