As the ANC Youth League mourned one of its own, killed during a meeting, the governing party's National Youth Task Team leaders vowed that his killer would be brought to justice.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) member and a member of the Congress of SA Students, Lethabo Nkoana, was shot and killed during a national youth task team meeting in Hammanskraal last Saturday. He was trying to protect his friend, Jabulani Musi, during a scuffle.
The conflict between two factions of the youth league in Tshwane is believed to have led to the shooting.
The memorial service was held at the Stanza Bopape Community Hall in Mamelodi on Thursday.
The task team said it would stop at nothing to find Nkoana’s killer.
Task team coordinator Sibongile Besani told the hundreds of attendees at the service that the party was working closely with police and would ensure that the matter was dealt with swiftly.
“We are ashamed that today, as we come here, before we say anything, we have to apologise to the family. Your son, the breadwinner has lost his life at a meeting organised by us. We take responsibility as a collective; we are going to leave no stone unturned to help the police to arrest the criminal,” Besani said.
Senior officials are investigating the murder case and they have briefed the Gauteng provincial legislature’s portfolio community about the progress so far.
“Police briefed the committee, saying they had made significant progress and are at an advanced stage of making an arrest,” said committee chairperson Mapiti Matsena.
The ANC has promised to “take action’’ against any members who are believed to be behind the recent disruptions at youth league gatherings and warned that young people should not get involved in factionalism.
Besani said one of the first things the party would do was to ask the ANCYL for its support but “your support must be anchored on revolutionary discipline”.
“I hear other people talking about factional discipline; there is nothing like factional discipline, factions are ill-disciplined by nature,” said Besani.
Lethabo Nkoana the activist
Nkoana (24) was hailed by his peers as an activist for women’s rights with many describing him as a “fearless lion”.
The young women’s desk’s Precious Banda said she first met Nkoana at the rape case of Nicholas Ninow, the man who was convicted of raping a seven-year-old girl at a Dros restaurant.
“Every time we went to court he used to come wearing a #NotInMyName T-shirt. He walked up to me and said, I am part of the group but I am a comrade and I do not agree with the abuse of women. We knew at the time that we had a comrade who did not believe that women should be asked for sex before they were hired,” she said.
While Besani did not know him personally, he said it was clear that Nkoana played an important role in his community.
“Personally, I did not know him. Unfortunately, I know him at this point when he is silent and when I cannot talk to him; but at least I know one thing that he belongs to a movement of galant giants,” he said.
Banda also spoke fearlessly about the factions within the party. She expressed her concerns about seniors in the party who are believed to using young people to fight their battles.
“I agree with those who have had a message to give to the ANC; we are standing here as young people to blame the ANC and to ask seniors, the handlers and the bishops to unchain the movement of young people,” she said.
The task team has suspended its activities until further notice.
Besani sent a stern warning to those who are believed to be on a mission to destroy the already embattled youth league.
The group has been holding meetings across the country to prepare for the league’s national conference, which is expected to take place next year.
“So the process of renewal is not going to stop, the murder of comrade Lethabo is a turning point. We are going to build the movement.”
Political journalist | City Press
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