Former president Jacob Zuma has urged the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) to back a president who is willing to place the plight of ordinary South Africans first and not one who is more concerned about how the implementation of policies agreed upon in party conferences would affect investor confidence.
The former president made these utterances on Thursday during his address at the Jan Hofmeyer Recreation Center, at an event hosted by members of the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus, where he was the keynote speaker on a dialogue on the role of the ANCYL in today’s society.
Zuma urged the youth league to fulfil its mandate of “uniting and leading young men and women in dealing with problems that face the youth, and to make a rich and full contribution to the life of the party”.
Today’s young lions should take up the mantle that was left by prolific former young leaders in the mold of former president Nelson Mandela and former ANC president Oliver Tambo, he said.
“The youth league of Mandela, Tambo and co, realising that the ANC was not moving in the right direction, said they were only going to support a candidate who undertook to implement a program of action which was in line with emancipating deprived South Africans,” Zuma said.
“They said among themselves, for us to achieve the policies and objectives we could not continue with the president at the time and needed someone who would implement the political program of the congress. It wasn’t a case of liking anyone but following a program to liberate themselves,” said Zuma who urged the youth leader members gathered in the packed room to follow suit.
He said the youth league putting its weight behind a leader whose mandate was ensuring that South Africa moved from its current state of being liberated but not free would not amount to factionalism.
Rather it would be the fulfilment of the mandate of the youth league's role to be radical in ensuring that the leaders of the mother body were strict in abiding to policy resolutions of the party.
ANC secretary-general and Zuma ally Ace Magashule has on occasion accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of dragging his feet in implementing resolutions taken during the party’s 54th national conference in Nasrec in December 2017.
On Thursday, Zuma went on to urge the youth league that its mission was to come up with “strategy and tactics, understand fundamental problems facing society and ways to address the issues rapidly”.
He said the youth ought to organise and mobilise young people to take an active role in confronting and dealing with these problems.
In recent times the ANCYL has been accused of being “immaterial, and led by leaders who are over the stipulated age of 35 and whose term of office expired in September last year”.
This has led some within the league to call for its disbandment and the appointment of a national task team that will hold the fort and ensure the youth league’s readiness to go to its elective conference to elect new leadership.