'An ill-disciplined lost generation' - Zuma slams ANCYL
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday lambasted the ANC Youth League, saying its members conducted themselves as if they were a lost generation and that their behaviour was unacceptable.
His comments come as the ANCYL in Free State boycotted the provincial conference at the weekend, claiming it was illegitimate.
Zuma said there was a vast difference between the league of its heydays and the current one, in that it raised issues "comradely" and never disorganised meetings or insulted leaders.
"Only those who don't have the ANC in their blood will do so [boycott an ANC conference]; only those who don't understand and believe in the ANC," Zuma told delegates in his closing remarks at the ANC Free State conference.
Zuma said like the youth of the 1950s, it was important to know the role of the ANCYL and not for its current leaders to create a new role that never existed.
"They never attempted to shape the ANC outside there ... in slogans and meetings that you cannot describe," he said.
Zuma was referring to a Saturday rally organised by the ANCYL in Bethlehem. The league boycotted the elective conference that took place in incumbent chair Ace Magashule's hometown, Parys, claiming it was illegitimate.
He paid condolences to the families of those who died in a bus crash returning from "this gathering of some sort".
He said "those comrades would have came back and the chair (Magashule) would have engaged and persuaded them, showed them the way in how the ANC leads and lives".
"I'm not certain whether the youth of today is anything that inspires."
Zuma said each generation of youth carved its own niche, adding that the youth of today had a critical duty to defend the gains of the Struggle. "That is the task, I can't understand any other task."
In an oblique attack on expelled youth league president Julius Malema, Zuma
said: "The ANC must discipline anyone equally, those who think they can bend around the Constitution for their own selfish ends must be dealt with."
Malema was expelled for sowing division within the party, after comments he made on toppling the Botswana government, among other charges.
Zuma gave the Free State conference his blessings, saying it was convened constitutionally, criticising those who differed as conducting themselves in an "un-ANC" way.
He said the ANC leadership had gone through a meticulous process of addressing complaints by individuals and branches, to the extent of postponing the conference at least three times. "I am very happy that Free State held its conference. It was within the parameters of the ANC constitution," he said.
Zuma has the backing of Magashule for his bid to be re-elected ANC president in Mangaung in December. - Nhlabathih@sowetan.co za