'ANC Youth League needs mix of ages'

Outgoing ANC Youth League secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza.
Outgoing ANC Youth League secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Leaders seeking to be in the top leadership of the ANC Youth League must include a mixed bag of all age groups, not just those who are about to reach 35 years old.

The cut-off age to be an ANCYL member is 35 years.

This was said by outgoing ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza, who suggested that in order to regain the league's vibrancy, a crop of both young and old leaders must form part of the league's national executive committee.

"The entire leadership of the national executive committee of the ANC must find a way to be representative in terms of demographics, it can't just be 17, 23, or 35-year-olds, it needs to show demographics of the people it is leading."

Nzuza's remarks follow suggestions that the ANCYL was found wanting on the ground as its leaders were too old to attend to crucial youth matters.

Nzuza said he would not be seeking another term as he is currently 36 years old.

Nzuza said the task team announced by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was meant to assist the league to hold a conference after the ANCYL had postponed its conference three times this year after it failed to sit in June, September and this month, after the young lions were slapped with liquidation.

The ANCYL was liquidated in July after it failed to foot the bill for R200000 legal costs in a defamation case against Western Cape premier Helen Zille.

The lawsuit was in connection with statements made by then ANCYL president Julius Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu against Zille, after they called her a racist.

"It (liquidation) was not a joke, it was a very serious issue that we had to fight, it was a threat to the existence of the organisation. It was an issue that required resilience from our side," he said.

Nzuza has been accused of trying to "sabotage" the conference by not giving out packages to its 3500 branches across the country. He has denied this, saying all branches have received their packages.

"Those allegations are void of any truth and any logically thinking person should be worried if they say I'm trying to sabotage anyone by withholding BGMs [branch general meetings] . packages are [all] out. As deployees, we have sent packages and hopefully, they will reach their intended recipients. If not, we will act."

The distribution of packages are for the use of branch general meetings to nominate candidates and delegates.

Last month, treasurer general Reggie Nkabinde revealed that KZN secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo proposed that current ANCYL national spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize becomes the young lions' chairperson - a position which does not exist now.

Both Nkabinde and Sabelo are contesting to be president.

Nzuza said it was absurd that there was such a suggestion of a position being created.

"I don't think positions should be created to solve temporary problems of leadership disagreements ... If there is a position to be created, it should be created out of necessity and out of a role that it must play and comrades must be able to contextualise it politically."

The ANCYL is expected to hold its much-anticipated conference from December 17 to 20 at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg south to elect its new leadership.

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