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Political address by Cde Mzwandile Masina National Task Team Convenor on the occasion of ANCYL 69th Anniversary rally in Limpopo, Seshego
15 September 2013
President of the ANC Cde Jacob Zuma
ANC NEC Members Present
Former Presidents Lulu Johnson, Malusi Gigaba, Fikile Mbalula and their respective leadership collectives of the ANCYL
All former leaders of the ANCYL
ANC PTT of Limpopo
Premier of Limpopo
Branches of the ANCYL
People of Limpopo
Thank you all for gracing the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the ANCYL, taking place a few months before the general election where all young people are expected to play an important role in ensuring a decisive victory for the Africa National Congress.
On many accounts, and in an interrelated manner, this birthday celebration rally is both historic and an opportune moment. It is a rally that defines important things about the ANC Youth League and its significance in the unfolding National Democratic Revolution as led by the ANC.
Firstly, we are meeting in the city of Polokwane, in the home province of our late President, Peter Mokaba, in whose honour this birthday celebration rally itself is organized.
Comrade President Peter Mokaba occupies a much more significant place in the history of the ANC Youth League than historical narrations may sometimes tell. It is this significance of President Mokaba that today we will use as the context within which many things must be explained and understood about our organization.
Secondly, we are convened here for our birthday celebration in the month of September, the heritage month of South Africa during which the country looks back into history and reflects on the lessons of the past in order to draw positive lessons that can assist us all in our attempts to make sense of the present day.
Thus, we are naturally charged with the task of joining our country in this exercise of reflecting on its history, and for us to particularly reflect on the history of our organization, the ANC Youth League, and draw from its history those strategic lessons that constitute our useful organizational heritage.
We need to reflect on this organizational heritage in order to be best able to perform the tasks of leading the ANC Youth League today as imposed upon us by history.
Thirdly, we are gathered here today on this historic day in the home town of our first President since unbanning, Peter Mokaba, for the first rally organized by the National Task Team whose mandate is to rebuild the ANC Youth League following the dissolution of the ANC Youth League NEC by the leadership of the ANC.
Lastly, this birthday celebration rally is at the same time the National Launch of our elections programme for the ANC Elections campaign for the 2014 General Elections.
We are to outline, amongst other things, the strategy with which we shall mobilise the youth of this country to vote for the African National Congress as well as to outline the issues that will be at the heart of our youth development campaigns going into the next term of governance.
Comrades, perhaps it is important to raise all of the points highlighted above in a manner that gives them historical linkages and meaning.
The youth constitutes an identifiable social category that, although not homogenous in both political identity and aspirations, has broadly general interests that impose particular historical tasks on it in the development of any society.
Similar to all other social classes and strata, there are specific conditions in history that determine the possibility for the youth to successfully understand their historical mission and to act in a manner that will guarantee the fulfillment of that mission.
As Frantz Fanon famously reasoned, each generation must, out of relative obscurity, identify its mission; to either betray or fulfill it.
In the context of our country, the 1944 founding generation of the ANC Youth League particularly understood this fact, and thus by forming the ANCYL set out to organize themselves into a united political force that grappled with political questions of their day and determined the strategic tasks to be undertaken in pursuit of a better future.
Indeed, they identified their mission as the pursuit of political freedom in their lifetime and they accordingly formed the ANC Youth League as an organizational instrument through which they successfully ensured that they did not betray their mission but rather fulfilled it.
Impatient with the grave conditions of their day, they infused militant methods to the overall political strategy of the ANC and the oppressed people of South Africa.
Having engaged vigorously the ANC internally, and finally making the movement more vibrant, energetic, militant and indeed radical, this generation vindicated the notion that the youth is a cutting edge of any revolutionary effort, without which success is minimal.
As a generation, we have come a long way in honouring the injunction of Frantz Fanon and the living example of the 1944 generation that identified its mission as the pursuit of political freedom, since we as a generation have also identified our own generational mission.
