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23rd National Congress: Political Report

3 April 2008

Chairperson
Cde President of the ANC, cde Jacob Zuma
The ANC leadership and members of the national executive committee
ANC Youth League in its different generations and former President present here Malusi Gigaba and Lulu Johnson
Cde Sihle Zikalala, the Secretary General of the Youth League
Comrades delegates
Our distinguished international guests

Introduction

I am privileged to welcome you to the 23rd National Congress of the African National Congress Youth League on behalf of our National Executive Committee and our membership with us here today, and those in the lengths and the breath of our country.

I would like to extend fraternal and revolutionary greetings to our international guests, the observers from our progressive alliance partners who have joined us to express their solidarity with us, to share their body of opinions and experiences with us, and observe our proceedings.

The venue that we are gathered in here today, Mangaung represents the historical birth place of the African National Congress, more importantly, as we push towards 2012, the centenary celebrations of the ANC which consequentially, will take place here.

Our theme for this 23rd Congress is `Youth action for youth development towards 2012`.

I would like to assure you, dear comrades and fellow combatants for progressive change, that we value your presence among us very highly and thank you for your acceptance of our invitation to attend this 23rd National Congress.

I am certain that as before, we will live up to your expectations by once again confirming the commitment of the ANCYL to the progressive agenda we share.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to those of our leaders and our comrades-in-arms who have passed on, these include, Peter Mokaba, Bachana Mokoena, Farcet Matheba, Solomon Mahlangu, Ephraim Mogale, Parks Mankahlana, Derek Masuku, Ncumisa Kondlo-She w ill be buried this weekend, Eddie Mabitsa, Stich Ngubane, Isaiah Ntshangase, Peter Nchabeleng, Frans Mohlala, Norman Mashabane, Stompie Seipei, Sicelo Dlomo, Mamiki Mothobi, Bonaven Cher Nkgodi, Paul Mahlatsi, Ashley Kriel, Bathandwe Ndodo, Siphiwe Mthimkh ulu, Sipho Mmutsi, Boiki Mothibi, and many more.

We are gathered here to discharge our responsibilities as delegates from the branches of our organisation and I believe we will do so genuinely and earnestly, fully aware of the historic task imposed on our movement to lead not only the membership of the A NC, but the entire South African nation.

Everything we do over the next few days we should continue to sustain and demonstrate the understanding that characterises all members of our movement that the ANCYL was established 64 years ago to serve the people of South Africa by such luminaries as Ant on Lembede, Mxolisi Majombozi, William Nkomo, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisuslu.

Accordingly, as their heirs, we pay our collective tribute to those visionaries whose foresight and courage ensured that decades after their departure, there would be a strong construction for us born after them to accomplish their strategic mission!

The 23rd Congress of the ANCYL could not have taken place at the most appropriate time in the history of our democracy and our movement. It comes at a time when once again the masses our people in Polokwane confirmed their confidence in the ANC as the sing ular centre of power to lead our transformation in keeping with the philosophical ethos of our National Democratic Revolution.

Upon your shoulders rests entirely the trust and hopes of our people and youth; indeed, the very destiny of our country, continent and the international community.

Whence, this occasion of our National Congress affords us the opportunity to account for our stewardship over the past period, and yet, at the same time, as the revolutionary and militant movement of the youth of South Africa, to devise the strategies and map out plans for a bolder and better future.

Accordingly, our strategic intent is to ensure that as we move towards the ANC centenary, the ANCYL remains the vanguard of championing the course of young people, whilst defending the gains our democracy. These challenges demand of us to refocus and rejuvenate our resolve, and ensure that change and continuity remains the epicenter of our strategic discourse.

Confronting the Future

If there is something that we can be sure about the future is that 5 to 10 years from now will be significantly different from the present. Thus, today the demand for visionary leadership has never been so compelling. The interplay between the past and fut ure is tersely explicated by Kahlil Gibran, an esteemed Lebanese revolutionary and philosopher: He writes:

I tell you that the children of the yesteryears are walking in the funeral of the era that they created for themselves. They are pulling a rotten rope that might break and cause them to drop into a forgotten abyss. I say that they are living in homes with weak foundations; as the storm blows, their homes will fall upon their heads and thus become their tombs. I say that all their thought, their sayings, their quarrels, their composition, their books and their work are nothing but chains dragging then becaus e they are too weak to pull the load.

