ANCYL proud ‘foot soldiers’

2013-01-09 00:00

A MORE compliant ANC Youth League was evident yesterday when deputy president Ronald Lamola shared the stage at a rally in Inanda with party leaders.

The feisty rhetoric of former youth league leader Julius Malema was all but gone, with Lamola saying the youth league stood firmly behind the newly elected leadership.

“We have accepted the outcomes of the [Mangaung] conference,” Lamola said.

The league would back the Zuma-led ANC in its election campaign for 2014, he added.

“We confirm, like we said before the Mangaung conference, that we will be in the forefront to campaign and ensure that the ANC leads after 2014,” Lamola said to applause from the thousands of ANC members . “We are foot soldiers of the ANC. We are not suffering from Mangaung.”

Lamola shared the platform with re-elected ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete and KwaZulu-Natal leaders.

Earlier, party leaders had taken the ANC centenary flame to the home of its first president, Langalibalele Dube, the Inanda Seminary and Dube’s grave.

The procession was part of a build-up to the party’s annual statement, which is usually delivered on January 8, but will be read at Durban’s Absa stadium on Saturday.

Lamola’s statements come hot on the heels of the failed attempts by the youth body and others within the ruling party to unseat President Jacob Zuma at Mangaung.

The league backed former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the ANC, but he was unable to muster enough votes to unseat Zuma.

Lamola said the ANC should declare youth unemployment a national emergency and that tertiary education should be accessible to all pupils who had passed matric.

He called on African youths to venture into sporting codes other than soccer, rugby and cricket to ensure that sport reflected the demographic make-up of the country.

Mbete congratulated Lamola on his speech.

Referring to Mangaung, which was predicted to be more divisive than Polokwane, Mbete said: “We will differ with respect. When branches have spoken, all we need to do is to follow the line of the conference.”

She insisted that there were no divisions after the Mangaung conference. “People like talking as if they are experts in what is happening in the ANC.”

She declared that nobody could weaken the 100-year-old party to the point of breaking it up, and this had been proven by those who led splinter groups and left the party intact.

“We invite them to come back. They must accept that the ANC is home for South Africans, Africa and the world,” she said.

Those who thought they would kill the ANC were ignorant.

“We will finish in 200 years when Lamola has grandchildren.”

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