Jacob Zuma urges youth to take up the fight for economic freedom
Former president Jacob Zuma has urged the youth of the ANC to use next year’s national general council (NGC) to reignite the fight for economic freedom.
Zuma was addressing a packed hall of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members during a dialogue exploring the role of the league in the party in Sophiatown on Thursday night.
He suggested that the ANC’s revolution had reached a stagnant phase and went on to tell young people that they needed to take a central role in ensuring that policies which seek to resolve the plight of ordinary South Africans are prioritised, even if they negatively affect investor confidence.
“We are going to the NGC next year, and as the youth you should be saying here is an opportunity to let us compile our presentation on these matters in that gathering of the branches and there should be a resolution on how we implement ANC policies and why we should not when we come out of an ANC conference, say something different,” Zuma said.
Zuma implored the ANC youth to draw inspiration from the founders of the ANCYL, who when faced with a similar situation of stagnation developed and championed the 1949 Programme of Action and took steps to ensure that it would be implemented by backing a president who was sympathetic to their cause.
“The youth league of Mandela, Tambo and co, realising that the ANC was not moving in the right direction, said they were only going to support a candidate who undertook to implement a programme of action which was in line with emancipating deprived South Africans,” Zuma said.
“They said among themselves, for us to achieve the policies and objectives we could not continue with the president at the time and needed someone who would implement the political programme of the congress. It wasn’t a case of liking anyone but following a programme to liberate themselves,” said Zuma.
In a veiled swipe at the Cyril Ramaphosa-led ANC, which has been accused of dragging its feet in implementing resolutions taken during the party’s 54th national conference, Zuma said the youth must respond by being more radically activist and leading activists towards the fulfillment of radical economic transformation.
Despite SA social problems being characterised by a term “triple challenges”, focusing on poverty, unemployment and inequality, Zuma said that was incorrect and a simplification.
“The question is whether from the viewpoint of the youth these challenges are framed correctly, but even more importantly, whether the right measures are being taken to deal with them. The elements of national oppression continue to stare us in the face because the remnants of colonialism and apartheid are still with us,” he added.
Zuma said the youth league must never be “puzzled” by sweet language, rather what the leader says about the political programme of the ANC.
“The 53rd National Conference of the ANC took the view that the national programme thus far was not addressing the fundamental elements of the apartheid and colonial system. It resolved to embark on the second and more radical phase of the transition to the national democratic society.
"A radical document must come from you, you are capable of doing so," he added.
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