But the children of tomorrow are the one called by life, and they follow it will steady steps and head high, they are the dawn of the new frontier, no smoke will veil their eyes and no jungle of chains will drown out their voices. They are like the summits which can see and hear each other - not like caves which cannot see or hear. It shall grow into a mighty tree, its root in the heart of the earth and its branches high in the sky. (The Treasured Writing of Kahlil Gibran, 1965)

Accordingly, our strategic intent is to ensure that as we move towards the ANC centenary, the ANCYL remains the vanguard of championing the course of young people, whilst defending the gains our democracy. These challenges demand of us to refocus and rejuv enate our resolve, and ensure that change and continuity remains the epicenter of our strategic discourse.

The Youth League of the next five years will be different to the Youth League of today on the back of the dynamism and realities that will attain then.

Whence, unity and cohesion of the ANC become a paramount centrality, and a magnetic north that should pull everyone of us to dedicate ourselves towards achieving this vision.

Limpopo has emphasized the centrality of the ANC, and henceforth everyone is expected to work for the unity of the ANC, with "One ANC and One leadership" led by President Jacob Zuma. We don`t have third terms, third ways anymore, and those who harbor or se ek to revive this notion suffer from a political hang-over, and we must seriously assist them to get sober.

By the same token, let`s reverberate the echoes of the 2005 NGC in Port Elizabeth where we declared loud and clear that - asinamona, asinanzondo: siyayidumisa i-ANC!

The Polokwane conference was a watershed conference, and we pride as the Youth League that we led from the front. We remained steadfast against the then impending and insidious two centres of power. Polokwane affirmed that the ANC was the singular centre o f power with its President as one, and that is Jacob Zuma. Polokwane affirmed our positions on maintaining the ANC character which its primary motive force is the working class and blacks in general.

Polokwane has overwhelmingly affirmed youth development as critical to the advancement of the national democratic revolution, particularly the integration of youth development and the creation of youth development agency, massification of national youth se rvice programme, lowering of the voting age, reorganization of the Seats for the advancement of skills acquisition in the country, dismantling of inequalities and pushing the frontiers of poverty and joblessness backward. Polokwane will be remembered as an arena were changed in leadership was affirmed and continuity our policies was consolidated.

Equally, we wish to reiterate the NGC resolutions that justice delayed is justice denied.

On the same vein and as an organisation, we revile in strongest terms the continued disparaging slander by some self-imposed political commentators and analysts on casting aspersions on the integrity of the ANC President and challenging his bona fides.

Yet again Professor Pityana has made a clown of himself by his overzealous confusion and comical postulations about the ANC President and the ANC leadership about some self-imaginary, bogus and phony "uncertainty and anxiety" in the country. They are infor med by his over-zest to self-glorification and self-preservation, coated in irrationality and contra-distinctions.

He speaks about the respect of the constitution and the rule of law, whilst finding it fashionable to disrespect the democratically elected ANC leadership and its President, and finding him guilty before any court of law pronounces on the matter. As a Pro fessor, we can`t educate him about the cardinal principle of innocent until proven guilty. Maybe he knows something that we don`t know!

Can the real intellectuals rise up please, as Pityana fits no closer to this definition? He is nothing but an embodiment of sponsored views, epitomizing overwrought confusion and anarchist tendencies. I hold with great esteem organic intellectuals of depth and content such as Prixley Ka Seme, Anton Lembede, Mosses Mabinda, Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, Tiyo Soga, John Tengo Jabavu, Mpilo Walter Benson Rubusana and Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi to name just a few. Their depth and content contributed within the Afri can communities their thoughts and intellect to various facets of life, including unity, cohesion, scholarly revolution and societal livelihood. These were intellectuals of note who generated knowledge independently and organically to change the course of history.

Frankly, Pityana is a typical ivory tower academic and ignorant reactionary who has to sober up and cross over the road from Polokwane. The train has long passed the station, and its time he wakes up from the slumber-land and smell the coffee. What constituency does he really represent?

Jane Haddan once remarked, so befittingly to Pityana and company that, "the ill-bred always seemed to know half of history, and to get it confused with the other half".

The ANCYL is a mass political youth organisation of the ANC that reinforces the programmes of the ANC in society, and reproduces the ideas of the ANC among the youth by bringing the youth into struggle for real freedom under the broad political ambit of th e ANC.

The ANCYL "is a critical tool of South Africa`s youth in pursuit of a better life for all. It continues to function as an organisational and political preparatory school of young activists of our movement. The autonomy of the ANCYL always provides organisa tional vibrancy and the youthful political debate imperative to a revolutionary organisation".

