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ANC’s national youth task team continues to spiral, with a member taking the party to court

A member of the ANC’s national youth task team (NYTT) is taking the party to court, challenging the validity of the age of youth league members. 

In an application at the high court in Pretoria, Xolani Matinisa argues that the office of the secretary general of the ANC has failed to remove people older than 35 years from the ANC youth league’s task team, adding that this is inconsistent with the instruction from the ANC’s national working committee.

The league was disbanded in 2018 when it failed to elect a new leadership to succeed that of Collen Maine. The national executive committee (NEC) wanted a much younger task team to ensure the young lions go to the conference.

The last task team was ordered to take the young lions to their elective conference in March; however, the challenges arising from the national lockdown necessitated another delay.

The Mail & Guardian previously reported that six of the NYTT members were expelled from the structure by the deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, after it emerged that they were older than 35 years of age. 

Duarte initiated an investigation to verify the legitimacy of the task team members’ ages. All task team members were called to submit their IDs to prove their age.

The M&G reliably learnt that a letter by Duarte was sent to Renae Sengani (Limpopo), Mfanafuthi Ngwabe (KwaZulu-Natal), Lesego Makhubela (Gauteng), Xolani Mgxoteni (Eastern Cape), Sonto Mguni-Malapeng (Mpumalanga) and Boitumelo Setlogelo (Northern Cape).

The NYTT’s Matinisa argues that the secretary general’s office exempted 18 ex-officio members from the scrutiny and the threshold of being younger than 35 years. Thus, the office failed to implement the resolution of the NEC. 

The ANC appointed 34 youth league members and 18 ex-officio members to the NYTT. 

The 18 ex-officio members are former secretaries and chairs of provinces. Some of these ex-officio members are between 38 and 42 years old. 

“It is evident from the respective dates of birth for the listed NYTT members that at the time of their appointment to the NYTT, their membership of the youth league lapsed when they turned 35 years old, a milestone which occurred prior to the appointment,” Matinisa said in his affidavit. 

“It, therefore, follows that since these members were no longer eligible for the ANCYL membership at the appointment by virtue of old age, they do not meet or satisfy the underlying requirement prescribed by the resolution of first respondent’s national executive committee in order for members to serve in the NYTT. This effectively renders the 17 members concerned non-compliant and, therefore, liable to be removed from the NYTT, on this basis alone.” 

He adds that as a result of the failure by the secretary general’s office to apply the NEC resolution properly and consistently, the current composition of the NYTT is irregular, saying that it does not accord with the founding resolution of the NYTT and the youth league’s constitution. 

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Duarte said additional members could not be left out of conference preparatory processes, even if they were over the age of 35.

Duarte told the news station that a national conference being put on by an interim committee needed an already existing infrastructure to see it through.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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