Hlomelang: Official Online Publication of the ANCYL
ANCYL Constitution: as amended and adopted by the 25th National Congress September 2015
Hlomelang: Vol. 13 No. 1: 25 July – 07 August 2016
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In building organisation, the critical task had been and remains in one word - to learn. Youth must learn and understand the laws of scientific development of nature and social progress. Grasping this scientific world outlook is the basis for any revolutionary force wanting to be an effective agent for transformation.

Every cadre whatever his/her position in the organisation, whether an old hand or newcomer, must study hard. The higher the position you occupy, the greater should be your zeal to learn for the higher the position the heavier the responsibilities.

A snap analysis of the current cadres of the ANC Youth League reveals that many of us do not read books or and some do not even read journals of the Alliance. This is unpardonable for members and cadres.

Of course, reading books is not synonymous with being a bookworm. However we cannot use opposition to being a bookworm as an excuse for laziness in learning.

We must learn not only through books and newspapers, but also in practical life, in our own work, in assessing the effectiveness of our work, through frequent self-criticism and criticism.

The goal of learning should not simply be limited to raising of knowledge rather to achieve the best results in our work and in struggle.


The revolution needs a contingent of cadres equal to political tasks. These cadres must have the qualities to enable them to fulfil to the highest degree the requirements of the political tasks in each period.

There has to be a way of measuring progress or otherwise of these tasks. In the Youth League, the mandate contained in our National Congress resolutions is the yardstick against which we measure our performance.

These resolutions or mandate are the political line of organisation combined with broad policy questions.

The Youth League is mass and multi-class in character. It is an organisational, mobilisation and political organ of the ANC. It is a nursery, a reservoir and a training ground of ANC. It represents a body of opinion within the movement.

The movement`s political line or policies bind it, because it participates in the formulation of these policies. "The Youth League will function as an autonomous body within the overall structure of the ANC, of which it will be an integral part, with its own Constitution, rules and regulations, provided that these shall not be in conflict with the constitution and policies of the ANC". (ANC Constitution adopted at 50th National Conference).

The twin tasks of the Youth League should therefore be viewed within this context. These tasks are to mobilise youth behind the vision of the ANC and to champion the broad interests the broad interests of youth.


Amongst the qualities required of cadres are:

  • Loyalty and devotion to the interests of the poorest of the poor;
  • A deep understanding of the political line or policy;
  • the severest sense of organisation and discipline;
  • humility towards people and struggle;
  • sensitivity to injustice;
  • close contact and believing in the power of the masses; and the ability to fulfil the task assigned

These are fundamental, unvarying requirements in the qualifications of cadres, in whatever period. Cadres should always be open to new experiences, has a spirit of rebelliousness against every wrong, whoever commits it. They (cadres) must always strive to be the best, feel upset when one is not and fight to improve, to be the best or at least be amongst the best.

One should subject oneself to the power of reason, politically that is, based on firm principles, not vacillating for material interests or at worst being self-seeking.

As former Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh would say, "be true to the party and loyal to the people, fulfil any task, overcome any difficulty and defeat any enemy".

On the other hand, there exists a very close dialectical interrelation between cadres and revolutionary movement of the masses. A cadre`s life is lies. A cadre`s life is lived within a framework of multi-faceted relationship; it is this relationship, which makes a cadre a cadre.

In this relationship, the cadre is at the same timing the cause and effect. We cannot conceive of a cadre outside the organisation, for a cadre is an element of the organisation.

People form organisation, they are the main component of an organisation. An organisation cannot operate without human beings.

On the other hand, organisation once in existence takes on a life of its own; and can have decisive effect on humankind. Through organisational activity, people change, are trained and learn.

All this is directly related to the examination and resolution of the problem of cadres. If we confine ourselves in only assessing ideological quality and standards outside of organisation we will be missing the point. The question is not only to increase individual productivity, but also to use co-operative methods to create a new productive force that operates as a single collective force.

The dialectical relation between cadre and organisation thus goes: A strong organisation ensures the strength of each person and the strength of each person makes the strength of the organisation. United we stand�. Divided we fall.

