AfriForum goes to court over youth training
Cape Town - AfriForum Youth will bring a court application to force the department of defence, rural development and land reform, and the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec) to publicise information about the youth training due to take place during this week at the Saldanha military base.
"AfriForum youth discovered that approximately 8 000 young people will receive training in the near future at military bases in, among other things, life skills and artisanship," spokesperson Charl Oberholzer said in a statement on Monday.
According to the organisers the young people would be trained in "patriotism" and "discipline", but they would not receive "military training", he said.
One group had already been trained at the De Brug military base in Bloemfontein and an intake of 1 000 young people would take place at Saldanha.
"A confidential source informed AfriForum Youth that the group which will be trained at Saldanha was recruited from the ranks of the ANC Youth League.
"However, this could not be confirmed yet," said Oberholzer.
In 2010, the defence department announced it would start a programme called National Youth Service to train young people at military bases
Among others, the ANCYL and the Young Communist League would also have undergone training.
Using the Access to Information Act, AfriForum Youth had asked the minister of defence to answer various questions, Oberholzer said.
These included how members were recruited to take part in the training programmes, whether the individuals being training were affiliated to any political party or specific organisation, and how Narysec was composed and what was its function.
Others were on the constitutional documents or empowering legislation of this organisation, the programme content and learning material to be used for the training, and which subjects would be included in the training.
"AfriForum Youth was met with hostility when the request was submitted and no answers were provided to AfriForum Youth’s questions," said Oberholzer.
"AfriForum Youth will now continue to force abovementioned institutions, on the strength of a court order, to publicise the information as requested," he said.
The defence department had been "secretive" since the beginning.
"Initially it was announced that the programme will focus on the ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League, until we objected.
"It is now reported that it isn't military training, but the department of defence is still involved and the training is still taking place at military bases.
"Moreover, no invitation was sent to AfriForum Youth, despite our requests to be invited and that we even contacted the minister."
Oberholzer said AfriForum Youth had no objection against training programmes which provided young people with life skills, but a lot of unanswered questions still remained.
"The department of defence’s aggression and secrecy now compel us to force them with a court order to publicise the information.
"The possibility of further action will be considered as soon as the information, as requested, is publicised," he said.