Though we relate with the ANC as an autonomous organisation, we form an integral part of the ANC in the formulation and development of the policies and programmes of the ANC. In this way, whereas our autonomy enables us to run our organisation, run our own financial transactions, hold our own Congresses and elect our own leadership and formulate our own political ideas and policies, this is within the ambit of ANC policies and political directive in whose formulation we participate as an integral component, as a body of opinion.

Coincidentally, at our National Congress in this very place, Mangaung in 2001, the ANC President outlined the ANC in his speech, What is the ANCYL,

1. a political school for the training and education of young revolutionary democrats whose task is to continue the process of the fundamental social transformation of South Africa in favour of the millions of ordinary people, both black and white;
2. the home of the most developed and disciplined young revolutionary democrats of our country;
3. the vanguard movement of the progressive youth of our country, both organised and unorganised;
4. the leader of all the youth of our country who have an interest in the transformation of South Africa into a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous democracy;
5. a front rank combatant in the progressive African youth movement that fight for the victory of the African Renaissance, during the African Century;
6. a reliable ally with the progressive youth of the world as it engages the struggle for a process of globalisation that helps to end poverty and underdevelopment throughout the world and works to close the gap in living standards and the quality of lif e between the North and the South".

It is within this context that our role both in the society and the ANC is viewed. As a revolutionary and militant organisation, our functionality will have to be continuously and critically analysed with a singular view of sharpening our character and for m as an organisation. As Marx once observed that `revolutions are the locomotives of history`.

At the time when we assumed office we had just emerged form the national general election wherein the overwhelming majority of our people confirmed the unwavering confidence in our movement. It was the same time that unity and cohesion become a focal point of maintaining and rekindling the vibrancy of our organisation. It is the time when levels of unemployment and HIV/Aids issues among young people remain worryingly high.

It was the time when we witnessed the re-emergence of barbaric racism in our society by those who assume that shooting or humiliating innocent black people is a cool thing to do, thus undermining our efforts of nation building and social cohesion.

It was a time when the international balance of forces witnessed the collapsed of multilateralism with the Bush war of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a revolutionary and militant organisation, we have to up to what the late cde Peter Mokaba referred to as "adapt or die" in our functionality and relevancy.

Thus, the ANCYL became not only a home to the South African youth, it also brought the youth and the ANC leadership into direct contact with each other, to ensure that they mutually influenced each other, and to bridge the generation gap between the younge r and older activists of the movement.

We brought into the ANC political renewal and organisational vibrancy, prompting it to become a mass based and radical movement for the liberation of the African people.

Our colossal challenge going forward is to ensure that we remain true in our course in building unity and cohesion in our movement. Our relationship with the ANC remains uncompromised. Our umbilical cord is jealously connected to the ANC, and as the YL we have that obligation to raise what at time is seen as painful issues, in our contribution for the sustenance of the ANC to ensure that we live up to the legacies of the generations that came before us. We remain the glue in the life of the ANC through our radical and militancy in the guide and defence of the cohesion and unity in our movement.

Strategic review and direction setting

Adolfo Gilly in his introduction to Frantz Fanon`s Studies in "Dying Colonialism" wrote,

The essence of a revolution is not in the struggle for bread; it is the struggle for human dignity. Certainly this includes bread. And at the base of any revolutionary situation are economic conditions. where people liquidate all forms of oppression and go vern themselves by and for themselves. The dominant feature of humanity is that they accept and assume material sacrifices for years . because they feel that thus they will live a new life, a better life, and for the first time they will really live their own lives.

I concur with Gilly that, indeed, if we look back at the road we have traversed in the last four years, so can we be confident that as the revolutionary organisation we have stood the test of time and emerged unscathed by the challenges that came before us in our persistent drive to improve material conditions of our people and making our people to live their own lives for the better. We remain unwavering in guarding the victories of our national democratic revolution, whilst steadfastly pushing back the fr ontiers social and economic marginalization, inequalities, poverty and joblessness.

Our resolve for unity and cohesion remains unshaken, our mission to champion youth issues and firmly put them on the national agenda remains untiring, and our willpower and fortitude for global justice and fairness remain resolute.

When we were elected to office, our programme centred on four strategic pillars, namely;

1. youth mobilization;
2. youth development
3. socio-economic transformation; and
4. international work.

In our work for youth mobilization, we made indelible mark in harnessing the impatience of the youth with regards to their development and provided them a home in the ANCYL within which they would not only ventilate their frustrations, but find real basis to engage in programmatic actions towards their own development. Our campaign against substance abuse, youth brigades, and fight against crime and criminality have ensured that the YL remains true to its mandate of progressive mobilization and social consc iousness.

