Age matters, ANC leaders tells youth league delegates ahead of voting

2015-09-04 12:43
NTT member Malusi Gigaba addresses the media ahead of the 25th ANCYL National Congress (Amanda Khoza, News24)

NTT member Malusi Gigaba addresses the media ahead of the 25th ANCYL National Congress (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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The ANC has, in a last-minute move, appealed to members of its youth wing to use their conscience when voting for older leaders who decide to contest for the top position later tonight, as the issue of age continues to be big factor. 

ANC national task team member Malusi Gigaba explicitly stated that the nominated candidates must do some introspection and make decisions in the best interest of the ANC Youth League. 

“The branches of the [league] will make a decision about who they think should lead them. We do expect that they will make a rational decision that takes into consideration the long-term future of the [league]. The constitution says if you are 35 years of age you cannot stand because your membership of the [league] lapses,” said Gigaba on the sidelines of the Congress at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. 

“Delegates are ultimate determinants with what will happen in regards to the leadership election ... People must draw from their own conscience to decide whether they are standing or not”. 

The leading contender in the race for the influential position of president is North West MEC Collen Maine, who has been nominated by six provinces. 

Maine has the backing of three ANC chairpersons also known as the premier league – North West chair Supra Mahumapelo, Free State chair Ace Magashule and Mpumalanga chair David Mabuza. 

The oldest candidate is ANC national executive committee member Pule Mabe (35), who has been nominated by the Western Cape. Mabe’s support has waned since the last congress, where he was favourite but the congress was changed into a consultative forum after allegations of money exchanging hands surfaced. 

Maine’s age is also an issue – as he is 34 turning 35 later this year. 

Other presidential hopefuls such as ANC Tshwane regional chairperson Lesego Makhubela and the former league deputy president under Malema, Ronald Lamola, were not nominated by provinces despite enjoying support from some regions. 

Meanwhile, Gigaba – who is also home affairs minister – said the congress was a platform to exorcise the demons of the past. 

The league has failed to elect new leaders since the expulsion of former league president Julius Malema in 2012 and later the disbanding of his executive in 2013. 

The congress got off to a slow start on Friday, with no sign of delegates by 9am when Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to address it. 

Clad in their bright yellow T-shirts, they started tricking in shortly before 11am, singing songs in favour of their preferred leaders. 

» For tweets and updates on the ANC Youth League conference follow political writer Hlengiwe Nhlabathi on @Hlengi, or follow City Press on @City_Press

Read more on:    ancyl  |  malusi gigaba  |  politcs

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