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ANC Youth League President Julius Malema`s Address to the Young Women`s Assembly

7 May 2010

Secretary General,
Members of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee present,
Delegates from Provincial, Regional and Branch Executive Committees present,
All guests

We are glad that the Women┬┤s Assembly is sitting in May, just few days after the commemoration of the passing away of Walter Sisulu, a dedicated, capable leader of the ANC, who did not only rhetoric women empowerment, but made sure that even at the home front it finds practical expression.

Walter Sisulu died on the 5th of May 2003 at the age of 91 and will be remembered as one of the most outstanding leaders of the ANC Youth League. We have to mention Comrade Walter Sisulu because on the 10th of September 1944, he took along Mama Albertina Sisulu to the launching Congress of the ANC Youth League at the Bantu Men┬┤s Social Centre.

Walter Sisulu took Mama Albertina along because he understood that women had a role in defining and redefining the kind of future we should all live in. Mama Albertina grew to be one of the stalwarts of the Progressive Women┬┤s Movement, because Walter Sisulu did not see a lesser human being in her.

It was by no surprise that Walter Sisulu got elected Secretary General of the ANC in 1949 at the age of 37 and became one of the most successful Secretaries General of the ANC. He rebuilt the ANC into a mass mobilizing and campaigning organisation.

Unlike many revolutionaries today, Walter Sisulu made sure that his children (male and female) appreciated the kind of struggle we were engaged in against the racist apartheid regime. We cannot say the same thing about children of many of our leaders today.

His capabilities in organizing and mobilization can be equated to many products of the ANC Youth League, some of whom leading the ANC today, tomorrow and forever.

We are inspired that the Assembly is once again sitting, this is a sign that the ANC Youth league is capable of carrying forward its programmes without failure, and will on many other resolutions we have taken ensure that we carry them out to the fullest completion.

The Young Women┬┤s Assembly should not only be convened at national level, Provinces and regions of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE should begin to convene these sessions and attract as many young women to the ANC Youth League as possible.

We are aware that this Assembly is going to tackle various developmental and empowerment questions that relate to women in South Africa, and this should go a long way in shaping the character of revolutionary women activists we want to see come out of this engagement.

We want to see women like the women of 1956 who stood against repression and said they are tired of repression, suppression and exclusion meted out by the repressive regime of the few.

We should from this platform, design a concrete programme on how the empowerment of particularly rural women is intensified, as these continue to suffer patriarchy and exclusion from the opportunities presented by our democratic government.

As men we have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of women are protected, and find a correct balance between expressing our cultural rights and respect for women in South Africa. It can never be permanently correct that men are forever at liberty to have many sexual partners, when women are demonized for engaging in such practices. We must intensify our campaign on One-Boyfriend, One-Girlfriend Campaign.

Multi-sexual relationships should be discouraged, not only amongst the youth, but amongst all South Africans because the scourge of HIV/AIDS impacts on all of us, irrespective of gender, culture and age.

We acknowledge that government has declared war against HIV/AIDS and we should all of us be responsible in ensuring that the strategy is implemented and leaders lead by example with regards to the issues of HIV/AIDS.

The time has arrived for us to translate gender equality and empowerment to the most vulnerable women and many who remain farm and domestic workers. Rural women must be involved in the design, decision making and determination of productivity where they choose to remain.

There must be emphasis here that the call for the empowerment of particularly women is not sexism in as much the call for greater representation of Africans in key and strategic positions in not racism, nor narrow African chauvinism.

The Young Women┬┤s Assembly should compliment the Women┬┤s Ministry in doing real gender equality work and altogether displace the racist organisations who claim to be the true representatives of women, while they are in fact parrots of the reactionary forces.

The ANCYL has always celebrated the struggles of women that defined the liberation of South Africa┬┤s majority. The contributions made by women in characterizing the footprint towards achieving democracy have found expression in the course of suppression designed at disenfranchising the majority of South Africa┬┤s populace.

It is only in the ANC Youth League where young women can meet to discuss politics and social issues of empowerment, health and wellness of young women.

We must make it a point to attract as many women as possible to the ranks of the ANC Youth League and teach them politics.

The ANC YL stands by the call of the progressive youth movement that all women should have access to sanitary towels and other reproductive and sexual health necessities for free if they cannot afford to pay. It can never be correct that women are subjected to unhealthy and unhygienic practices when responding to natural realities.

The Assembly should from this forum take practical steps towards ensuring that all females have access for Free Sanitary towels. The assembly should take concrete steps and not be reduced to a debating forum.

The struggles of women cannot be separated from the struggles of the whole of society. For the youth of South Africa, the struggle now is for the NATIONALISATION OF MINES. The ANC Youth League is unashamedly at the forefront of the campaign to make sure that Mines in South Africa are nationalised to benefit all people.

We have to emphasise this point because in the recent past, all political events including what we are subjected to in the media and internally has something to do with our call for the NATIONALISATION of Mines.

The ANC Youth League recently led a delegation of the Progressive Youth Alliance to Venezuela to attend a meeting of the World federation of democratic youth and to get some lessons on Venezuela┬┤s nationalisation, ownership and control of oil.

The Venezuelan case beefs up the argument of the ANC Youth League that nationalisation can increase the State budget to address issues of education, health and social development.

The budget which the Venezuelan government uses for its free education, free health and affordable social services is sourced from the country┬┤s control and ownership of oil.

The people of Venezuela immediately benefit from the oil, which is owned and controlled by the State. The State uses its ownership and control of oil to give fuel to the people of Venezuela for almost free.ÔÇöOil is very affordable in Venezuela because the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is in control and ownership of oil production.

We have learnt in Venezuela how people can be empowered by the State┬┤s ownership and control of its natural resources and such lessons will inspire our confidence to make sure that Mineral resources in South Africa are nationalised for the benefit of all people.

Here in South Africa, we have the world┬┤s biggest reserves of platinum, gold, chrome, manganese and many other important minerals, yet majority of us have never seen how these minerals look like.

Many South Africans have never benefited anything from the country┬┤s control of Mineral resources and we can never be quite when such is the case.

Other people can go around the world to make assurances that Mines will not be nationalised, yet the reality of the situation is that nationalisation of Mines is currently on the agenda of the ANC and will be resolved by the National General Council in September 2010 and National Conference in December 2012.

Mines┬┤ nationalisation will of course need a strong, better organized and consistent ANC Youth League.

Those who argued for the formation of the ANC Youth League in 1942 and 1943 said that the YOUTH LEAGUE had to be formed because that was the only way to make the ANC live longer.

By its very nature the ANC Youth League has to be youthful, re-energize and radicalize the ANC and those who are opposed to its ideals should never be tempted to liquidate the ANC Youth League, nor destroy its leadership.

The ANC Youth League is an integral part of the ANC, but an autonomous organisation. It does many things, which some will not be comfortable with the older generation.

Many generations before us defended the autonomy of the ANC Youth League and we owe it upon these generations to protect and defend the autonomy of the ANC Youth League. We owe it upon Peter Mokaba to defend the autonomy of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE.

When Nelson Mandela called for armed struggle, it was not policy of the ANC, and he allowed space to raise why the ANC had to take armed struggle. The leadership of the ANC did not seek to muzzle him and stop him from saying what he had to say.

There are many things that were said and done by various leaders and generations of the ANC, but they were never silenced through threats of suspension and expulsion from the ANC.

This ANC belongs to all of us and we have a collective responsibility to safe guard its traditions and methods of engagements. Anything foreign to its traditions will never be sustainable, and will be removed from the ANC like it happened with many tendencies before.