ANC Youth League National Exec Committee Lekgotla address by ANC Youth League President Julius Malema
Issued by the ANC Youth League
10 February 2012
1. Welcome to the National Executive Committee Lekgotla of the ANC Youth League, which meets in February 2012, the year of the African National Congress, which we have defined as the year for economic freedom in our lifetime. Here we have leaders of the ANC Youth League from the National Executive Committee, Provincial Executive Committees and Regional Executive Committees of the ANC Youth League from across the country. Representatives of the Progressive Youth Alliance and other progressive formations are also in attendance to come and reflect on the progress we have made since the 24th National Congress of the ANC Youth League, which we held in Johannesburg in June 2011.
2. The year 2012 is a very important year in the history of the African National Congress and the entire National Liberation Movement in South Africa, Africa and the world. It is important because the ANC is celebrating its 100 years of existence in the year 2012. Many voices have been heard from within the ANC, the country, the continent, and the world in celebration and commemoration of the great struggles of the people of South Africa against a repressive, racist, segregationist, and murderous system of colonial dispossession and apartheid domination of the black majority and Africans in particular in this Southern part of Africa. Many voices have been heard in commemoration of the many lives that were lost in the course of struggle for freedom, liberty, and total emancipation from political, social and economic domination of the majority of South Africans.
3. The voice of the youth has however not been clearly heard, because we are living under difficult moments. The voice of the youth of the ANC organised under the revolutionary and fighting youth wing of the ANC has not been heard because we are living under difficult moments. The voice of the youth has not been articulated clearly in the 100 years celebrations because the visions that the youth hold are under threat of suppression and extermination by opponents of progressive change in and outside the African National Congress. This is despite the fact that no society in history has ever moved forward progressively and successfully without the voice of the youth. We can stand tall and say to the nation and the whole world today that no amount of intimidation and suppression will successfully suppress the voice of the youth. Those who tried before failed dismally.
4. Comrades, we have said before and we will say again today that all revolutions are activities of the youth. South Africa under the leadership of the ANC is in the middle of a revolution, and if not in a revolution, it is supposed to be in a revolution. If there is anyone in the ANC who denies or refuses to accept that we are in a National Democratic Revolution, then that person is misplaced. In the course of any revolution, we need to appreciate that the youth should and will always play a central role.
5. Comrades, the message we should have given to the centenary celebrations of the ANC on the 8th of January 2012 in Bloemfontein was going to re-affirm the simple fact that the revolutionary history of the ANC was given energy, radicalism, militancy and character by the fearless struggles of the youth. Since its formation, the ANC has always relied on the visions and foresight of the youth on how a free, democratic and prosperous society should be created. The leadership of the ANC said there was no time for us to deliver the message of support in Bloemfontein, but here we have time to speak about what we could have said in celebration and commemoration of 100 years of the ANC.
6. It is now an accepted and appreciated historical fact and reality that the idea of founding the African National Congress is attributed to a young person, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, who became its 5th President, 18 years after the formation of the ANC. Pixley ka lsaka Seme was only 31 years old when the African National Congress was formed in 1912, yet at the age, he was able to gather and give ideological direction to the middle class intellectuals, renowned Africans, and royalties from as far as Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia and those of tribes and kingdoms from within South Africa, and included Kings, Princes, Paramount Chiefs and Chiefs who attended the launch of the ANC in January 8, 1912. What this means is that the ANC was founded by ideas of youth and only got to later adopt conservative strategies of struggles because the older generations was used to the older way of doing things.
7. In celebrating 100 years of the ANC’s existence, there is every reason to celebrate and commemorate the role of the ANC Youth League, because the history of South Africa's political, social and economic change cannot be told without mentioning the vital role of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE. For the benefit of all of all South Africans, the people of Africa and the world maybe we should start from the beginning and speak in great detail about the correct history of the ANC YL in the 100 years existence of the ANC. It is important that we do so, because many amongst us and in society believe that the ANC YL was only formed after the unbanning of political parties and release of political prisoners in 1990.
8. The ANC's idea of forming the ANCYL began in the early 1940s, as a result of young people's impatience with the manner in which the ANC and the entire National Liberation Movement responded to apartheid repression. Young people said then that they are tired with peaceful resistance and struggles, which recognised and respected the oppressor and the colonial masters. It is a reality that whilst relatively progressive, the methods the ANC had adopted to oppose apartheid and achieve an equal society was not revolutionary. It was not revolutionary because there was no intention to overthrow the system, but there was a dedicated effort for inclusion into the system by the ANC leadership.
