Youth league must toe the line
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.