Pretoria - The poor performance of the Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) in this year's local government elections shows that the black consciousness party has failed the nation, its youth wing leader Amukelani Ngobeni said on Tuesday.
Ngobeni blamed the leadership, while expressing anger and disappointment after the party received about 15 seats out of 55 000, with the rest occupied by other parties, mainly the ANC.
The youth wanted a reshuffle from the top as the outcome of elections was an insult to the black consciousness philosophy, he said.
Azapo received five seats in KwaZulu-Natal's Majuba and three in Newcastle, one in Tshwane and one in Northern Cape's Pampierstad, among others.
"We have written to them and are awaiting a reply. We think that the leadership owes the nation an explanation. Azapo has failed to register in many of our strong areas like Ekurhuleni in Gauteng and Steve Biko region in the Eastern Cape.
"All this is attributed to poor strategic planning by Azapo leadership and as Azapo Youth, we cannot afford to sit back and pretend as if all is well," said Ngobeni.
"It is clear that this giant liberation movement has not woken up from sleep and we feel that as the youth, it is our responsibility to defend the organisation at all costs, even if it means defending it against itself."
Ngobeni said the post-election Azapo youth NEC meeting concluded that the current leadership had failed the nation because there was a huge outcry for a real alternative in the country.
"We are very frustrated as the youth and we demand the leadership of Azapo call a special congress where all non-performers, including the president, will be dismissed and new leadership - which will continue with the legacy of black consciousness - will be elected."
Meanwhile, Azapo spokesperson Gaontebale Nodoba found it surprising that the youth structure would try to address its problems through the media, ignoring internal forums available to them.
"The youth know the procedures, that if there is a grievance or discomfort it is to be processed internally... They decided to communicate to the media before we sit down and engage with the issues, that's the unfortunate part of it."
Nodoba acknowledged receipt of a letter of complaint, saying a forthcoming standing committee meeting on June 5 will enable them to "take stock" and "reflect" on issues, including complaints by the youth structure.
"We are disappointed that youth behaves in this unbecoming manner. While we do allow for diversity of views in the organisation, there are forums to raise these things."
Nodoba described the elections as very competitive, saying they too were not happy with their performance.
"We are not happy but we can't just ask for an overhaul because of that. We need to sit down and see where we went wrong."
He acknowledged that the party did not register candidates in some of the wards like Ekurhuleni, but could not give reasons why.
The ANC currently has a presence in every council across the country, with the number standing at 5 633 councillors.
Ngobeni said Azapo wanted to elect leadership which would take the party to where it belonged and a leadership which would not be afraid to take the ruling party head on.
"We want to elect leadership that will bring back the black pride in the faces of black people. We know as the youth what Azapo can provide for the nation but the leadership fails to provide strategic leadership that will see Azapo take over government by 2018."