The ANC Youth League seeks to mobilize all our youth, both employed and unemployed, as the base to advance the national transformation agenda as led by the ANC as well as to ensure that the interests of the youth themselves are addressed.

It was within this context that we in the ANC Youth League deemed it important to engage professional youth as a peculiar sector of our youth, likewise champion their interests while at the same time mobilizing them behind the vision of the ANC.

With regards to youth development, we ensured that the Congress resolutions around youth development and related agencies, especially the NYC and UYF, are drastically streamlined in earnest to meet the ever growing demands of young people. The pending move to establish an Integrated Youth Development Agency (IYDA) which will function in a seamless and integrated way is as such that remarkable achievement.

On socio-economic transformation, we fearlessly championed youth interests in the arenas of free education, sports and culture, private corporates and related institutions with a view of also mobilizing our youth whilst conscientising them in the vision of our revolution as led by the ANC.

In our international work, we continue to find a favourable platform within both IUSY and WFDY and placed genuinely of goals for a better global architecture underscored by equality, justice, human dignity, and respect for fundamental rights. We remained v isible and steadfast in our campaigns and solidarity in the course of the true liberation of Palestinian people, war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan.

We remained champions in the restoration of dignity to millions of Africans under the banner of the African renaissance discourse, Nepad processes and prudential governance.

Amid all these milestones and feats, a lot still remains on the horizons to ensure that we deepen the gains whilst valiantly championing for real betterment of the lives of many young people in our country, the continent and the globe.

Accordingly, what lies ahead of us as we push towards the centenary of the ANC, we isolate "do or die" challenges and craft programmatic plans which are time bound with dedicated capacity. Amongst such are: youth economic integration; social transformation and mobility; battle of ideas; and organizational vibrancy and sustenance.

Economic transformation and real integration

Amid loads of socio-economic strides which have ushered a better life for many South Africa, fundamental economic challenges still persist in form of unemployment, poverty, skewed income distribution and inequalities. The worse affected herewith are millio ns of young people who still remain outside the province of the job market, and the majority of them still lack potable skills to effectively compete on the open labour market. Blacks, young women and the rural youth are the coal face of this brutal realit y.

Varied campaigns and strides to reverse these challenges have been recorded by this leadership, including amongst others, consistent interactions with big business, banks, mining houses and the business community in general. Our resolve has been to ensure that these formations commit in concrete terms to accelerate youth integration into the mainstream economy, foster skills development, create real direct jobs, accelerate learnerships and funding is made available for youth entrepreneurial initiatives.

South Africa is a monopolized economy, typified by dominant monopoly capital and monopoly pricing, a configuration that is hostile to revolution development, economic transformation and real economic integration. The monopolistic nature of our economic con figuration remains the central challenge. The domination of monopoly capital and lack of real market competition demands immediate intervention by the developmental state to ensure that it effectively reverses these colonial and pseudo-colonial apartheid a nomalies. A developmental state will always be charged with a responsibility to be an active actor in advancing and deepening economic transformation and deracilisation.

The recent bread and milk scandals are glaring examples. These companies were guilty for the Competition Commission for price fixing and charging exorbitant prices on these commodities which are basic needs of the poor of our country. After the payment of penalties, hardly few days thereafter Tiger Brand, the producers of Albany bread increased bread by 40 cents, a sheer display of cold heartlessness and disdain.

Banks have systematically excluded many in the credit market, particularly the poor, the youth and the townships and rural communities. Despite high lending rates to this market, the recent study by Moneyweb proved that after the promulgation of the Nation al Credit Act, which was aimed at eliminating loan sharks and unscrupulous lenders, mainstream banks collusively increased their borrowing service rates, particularly to the bottom end of the market. These are the poor and marginalized, and there are furth er excluded from the banking sector by systematic process of greed and contempt.

Whence, it is befitting at this juncture to declare that monopoly capital is the enemy of the NDR, the country and its people.

We call for an immediate review of the competitions regulation to break these cruel monopoly capitalists which continues to undermine our efforts of pushing back the frontiers of poverty. The amendments at the minimum must ensure that companies that are fo und guilty must pay fines and stiff prison sentences be imposed on the guilty parties in these companies.

Furtheron, we need to re-evaluate the policy regime and practices governing the Black Economic Empowerment. As it stands, it`s geared to benefit the few at the expenses of the masses.

By the same token, a review on the impact of various policy instruments such as Asgisa and the Industrial Policy Initiative is needed in earnest to access their real contribution in the sustained economic transformation and the elimination of the two econo mies which remain skewed in terms of race, class, gender and geo-political locality.

