Youth league must toe the line

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NH­LA­BATHI hlengiwe.nh­la­bathi@city­

The ANC has laid down the law, warn­ing its youth wing that the lead­er­ship elected at its congress will have no choice but to toe the line.

In an ef­fort to dis­man­tle the legacy of for­mer ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Julius Malema, the mother body has em­pha­sised that it would not tol­er­ate any de­vi­at­ing pol­icy po­si­tions.

This means the league will be kept on a tight leash and can­not re­open dis­cus­sions on the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of mines and the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with or with­out com­pen­sa­tion, res­o­lu­tions adopted by the dis­banded lead­er­ship steered by Malema at the league’s 2010 na­tional gen­eral coun­cil.

These were the con­tentious res­o­lu­tions that pit­ted Malema against the ANC lead­er­ship and partly led to his ax­ing and the dis­band­ment of the league in 2012.

ANC na­tional task team co­or­di­na­tor Nathi Mthethwa said “toe­ing the line”, or con­form­ing, did not mean the league should not be mil­i­tant. But the mother body would not tol­er­ate its poli­cies be­ing con­tra­dicted.

The league could not act as it wished and as if there were no rules, he said.

“They have to toe the line. This means do­ing things ac­cord­ing to the pre­scripts of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Any or­gan­i­sa­tion will never tol­er­ate any peo­ple who de­fine them­selves out­side the line of the [pri­mary lead­er­ship],” Mthethwa told City Press.

“It does not mean the league must be cow­ards and not be able to ro­bustly raise things in the ANC.

“The dis­tinc­tion has to be made that what the ANC will never tol­er­ate is a youth league that po­si­tions it­self as the op­po­si­tion,” said Mthethwa.

“What will not be al­lowed is for the league to stand on the moun­tain­top and shout at the ANC.

“No­body is go­ing to al­low that or tol­er­ate a youth league that po­si­tions it­self as the op­po­si­tion.”

Asked how the ANC would man­age to keep the league to what was ex­pected, Mthethwa said the idea was to deepen po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

But he was hope­ful that the new lead­er­ship had learnt from the mis­takes of their pre­de­ces­sors.

In­ter­ac­tions had re­vealed that there were “some chal­lenges”, but they were be­ing dealt with, he added.

Mthethwa said the league would need to work hard at cham­pi­oning the needs of the coun­try’s young peo­ple, who had, for the past three years, had no voice be­cause the league’s ab­sence had left a vac­uum.

“We want to deepen that learn­ing so that they be­come bet­ter peo­ple for the fu­ture.”

A po­lit­i­cal school to be headed by for­mer pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe had yet to be built be­cause of fi­nan­cial is­sues, said Mthethwa, but the po­lit­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of mem­bers would be in­ten­si­fied.

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