‘Hitler post’ won’t hold Dlamini back

Student activist Mcebo Dlamini believes his 2015 Facebook comments about admiring Adolf Hitler will not stand in his way of becoming the next president of the ANC Youth League.

Dlamini announced last week that he would contest the league’s leadership race, going head-to-head with KwaZulu-Natal secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo and outgoing treasurer general Reggie Nkabinde.

A former University of the Witwatersrand student representative council president, Dlamini shot to prominence in 2015 when he sparked outrage with a Facebook post about his admiration for the dictator and claimed “every white person” had an element of Hitler in them.

His fitness to lead the league has been questioned because of those comments.

Dlamini told the Mail & Guardian this week: “Forget about that thing — we are now here. You can’t be taking us back to years ago. Those things were said in their own context and you have never heard us saying those things again.

“There were people who were uncomfortable with that and they blew this whole thing out of proportion. And until today we are still waiting to have a meeting with them. So forget about that thing.” Dlamini was removed as SRC leader because of his comments, but resurfaced months later as a leader of the #FeesMustFall movement.

Although he has solidified his place as a student leader, he’s at a disadvantage in the league, where he’ll be up against longer-serving opponents Nkabinde and Sabelo.

But Dlamini dismissed this: “The youth league has a stance it has taken that says graduates from university must not be asked those ridiculous things of work experience.

“Where were we supposed to take those credentials of leading branches when we were in class pursuing academic excellence?”

Should he be elected, Dlamini said he would focus on strengthening the league’s visibility among the youth and representing their needs.

Recently the league has been accused of being preoccupied with the ANC’s factional battles instead of representing young people.

Sabelo agreed that the league had been sidetracked by its focus on ANC issues and was willing to take some blame for this. In the lead-up to the ANC’s elective conference at Nasrec in December, he had been a loyal supporter of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s faction and was the first league leader to endorse her.

“People will have to judge me on the work I’ve done in KZN [KwaZulu-Natal] and what we have done to make the youth league relevant. And everybody agrees that the youth league has held the fort.”

The league will have to repair itself in time for the 2019 national elections to contend with the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command, which has made notable inroads in tertiary institutions.

The Student Command has won SRC

elections at the University of Johannesburg, the University of Cape Town and the former ANC strongholds of the University of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology.

But it surrendered its control of the universities of Limpopo and the Witwatersrand SRCs to the ANC-aligned Progressive Youth Movement.

Sabelo and Dlamini agreed that the EFF’s success was a cause for concern, but believed the league could win over young voters if it elected the right leadership and renewed itself.

“I am worried; I can’t lie to you and say I am not worried,” Dlamini said. “We need to do some self-introspection.”

Sabelo added: “The situation at some of the tertiary institutions is a cause for worry … Some of the students have given us a warning by saying: ‘Sort out your problems because we love the ANC, but if you continue having problems we will have no choice but to stay away.’ ”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Dineo Bendile
Dineo Bendile works from Johannesburg. Political reporter. BLACK. Dineo Bendile has over 2712 followers on Twitter.
Advertisting

Ndabeni-Abrahams lockdown debacle: What we know

The minister has to answer to the president after a picture was posted of her apparently breaking lockdown rules

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world