9. The Youth in the ANC said it could never be correct that the most progressive activity of the ANC was sending of petitions and delegations to the Queen in Britain, asking for some rights within the semi-colonial Union of South Africa. Mxolisi Majombozi came with the idea of radicalising the ANC, through formation of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE, which will give new energy and fighting spirit to the National Liberation Movement. To realise this idea, Mxolisi Majombozi was supported by other young people in the ANC, notably Comrades Walter Sisulu, Anton Lembede, William Nkomo, Oliver Tambo, and many others.
10. In 1942, the ANC Conference noted the growing militancy amongst the Youth and resolved that the Congress Youth League should be formed to mobilise young people behind the banner of the ANC, somewhat not considering that the young generation, inspired by the struggles of the workers in South Africa at the time, will not only mobilise behind the vision of the ANC, but will influence a radical change of its character and outlook as a Liberation Movement. In 1943, the ANC took another resolution to form the ANC Youth League and concretely mandated the National Executive Committee of the ANC to take concrete action on the formation of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE.
11. A provisional committee of the ANCYL was formed in early 1944 with William Nkomo as its Chairperson, Mxolisi Majombozi as Secretary, and Wafter Sisulu and Congress Mbatha were Co-Convenors. We are aware that former President of the ANC J.T Gumede fully supported the formation of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE, arguing in the 1943 Conference of the ANC that the formation of the ANC Youth League will make the ANC to live forever. We will always hold President J.T Gumede in high regard for his ground breaking and inspiring leadership.
12. In September 10, 1944, the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE was officially launched as an organisation in Bantu Social Centre, Johannesburg and elected Anton Lembede as its first President and Oliver Tambo as its first Secretary. Walter Sisulu was elected as the first Treasurer of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE, Robert Sobukwe, Congress Mbatha, A.P. Mda, Robert Resha, Duma Nokwe and Nelson Mandela were part of those elected to the first National Executive Committee. We should clarify here that Nelson Mandela or Walter Sisulu were not the first National Secretaries of the ANC Youth League, Comrade Oliver Tambo was.
13. The ANC was not always a fighting revolutionary movement until the idea and practice to form the ANC YL in the early to and mid 1940s. The formation of the ANC YL undoubtedly gave new impetus, energised and radicalised the ANC into a fighting force tor the liberation of the oppressed majority. If the reading of history was mechanical, it could be simplistically deducted that the transformation of the ANC into a truly national organisation of the people, and the formation of the alliance are direct consequences of the formation of the ANC Youth League in 1944. Yet history evolves in far much complex and systematic realities than that, because the combination of prevailing material conditions of that period and the subjective determination of the founding leadership of the ANC Youth League dialectically called for decisive action and defined history.
14. The generation that founded the ANC Youth League (Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, William Nkomo, Mxolisi Majombozi, Anton Lembede, Congress Mbatha) declared "FREEDOM IN OUR LIFETIME" in 1944 and 50 years later in 1994, they were a generation that ushered in political freedom to the African majority, which were under colonial and apartheid repression for more many years. Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu who are the founder of the ANC Youth League were at the forefront of ushering political freedom in South Africa.
15. We have no doubt that Anton Lembede, A.P. Mda, Mxolisi Majombozi, Godfrey Pitjie, Robert Resha, Patrick Moaloa, David Bopape, Godfrey Pitjie, and many other who founded and led the ANC Youth League would have been at the forefront of political liberation had they lived long. We always say that it only took the ANC Youth League 5 years to radicalise and energise the African National Congress into a mass movement and fighting force for people's liberation. Within the first five years of its formation, the ANC Youth League was able to decisively influence the ANC to adopt a more radical, forthright and confrontational political programme which fundamentally transformed the ANC into a mass mobilisation movement and campaigner against racial segregation and economic subjugation.
16. The transformative 1949 ANC Conference had to elect a relatively inexperienced and young leadership of President James Moroka (who had just joined the ANC) and Secretary General Walter Sisulu (aged 37) because the older and more organisationally experienced generation was unable to adjust and adapt to the new strategies and tactics proposed by the Youth League to fight racial oppression and segregation.
17. The 1949 Programme of Action led to the Defiance Campaign, which goes into history as one of the most successful campaigns to be led by the African National Congress. Recalling the fruits of the Defiance Campaign, E.S. Reddy says, "the Campaign generated a mass upsurge for freedom. The membership of the A.N.C. increased from 7,000 to 100,000 during the campaign and it became a truly national organization of the people. The Campaign also led to the formation of the Coloured People's Congress and the Congress of (white) Democrats, and then a "Congress Alliance" which played a crucial role in promoting multi-racial resistance to apartheid in subsequent years".
