'Thank you fOr your support'
ANC President Jacob Zuma yesterday lauded the youth for the historical role they have played in the liberation of this country.
"The very formation of the ANC Youth League more than six decades ago changed the course of our history and marked a seminal moment in our struggle against apartheid", Zuma told the thousands of delegates attending the ANCYL's 23rd national conference at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein yesterday.
Zuma highlighted the role that the youth within the ANC played in the 1940s, turning the ANC from a moderate organisation into a revolutionary movement that played a major role in bringing democracy to the country.
He said in the 1950s and 1960s, when the ANC launched the armed struggle, the youth had swelled the ranks of Umkhonto We Sizwe.
During the 1970s, it was once again the youth from the black consciousness movement who provided organisational and ideological direction to the liberation struggle, Zuma pointed out.
He said the youth's current responsibility was to agitate for job creation and access to education.
He said the ANCYL, given the mass support its mother body enjoyed, was better positioned to lead the campaign to better the lives of young people.
Zuma also used his address to thank the ANCYL for their support during his trials and tribulations. The ANCYL supported him during his rape trial. The league also mobilised support for him in his contest for the ANC presidency against President Thabo Mbeki.
Yesterday he said the support the ANCYL gave him "demonstrated the true meaning of comradeship, and a commitment to the supremacy of the country's Constitution."