'Troublemakers': ANCYL fights back against ANC NWC decision to change leadership structure

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ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has informed the Youth League's interim leaders that the party's national working committee has decided to reconfigure the structure.
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has informed the Youth League's interim leaders that the party's national working committee has decided to reconfigure the structure.
Deaan Vivier
  • ANC Youth League interim leaders are dead set against an ANC decision to reconfigure the league's structure.
  • Last week, the ANC national working committee communicated its wish to remove some bad apples among the league's 35-member national task team.
  • Youth league leaders have been embroiled in a public spat in the run-up to its national elective conference, which is set for June.

ANC Youth League national task team (ANCYL NYTT) leaders disagree with a Luthuli House decision to change the league's 35-member interim leadership structure.

Last week, the ANC national working committee (NWC) decided that it would reconfigure the group that is meant to lead the party's youth structure.

This came after it received a report from the office of ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula on the need to disband the ANCYL NYTT. 

At least three leaders of the interim structure told News24 they believed the decision to reconfigure the task team was "irrational and motivated by a desire by the ANC leadership to again have a say in who becomes the powerful structure's president".

"The youth league has in recent years been used to fight internal factional battles, and whichever faction manages to ensure that its candidate emerges as president, can therefore micromanage the radical structure of the ANC and wield it as a weapon," an NYTT member said.

The NYTT member added:

This is why at the eleventh hour, just as we are about to go into the conference, the leadership now wants to meddle in our affairs.

Another insider said that although the 35 NYTT members did not see eye to eye on the path to its elective conference, the mother body should only try to mediate the differences.

"It is a mere two months before the scheduled conference. Disbanding the structure and replacing it with new members makes absolutely no sense. Instead, the new members would come with their own plans and beliefs, and this could lead to further delays in rebuilding the organisation that has already been dysfunctional for years," another NYTT member said.

Another insider, who also spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said the hopes of NYTT members were "firmly placed on the national executive committee (NEC) overruling the NWC decisions as the NEC has the final say on all decisions made in the party".

In a letter to youth league task team convener Nonceba Mhlauli and coordinator Joy Maimela, dated 16 March, Mbalula said "the NWC has decided that the NYTT must be reconfigured".

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This came after the NWC, at its meeting on 13 March, received a report on the office of the secretary-general's engagements with the task team on the state of the organisation and the implementation of its road map to the national conference.

The meeting happened as NYTT leaders were embroiled in a public spat over the outcomes of two ordinary NYTT meetings on 7 and 12 March.

On 13 March, a day after the last meeting, NYTT spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize, who is believed to be in the running for the youth league presidency, circulated a statement which she claimed contained the outcomes of the two meetings. In it, she claimed that the Youth League had finally settled on 1 June as the starting date of its conference.

But Mhlauli was quick to dismiss the statement, publicly described it as fake news and urged members not to circulate it as it was not the outcome of the two meetings.

Despite earlier saying the differences among NYTT leaders are "not that major" and that they can "find each other through discussion", Mbalula is understood to have grown disheartened by the constant bickering. He now wants the ANC NEC to approve the removal of some members who are seen as "troublemakers".

Mkhize, Maimela and Mhlauli were not readily available for comment.

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