Going forward, the YL as a revolutionary vanguard of youth interests remains the only credible vehicle to ensure that it keeps the flame burning in pursuit of total eradication of economic marginalization of young people. It`s a task we dare not fail!

Battle of ideas and ideological struggle

This NEC as a collective faced with the challenges of the battles of ideas. Some media elements and the political opposition attempted both in details and broad perspectives to contest the essence of the last congress declaration and resolutions as we set out to implement these throughout the three year tenure in office.

As a political vanguard of the youth, we will continue to battle in coping with this challenge to develop a correct understanding of the youth and the new dynamics they posed. This will be made worse by the intensification of the neo-liberal offensive on y outh seeking to turn them into an impotent force for change, striving hard to inject them with an epidemic pursuit for immediate material gains.

The battle of ideas must be conducted not only theory, but also in deeds and should find practical expression through the ANCYL structures to encourage a more representative and diverse media environment which must also address the qualitative transformati on of, among others, media ownership and the newsrooms that reflect the transformation agenda of the country. We fully support the establishment of the Media Appeals Tribunal.

We will need to communicate our philosophical ethos and values, that of a developmental state, collective rights, values of caring and community solidarity, non-racialism and non sexism, as opposed to the current mainstream media`s ideological outlook unde rscoring neo-liberalism, a weak and passive state, and overemphasis on individual rights and market fundamentalism.

Accordingly we will be called upon to respond to various issues, but our approach must seek to be more proactive rather than reactive to issues of national debate. These contestations will come from various angles and under various disguises, from both nat ional and international sources.

The battle of ideas around the configuration of international relations with regards to trade and finance goes on, and we should use our position in both IUSY and WFDY to champion the cause of a democratic and equitable world order.

The current conjecture demands of us to pledge solidarity with various formations across the world including the Non-Aligned Movement, IUSY, Socialist International, WFDY, the G21 and the broader South to South cooperation as framework to pursue ideals tha t would benefit the South in general and our by extension to benefit our country.

We need to strengthen bilateral engagements with various organizations such as those of Cuba, China, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and all those progressive forces operating on the global scale.

On the basis of such solidarity we would then be in a position to effectively lobby for fair international trade and finance through, amongst others, the restructuring of the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and IMF). In addition, our struggle for a multilateral framework must result in the restructuring of institutions such as the UN, particularly with regards to the composition and role of the UN Security Council as well as the WTO.

Fostering international solidarity and a better Africa

From inception, the national liberation struggles in Africa have been marked by the recognition by all leading organizations that the liberation of the Africa people is a single process.

This is how Walter Sisulu described the pertinent tasks of the liberation struggles as a result of which we were then able to recognize our struggle`s inner unity with the continent-wide African revolution, as well as with the anti-colonial and progressive struggles throughout the world.

For as long as it has existed, the ANC has known that it was born of the African people and is a child of their struggle against colonialism. Our national oppression having itself grown of the colonization of the rest of our continent, we have understood i t that our struggle for national liberation is a struggle to free the rest of our continent from colonial bondage and consequently, our pursuit of the African Renaissance is inseparable from that of our national democracy.

The essential challenges facing our continent are to achieve peace and stability, democracy and human rights for the African citizen and the pursuit of a better life for all. This is what the African Union must pursue through, amongst other, the NEPAD prog ramme.

We should continue to advocate solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and we fully support the programme of land redistribution in that country. We don`t subscribe to the notion of regime change which has characterized the neo-liberal and imperialistic ag enda, made a contemporary vogue by George Bush notorious `axis of evil` philosophy.

Invariably, Zimbabwean people are faced with serious challenges of economic meltdown and as such this problem must be resolved by the Zimbabweans themselves. The fact that they go to the polls and continue to affirm the leadership of President Robert Mugab e it denotes that they support his leadership. Equally, we are concerned about political instability, and the reports about the recent elections that they were not free and fair must be attended to urgently and decisively as we don`t want another Kenya sit uation.

We must condemn any form of undemocratic rule and tendencies of suppression of democratic practices. As revolutionary democrats we must and tell the truth and condemn it in strongest term should there have been acts of mal-administration or vote rigging in this election as soldiers and champions of African renaissance.

On this day that belongs to a revolutionary martyr and internationalist, we want to call on all South African youth to rise in human solidarity with the Palestinian people during this, their most difficult hour. Palestine is under siege and the Palestinian people are subjected to the most cruel genocidal war by the US imperialism and Israeli terrorism.

