Facilitator : cde Bandile Sizani
Provincial Convenor of the ANC YL,
National Youth Task Team deployed to the province in absentia,
Members of the ANCYL Provincial Conference Preparatory Committee
It gives us great pleasure to address this induction of the newly established ANC Youth League Provincial Conference Preparatory Committee (PCPC) in the Eastern Cape. On behalf of the ANC, I wish from the onset to state that the establishment of this collective of young leaders to prepare for the Provincial Congress of the ANCYL as part of the rebuilding process of our League, is warmly welcomed and supported. ANC PEC has deployed 3 pec members for hands on support as we are doing to all leagues , not to micro manage or interfere with autonomy of the league.
We refer to the preparation for the Provincial Congress as one of the processes of rebuilding the League because this task you have been given should not be seen as an end on its own but constituting one of the means to the end goal. Simply put, you must carry out this task in such a way that post the Provincial Congress, there will be an organisation to be led by those who will be entrusted by delegates to do so.
This is an important point to make, as this should be one of your areas of common purpose that will help your efforts in protecting the unity and cohesion of the collective. As the ANC in the province, our only expectation out of this process is a revived and rebuilt ANC Youth League that participates meaningfully in the renewed life of the ANC and plays its role in society. What should emerge out of this process are not our leadership preferences, but our collective objective of having an existing, strong, vibrant and active ANCYL that young people of our province have been deprived of for several years in this province.
Comrade Convenor, we thought we should start there, because this is the task team established for this work. As the ANC we have had to deal with a number of challenges emanating from comrades who seemingly did not appreciate the task at hand, or rather allowed their own interests to take centre stage than the interests of the organisation and that of young people. We thought this is an important point to make so that it is understood that the success of this work can only be achieved if it is led by individuals who are here to serve the organisation first, serve the revolution first, and serve the people first, with everything else following from that.
You will only succeed if you work together and use your different leadership skills and Prowess for the benefit of the organisation and the process to rebuild it. We have no doubt that this collective has the capacity and ability to not only carry out this task but do so working together in harmony and in a manner that reflects unity of purpose.
To further elaborate on this point, reference is made to the assertions made by Karl Marx on the importance of organisation, where he states that:
“Just as the combat strength of a cavalry unit or the resistance of an infantry battalion differs in substance from the sum total of the individual strength of each cavalryman or each separate combatant, the sum total of the mechanical strength of each separate worker also differs from the mechanical strength created when they work in co-ordination and at the same time in the same indivisible work.”
Which is why we maintain that however individually gifted you might be, the task you have been given will be more impactful if you work together and ensure that the individual strengths contribute to the strength of the organisation and not of a grouping or objectives that have nothing to do with the tasks of the Youth League, because as Le Duan explains: “a strong organization ensures the strength of each person and the strength of each person makes the strength of the organization.”
We therefore challenge you to use this induction session productively to develop consensus and a framework that will ensure that you build sound and concrete working relations.
Without concrete and sound working relations, you will struggle to implement the 54th ANC National Conference resolution which held that:
“the Youth League needs to diligently and progressively implement its twin tasks. Firstly, it must organise, mobilise and educate young people behind the vision of the ANC, and continue to be a political school for new generations. Secondly, it must champion the interest of young people in the ANC and in society, ensure that youth education themselves ideologically and academically, to provide innovation, energy and creativity to the project of radical social-economic transformation.”
Without these working relations and common purpose, it will be difficult to rebuild a Youth League that can be regarded as a ANC preparital political school for new generations, rather than one that reflects an organisation of current generations for the fulfilment of their own personal desires that have nothing to do with youth interests in particular and interest of the people in general.
As Lenin explained:
“only by radically remoulding the teaching, organisation and training of the youth shall we be able to ensure that the efforts of the younger generation will result in the creation of a society that will be unlike the old society…”
We therefore need to examine the state of the ANCYL in this context, and if we agree that the Youth League in its current form is not at this level, state what needs to be done for it to have the capacity to teach, organise and train its members.
Without the fulfilment of its twin-tasks as outlined above, the Youth League will be but a shell of its former self, it will bask in former glory and will be written off as irrelevant not only by young people but by society as well.
It is for this reason that the ANC in the province appreciates the efforts you have made in organising this gathering. Let us use it productively and ensure that it is a step towards the rebuilding of the League, which some of us pride ourselves for having gone through its ranks.
You are the generation that must not deny future generations this pride and privilege we have of having gone through what is commonly known as a preparatory school of the ANC.
Fight against Covid-19:
Comrades, you have convened this gathering at a time when we are still engaged in the global fight against the Novel Coronavirus disease (Covid-19). We believe it is important to remind each other of this on-going fight as it appears that some of us have let our guards down and believe that the fight against Covid-19 has ended or has been won.
Your ability to mobilise young people behind the fight against Covid-19 will be a measure of your influence in the terrain, and whether you will be able to lead future struggles. Vaccination is now open to your constituency and you should lead campaigns to mobilise young people to register and take their jabs.
Post Covid-19 Economic recovery:
Comrades, it is true that our economy was already ailing with more than 10 million people without jobs before Covid-19. Majority of those that were employed were either in precarious work, and those in stable jobs were constantly living in fear of retrenchments and business closures. Our debt to GDP ratio was unsustainable and the economy was not growing at the desired rates. We had high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality, with all these being significantly racialised and spread unevenly across gender lines.
