/ 19 January 2023

If ANCYL is serious about tackling SA’s energy crisis, they’ll join DA’s march to Luthuli House

Luthuli House.
ANC Luthuli House in Pixley Ka Isaka Seme St, Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) appears to have once again found its rusty voice. Mute on growing youth unemployment, deepening inequality and lack of access to opportunities for more than two-thirds of young South Africans, the league’s national leadership put out a statement condemning the DA’s planned march on 25 January to the ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House, in what can only be described as a vitriolic rant. 

While their profanity is hardly surprising, I can’t help but spare a thought for the ANCYL as they too are incapable of defending the ANC’s epic failure in managing Eskom and other collapsed state-owned entities (SOEs). 

The DA’s march to Luthuli House is an opportunity for honest, hardworking South Africans to take their pain and frustrations to the seat of the organisation that orchestrated them. 

While some people may criticise the DA’s planned march to Luthuli House and want to dismiss it as politicking, the truth is that South Africa’s economic woes are solely a result of the ANC’s corruption, bad policies and patronage. 

The DA has for years called out the ANC’s cadre deployment policy which sits at the heart of the systematic destruction of our SOEs, including Eskom. The DA warned against broad-based black economic empowerment, which continues to enrich a select group of ANC-linked fatcats through inflated government contracts. These red flags were sadly ignored by the kleptocratic ANC-led government, resulting in 15 years of rolling blackouts.  

The ANCYL does not have to take my word on the horrifying state of our country’s SOEs, all they have to do is look at the Zondo commission of inquiry report on state capture. Here, the ANC’s dirty laundry is laid bare for the world to see. The report narrates countless horrifying accounts of fraud and corruption by ANC cadres at Eskom, including instances where major contracts were organised for the fortuitous benefit of their beloved Gupta family. 

The ANCYL’s attempt to downplay the simple and clear fact that their party led us all to this point is quite laughable. The comic relief doesn’t end there. They go on to admit that our energy crisis is a “national crisis”. Well, of course, it is a crisis. But not a natural disaster like Covid-19 or major like the Durban floods. It is simply the result of the ANC’s neglect, incompetence, mismanagement and corruption. 

The country has been dealing with load-shedding for over 15 years now, yet we have never seen the ANCYL standing up against this catastrophe. The DA is offering them an opportunity to fulfil their generational mission by actually doing something that positively impacts the lives and livelihoods of young people across South Africa. Join the march to Luthuli House. 

However, it seems that the ANCYL is more invested in the ANC’s factional politics than the economic upliftment of young people. Shady old-looking folks who seemingly always fool us into believing that they are under 35 also have their hands firmly in the cookie jar. It’s the only plausible conclusion to come to that can rationalise their deafening silence at what they concede is a “crisis”. 

One only has to read Rebone Tau’s book, The Rise and Fall of the ANCYL, to see how far the youth league has fallen. How shallow and pedestrian they have become. Tau attributes their fall squarely on the league’s failure to resist the factional mother body’s politics of “it’s my turn to eat”. 

The DA’s march to Luthuli House is urgent and demands that all South Africans stand together and take back power from a party that stole theirs. It doesn’t matter which political party you belong to and it is not a matter of race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s to raise our clear voices loud enough to move the ANC-led government to some action. At least until the multiparty coalition takes over the country in 2024 and the ANC is relegated to the opposition benches. 

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Mail & Guardian.