18. Certainly, the passage of time spelled a different trajectory with regards to how the Youth League relates to the African National Congress, yet notably the ANC Youth League's founding generation's commitment to "freedom in our lifetime" took practical shape and was led by that particular generation. It is important to understand that the founding generation of the ANC YL was not only fighting for political freedom, but were also fighting against ideological, social, economic domination and colonisation of the majority by a minority.
19. It is this realisation that made the founding generation of the ANC YL to fervently mobilise for the adoption of the Freedom Charter, first by the People's Congress in 1955 and by the ANC in 1956. Comrade Nelson Mandela was Volunteer in Chief in the Defiance campaign and the mobilisations towards the adoption of the Freedom Charter was anchored and given shape by then ANC Secretary General Walter Sisulu.
20. The Freedom Charter is currently the nerve and lifeblood of the African National Congress and entire National Liberation Movement. When adopting the Freedom Charter in 1956, the ANC said that its not a patchwork of reforms, but a revolutionary programme, which is also a beacon of hope for the people of South Africa. The Freedom Charter affirms that South Africa belongs who live in it-black and white, and this affirmation in repeated in South Africa's democratic Constitution adopted in 1996.
21. As much as the Nelson Mandela generation led the struggle for attainment of political freedom for majority of our people, we have made it our responsibility and dedicated focus that economic freedom is realised in South Africa. Economic Freedom should come through the realisation and actualisation of the Freedom Charter clause that reads that the Mineral Wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industry and banks should be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole'.
22. The Nelson Mandela generation of the ANC Youth League changed history and did everything in their power to ensure that the cause for struggle is never betrayed, nor compromised for anything below the sky. The founding generation dedicated their lives to the cause for freedom and were prepared to sacrifice their lives so that we can all live in freedom. Their battle cry was FREEDOM IN OURLIFETIME, underpinned by the dedication to attain Freedom or Die. Our battle cry as this generation of youth is attainment of ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN OUR LIFETIME. Like Nelson Mandela, we will do everything in power to realise economic freedom in our lifetime.
23. Oliver Tambo was elected into the ANC National Executive Committee at the age of 31 in 1948, became its Secretary General at the age of 38 in 1955 and Deputy President at the age of 41 in 1958. First President of the ANC Youth League, Anton Muziwakhe Lembede was directly elected to the ANC National Executive Committee at the age of 31 in 1945. Nelson Mandela was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC at the age of 32 in 1950 and became President of the ANC Youth League and that of the ANC in the entire Transvaal at the age of 34 in 1952. He was by then the Volunteer in Chief of the Defiance Campaign, a campaign that played the most important role in defining the mass character of the African National Congress.
24. Young people in the ANC played a critical role in the mobilisation of all South Africans towards the Congress of the People, which adopted the Freedom Charter in 26 June 1955. The Freedom Charter remains the beacon of hope for the people of South Africa and the most important mobiliser and organiser of all formations to resist colonial-cum-apartheid domination and repression. The Freedom Charter reflects the kind of society the African National Congress plans to construct.
25. The leadership of the ANC Youth League was part of those who were arrested in Treason Trial, and never disappeared when the Movement was facing massive difficulties. The founding generation of the ANC Youth League was at the Rivonia Trial and were the main protagonist, because they were propelled by the ideals they developed in the ANC Youth league. The ANC YL former President Patrick Molaoa was part of a dedicated contingent which fought in the Spolile Campaign in 1968, and lost his life fighting for the emancipation of the people of South Africa. The young Chris Hani mobilised young revolutions with intentions to revitalise and giving new energy to liberation fighters in a process which led to the 1969 Morogoro Conference.
26. The 1976 generation led a very militant struggle against the nonsensical and brutal apartheid regime in a manner and bravery which remains unparalleled to this day. The young lions generation under the leadership of Peter Mokaba ran South Africa ungovernable and incubated energy to the struggle for liberation thus leaving the apartheid regime with no option but to negotiate. During negotiations, the ANC YL gave the additional energy and zest to the negotiation process, in a manner which illustrated to the apartheid regime that young people are ready to continue the fight for liberation and total independence of South Africa.
27. Post democratic dispensation, the ANC YL has been the only organisation at the forefront of instituting youth development into mainstream work of government, civil society and the private sector. The betterment of South Africa’s youth has and continues to be our primary pre-occupation.
