Praise and admonishment for ANCYL from Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)

President Cyril Ramaphosa claimed expropriation of land without compensation and free higher education – policy positions the EFF will claims as its own – as victories for the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

Addressing a Peter Mokaba commemoration event in Durban on Wednesday in the run-up to the ANC's birthday bash this weekend, Ramaphosa said free higher education for poor students had become a reality and land would be expropriated without compensation because of the party's youth league. 

"We thank you for that," Ramaphosa said. "You have given the young people of the country hope to look forward to.

"The government had to follow in your tow."

He admitted that it wasn't easy for the government to find the money for free higher education.

"We did find the money, NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is open," he said.

'Young people not feeling the ANCYL in their lives'

"You have indicated that we should have economic freedom in our lifetime," he said.

He said the government was now working to achieve this.

But he did not have only praise for the league.

He said the league's leadership was not making an impact on the lives of young people, but was instead only seen to be concerned with sending out press releases attacking people or reacting to events.

"Young people are saying they want to feel the ANC Youth League in their lives," he said. 

Ramaphosa said, "without a doubt", there was the impression that the league was not furthering the congress movement's cause at institutions of higher learning.

League tasked with leading election campaign

He gave the league several tasks, the first being to be seen to be "providing political consciousness" at these institutions. 

He said the league must promote unity, ensure young people further their education and sharply raise the issue of women abuse and HIV/Aids. 

Finally, he gave the league the task to be the ANC's "leading edge" in the upcoming election campaign.

Ramaphosa was especially concerned about young people who have not registered to vote.

"This election campaign we are going to, the ANC Youth League and young people as a whole must make sure the ANC emerges victorious," Ramaphosa said.

"We want an overwhelming majority, and we know, we can only get it through the participation of young people."

Mokaba was a former leader of the ANCYL, as well as ANC national executive committee member, deputy minister in the administration of former president Nelson Mandela and an ANC MP. He died in 2002 and would have been 60 years old this year. 

Ramaphosa said the ANCYL needed leaders of Mokaba's ilk. 

"Take Peter Mokaba and use him as a mirror and say: 'Am I living up to Peter Mokaba?'" 

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