ANC's old guard in office should retire on time and give youth the chance to lead

The ANC's challenge is that the party has old men and women in positions of leadership who simply sleep during parliamentary and committee sittings, the writer says. /Yunus Mohamed/ Gallo Images
The ANC's challenge is that the party has old men and women in positions of leadership who simply sleep during parliamentary and committee sittings, the writer says. /Yunus Mohamed/ Gallo Images

In South Africa, the battles for socioeconomic development are spearheaded by young people across the country.

Most young people, however, are unemployed - hence they are always part of service delivery protests.

This calls for people of South Africa to make an honest self-introspection and encourage their leaders to retire or resign from office at the age of 60.

This call is informed by the fact that the world is becoming younger and our government needs active, vibrant young people who will work tirelessly to deliver services.

It is in this historic context that young people have demonstrated capacity to fight and implement decisions without fear or favour.

South Africa has a great potential to realise economic freedom in our lifetime, but the challenge is that we have old men and women who are in positions of leadership.

What do we expect from them because they have aged and are not energetic anymore? They should know when it is the time to retire and move on with their lives.

The primary lesson that leaders can learn is honest self-reflection that their time is up. They must give way for young blood.

It will be problematic if leadership is pushed out of positions or from power by the youth which is impatient for radical socioeconomic transformation.

It is incumbent upon the leadership of the ANC to resign when times are favourable. It cannot be right for leaders to do as they please in the organisation because that will be detrimental to the National Democratic Revolution.

They must have the ability to step down when their integrity is still intact.

The Arab Spring was as a result of a huge age difference between the leaders of Egypt government and the people. They were a nation ruled by old men and women who can't communicate with the youth, who do not understand the youth, and with whom the youth don't identify, and are forever sleeping in parliament.

It's time for the ANC and its leaders to make self-introspection, and for all senior leaders to put the interests of the country ahead of theirs.

Our elders need to take a step back and become the guiding force to enable the ANC to create new layers of leadership. It's disappointing when leaders of the ANC are unable to groom a new layer of leadership to take over.

This nurturing of a second generation of leaders should have been one of their biggest contributions to the party.

One of the most important characteristics of great leaders is that they produce more leaders in their image. They must replicate their best in young people who will pick up the leadership baton.

The only problem in South Africa is insecure leadership which deliberately choose to stunt the growth of the youth. In the process, they create an environment that force them to exit. Many of our elders sleep it out through serious parliamentary and committee sittings.

They compromise service delivery programmes because we are living in a digital world where technology is more advanced and it is difficult for them to acclimatise with technological development.

They must resign and allow the youth to lead with them acting in an advisory capacity.

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