The crime apparently that the Palestinian people have committed is to demand and fight for their inalienable right to a state called Palestine where they can exercise their national self-determination. Thus, we strongly advocate for a two state solution wi th the Palestinians living side by side with the Israelis, and at peace with itself.

We must salute the Angolan people for their selfless sacrifice which catapulted in the liberation of our country and other country in the Southern Africa. We salute the cadres and martyrs who fought and died in the battle of Quito Cuanavale. We salute the Soviet Union and the Cuban combatants, and we say: partria omuerta! venceremos, hasta la Victoria siempre.

Organisational vibrancy and sustenance

Given the advent of democracy in 1994, which created new conditions for the pursuit of our strategic objective to create a non-racial and non-sexist democratic society, Peter Mokaba summed up the most urgent challenge that faced the ANCYL at that moment as , to adapt or die!

The crucial challenge was how to adapt the ANCYL politically and organisationally to suit the new epoch, which had thrust our generation at a rare historical moment, making ours the first and only generation of youth that would occupy the period of the tra nsition between the old apartheid society and the new democratic society.

At its inception in 1944, the ANCYL was given the historic task to confront the arrogance of white domination, which meant, first and foremost, leading the youth in disciplined and militant resistance to oppression.

The role of the youth itself was seen in relation to the overall objective to dismantle the apartheid state and system. As a result, for close to fifty years, our youth remained in the front-line of resistance and confrontation with the racist state, in a valiant act that earned them the admiration and adoration of the whole nation and the world.

At the re-internment ceremony for our founding President Anton Lembede, in 2002, we declared the decade leading to the centenary of the ANC in 2012, to be the "Decade of Youth Action to Seize the Opportunities of Democracy", during which youth must act dec isively to take advantage of and expand the superb prospects that have been created by our young democracy.

Accordingly, we need strengthen and modernize the structures of our organisation, at the same time ensuring that cadre development, accountability and leadership collective becomes the centre pillars of this programme. The bedrock of any revolutionary proc ess lies in systematic and systemic organization of people in pursuit of a common vision.

Branches form the platform upon which to map our political and organisational tasks for the period ahead, and emphasise the point that the most important structure of our organisation is the branch, the nerve-centre of our organisation, home to the arduous task of mobilising, uniting, educating, organise and providing leadership to the youth.

It is in branches that all young people forge their first political and organisational consciousness and experiences, where activists are grinded into cadres and cadres developed into leaders, both for our movement and our country.

When we demand therefore that our branches must be constituted in a strictly democratic way, and when we demand that they must function in a democratic manner, guided by the principle of the democratic centralism, it is only because the youth must be taugh t the best traditions of a democratic mass organisation that leads society as a whole, so that when they graduate into the ANC, they have imbued the best culture and traditions.

During this process, we must spread the roots and influence of the organisation further among the youth and our people as a whole, especially among the younger generations, and strengthen its basic units, the branches, so that they take charge and carry th e burden of the political mobilisation, organisation and education of the youth and to champion their socio-economic development.

In this context of change and continuity, this Congress must therefore issue a call to all our members and the youth to be the vanguard and champions national democratic revolution in order to confront the future with vigor, dynamism and courage. This call constitutes our pledge to the youth of South Africa that we shall continue to provide them with principled and fearless leadership, and that we will continue to be part of all their political and socio-economic struggles.

The Youth League is the disciplined force of the left, and accordingly, our alliance with Cosatu and the South African Communist Party is not in paper, but born of struggle, a revolutionary struggle to improve the material conditions of our people, particu larly the working class.

As an organisation, we have supported and waged campaigns in support of the workers in their endeavours to against poverty wages. Our unity of purpose is born out of rigorous revolutionary struggles in the fight to defend the gains of the revolution agains t poor wages, scab labour, labour market flexibility and worker`s exploitation. This support is informed by the fact that there is a dialectical interconnection between narrow worker interests at the shop floor and the broader societal agenda of advancing the national democratic society.

The challenge of maintaining the hegemony of Congress with the progressive revolutionary trade union movement is ever present.

To this end, we say Viva Cosatu, Viva Abasebenzi!

Accordingly, the Youth League is a fighting organ of the ANC, not a sweet heart organization. To advance the ethos and precepts of the national democratic society, as young people must learn the revolutionary theory and practice.

