A group of 107 ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members have written a scathing letter to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte demanding that they be given their power back to run the league.
They also want the national youth task team set up to run the league’s affairs when its last executive was disbanded.
In a 13-page letter seen by City Press, the league called for all members of the governing party who are older than 35, removed from all league structures across the country.
“We demand the immediate removal of all individuals above the age of 35 from all structures of the ANCYL, as their continued occupation of those positions remains unconstitutional,” reads the letter.
The letter argues that the task team overseeing their affairs does not have the league’s best interests at heart and therefore has no right to run it.
“It is our assertion that the national youth task team, together with all overdue provincial structures which are led by non members of the ANCYL, does not represent or reflect the ‘youth’ definition in the ANC and ANCYL constitutions,” they said.
The national task team was appointed by the ANC’s national executive committee last year after the ANCYL national structure was disbanded.
It was given until this month to convene an elective national conference, after rebuilding the branches, regional and provincial levels.
The task team is led by coordinator Sibongile Besani, who heads President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office at Luthuli House and Tandi Mahambehlala as convener.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe and former ministers Faith Muthambi, Malusi Gigaba and Nomvula Mokonyane are the other members.
Their appointment also came after a sustained campaign, which first caught steam on social media, to remove the then ANCYL leadership, led at the time by Collen Maine.
The task team has however been plagued by divisions which saw Besani resigning early this year over the alleged manipulation of processes. He was ordered to return to his post by the ANC’s top brass.
The league criticised the divisions in the task team which were played out in public.
“We have, just in this past week, witnessed with great shock and embarrassment, the national youth task team issuing a statement attacking the ANC Women’s League – a statement which some task team members have distanced themselves from.
“It’s also unclear where the task team derives the mandate to issue public statements, with extreme grammatical errors, on the affairs of other constitutional bodies of the ANC,” it said.
The league also criticised the task team for failing to organise a conference before the lockdown.
“It has been exactly 12 months since the appointment of this structure and the organisation is in a worse situation than what it was. All structures are dysfunctional, including the task team itself,” reads the letter.
The league has struggled to hold a conference since 2018 and this resulted in the executive led by Maine being disbanded.
This was the second dissolution of the league, the first being when then league president Julius Malema-led executive was disbanded in 2012.
The 107 members represented in the letter are made up of members from all nine provinces. They said they were ready to lead the league and gave Magashule until September 2 to respond to their demands.
“The ANCYL needs to rescue itself from the bondage of the dependency relationship it has with the ANC. The ANCYL was founded on the principle of the self-determination of the African nation and that principle needs to transcend to the current generation,” read the letter.