Task team riles ANC youth league

Shaka Sisulu, grandson of ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu. (Gallo)

Shaka Sisulu, grandson of ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu. (Gallo)

Along with former national executive committee members they are accusing the ANC's top brass of appointing their cronies, who know nothing about the youth league.

The team was announced by the ANC this week after the party's national executive committee (NEC) disbanded the league's NEC last month, citing "ill-discipline" as the reason.

The task team will be led by the Gauteng Film Commission chief executive, Mzwandile Masina. Also included in the team are Shaka Sisulu, grandson of ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu, and Braam Hanekom, ANC NEC member Derek Hanekom's nephew.

A former youth league NEC member asked why, if the ANC's intention was to rebuild the league, its leaders were including "cousins" who never participated in youth league leadership structures.

The ANC spokesperson, Keith Khoza, said the task team members were appointed purely on the basis of their proven leadership. "They are not partisan in any way," he said.

"That some of them are relatives of ANC NEC members doesn't mean that they can't be charged with the responsibility of leading.
People were elected on merit and not because they were related to anybody. It is not a permanent structure. The youth league will have an opportunity to elect its own leaders at a conference once their structures are functional."

But the former youth league NEC member said: "We were hoping it was not going to be factional. The league has been reduced to a mere desk which must dance to the tune of ANC leaders. Young people are going to sit home and not vote."

Pro-Zuma structure
An ANC NEC member sympathetic to the task team said it was "mischievous" to label it a pro-Zuma structure. "If they were a faction, Maropene Ntuli [from the disbanded youth league NEC] would not have been part of this," he said.

The youth league's Northern Cape provincial chairperson Shad­rack Tlhaole said his province was happy because of the inclusion of Bongiwe Gigaba, a member of the Northern Cape provincial legislature, and Maropene Ntuli, a board member of the National Youth Development Agency.

Both Gigaba and Ntuli hail from the Northern Cape.

"The fight we had with the ANC around the national conference and the issue of [expelled youth league president] Julius Malema is now behind us," said Tlhaole. "We hope the task team won't be an entity to destroy people. We are meeting them on Saturday and we'll hear what they have to say. I don't necessarily care who leads the youth league. We are more concerned about the elections."

A member of the youth league who was not part of the disbanded leadership warned that the task team was going to find it "very ­difficult" to work with the league's structures.

Unhappiness has already started spreading in the organisation because it says the task team is made up of Zuma loyalists. One youth league member described the team as a "conveyer belt" for the Zuma-led ANC leadership.

"They disbanded the youth league leadership because they said it was problematic. But the lower structures are genuine, so why are they talking about reviving the youth league?" he asked.

"The disbanded youth league NEC had a mandate from congress. Which mandate is this task team going to implement? These disbanded guys have entrenched themselves on the ground."

Charles Molele

Charles Molele

Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012).
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  • Mmanaledi Mataboge

    Mmanaledi Mataboge

    Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice.
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