THE BLOG

Dr Mathews Phosa: The ANC Cannot Afford To Abandon The Youth

It is up to the ANC to make it a priority that our youth wing is radicalised; is militant and wins the heart of the young people.

14/09/2017 11:08 SAST | Updated 14/09/2017 11:10 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters
Supporters of African National Congress Youth League [ANCYL] chant slogans during an ANCYL rally in Limpopo province March 25, 2012.

When one looks at the state our youth finds itself in, it is heartbreaking. Our youth is marginalised in all aspects. Youth development must take centre stage.

The ANC cannot leave the development of our young people in the hands of the youth league. The youth league after the expulsion of its tenth president and subsequent to that was the disbanding of the entire NEC has never really been the same. The youth league of the ANC is in its weakest state and this should worry us a lot as the ANC.

The twin tasks of our youth league are to champion interests of young people and rally them behind the banner of the ANC. The current youth league does not meet this task. As we commemorate the 73rd year of the history of the ANCYL we realise this is no longer the youth league of Anthony Lembede, of O.R Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

Everywhere we travel young people are complaining about the youth league, they tell us that this youth league belongs to a few individuals who have put the youth league in their pockets. The disbandment of youth league structures is the order of the day that tells you a lot of things are wrong.

We will be lying to ourselves if we think we can have a strong ANC when we leave the ANCYL to perish. The ANC at all times must be able to guide the youth league.

A strong ANCYL will pursue interests of youth people in education; work strongly with its PYA partners COSAS, SASCO and the YCL. Together these structures must ensure that young people have access to free and quality education. Our educated youth will easily participate in the main stream economy of the country; we cannot deal with high unemployment of young people if we are not equipping them with skills.

The ANC needs a leadership that will inspire confidence in our youth league and all young people in general.

It is the youth league that must ensure young entrepreneurs are supported by government departments and agencies. It is not enough that the youth league fights to get on the board of NYDA, then once they have few names on the board they take the eye of the ball, they must monitor the work of that agency and ensure that it is able to lure in other departments and agencies to prioritise that young people play a significant role in the economy.

When the ANCYL champions these and many other interests of young people this will automatically rally young people behind the banner of the ANC. It is up to the ANC to make it a priority that our youth wing is radicalised; is militant and wins the heart of the young people.

The ANCYL must never at any given stage allow itself to be dragged into factional battles within the mother body; it must refrain from acting as a group of henchmen as they were characterised by the Secretary General of the ANC earlier this year in one of his reports. The league should remain a critical body of opinion to advance the ideals of the ANC.

The ANC needs a leadership that will inspire confidence in our youth league and all young people in general, the youth are indeed the future of this country, as we approach our 25 five years of democracy we must work even harder to economically emancipate our people, and the best way to do that is to empower the youth.