In Speech Delivered at the Third All-Russia Congress of the Russian Young Communist League, October 2, 1920, on the Task of Youth Leagues, V.I Lenin had this to say,

The class struggle is continuing and it is our task to subordinate all interests to that struggle.. I must say that the first and most . the youth in general, who want to advance to a national revolution .should learn the revolutionary theory. Learning mea ns assimilating the sum of knowledge that is contained in revolutionary literature, science, manuals, pamphlets and books. You should not merely assimilate this knowledge, but assimilate it critically, so as not to cram your mind with useless lumber, but e nrich it with all those facts that are indispensable to the well-educated man of today.

You are faced with the task of construction, and you can accomplish that task only by assimilating all modern knowledge, only if you are able to transform from cut-and-dried and memorised formulas, counsels, recipes, prescriptions and programmes into that living reality which gives unity to your immediate work, and only if you are able to make revolutionary theory and practice guide in all your practical work.

Social transformation

We have begun to move swiftly towards integrated development, concentrating and co-ordinating our resources and efforts to intensify our sustained offensive against poverty.

In fighting poverty, we seek to address the holistic needs of all our people, old and young, men and especially women, urban and especially rural and our success in this effort depends on our people becoming the cutting-edge of and active participants in t heir own development and our branches becoming the catalysts for community upliftment.

We have put before our nation the pursuit of both the integrated sustainable rural development and urban renewal strategies entailing investment in the economic and social infrastructure, human resource development, enterprise development, and the enhancem ent of the development capacity of local government to co-ordinate their implementation.

Together with these programmes geared towards stimulating the economy, investments and job creation, whilst at the same time foster social cohesion and sustainable livelihood.

Our victories in fighting against racism in sport are self evident. Therefore, it is instructive at this moment that we reflect on the persistence of gutter bigotry and it related tendencies that are resurfacing in our country, which manifest themselves in race, class and gender. The most abhorrent incidences are the one in Skielik, Swartregen where a white youngster found it conventional to walk into an African township open fire at random and killed innocent people without provocation. Similarly, at the U niversity of the Free State where white students found it fitting to feed urine to adult black campus workers. On the same vain, the Mpumalanga Rugby Union decided to include its team a convicted racist murderer Gert van Schalkwyk, one of the Waterkloof Fi ve convicted of murdering an innocent black man. Amid national protests, the team and its head arrogantly disregarded these protests and condemnation and went ahead to field this convicted racist murder, in a sheer display of arrogance and insensitivity.

As a people we need to stand shoulder to shoulder and spare no effort to fight against this evil of racism and those who have arrogated to themselves to openly and without remorse become prophets of this fascist neo-racist predispositions and penchant.

These individuals have taken upon themselves to be bastions of counter-revolution, and should be rooted out of our communities wherever we find them. They are decayed potatoes whose ugly heads wherever they rear out must be crashed and destroyed.

Some principal representative of the racial and class forces of repression and exploitation is the DA, which itself an offspring of these privileged interests, which has consistently held the view that fundamental social transformation constitutes a direct attack and threat to these racially-earned privileges. Precise for this reason, its leadership is unable to extricate itself from the parochial interests of the white group and the privileges they enjoy merely because of their membership of this group. As Gramsci once observed that `to tell the truth is revolutionary`.

As an organisation, we will continue to build on our successes in the transformation of education in this country. We must strive as a nation to make education fashionable among the youth, by addressing the pertinent challenges access, financial exclusions and academic exclusions, high failure rate among African students in institutions. Without doubt, the institutions of higher learning in this country must be reconfigured as a matter of urgency. Equally, we must send a warning and shout resounding bells t o our fellow youth in these institutions to take the task of studying seriously, and not turn these institutions into their second permanent residences they must pass and go.

Conclusion

I wish to acknowledge the following comrades who have made an enormous contribution to our work:

