ANCYL leader out of touch, irrelevant - student organisations

2016-02-02 13:08

Johannesburg - Opposition parties' student leaders have taken exception to ANC Youth League president Collen Maine's claims that the #FeesMustFall campaign amounted to treason.

The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) and the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) said the ANCYL was at risk of becoming irrelevant to the youth.

"I think he must be hallucinating," EFFSC president Mpho Morolane said.

"Remember that he's not serving the interest of young people, but he is serving the interest of his handler and it cannot be correct that countrywide students are saying education for free... and he's saying these students are funded."

He questioned where the supposed funding was coming from.

Students who were calling for free education were raising legitimate concerns, he said.

Morolane said the EFFSC had called for a public debate with Maine, but was still waiting for a response from the ANCYL.

"His assertion is misguided and misplaced.

"If he raises something like that, then who is he leading? He was never in touch with the young people... he will forever be irrelevant to what the young people are going through."

Morolane said since his election as ANCYL president, Maine had never raised anything of substances or solutions.

Maine at the weekend told City Press that the country's intelligence agencies should probe the #FeesMustFall movement, claiming it was part of a "counter-revolutionary" movement bent on overthrowing government.

The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) was angered by Maine's comments, but said it was not surprised.

Daso interim leader Yusuf Cassim called on Maine to withdraw his comments.

"The DA does not condone violence and damage to property in any form or at any time.

"However we contend that Maine’s comments about the student movement demonstrate that he is out of touch with the plight of the youth by calling for disproportionate action to be taken instead of meaningfully addressing the concerns of many frustrated students," he said.

'We cannot allow that element'

Cassim claimed that the ANCYL had become a retirement village for ANC cadres.

Daso agreed with the EFFSC that the ANCYL was at risk of becoming irrelevant to the youth.

However, the South African Students Congress, which is ANCYL aligned, has defended Maine's comments.

This despite SRC leaders in some universities, who are leading the #FeesMustFall campaign, being Sasco and ANCYL aligned.

Tembani Makata, Sasco secretary general, referred to a meeting held by the Progressive Youth Alliance, made up of the organisation, the ANCYL and the Young Communist League.

"Earlier on we had a meeting with the PYA... it was just our realisation that genuinely the struggle started out of student issues... we then realised that during the course of our struggle there were some elements that wanted to hijack our struggle... and destabilise local government elections.

"We cannot allow that element."

She Maine's comments had been based on this analysis.

Makata said Sasco was continuing to call for free education and would not back down.

"We are sticking to that issue and speaking to education related matters,"  she said.

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