28. We are mentioning all these realities because this generation of young activists should appreciate that the revolutionary programme we are pursuing, "economic freedom in our lifetime" will not be left to some older people who seem to have accepted that the massive wealth inequalities cannot be changed. The reason they go to the Queen to account and report is because they believe that such is the only way to do things even with the political power that was given to them by the people of South Africa.
29. The current generation of the ANC Youth League is also playing its part in the African National Congress. Whilst appreciating the ANC Youth League's role of mobilising the youth behind the vision of the ANC, and championing their interests, this generation has politically and organisationally repositioned the ANC Youth League to play the role of the Youth League of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, and Anton Lembede. The Youth League is politically and ideologically sound, committed and militant, and consistently raising critical issues that relate to socio-economic transformation. The ANC Youth League is leading almost all key ideological and political questions in the South African economy on issues of economic transformation, social transformation, education, social cohesion, and a non-racial South Africa under construction and the challenges thereof.
The political programme of the ANC Youth League in the centenary of the ANC and beyond is summed up as that of attainment of “ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN OUR LIFETIME”. This simply means that all the economic clauses of the Freedom Charter should be given practical meaning and implemented in our lifetime. The people sharing in the country’s wealth should not just be a clarion call, but should be turned into a concrete programme, which includes Nationalisation of Mines, banks and monopoly industries. Perspectives in that regard are developed.
This generation of the ANC Youth League carries a responsibility to defend the freedom charter and ensure that all its aims and objectives are realised and implemented. Efforts to undermine the meaning of the freedom charter should be isolated from the ANC, and should not even be supported. This is a matter the ANC Youth League should not be ashamed of because reality is that the ANC requires determined and ideologically clear adherents and proponents of the Freedom Charter to take us forward. Those who continue to account to imperialist forces and white monopoly capital should be isolated from the organisation because they have potential to undermine our future.
What members of the ANC and all South Africans should appreciate is that all the issues we are raising on economic freedom in our lifetime are elementary to the success of the revolution and continued support for the ANC. This programme constitutes our future and we should do everything to defend the principles because this generation will inherit the ANC which cannot blame past injustices for massive inequalities and suffering of our people. Our generation will have to take full responsibility on why young people do not have jobs and why there are no proper houses for all our people.
So in summary, attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime means that we should do everything we can to make sure that the ANC government utilises the mandate of the people to realise all the economic clauses of the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter is the strategic mission. The meaning of economic freedom in our lifetime means the attainment of all freedom charter objectives as urgent as possible. This is vital because the Freedom Charter is historically and currently the common programme of the entire National Liberation Movement and mobiliser of the people of South Africa on what should be the future.
The vitality of the Freedom Charter in the Congress Movement cannot be overemphasised because it occupies a special space in the political development of South Africa. The Freedom Charter is the lifeblood of the Congress Movement and any attempt to replace it as a strategic vision has potential to turn the Congress alliance into a myopic formation. It is not only the replacement of the Freedom Charter which will impact on the ideological character of the Congress movement, but also attempts and actions that seek to give it a liberal interpretation.
The Freedom Charter is the foundation of South Africa’s Constitution. The non-racial values espoused in South Africa’s Constitution are rooted in the Freedom Charter’s clarion call that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. The bill of rights echoes the values espoused in the freedom charter and all Constitution’s commitment to build sustainable livelihoods and decent life for all the people is derived from the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter continues to be the beacon of hope for the people of South Africa and cannot be replaced for anything else.
The vitality and centrality of the Freedom Charter in the National Liberation Movement cannot be undermined, nor neglected for whatever reason.
37. In essence, this entails that under the Freedom Charter envisaged society, the State, which justly claims authority because it is based on the will of the people, should be in ownership and control of Strategic sectors of the economy and allow its citizens to enter into other trades and professions. The State should own the Mines, Banks and Monopoly Industries and allow for the development of industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs who will create job opportunities for majority of the people. Because it will be in control of these strategic sectors of the economy, the State will also carry a responsibility of providing industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs with easier access to raw materials; provide industrial development finance and other additional services such as efficient and durable transport, communications and energy infrastructure and systems, whilst maintaining and protecting the rule of law.
38. The entire political programme should be understood within the characterisation of the ANC as “the strategic centre of power, the leader of the Alliance, a disciplined force of the left, and a mass movement with an internationalist and an anti-imperialist outlook”. The anti-imperialist outlook of the ANC should be understood in clear context because ‘Through the Eye of a Needle” says the ANC is a champion of progressive internationalism and carries an obligation to “to work with progressive forces throughout the world to promote and defend our transformation, advance Africa’s renaissance and build a new world order”.
