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23rd National Congress: Briefing on proceedings

4 April 2008

The 23rd national congress of the ANC Youth League commenced yesterday with the outgoing President, Fikile Mbalula delivering his Political Report. This was followed by a keynote address by the ANC President, Cde Jacob Zuma and an organizational report delivered by the outgoing Secretary-General, Sihle Zikalala.

The President`s Political Report set the scene for the robust engagement that will be taking place in commissions which start later today. In his report the President dealt extensively with the following issues which will constitute discussions at Congress:

UNITY AND COHESION OF THE YOUTH LEAGUE

The President reiterated the importance of unity and cohesion of the ANCYL as a building block to the unity and cohesion of the ANC. As a preparatory school for future leaders, it is important for the cadreship of the Youth League to inculcate in themselves the timeless values of accountability and democratic practice.

ERADICATION OF THE SCOURGE OF RACISM

The battle for the eradication of the demon of racism in our society has never been more urgent. The rank and file of the ANCYL is being called upon to lead the fight against racism wherever they are. What came to pass in this campus must spur all of us into action to place the final nail in the coffin of this demon.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Polokwane affirmed the centrality of youth development as an integral part of placing our nation on a sustainable socio-economic and socio-political development. Congress will therefore apply itself to the resolutions of Polokwane, central among which is the establishment of a National Youth Development Agency which will emerge out of the collapse of Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission. Similarly, Congress will pay particular attention to issues relating to health and education in order to place these at the centre of the youth development agenda.

ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

The integration of our youth into the mainstream economy is vital and we will continue to advance our campaigns in relation to jobs for youth and creating sustainable livelihoods underpinned by youth development interventions. The President made a call for the immediate review of the competition regulations to break the cruel monopoly capitalists which continues to undermine our efforts of pushing back the frontiers of poverty.

BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

BEE remains a fundamental policy of our government aimed at redressing the skewed spread of economic resources. We need to re-evaluate the policy regime and practices governing Black Economic Empowerment to ensure that its implementation does not continue to benefit the few at the expense of the masses. On a similar vein, we call for the fastracking of the implementation of broad based black economic empowerment to ensure such massification.

BATTLE OF IDEAS AND IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLES

We hold a firm view that the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunals is the correct approach in dealing with the excesses and undermining of individual rights. This must not be interpreted as a threat to media freedom in the country.

ORGANISATIONAL RENEW

The organizational report reflects qualitative growth of our structures, and makes particular emphasis on our branches in minority areas. The report calls for the establishment of ANCYL branches in the diaspora taking into account the large numbers of South Africans whose political growth and contribution is limited by their being outside the country.

CONGRESS PROGRAMME

Congress today will consider the Credentials Report, Treasurer-General`s report and delegates will go into commissions. Commissions will continue until Saturday whereafter Congress will adopt a declaration.

The Electoral Commission will present electoral rules and manage both the nomination and electoral processes. We expect that voting will commence today.

Issued by the ANC Youth League