In the South African context, the reality of the matter is that the exclusion of the majority from economic participation and benefit was not an accident of history, but was human engineered and therefore overturning that legacy requires a deliberate intervention by the ANC led alliance as forces of material change, committed to the reversal of the structural and systematic exclusion of the African majority.
For all of this to be possible; maximum unity, focus, resolve and determination are required.
Throughout the history of the National Democratic Revolution, the revolutionary alliance has always represented the unity of all progressive forces in our country pursuing a common vision of a transformed South African society.
There is no other foundation upon which the alliance is based other than the unity of purpose in line with the objectives of the NDR.
It is for this reason that as the ANC Youth League we do not take kindly to the insults leveled against the leadership of the ANC by some comrades camouflaged as pseudo-militancy whilst they are only weakening the fighting capacity of the revolutionary movement at large.
This is also because we are of the view that the struggle for economic freedom is a collective struggle and requires the mobilization of the broadest sections of South African society for its achievement.
Thus, a divided alliance will not be able to maximally mobilize all social forces behind this vision and will therefore compromise our capacity to achieve our objectives.
We must be alive to the fact that those who represent the ruling class will inevitably refuse any meaningful change to the order of things and will forever be threatened when the ANC led alliance CHANGEs gears and focuses on socio economic advances as the next phase of an uninterrupted National Democratic Revolution.
Therefore our generational struggle has been correctly captured by our 24th National Congress as ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN OUR LIFETIME. What we need to do is to properly THEORISE this generational struggle and come up with a very clear PROGRAM OF ACTION if we are to be politically relevant.
As we deliver a decisive victory of the ANC in next years elections, we will unsure that we defeat the populism and demagoguery elements that sought out revolutionary sounding rhetoric in order to hoodwink well-meaning revolutionaries and citizens into believing that they stood for good whilst concealing their true intensions of using organizational structures as guarantors of access to power for self-enrichment and corrupt-ends.
The inconsistencies between their rhetoric and their daily conspicuous consumption, opulence and general flaunting of obscene wealth were and still are an express pointer to the contradictory nature of their politics. These demagogues have no shame to expropriate the ANCYLs generational call, without compensation, in their quest of political expediency.
Let me assure our membership that the character of the ANCYL remains radical, militant, vibrant, robust, critical and disciplined; we affirm this as directed by successive ANC Youth League congress resolutions. The ANCYL can never be a useless desk within the ANC; it will continue to be a watchdog and pressure group within the movement to champion interests of the youth.
As we meet here, we are making a call to the ANC led government for FREE EDUCATION, starting with the doubling of bursary funding and conversion of bursaries into grants for those students who completed their first degree on record time. This will be a profound demonstration of the ANCs advance towards the realization of free quality and compulsory education if we are serious about our generational struggle of economic freedom in our lifetime.
Our government has pronounced the process of building two new Universities in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga respectively as well as twelve (12) new FET Colleges throughout the country and we should as the ANCYL commend this achievement by our democratic government. Equally we should express our displeasure with regard to proposed intakes as it undermines our efforts to flood institutions of higher learning with students from previously disadvantage background. If there are serious constrains with regard to intake, we propose that our government should support a massive programme of intake by deserving students into overseas Universities.
The current impulse at Walter Sisulu University is worrying; in this regard we call the University Management to extend the academic year to February 2014 to allow students to prepare sufficiently since so much time was lost during the prolonged strike.
Walter Sisulu University is a casual example of how historically black institutions are confronted with many systemic challenges; from infrastructure backlogs, shortages of study material, financial constraints for procuring and building modern facilities and equipment.
We call for a review of the current university funding model by government so that resource allocation could be biased towards our under-resourced black institutions in order for us to avoid the continuation of collapsing universities because of funds.
Our struggle for economic freedom has education is one of its core pillars. This is because we need to build a technically capable youth corps with sufficient education that will enable them to effectively run a transformed South African economy.
We therefore cannot afford a situation where our centres of knowledge production that cater for our disadvantaged youth are threatened with closure.