39. This generation commits to do everything in its power to ensure that all the pillars of economic freedom in our lifetime are achieved. 100 years existence of the ANC should mean more determination and focus towards total attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives. Happy 100 Years ANC. The future looks bright because the ANC will lead the struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime.
40. Comrades, we should never be discouraged and for once feel that we are doing something wrong in fighting for the Freedom Charter. We went to the National General Council of the ANC in August 2012 with a clear mission to argue democratically for a resolution of Nationalisation of Mines. This happened in the middle of massive hostility from mass media and leadership of the ANC, which had gone around the world assuring imperialists and so-called investors that Nationalisation will not be on the agenda of the African National Congress.
41. The National General Council of the ANC came out with a resolution that clearly said that “There was greater consensus in the commission on the nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. The NGC therefore mandated the NEC to ensure further work be done, including research, study tours and discussions, and to report to the Policy Conference for decision at National Conference in 2012”. We all know that the ANC NGC commission on economic transformation also resolved on the amendment of Section 25 of the country’s Constitution to empower the State to expropriate property for public purposes and interests.
42. Guided by this resolution of study tours and further research, the ANC commissioned a team of researchers led by a researcher who had pre-conclusions on the question of nationalisation. When the research team was constituted in February 2011, the ANC YL wrote to the leadership of the ANC and publicly objected to the inclusion of Comrade Paul Jordan on the research team because we knew he was conflicted. The statement of the ANC Youth League released on the 21st of February 2011 said, “The ANC Youth League particularly objects to the inclusion of Paul Jordan as one of the researchers because he has publicly pronounced his opposition to Nationalisation of Mines. The ANC Youth League believes that Paul Jordan’s inclusion in the research team will altogether undermine the integrity of the research process. We call on the ANC to reconsider his inclusion in the research team because he is prejudiced and his contribution will forever be questionable, because his views contradict the Freedom Charter”.
43. Comrades, the research team has concluded its work and has presented preliminary reports to the ANC Economic Transformation Commission and as we said more than 12 months ago, there is completely nothing different between what the Nationalisation report contains and what Comrade Paul Jordan wrote in the ANC Journal, Umrabulo Number 33 in April 2010. What this means is that Comrade Paul Jordan and the research team visited 13 countries and the only conclusion they could come with are the opinions held by Comrade Paul Jordan in 2010. It is possible that the research was a smokescreen to legitimise the personal opinions of Comrade Paul Jordan and that is not how the ANC works and that is not what the ANC NGC said should happen
44. Comrades, the report is going to be discussed in this forum, but its conclusions already contradict the Freedom Charter, which is the policy position of the ANC. The Freedom Charter never said the minerals wealth beneath the soil, banks and monopoly industry shall pay 50% tax per year. The Freedom Charter said the minerals wealth beneath the soil, banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole. And all genuine cadres of the ANC have since appreciated and accepted that in the ANC, even before the official adoption of the Freedom Charter by the ANC in 1956, transfer of wealth to the ownership of the people as a whole meant nationalisation by a government that is democratically elected by all people.
45. The preliminary report on Nationalisation of Mines does not only defy the Freedom Charter, it defies what the NGC said should happen. Any straight thinking person will admit that the basis of the research, study tours and discussions on Nationalisation was on the basis that “there was greater consensus on nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy”. The research has not appreciated this fact and only focused on Mines, whilst the NGC said “and other strategic sectors of the economy”. Now this is pure disregard and disrespect of the 2nd highest decision making body of the ANC, the National General Council. There is completely no one in the ANC who is above the NGC and there is no one who should be allowed to defy and undermine resolutions of branches of the African National Congress.
46. Comrades, this leadership of the ANC Youth League was elected in the 24th National Congress to pursue this agenda of economic freedom in our lifetime and we will never retreat. It is only members and structures of the ANC Youth League who can withdraw the mandate we have been given by the National Congress. Congress said we should relentlessly and fearlessly pursue economic freedom struggles, but also said we should revive the African agenda and strengthen relations with our friends and allies across the African continent and the world.
47. In the year 2011, the ANC Youth League should pride itself for having organised the most successful and the biggest Congress in the entire National Liberation Movement. The 24th National Congress confirmed many things about the nature and character of the ANC Youth League, most important being the fact that we are the biggest, most organised, disciplined and revolutionary political youth movement not only in South Africa, but in the entire African continent. The youth who came from various parts of Africa and the world re-affirmed the leadership role of the ANC Youth League on the ideological and political challenges confronting the continent and the entire oppressed and exploited world.
