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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The basis of this discussion document is the ANC Youth League policy document "Investing in our country`s future: A policy framework for youth development". In this discussion, we try to interact with the challenge of human resource development facing our country, assess at least the last five years since the ushering in of a democratic government and make suggestions on the programmatic tasks for the League.

All the issues raised will have to be discussed in an integrated way, because overemphasis on one element will impact on our ability to address other important elements. For example, the strength of the student movement will have a direct bearing on the transformation of higher education and the strength of our branches will impact on whether we able to mobilise a volunteer movement for adult basic education and training.

Problem Statement

Six years of a democratic government led by the African national Congress has laid the foundation for education transformation. However, the legacies of apartheid will not disappeared overnight. It continues to reflect itself sharply in the education terrain; problems it brings along have now become challenges for our movement to attend to.

The challenges can be disaggregated into the following areas:

General Education and Training: The enactment of the South African Schools Act (SASA), the subsequent regulations dealing with funding, condition of employment for educators, the election of school governing bodies and a legal framework where SRCs can operate freely represented a major leap in transforming GETC.

However, a plethora of challenges still need to be addressed in this sector. These are:-

  • poor culture of learning and teaching;
  • low teacher morale
  • ill-discipline;
  • safety at schools;
  • lack of creativity in terms of curriculum development and interventions that lays the early basis for HRD in our country.
  • The apartheid legacy of skewed distribution of material and financial resources means that our country still has a skills profile based on race and gender. Whilst one school struggles to a get class room during the rainy or winter season; the other school thinks of a rain gauge and the next sport facility to be an ice rink.
  • School governing bodies do not yet have the capacity to intervene to ensure that schools are managed properly and to support the culture of learning and teaching.
  • SRC`s do not understand their roles in education transformation, contributing to apathy.

All the above problems are made worse because of our own subjective organisational weaknesses. COSAS is virtually non-existent and YL branches in townships and villages surrounding schools do not make it their daily business to ensure that issues raised above are high on their agenda.

Our communities except a few parents in the governing bodies still think that government must run the schools. Teachers, particularly those organised under unions cannot locate their being members of a allied union to a programme of the movement, sectarian interests continues to superceded any other interests including that of educating a black child.

Higher Education: Having made contributed during apartheid years on either side, higher education has been in what seems to be a perpetual crisis for the last ten years. As one of the pillars of a HRD strategy, the failure to resolve the crisis in higher education, placing it on the road towards fundamental transformation in the national interests, will have obvious consequences on our ability to develop a patriotic human resource base needed for advancing the goals of the national democratic revolution as well meeting the challenges of reconstruction and development.

The ideological contestation (knowledge production) is particularly acute in the higher education sector. Like the military and civil service, it remains one of the frontiers, which the forces against transformation cannot afford to graciously hand over to the progressive forces. The struggle in this terrain is far from over and the challenges are straining.

Since the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) reports on the proposed new landscape for higher education transformation, the steps in that direction has not been an easy.

The problems in higher education are complex and include issues such as:

  • discriminatory admission policies,
  • curriculum content mainly influence by capital;
  • corruption and mismanagement;
  • skewed resource distribution;
  • overt racism;
  • capacity problems in governance; and
  • the challenge of private higher education on the survival of public institutions of higher learning.

Despite these problems, we have made irreversible and qualitative gains that needs consolidation:-

  • the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is now intact;
  • the student movement and the majority of students feel and agree that a national youth service programme targeting students is not only in their immediate student interests but the overall interests of the country;
  • we have implemented the Higher Education Act; and
  • All stakeholders are governing institutions.

The release of the Council on Higher Education`s Shape and Size report last year, once again brought into sharp focus the challenges facing us in transforming higher education, in a context where the playing fields are not leveled. The consultative process within the ANC Education sector committee assisted to clarify the vision of the progressive forces on the immediate challenges and programme for the transformation of this sector.

At an organisational level, we have branches in the majority of institutions. Most of them still have teething even if they still have teething problems in terms of programme implementation and we are continuing to win a majority of students representative councils in institutions we have never been in office before. The tension between our branches and those of SASCO has minimized. The major problem is that we however do not have a progressive movement at institutions of learning except students, we have not been able to mobilize young workers beyond NEHAWU and the progressive academic has diminished.