We continue to experience racism in some of the former white campuses and this should be condemned in the strongest possible terms and we call upon all progressive youth alliance to now consider its position to continue contesting for elections at tertiary institution and support SASCO moving forward.
Young people continue to suffer high levels of unemployment. Therefore as a signatory to the youth employment accord; we call upon our government organised business, labour and social partners to come up with clear monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of this accord so that we are able to record progress.
As this generation we demand ANC government to endorse key sets of proposals that have been agreed to by the ANCYL, including amongst the following:
- The alliance summit has adopted the accord with associated packages of incentive schemes including a job seekers grant and as the ANCYL we should close the debate and ensure these measures are implemented urgently as we cannot allow youth unemployment to continue to be an issue of statistics;
- Implementation of a sanitation youth brigade as the Presidential Special Project to eradicate the bucket system before the next general elections;
- We call upon our government to scrap entry requirements for certain categories of jobs in the public service to allow massive entrance by our graduates of whom majority are the youth;
- We calling for massive in-service training and internship programme to give practice experience to workplace;
- We call for ratio system in specific industries including hospitality and service industry to ensure absorption of youth. It cant be correct that foreigners continue to dominate in these industries when our people are unemployment;
- We call on the youth to consider farming as the profession as well as the revival of Agricultural Colleges and the Land Bank to be taken back to Rural Development so that it can finance the development of Agricultural sector in SA for emerging farmers.
Mangaung Conference has resolved on a just and equitable land policy and the recent land audit has revealed rather shocking statistics that 79% of SA land is in private hands, 14% in public hands and 7% unaccounted. Time has come that we call on all SOEs to hand what they own to the state for development but more radically that our government should take urgent steps to expropriate the land in the private hands for restitution purposes.
We call on the government to press criminal charges on all construction companies who colluded on prices during the world cup infrastructure project and defrauded the people of South Africa. It cannot be correct that we allow the current set-up where these companies go to the Competition Commission to simply pay a fine and we let this matter die just like that.
Comrades, a vibrant youthful election programme to gain the trust of our people is now in place and we call on all young people of the ANCYL to rally behind the implementation of this plan. There are almost six million new young voters which we have to ensure they are registered and vote ANC in 2014. ANCYL campaign should be taken to all places where young people are found, be it in sport facilities, cultural precinct, churches, places of entertainment, popular hangout places such as taxi ranks, car washes, tshisa nyamas etc.
All of the above demands can be best achieved if we take the advice of comrade Peter Mokaba when he said, The main tasks and challenges that are facing us as the ANC Youth League is not only to correctly lead our members and boast big numbers, but to lead all the youth by our work and their consent and not by imposition and decree and become the center of the all-round development of young men and women from all general walks of life. This we can achieve if we assume our rightful place both in the ANC and in the broader society. We have to make contribution to the solutions of problems facing our movement today.
Thus the building of an autonomous ANC Youth League that is organizationally functional, politically capable and ideologically sound within the overall discipline of the ANC is a historical necessity.
The YL has existed for almost seven decades and therefore this organisation of Mxolisi Majombozi, Robert Resha, Nelson Mandela, Anton Lembede and many other great leaders has tried and tested processes. We are the laboratory of ideas that Cde Sisulu spoke of, we are the young lions that Tambo admired, and we represent in our collective self the future of our movement. We must, at all times, stand as one, all of us combined are not bigger than the cause.
We will be judged by our actions, our revolutionary conscience must therefore talk to us. We dare not fail our forebears and many of those who carried this great enigma of the progressive youth of our movement for almost seven decades. The recent past of the youth movement has proven that no one individual is bigger than the progressive ideals that define our existence.
In an attempt to start engaging, a discussion document will be release by December 2013 towards formulating a broad and coherent vision as a youth wing of an organisation in government, consistently with our last Congress resolutions. Let the rebuilding process continue we wish you all well during this special day on the occasion of our birthday.
VIVA THE SPIRIT OF PETER MOKABA VIVA!!!!!!