WATCH | Mbeki blasts youth league members for being late for their own political school meeting

22 May 2022 - 15:10
By Amanda Khoza
Former president Thabo Mbeki at the Midrand Conference Centre in Johannesburg where he will be delivering the keynote address at the ANC Youth League national political school.
Image: Amanda Khoza Former president Thabo Mbeki at the Midrand Conference Centre in Johannesburg where he will be delivering the keynote address at the ANC Youth League national political school.

Former president Thabo Mbeki on Sunday lambasted ANC Youth League members for arriving late for their own political school meeting in Midrand, Johannesburg.

“If a meeting is set for 10:00 and another one turns up at 11:00 and another at 12:00. What it communicates to me is that not all of us were present here yesterday, were serious about this matter of rebuilding the youth league. Otherwise you would have been here at 10:00,” said Mbeki.

He was speaking at the ANC Youth League national youth task team political school under the banner of “Rebuild, renew, revive, reimagine and reposition the ANCYL towards economic freedom in our lifetime, now or never.”

Mbeki arrived shortly before 10:00 at the Midrand Conference Centre where the sitting is taking place. He was greeted by empty seats despite an announcement that the president had arrived.

Some youth league members casually walked into the room with their cups of coffee in hand, some left during the sitting to get their jackets.

Mbeki watched in silence. When it was his turn to address the concerns raised by some of the youth league members he said: “Our programme directors said we should reconvene here at 10:00 sharp. We didn’t.

“In fact we started the meeting at 11:00. One of the advantages of sitting here (in front) is that one can see the whole hall.

“When we started an hour late, the room relative to yesterday was 60% empty. The questions we should have asked when we started was to say 'where are these other people? Why are they not here?'”

He added: “You are not here at 10:00, you are not here at 11:00. Why? It is an important question in my mind because we are addressing very important discussions here in the political school about the renewal and the rebuilding of the youth league.

“The assumption that underlines that is that we have got people in the youth league who are very committed to this task of renewing the youth league. That means that the comrades that have to do that, you cannot avoid attending meeting in the process of doing that.”

Earlier, a youth league participant said: “I think one of our challenges is structural. This branch and ward system needs to change. We need to deepen branches. We lose wards because we lose voting districts. I think branches need buildings because currently it’s difficult to access it and you become demoralised.”

He also complained about how some members from the mother body want to influence members of the youth league to elect certain people to positions of leadership.

A participant told Mbeki that the ANC Youth League should reconsider the kind of leaders who are elected to positions of leadership.

“What kind of cadre do we need in the youth league? We need the kind of comrades who, even in the absence of being elected into positions, will continue to play a meaningful role in the organisation,” the man told the meeting.

“For the ANC to unite, the process must be led by former president Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki. We currently have comrades who have unsettled scores and suffering from paranoia. If Zuma and Mbeki were to put [up] a united front, the ANC will succeed.”

Zuthani Makhwase from the Moses Mabhida region in KwaZulu-Natal told Mbeki that induction programmes must be rolled out in the organisation.

“The standard of our membership is way too low. I do not think comrades can even write organisational reports. We must be mindful of who we elect in positions of leadership. Factionalism undermines capacity.”