A wise political line produces good cadres. Cadres are trained and produced under a wise line. However the line itself is not dogma for cadres take part in making take part in making and development of the line. Through practise they ensure the realisation of the line.

Once a line has been worked out the next step becomes how to organise its application - organisation is the basic measure to ensure the application of the line. The ANCYL has the ability to work out clear line and tasks, but most often than not it`s application or implementation is its shortcoming. However, this should be seen in the context of the qualitative change of 1994, and thus require different sets of tasks in the new stage.


"The basic unit of the ANCYL shall be the branch. Every member of the ANCYL shall belong to a branch". (ANCYL Constitution 1998 - 2001).

The branch is therefor the most important organ to facilate the political life of our members, allowing t, allowing them to: - Participate in decision making thus promoting participatory democracy.

  • Contribute in developing the organisation`s policies, interpreting it and ensure it is broadly understood and implemented.
  • Exercise rights and fulfil duties,

These roles make the branch a very vital structure and crucial in the very life existence of the organisation.

One of the essential tasks of our liberation struggle and imperative for victory over apartheid rule has been the need to bring the organisation closer to the people; as a vehicle for their mass struggles and organised strength.

For many years the ANC organised and mobilised our people through a host of popular formations. These formations which embraced its programme, the Freedom Charter and constituted the mass democratic movement of our country.

After the unbanning of the ANC on February 02, the ANC had to rebuild its structures as a legal mass movement.

The rebuilding of the Youth League is therefore indeed part of the undertaking to build the ANC. The objective of this endeavour is more than a simple re-establishment of a historical legacy. Properly understood, the task of building the Youth League should be to mobilise all young people: the working and unemployed youth, students, youth sports persons, intellectuals and religious youth into active participation in our struggle to secure our demogle to secure our democratic objective.

The youth`s characteristics of being explorative and energetic should be harnessed in order to unify them. The branch should be the most effective organ to politicise these young people. must be polished, politicised through a

The Youth League can therefore not claim to be leading a mass youth movement in South Africa without strong branches.


The Youth is not and should not be viewed as a class but a social stratum. It is not homogenous and corresponds to the social structure of a given society. Its circumstances therefore are dictated to by challenges prevalent from one generation to another. The youth of past generations for instance had a historical challenge to dismantle the bastions of Apartheid while today`s youth have to confront the challenges of reconstruction and development.

The objective of our transformation project is to ensure better life for all speedily, this means better education, health, employment etc. that are demands of the entire population. The understanding of past, present and future perspectives is the pre-requisite of a revolutionary that our struggle demands.

All South African youth must be mobilised to understand the policy strategy and tactics of our movement. It will be only through this that there would be appreciation of perspectives contained in the Freedom Charter, ReFreedom Charter, Reconstruction and Development Programme, etc.

The Youth League is a preparatory school for young activists; it therefore should not be led by narrow "theories" of wanting to lead at whatever cost.

The Youth League of today should learn from the generation of the 40s that intervening on the question of leadership should be done objectively for the sake of the ANC and not for narrow immediate material gains.

Youth activists from branches upward should therefore be able to step down for the older generation, as the face of the organisation and support these older folks once elected.


The acme of organisational skill is to understand issues around which you organise, your target group, the reasons for organising, coupled with ensuring the political mobility of your foot soldiers.

The Youth League remains predominantly composed of unemployed and studying youth. Other categories need to be further pursued in their organising and mobilising. These relate primarily to working youth especially the organised ones, professional and youth from minority groups. These areas of focus should be:

  • Cadre development - continue with targeted political training.
  • Ongoing ideological training.
  • Capacity building programme i.e. Organising, community development and technical skills especially on informationpecially on information technology.
  • Frequent development of organisational strategy
  • Focuses on minority organisation through inter alia nation-building programme.
  • Focus on working youth and twin programmes with COSATU.
  • Continue with campaigns relevant to all categories of youth.

In conclusion we need to sharpen our ideological development, raise our theoretical level and strive to perfect our organisation. We need to state that our collective experiences make the Youth League an uncontested organisation within its social grouping in numbers and substance.

Our mottos should remain Every Youth League member and Organiser, A Commissar, Organisation, an essential tool for transformation.