Further Education and Training

This sector has always been castigated to the periphery of the HRD discussion, it has always been viewedducation and Training

This sector has always been castigated to the periphery of the HRD discussion, it has always been viewed as a sector of the least intelligent and those that will never make it to university or Technikon. This myth of FET as a mere vocational sector continues to be strengthened by the lack of attention our movement and government attributes to it.

Public FET institutions have remained the most under sourced, with dilapidating infrastructure and evidently the last whose transformation programme had to be set in motion. The other side of the coin is that as we pussy foot on this sector, industry and capital are investing millions of rands into their private FET institutions and thus paying the piper and playing the tune.

This situation therefore means that without a well-grounded public FET system the majority of young people who cannot afford higher education, or fails to meet the entrance requirements will find themselves roaming the streets of our metropolis and the hillocks of our villages and the dusty roads of our townships.

The major challenge for us for us is therefore to first ensure that our government rethinks its priorities and guarantees FET its fare share of the cake in terms of resources but above all it receives the necessary profile of ensuring that people regains confidence in it and it sheds its stigma of being a vocational education for below average learners for the mass production of artisans.

We further need to ensure that capital and industry does not only resource FET as it relates their primary business but as part of an overall responsibility of skills development.

Our organisation and the student movement which has not been able to sustain organisation in this sector need to prioritize it if we are to have young people studying and training there but also making them understand that they are not in these institutions to just but gain job market related skills without due consideration to the country`s human resource needs.

Adult Basic Education and Training

The level of illiteracy in South is at proportions that necessitates a national disaster declaration, on the one hand there is always a temptation to relegate ABET to a mere social and welfare service rather than part of a broader programme of creating a society that is able to have work done. The apartheid system systematically ensured that blacks and Africans in particular remained as good as nothing more than labourers, herd boys, tractor drivers and ironsmiths, the ability to read and write could only have made them better, something not in the interest of the system.

It estimated that there are about 3 million adults who are completely illiterate in South Africa with a further between 5 to 8 million who are functionally illiterate. This therefore means that we have almost a quarter of our adult population who cannot read road signs, maps, contacts or even their bank balance and to some, their names looks like works of art.

We are on the one hand sitting with millions of graduates and higher education students to whom, reading and writing is as given the sun will surely rise from the east. These graduates and students have immense energies being put into wasted use whilst a quarter of the population waits to be taught the letters of the alphabet.

Non-formal education

As we engage with the issue of developing a human resource base, we always wander away into the fields of formal training forgetting that a lot of our youth skills are actually acquired through non-formal training, it is rather acquired in their daily lives, these basic skills necessary for productivity for any being range form interpersonal skills, communications skills or the aggregate of what is called life skills. These are learned in organisations and the social setup our young people find themselves in.

We are also faced with situation whereby despite repeated calls, the national youth service programme has not taken off the ground and resolutions of the Presidential jobs Summit remain intentions. This unfortunate situation is depriving South African youth not only of an opportunity to enter the job market but to improve their skills no learnerships and practice.

With the skills development Act being in place and levy accumulating millions of either in state coffers or skills development accounts of industry and employers, maybe we need to start asking ourselves whether the skills development fund is not one such way in which the development of a younger human resource base cannot be explored.


Having attempted to problematic the situation of our human resource development challenges we now need to reaffirm our vision and objectives, which should then be able to guide the development of a program implementable.

Our policy framework state out in broad terms what our approach to human resource development should be:

  • must provide opportunities for young people to improve the quality of their lives
  • we need to add as a premise and the
  • quality of life of all south African citizens.

If this is the framework we move from then what is the aggregate programmatic vision to address the problem statement raise at the inception of this document

"Our programmatic vision should be to continue to build a human resource base that meets the challenges and goals of the reconstruction and development programme through the provision of quality education and training, skills development and a culture of life long learning that takes into account the current national demands and priorities". This vision can only be realized if we set for ourselves a set of realizable objectives and build an organisation that can live up to the realization of such objectives.

These objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • Policy Development
  • Governance
  • Funding and Resource
  • Campaigns
  • Organisational Challenges
  • Policy Development

Having note that we spend the better part of our first term in government developing policies of an enabling nature we therefore need to review whether some of those policies have taken us in the right direction and we have given them muscle enough for smooth implementation

Our objective therefore should be a rigorous and honest review of these policies and proposals on how we strengthen them. These policies include:-

  • The Four Education White Papers
  • The NQF
  • The South African Schools Acts
  • Higher Education Act
  • And the Further Education and training Act.

In this policy frameworks we need attend with urgency their implementation and the capacity gaps which have made it difficult their implementation e.g. The Standard setting process as spearheaded by SAQA and the implementation of the HE act beyond the appointment of "democratic council s and senates".

We also have other policies, which are aimed at strengthening the ones above e.g. AIDS Policy in public schools, position of government of Corporal punishment etc.


Central to the transformation of any organ of the state or civil society is the issue of power relations, governance structures as power block needs to be interrogated to ascertain whether in their current form and nature will be able to live up to our vision these include:

  • University Councils
  • School governing bodies
  • Student councils
  • Council on higher education
  • The department of education
  • The various education and training Authorities (SETA`s)

The issues facing us in governance are no longer about the democratic composition of these organs but rather, their vision, their commitment to the cause they been set for, their culture and their capacity to tackle the issues.

As we deal with these organs we are alwaysuse they been set for, their culture and their capacity to tackle the issues.

As we deal with these organs we are always faced with the issue of whether we have been able to deploy the best of cadres to be able to take command of these organs. These issues we more intensely engage with as we discuss organizational challenges.

Funding and Resources

Always regarded as the most expensive programme, human resource development requires huge resources if one has to meet one need. The unfortunate part is that the demand for these resources is always divorced from the must to utilize the current ones with responsibility and to their optimum.

The second problem is the thinking that the state shall provide and we shall be passive recipients. Even the primary beneficiaries of this HR base like industry and the corporate sector particularly the non-technological sectors, like banking, finance, administration possess a greed of wanting the best professionals yet they want to contribute the least in the training and the imparting of skills of these professionals they so much desire.

We also come from a disadvantaged background, resulting with the cost of education not being affordable, this results in a lot of lost potential as a result of lack of access to institutions of learning of the basis of finance. We therefore needs as our priority objectives accelerate our programmes of ensuring that this potential is not lost as a result of poverty. We therefore need to address issues such as corruption and financial mismanagement, government spending on education, redress, and the student debt and student financial aid in programmatic terms.


Having identified these objectives we therefore need to develop specific campaigns that intends to raise their profile such campaigns should address the following.

National Youth Service and Literacy corps.

  • To mobilize youth Abet practitioners
  • To raise the level of awareness on illiteracy and its impact on the overall socio-economic conditions in South Africa
  • To contribute in "Breaking the back of illiteracy"
  • Torsion and Colts
  • To reaffirm the Colts campaign as a campaign to get the schooling system right
  • To mobilize communities to take daily charge of the running of their schools
  • Bring back discipline in our schools
  • Encourage partnerships in dealing with the illiteracy crisis

Anti Corruption

To root out corruption from all public institutions

To send a message that corruption and self-enrichment has no room in a democratic South Africa


To mobilise financial resources for needy students and youth programmes that enhances their skills

To continue to lobby for the increase in the education budget


To accelerate the process of democratization of governance structures

To develop a capacity building programme for stakeholders to enable them to fruitfully participate in governance structures.

Organisational Challenges

In order to achieve this, there are pertinent challenges facing us as an organisation, which without attention being given to the issue of human resource development and a strategic intervention in Education will remain but a pipe dream.

These challenges are:

  • The building of strong branches at institutions of Learning
  • The strengthening of the MDM education Alliance
  • Capacity building for our members and members of our movement in organs dealing with education matters
  • The sharpening of our policy development tools
  • The building of our local branches to enable them to deal with these issues on programmatic level
  • A conscious deployment strategy at institutions of learning, research institutes and sectors that have an influence in the realisation of our HRD policy