  • Cde Malusi Nkanyezi Gigaba, quite often people and political commentators have compared you to me. One thing they fail to understand is that we worked as a collective, and in the eyes of this membership of the Youth League you have fulfilled your task s, and I am happy to report to this Congress that whatever you did, you fulfilled our collective desire. Here I am in Mangaung, retiring from the Youth League, I must thank you for all the years we served together, and I am now ready to join you in the ran ks of the ANC leadership.
  • Cde Sihle Zikalala, you have been our frontline rank combatant. You have been responsible for the overall control of party construction. Your job was a difficult one, being a dirty job and you have execelled in it. That is why today we say when South Africa see us marching, or filling stadiums, it is because of your efforts. Nge siXhosa sithi umde nge-ntonga kwedini. We wish well and you are guranteed of our support wherever you are going.
  • The outgoing NEC, we have witnessed turbulances together; we thrived together; we endured the pressures together; we as a collective were driven by the desire to fulfill our mandate. It is up to Congress to judge us how we fared, but from me to all of you, you have done your duty.
  • To Peter Mokaba, Nyami Booi, Jerry Ndou, Ephraim Nkwe, Rapu Molekane, Mpho Lekgoro, Kgaogelo Lekgoro, Dipuo Peters, Febe Potgieter, Ignatius Jacobs, Parks Mankahlana, Norman "fellow fighter" Mashabane , Fawcet Mathebe, Mlungisi Johnson, everything we did we learned from you. Thank you for teaching us the ANC; Thank you for imbueing in us revolutionary progressive militancy; We thank you for your guidance
  • I want to thank all Cdes at youth league head office whom we have worked with throughout the years; Alec Moemi, Tsholo Lejaka, Phillip Musekwa, Kim Fischer, Tsakane Mahlaule, Onele Ludidi, Mdu, Thandi Mokaba, Thandeka, Clifford Sedibe and Ontiretse who is having a bereavement in her family, hope you receive our condolences, and all volunteers who spent time with us. I know we pushed you hard sometimes and you delivered, you worked in awkward hours in the organization spending time away from your famili es, you made us look organised, and to all the members of the political committee
  • To all spooks of the Political Committee, Desmond Golding, Lawrence Venkile, Bandile Masuku, Malose Kekana; you cdes are hard workers.
  • How can we forget the team of Hlomelang, arm yourselves! rise and attack. Phillip Musekwa, Zizi "Chief Goebels" Kodwa, and Lawrence Venkile. Thank you for serving our organization with dedication. You have done your duty .

Accordingly, the time has come for me to take leave and hand over the baton. I do so with a profound sense of gratitude for the honour, the pleasure and the privilege that you, youth and future of the ANC, conferred on me to lead and guide our organisation and the youth of South Africa throughout these difficult years of the first phase of post-apartheid.

I had the privilege and honour to stand on the shoulders of giants - both late and living -who supported, tried and tested me all along the way; with whom I had the privilege to work and to serve, who carried me on their shoulders and allowed me to stand a s the symbol of the first phase of our post-apartheid political and organisational regeneration, whereas many of them were more and better capable and deserving than I was to perform this onerous task.

A countless thanks to all of you comrades, as well as to the youth of our country as a whole, for everything you did for us, and to us, to nurture us and sharpen our capabilities so that we can better be able to serve our movement and our people`s cause.

In my 23 years being with this luminary organisation and the last four years as President, I have learned immeasurable, infinite and valuable lessons.

In your defense of our revolution, we believe you will be motivated by the moral inclinations and biases to the cause of our struggle as values preceding any other, and the intellectual abilities emanating from your own learning.

You will therefore not defend the revolution because there is divine purity in it, but because in the balance of forces, it is the one domain that is worth dying for, for the economic liberation of our people from poverty and systemic marginalization cause d by decades of apartheid misrule.

Within the organisation you will find a culture of self-criticism but one informed the unity of the centre once all decisions have been made, what we call "democratic centralism". This denotes that after all differences and view-points have been voiced wit hin the structures of the organisation, all of us must be united around the position democratically arrived at or as provided by the political leadership.

Best of luck dear comrades, and we trust that you shall continue to relate to this organisation in a manner bequeathed to us by our veterans, and shall ensure that we continue to hold you in high esteem.

You continue to be the Goodwill Ambassadors of this organisation. Teach us therefore how to be good cadres so that we do not fail in our duties!

Always bear in mind, Comrades Delegates, that the ANCYL belongs to past and future generations; that the incumbent generations of its members and leaders are but mere transient custodians of its destiny; that this organisation was built through sweat, tear s and blood and that therefore not one of us has the right to destroy it!

The NEC wishes our 23rd National Congress successful deliberations. We urge the Congress to walk along the proud path carved by our predecessors, and urge the delegates to remain disciplined throughout Congress, faithful to the mandates they are here to re present and the high expectations of our youth and our movement.

Chairman Mao Tse-tung, could not have summarized better the need to continued vigilance and solidarity at his address to the Preparatory Committee of the New Political Consultative Conference in June 15, 1949, where he charged that, Just because we have won victory, we must never relax our vigilance against the frenzied plots for revenge by the imperialists and their running dogs. Whoever relaxes vigilance will disarm himself politically and land himself in a passive position. Comrades Delegates, it is my special privilege to commend before this, the 23rd National Congress, the 23rd Political Report.

Amandla!! Awethu!! Matla A Rona !! Matimba Ya Hina!!