Such is the crisis before the crisis of Covid-19, and as we said before, the ANCYL should be amongst those that are saying we should not return to the crisis before the crisis of the pandemic. There is general consensus in the province that we need a new growth and inclusive growth path. We agree that our country requires an aggressive State-led Economic Reconstruction and Recovery with Development trajectory that is anchored on amongst other things, financial mobilisation and investment rather than austerity, recapitalising Development Finance Institutions, progressive taxation models and increasing public sector investment by into productive sectors of the economy by amongst other measures, utilising reserves and prescribed assets.
We agreed that we need to break the oligopoly structure of our economy by strengthening the Competition Act and related legislation and using public spending to deliberately grow the cooperative sector and small to medium industries. We need to reindustrialise our economy.
These are some of the options that the ANCYL must deliberate on and provide solutions as instructed by our 54th National Conference. A debate on sustainable economic reconstruction and recovery that is without the voice of the ANCYL is quite worrying and troubling especially when one considers the hegemony the Youth League used to have on economic and social debates in South Africa.
We need a strong Youth League that will hold us accountable for the various announcements we make such as Stimulus Packages to reignite the economy and whether or not we are living up to those pronouncements.
We need a Youth League that will understand the economy of the Eastern Cape and that will provide innovative solutions on how to revive it. Sitting here, you should be knowing the performance of all sectors in the regions you belong and be able to provide a way-forward on how to improve the performance of those sectors that didn’t perform well.
What we need, is an ANCYL that is preoccupied with Youth Development and the development of our province and our country, rather than one that is inward looking and primarily concerned about its own affairs and factional battles within the ANC.
Linked to economic recovery and development is the question of massive investment into skills that are in line with the development of our country and needs of our society. Our industrial development largely depends on skills and capabilities that are produced by TVETS which therefore makes it logical and necessary for government to increase its investment in the sector.
Building a strong, vibrant and active, and campaigning ANCYL:
Comrades, we have said this before, that for the Youth League to reclaim its hegemony it needs to be rebuilt to become a strong, vibrant, active and campaigning organisation of young people. But for that to happen, the organisation must exist.
In other words, it must be an organisation that is made up of real members and not membership forms that are deposited in bulk at the bank for purposes of Congress and BGMs. It can’t be that a branch with 100 members in terms of the audit outcomes struggles to even produce 10 volunteers for an ANC election campaign in the ward. Young people must be convinced to join the ANCYL, they must know that they are members of the ANCYL and not be members of other members.
Members can’t be recruited from voter’s roll; this is an act of fraud and can be punishable by law. It needs to stop, not only because it is illegal but also that it is self-defeating and is fundamentally in contravention of the values and principles of the ANCYL and the ANC.
The ANCYL will be strong only when its members are strong, only when they are thoroughly inducted to understand the ANCYL and the ANC, the history of these formations and the history of our struggle. The Youth League will be strong when its members comprehend the aims and objectives of the ANC and the national democratic revolution.
A campaigning and active ANCYL is one which has branches that are rooted in their communities and lead struggles faced by young people. It is a Youth League that mobilises for the interest of the motive forces of the NDR, placing the youth interests and those of the vulnerable at the centre of their agenda.
We need an ANCYL that actively engages in the battle of ideas and advances intellectual discussions and innovative ideas within the structures of the ANC; an ANCYL that doesn’t replace intellectualism with phrase-mongering and soundbite informed analysis.
Our country and ANC need an ANCYL that is popular within the masses and not one that is populist or one that engages in demagogic conduct.
Young people need an ANCYL that will promote youth development, forcing governing party to create conducive environment for young people to flourish in their developmental endeavours, building the cooperative sectors and innovation as opposed to tender-preneurship. The Youth League must cleanse itself from crass materialism and ensure that young people join it to advance youth interests and to further the vision of the ANC. It must insulate and cleanse itself from those who join and lead the ANCYL for self-enrichment .
Students need an ANCYL that won’t see the weaknesses of SASCO as opportunities for itself, but rather work with SASCO and ensure that it maintains its hegemony in institutions of higher learning and training.
These are some of the immediate tasks that the membership of the ANCYL must carry out in the efforts of reviving the League. As you embark on this journey of rebuilding the Youth League, I want you to take heed of the words of a courageous activist our revolution Mama Charlotte Maxeke who said: “This work is not for yourselves.” Kill that spirit of self”. You must be a collective of aspirant revolutionaries not king makers. La mazwi ka Mama uCharlotte Maxeke mawanikhokhele xa nizokwenza lomsebenzi niwuthwalisiweyo. You must all understand that you are in service to the aspirations of the young people of our province, not to advance your personal political ambitions.
Comrades, you have a huge task ahead of you and one that requires utmost dedication, loyalty, and sacrifice. We are calling on you to serve the young people selflessly and without expectation of material gain or personal benefit. We expect you to do this for past and future generations.
Addressing the tenth anniversary of June 16, President OR Tambo affirmed that:
“the youth and students, the children, parents, teachers and other professionals; the workers in town and country, on the mines, in commerce, industry and the farms; the religious community – in fact, the entire oppressed population together with democratic whites are bound together by the blood that covered the streets of Soweto, the blood that has since soaked the soil of our motherland in even bigger quantities.”
You, the youth of today are bound by that blood of young selfless activists that refused to accept the tyranny of the gruesome apartheid regime and gender based violence directed to young women. You owe it to them to carry on with the struggle to advance, deepen and defend our national democratic revolution. You owe it to yourselves and future generations to be loyal to the struggle for transformation and the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
Thank you very much comrades once again for extending this invitation to us, we wish that you will use this opportunity to honestly reflect on the issues we have highlighted and on the pressing questions confronting the ANCYL and the youth of the Eastern Cape.