ANC Youth League should hold tongue before elections - analyst

ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 8, 2024


The ANC Youth League (ANCYL), in the past has made attacking demands to the leaders of the mother body when things have not gone their way.

This has often got them into trouble with its seniors, a case in point being its former president Julius Malema being expelled from the party who later founded the EFF.

The youth league has been non-existent, without a proper structure until its elective conference, that elected Collen Malatji, last year.

Before that, the then-president of the youth league Collen Maine had resigned from the party, causing another vacuum within the party’s youth ranks, resulting in the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) disbanding the NEC of the Youth League until its conference last year.

Recently, while addressing the youth league’s Peter Mokaba Volunteers Rally at the Alexandra Stadium in Alexandra, Johannesburg, Malatji went on the attack, calling for Police Minister Bheki Cele’s head because of non-performance.

He also launched an attack on President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula threatening to overthrow them if youth demands were not fulfilled.

Going for Cele, he said: “Police who are thieves must be fired or Cele (Bheki) must go himself. We can’t have criminals calling themselves police expecting them to safeguard our people.

“The youth here no longer have confidence in the police system because the police are criminals themselves today.”

Malatji asked Mbalula, who was in attendance, to take a message to Ramaphosa that if they did not fulfil the mandate of the young people, they would take over the Union Buildings, overthrowing them.

“The president of the country and the SG of the organisation, if you don't deliver on youth demands, we are not afraid to close down the Union Buildings. We will do it ourselves. We are not a youth league of cowards.

“We will remove them and install ourselves and lead the country because the youth of the country is ready to take the country forward,” he said while calling Parliament an old age home.

Just last week, Youth League secretary-general Mntuwoxolo Ngudle also launched an attack on former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to recuse herself from the ANC brand name, saying she should face the full might of the law.

Political analyst Professor John Molepo from the North West University said the young lions ought to be careful when calling out their own leaders during elections, but their calls were genuine.

“They (ANCYL) need to go through a positive phase, especially during elections. The ANC currently does not want to see itself tainted in a bad image.

“The calls from the youth league are good but the timing in terms of politics raises a serious question, particularly when the ANC wants to win the hearts of the voters or the electorate … they should wait for the end of elections and then make that call.”

He made an example, saying the call for Cele to resign was a good one because he had been in the helm for many years, while the question of criminal activity in South Africa was still high.

The Star