ANC youth conference postponed again

Sibongile Besani
Sibongile Besani

Sibongile Besani, the ANC Youth League national youth task team coordinator, has cautioned ANC national executive committee (NEC) members, who form part of the task team, from hijacking the platform that is meant to rebuild the youth league, and using it to directly contradict pronouncements made by the mother body.

“What is very critical is that we [most members of the national youth task team] are ANC NEC members and when the ANC releases a statement through its NEC, we can’t use other platforms, such as the youth league task team, to challenge the statement. This goes against organisational process and discipline,” said Besani.

It ought not to be the case, he said, that seasoned party members, entrusted with being a part of the ANC’s chief executive organ, contradict ANC statements.

Some of the ANC NEC members who form part of the task team are Lindiwe Zulu, Pinky Kekana, David Masondo, Nathi Mthethwa, Senzo Mchunu, Febe Potgieter, Dakota Legoete, Zizi Kodwa, Pule Mabe, Ronald Lamola, Fikile Mbalula, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba and Faith Muthambi.

This would be followed by the auditing process to prove that the members and branches were in good standing, following which the branches would convene their branch general meetings to elect leaders who would represent them at the elective conference.

Last month Besani recused himself from the task team, tendered his resignation and accused some members of issuing a statement in his name that lashed out at the courts for issuing a warrant of arrest for former president Jacob Zuma.

Besani said his resignation had nothing to do with Zuma and his standing with him, “but rather with the processes that were undercut and ignored prior to the release of the statement”.

“If a statement is issued with your name at the bottom, processes dictate that it should at least pass through you and get your approval, which was not the case.

“I am not a youth league member, my NEC membership takes precedence, I have just been assigned to help deal with youth league issues and the same goes for most of the other task team members who are also NEC members,” said Besani, who is also the head of the ANC presidency at Luthuli House.

He reiterated that differences had since been ironed out between the members of the task team, adding that “we remain slaves of optimism” in our task of rehabilitating the youth league.

Besani was speaking to City Press on the state of readiness of the governing party’s youth league on holding its conference.

This came after the task team announced yet another postponement of the much-delayed conference, moving it from its last scheduled date of April to May.

It will be held at the University of the Free State.

There is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether the conference, which is about 19 months overdue, will go ahead as planned.

Besani, who heads the task team that was put in place last year to stabilise the organisation and ensure that it goes to conference, said the delays could be attributed to a number of hurdles, including internal misunderstandings within the task team and some in the task team misusing the platform to launch their own attacks on the mother body.

“We [the task team members and the ANC leadership] took a resolution to align the membership system of the youth league with the ANC’s online system and we undertook a process to engage with a service provider in that regard.

“The service provider advised us that if we planned to migrate the process to an online process, it would push back convening the conference considerably.

“We decided that we could have a hybrid process, in other words we will revert to the old version of manual auditing and verification while other areas could be handled electronically,” said Besani.

He said the process was still at its starting phase “of verification, meaning inputting data regarding the membership of at least 4 000 branches”.

This would be followed by the auditing process to prove that the members and branches were in good standing, following which the branches would convene their branch general meetings to elect leaders who would represent them at the elective conference.

“Thus far we have verified at least 1 000 branches,” said Besani, adding that “we remain slaves of optimism and trust that we will be ready by May to convene the conference”.

Besani said what had also been time consuming was the task of rehabilitating the youth league from liquidation. 

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