48. The leadership role of the ANC Youth League was further confirmed by the election of former Deputy President of the ANC Youth League, Cde Andile Lungisa as the President of the Pan African Youth Union. The Pan African Youth Union is the only progressive youth formation of all youth organisations from across the African continent, which enjoys the recognition of the African Union. The youth of the continent saw it befitting for the ANC Youth League to occupy the important position of President of the PAYU because it is a fact and reality that we are at the forefront of resisting and rejecting attempts to re-colonise Africa and subject the continent to brutal exploitation of imperialism. Our stances on Libya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Botswana and many countries is a sign that we will never agree that Africa be re-colonised.
49. South Africa is gradually losing its political influence in the African continent because of some of the decisions we have taken particularly on Ivory Coast and Libya. Our failure to assume the Chairpersonship of the African Union Commission is an indication that we do not enjoy the support of majority of African countries and Africans in general. In the true democratic sense, South Africa has lost the African Union Commission position because we failed to gain a simple majority and the opposing country gained the simple majority. We cannot afford to hold the AU at ransom and delay and postpone the AU election of a Chairperson due to a technicality. We should soon accept the reality and fact that majority of African countries do not want South Africa to assume the Chairpersonship of the African Union.
50. As we said before, we need to change our foreign policy and the key aspects of a South African foreign policy under the leadership of the ANC are quite simple. They are simple because the NGC of the ANC in 2010 defined the character of the ANC as follows, “the strategic centre of power, the leader of the Alliance, a disciplined force of the left, and a mass movement with an internationalist and an anti-imperialist outlook”. If the ANC continues to be a mass movement with an internationalist and anti-imperialist outlook, it cannot and should never associate with decisions and practices that re-enforces particularly British and American imperialism.
51. The 24th National Congress said that “That the South African international standing has diminished in recent times as signalled by the lack of consultation with South Africa as it relates to key developments on the continent including the events which are related to the Ivory Coast and Libya”. Congress further said, “Develop practical programmes to assist liberation and progressive movements in Southern Africa, who are not in power to win elections, particularly in Botswana and Swaziland”.
52. Comrades, domestically South Africa needs leadership that will appreciate the massive suffering, starvation, poverty, unemployment, exclusion of majority of our people, in particular the youth. An alarming number of young people in South Africa have lost hope in their lives and have lost hope of ever getting a job anywhere in this country. It is a statistical reality that more than 1.3 million young people are discouraged work-seekers and have chosen to drown themselves in alcohol, crime and substance abuse with the hope of being arrested because they are futureless.
53. Close to 4 million young people are unemployed and live everyday with the hope of finding a job in South Africa, whose economy grows but creating very few jobs. The reality is that if the pace of development, and if the approach to economic growth and development does not change radically; South Africa will never get unemployment to be under 20% in the next 10 years. There are thousands of new entrants into the job market as job seekers everyday, particularly youth that pass or fail Matric or even drop out of school in the Grades before Matric. There are thousands of those people every year and the numbers of jobs created per year do not match the number of those who enter the job market.
54. The provision of housing and shelter with decent sanitation should be speeded up. We appreciate the efforts of the Department of Human Settlements in involving young people in most of their programmes, but more still needs to be done to reverse the massive backlogs of housing shortages, particularly in Metropolitan areas. The quality of sanitation in townships and rural areas should be improved, because elder should not suffer the humiliation of having to use open toilets, and sometimes open spaces to relieve themselves. Sanitation is a basic right and we should all appreciate this reality.
55. The ANC Youth League is again making the call for massive expansion of post secondary education and training opportunities. It cannot be correct that students are subjected to long queues at the University of Johannesburg, leading to the death of one of the parents, because of lack of space in institutions of higher learning. All students who pass Matric should be guaranteed a space in a post secondary education and training institution and that should be financed by the State. Our call for free education is intact and is more relevant today because the youth of South Africa needs education.
56. The State and government should take the responsibility of creating quality jobs for young people, and should choose labour absorptive models of service delivery in all communities. The repairs of roads, building of schools, home based care, childhood development, building of community infrastructure, community safety, provision of water and many other services provided by the State at all levels should lead to employment of many people and not subjected to tenders that will benefit very few people. Our government should develop mechanisms and skills on how best do the State deliver quality services through involvement of the people. We should not make promises for millions of jobs and when we fail to deliver jobs, we turn around and say job creation is not the responsibility of the State. That is simply disingenuous and does not provide hope to the millions of unemployed youth.
