Lamola bids to rule the ANC Youth League

2014-11-09 18:00

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Ronald Lamola has “unfinished business” with the ANC Youth League, and wants to tackle it by becoming the league’s new leader.

Lamola, who was the ANC Youth League’s deputy president until earlier this year, says he’s prepared to step up for possible election to revive the league, which, he says, has become a “moribund structure that is in ICU and in serious need of revival”.

Lamola was part of the league’s leadership that was disbanded by the ANC in March last year.

The 31-year-old, who was born in Mpumalanga and lives in Gauteng, says if he’s voted in by the league’s members at its congress next month, he will immediately campaign to resuscitate controversial policy recommendations on land, the economy and education that were adopted at its national general council in 2011.

Among these resolutions were that at least 60% of all minerals in the country be “beneficiated” within the country, land and property be expropriated without compensation for “equitable redistribution” and strategic sectors of the economy be nationalised.

“I am more convinced now than ever that the policies we adopted on land, the economy and economic freedom are more relevant today than ever before,” Lamola told City Press during an interview in Pretoria this week.

“The league is in ICU and it needs all its members, disbanded or not disbanded, to help in its revival.”

Lamola also believes the youth league shouldn’t be “just a cheerleader of the ANC”.

The debate over the autonomy of the youth league caused ructions between its then leaders and senior ANC officials, including ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

“[The league] must continue to be a critical body of opinion. There’s no reason the league should tone down because the last leadership was disbanded. Autonomy is what has kept it relevant, and that’s why it has come with new ideas every time.

“If the league doesn’t have autonomy to make its own decisions, it may as well become a desk of the ANC and the ANC will cease to exist because the only people who can keep the ANC relevant are young people who have unlimited energy.

“But autonomy must be within the confines of discipline.”

Lamola, who is completing his thesis for a master’s degree in corporate law at the University of Pretoria, will go up against his former colleague and former treasurer Pule Mabe and the league’s current national task team coordinator, Magasela Mzobe, in the leadership race.

Lamola believes the league should increase its campaigns to tackle issues such as access to education, land reform, transformation in all sectors, including finance, youth unemployment and hot potatoes like the tolling of Gauteng’s highways.

“Youth league members must vote with their conscience. We must not rely on hand-outs and individuals who may want to macromanage the league. We cannot allow the league to fall into the pockets of individuals,” he said.

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