ANCYL chaos as young lions roar against interference

Chaos reigned supreme at the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national congress held in Joburg this weekend  after delegates disputed credentials while registering late to participate in the hotly contested elective conference.

As if that were not enough to leave a blot on the image of the young lions, drunk delegates  from the Eastern Cape disrupted  the registration process, demanding to know why their favourite leader, National Youth Task Team convener Xola Nqola was removed  from  his position on the eve of the congress.

This as the ghost of interference from leaders in the mother body. It haunted the gathering from the start.

Young people claimed that senior leaders, including ANC  secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, had a predetermined outcome in mind for the conference and had pulled “the biggest heist yet” to advance their own narrow and selfish interests. They accused him of   favouring presidential candidate Collen Malatji and pulling all the stops to make sure that he emerged victorious  after conference.

The disgruntled young lions  did not spare the rod for ANC Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Oscar Mabuyane, whom they accused of ramming down their throat his preferred candidate Aphiwe Mkhangelwa to become president.

“Elders including Mbalula are not concerned about the youth and building the new generation of leaders, but they are already pushing their luck to get themselves close to the proximity of the youngsters so that when they emerge in future, they (elders) can be taken care of,” said conference delegate Mpfariseni Netshivhambe.

Criticising the ANC, Rebone Tau, a former member of the national task team of the ANCYL, lambasted the party for its meddling.

According to Tau, the interference from the ANC has undermined the youth league’s ability to operate independently as an autonomous body and has led to internal divisions and power struggles within it.

“This is why even now we have members of the youth league questioning the autonomy of the ANCYL, and they have got every right to do so because the ANC seems to interfere even here,” Tau said.

The widespread allegations of interference resulted in endless delays from the point of registration. The chaos started on Thursday night following a marathon meeting where the audit report of the attending branches was a major bone of contention.

Among other issues in contention were allegations that Mbalula pushed ahead with the resumption of conference despite claims of fraudulent processes, manipulation of processes and bogus delegates.

Many argued that the audit report was cooked to exclude branches that were not aligned to his wishes.

Mbalula’s decision to remove  Nqola was part of the plan to push through the conference despite the complaints that Nqola wanted them entertained. Nqola called the conference an event pregnant with thuggery.

“It is pure mischief and political thuggery.”

He insisted the congress did not meet quorum because less than 70% of ANCYL branches were present.  “ANCYL branches are aligned to municipal wards nationally.

“If the wards are 4 568 , then the league’s potential branches are 4 668, including special branches .

“It was reported to the meeting that the organising  unit provided an audit report with 2 972 branches eligible to participate in congress. If there were  accurate reporting then we would have fallen short of  the 70% threshold. It was reported that the NYTT , through deputy convenor [Fasiha Hassan]  agreed to have the audit report fixed and presented again to the NYTT.”

According to Nqola, the auditing process was compromised from the start even before delegates from across the country descended on  the Nasrec conference  venue.

He said the congress roadmap adopted by the NYTT resolved that branch general meetings (BGMs) for regional, provincial and national congress should start from May 11 and close on June 11 but this was apparently disregarded by Mbalula’s meddling.

Moreover, the auditing of branches was also meant to happen between June 13-23 but went beyond that date.

“It’s just mischief from those running the congress administration. What is more worrisome is that it is said that I’m suspended for having overlooked the roadmap. If indeed that is the case, then the coordinator and the organiser should have equally been suspended.”

Many delegates who spoke to Sunday World claimed they were not sure if the congress would unite the warring factions as there were ANC elders who  were pushing their own interests to parachute some of the young leaders to the top five positions.

Regional chairperson of the ANCYL in Fezile Dabi in Free State, Edgar Legoale pointed fingers at the Mkhangelwa camp.

“Delegates who come from Vhembe region in Limpopo and some members from the Eastern Cape could realise that they might find their preferred candidates losing, and they brought drunkards on Friday night to disrupt the accreditation process,” said Legoale.

Another delegate from Vhembe said the ANC leaders are pushing for particular youngsters. “Those old people have their own agendas to achieve, and they are trying their best to make sure that they parachute them to leadership positions.”

The conference is expected to end today but given the chaotic incidents, it might be postponed to another date or extended.

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