DA youth in disarray

Mbali Ntuli, a former leader of the DA Youth, believes the young party members have a big role to play. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Mbali Ntuli, a former leader of the DA Youth, believes the young party members have a big role to play. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Democratic Alliance’s youth wing is in danger of falling apart, the DA Youth interim chairperson said this week.

Yusuf Cassim, who also serves as the party’s MP for higher education, said there were few structures in place and these comprise representatives who were not very active.

“If I resign as well, the entire structure will collapse. It’s not sexy work but it’s necessary work,” Cassim said.

According to the DA’s constitution, a youth congress must be held every two years and one should have been held in May last year. 

The last youth congress was held in May 2013. Its leader at the time, Mbali Ntuli, resigned in August 2014, resulting in the organisation’s then federal chairperson, Cassim, being made the interim leader.

The Mail & Guardian reported in August 2014 that the party’s youth wing was in disarray, with representatives in only three of the nine provinces and no budget allocated for its leaders to meet, despite the party’s donor-funding reserves and large budgets for mayoral bids.

At the time, the DA said it had been focusing on the 2014 general elections and would rebuild the party’s youth structure once the elections were over. 

Two years later, the DA’s “main area of focus for now” is on the forthcoming local government elections.

Cassim said the situation regarding the youth wing would improve once the DA holds its youth congress.
This would be immediately after the elections due to take place some time between May and August this year.

Ntuli, a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature handling the basic education portfolio, said: “I do ... feel that there’s a huge space for the DA Youth to fill, especially as we’re seeing a vibrancy of youth movements on the ground right now.” 

Nelly Shamase

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