57. Comrades, all the issues are the issues that made us to march from Johannesburg to Pretoria for more than 60 kilometres on the 27th of October 2011. Young people took courage and showed dedication by marching for more than 60 kilometres to demand jobs, electricity, water, sanitation and houses, nationalisation of Mines and expropriation of land without compensation from the democratic government of South Africa. The youth stood the heat, and refused to stop on the road, walking tirelessly from Johannesburg to Pretoria to demand basic services and better lives from the ANC government. It has never happened anywhere in the world that young people could march for more than 60 kilometres for basic services. We have broken many records and should be in the Guinness Book of Records by now for having had the longest march in the history of mankind.
58. Comrades, we are gathered here today and standing before you with a guilty verdict from the ANC National Disciplinary Committee for saying what the 24th National Congress said we should say and do. We stand here with a guilty verdict for abiding by Congress decisions and expressing intentions to do what the National Congress of the ANC Youth League said we should do. Our membership of the ANC might be taken away for agreeing to express the views of the 5331 delegates who participated and approved the resolutions that were unanimously endorsed by Congress.
59. The basic lesson that we have been taught in the African National Congress is that of democratic centralism—the principle that the decisions of the majority are binding on all of us and that even those who disagreed before the decision is taken should abide by the final decision. We stand here with a guilty verdict for being disciplined members and cadres of the African National Congress. We are here with a guilty verdict for expressing an intention to do work of the ANC and for making observations that no one has said are wrong. We are found guilty for thinking.
60. We need to answer the following questions: Is this the ANC of A.B. Xuma, who allowed the generation of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and many others to express views openly? Is this the ANC of Chief Albert Luthuli who allowed generation of Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Harry Gwala, and many others to express views freely? Is this the ANC of Oliver Tambo who allowed the generation of Chris Hani, Lawrence Phokanoka and many others to express views openly? Is this the ANC of Nelson Mandela who allowed the generation of Peter Mokaba and the young lions express views openly? Is this the ANC of Thabo Mbeki who allowed the generation of Fikile Mbalula and Sihle Zikalala express views openly?
61. If truth be told, if all these leaders of the ANC had persecuted, suspended, expelled and intimidated these young leaders of the ANC, the ANC will never be where it is today. The ANC has lived for many years because it has appreciated and nurtured the energy of the youth. As this generation of youth, we only know the ANC, we only live for the ANC, we only love the ANC, we only glorify and worship the ANC, we only wish to grow in the ANC. The question we ask is what leads to a decision to exclude and isolate us from the ANC for expressing opinions, which the leadership of the ANC has powers to disapprove as the Constitution or persuade the youth otherwise through political and ideological discussions?
62. Comrades, as leaders of this generation, we have made a commitment and we stick by that commitment that we will do everything in our power to defend and fight for the mission of this generation. It is only the youth of the ANC who can take away the mandate and responsibility given to us. If the youth of the ANC say we should step down and resign our positions as leaders of the ANC Youth League, we are prepared to step down and resign our positions. We will only get the guidance and instruction of the ANC Youth League on whether we step down on not, because it is you who said we should occupy these leadership positions.
63. Cdes let me give you the brief observation about the DC process, at the conclusion of the National Disciplinary Committee, we made the following observations, which we still believe are a reflection of reality:
a. The entire process of the disciplinary proceedings of the ANC was politically motivated and meant to resolve political struggles and battles within the ANC. Some in the ANC believe that by removing certain leaders of the ANC YL, they will successfully suppress and undermine the political and ideological struggles of the ANCYL, particularly on Nationalisation of Mines and Expropriation of Land without Compensation or will be guaranteed re-election into leadership positions in the ANC.
b. There is no consistency of discipline in the ANC, because if there was any form and sense of consistency, there have been disrepute brought to the ANC and no one acted. If there was consistency of discipline in the ANC, those who attend and address meetings of the ANC under the influence of alcohol and some of those who got arrested for drinking and driving should have been subjected to a disciplinary process and hearing.
c. The refusal of those leaders of the ANC to recues themselves from the proceedings of the NDC had prejudiced the charged comrades.
d. The conviction of the leadership of the ANC Youth League was purely as a result of the statements and official positions of the ANC Youth League adopted by the 24th National Congress and endorsed by the National Executive Committee in its first post 24th National Congress meeting.
e. The leadership of the ANC Youth League will always subject itself to the discipline and Constitution of the ANC, and such should not be misinterpreted to say that individual members can extend the Constitution to suit their political agendas and narrow selfish interests. We will never agree to anything that violates ANC Constitution in order to manage different interests and we want repeat our position that will never take the ANC to court irrespective of the unfair treatment we received throughout this hearing.
We have never deceived ourselves into believing that we can call for the nationalization of mines and redistribution of land at no fee without being attacked, expelled or suspended for we fully understand that every struggle is bound to have its own casualties.
The most important thing is to position ourselves very well and in such a manner that our objectives remain alive under all conditions. Any forced change in the leadership must never mean the end of our militancy, but must bring more bravery and militancy in the politics of the movement. Freedom fighters never surrendered because a particular leader was killed or arrested.
We must never renege or despair because some among us are expelled or excluded from the centre of events. We cannot assume that all is normal when our people are not getting their land back. We know that our personalities will be attacked and everything done to remove us from the way, but this is a people’s course and it will remain alive
We have been subjected to the disciplinary processes of the organization for articulating the views of this leadership collective, our general members and supporters. But because we respect the ANC, we did not refuse to sit before the hearings, notwithstanding our conviction that we did not commit any wrong against the movement.
We did not commit any offense against the more than one million members of our glorious movement. The only thing that we committed was to speak aloud about how the mineral wealth of this country must be shared amongst people and how the land must be given back to its rightful owners. Maybe, we also committed wrong by calling for integrated generational leadership in the movement.
But we should remain focused. We must continue with the work of building strong branches of the Youth League which plays an active role in the life of the African National Congress. We must ensure that young people are members of the ANC in good standing as part of preparing for the battles that lie ahead.
We will not win the issue of nationalization of the mines in the boardroom nor at a mining indaba. Those who are already celebrating victory because of the recommendations of the ANC task team on nationalization must be taught a lesson that to claim essay victory is not only dangerous, but the highest form of cowardice.
We must marshal our forces to the policy conference and ultimately, the national conference with one determination: nationalization of the mines, equitable share in the wealth of the country and redistribution of the land without compensation. We must embark on a process of lobbying members of the ANC to rally behind our position.
72. Comrades, the ANC will be holding its 53rd National Conference in December 2012 and our mission is simple—consolidation of struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime. This will require new and energetic leadership of the ANC to fulfil, and our 24th National Congress resolution in this regard is unambiguous. There is no confusion on the kind of leadership the ANC Youth League and the youth of South Africa needs post 100 years of the ANC’s existence. The leadership question should be thoroughly discussed because in any revolution, the issue of leadership is not a by-the-way issue, it is central to the success or failure of a revolution. Leadership discussion and succession should never be a taboo in the African National Congress.
73. It is a fact that some revolutions succeeded due to the existing material conditions, but the question of leadership is central and the ANC should forever be alive to this reality. The question we have asked before and which all ANC branches should answer is whether the status quo is terms of leadership of the ANC will take the ANC and the country forward. What is new and progressive in the manner in which issues of governance, society and the economy are concerned? Are there visible steps to eradicate poverty and starvation amongst out people? What are we doing to the criminal justice system? Is society inspired by our moral standing on many issues including how we conduct our private lives?
74. These questions should be asked because ‘Through the Eye of the Needle’ says that in considering leaders of the movement, the following qualities should be considered. That we should choose leaders who are cable of:
a) striving for convergence between personal interests — material, status and otherwise — and the collective interest;
b) handling conflict in the course of ANC work by understanding its true origins and seeking to resolve it in the context of struggle and in the interest of the ANC;
c) the ability to inspire people in good times and bad; to reinforce members’ and society’s confidence in the ANC and transformation; and
d) Winning genuine acceptance by the membership, not through suppression, threats or patronage, but by being principled, firm, humble and considerate.
Comrades, the message from here is clear, let us go and mobilise structures of the ANC to appreciate the simple truth that we need to move with faster pace and that we need more decisive and sophisticated leadership to understand the current phase of our struggle. We should fight on tirelessly. We must refuse to sell-out the interest of the black majority to the representatives of white monopoly capital in the ANC. We are now preparing our lives outside the ANC and possibly in prison. Personally this has been painful period in our lives and our families have been attacked by forces opposed to us however we are inspired by the spirit of ‘’ASIJIKI’’. Victory is certain, we shall overcome.
ISSUED BY THE ANC YOUTH LEAGUE