ANC Youth League in Western Cape ready to elect new leaders
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
A mess of fake membership and buying votes with booze were among the hallmarks of the ANC Youth League, said its task team convenor yesterday ahead of a meeting to elect new provincial leaders.
Task team convenor Khalid Sayed said minutes after concluding their meeting yesterday afternoon that election dates were set for February 20 to 22.
The ANC’s national executive appointed a 25-member task team in mid-2013 to clean up their provincial Youth League.
In an exclusive interview with Weekend Argus, Sayed detailed some of what the task team had uncovered, and also outlined plans going forward.
“When we took over (as task team), there was literally no ANCYL in the Western Cape. What we inherited was a mess,” said Sayed.
“We could not find record of membership. We wondered where all the members were from. Previous chairpersons of regions did not give us any of this information.”
He added: “We inherited tendencies which we were foreign to the ANCYL. We came across money politics.
“People tried to buy branches. They wanted to emerge as leaders and paid people to join the party and vote for them.
“There were also ghost members. You would get people coming around to branches, filling in forms, making up names, addresses and ID numbers. That is what the membership was based on.”
Sayed said the task team discovered the fake identities when they tried contacting enlisted members via the cell phone numbers on their membership forms.
“There was also bribery where comrades started to feel that in order for you to emerge as a leader you must buy alcohol or meat for your supporters,” he said.
“We don’t blame the members. That is what they inherited. Former leaders did that. They bought people alcohol. Those leaders would also rent top hotel rooms and women would be involved at these gatherings.”
Sayed said the election conference next month would be a “watershed” for the ANCYL, plagued previously by a leadership limbo.
“We are ready to elect new ANCYL leaders. We decided that our conference would be held in the southern Cape. We will look at venues in George, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna or Oudtshoorn and then decide on the most cost-effective option,” he said.
The “conference is not only to elect leadership” but also about how the ANCYL in the Western Cape would lobby national government to focus on issues such as fishing and farming that affect local youth, said Sayed.
“We are going to discuss policy, an organisational review and how to take the ANCYL forward in the province. We also need to prepare and mobilise for the 2016 municipal elections,” said Sayed.
He blamed a lack of ANCYL presence across the Western Cape for a failing ANC in the province.
“Young people can’t identify with the party if they do not see young leaders in their communities. The ANCYL has a hard job ahead. It would also work hard in preparing for the municipal elections (in 2016),” he said.
Sayed said the task team found the ANCYL’s saving grace though was that its members were still “radical”.
“With all the disrespect that (former ANCYL president) Julius Malema showed (to the ANC and in public), we came into an ANCYL that still had radicalism. For us radicalism is a positive because it means that you are willing to take up issues even if it doesn’t put you in good standing,” said Sayed.
“Another positive was the ANCYL took on the DA when it was not serving the interests of young people. It had programmes, but we don’t know if those crowds who marched against the DA were members, or just crowds brought in then only.”
The task team’s troubleshooting of the ANCYL’s inner workings meant it had to audit up to 240 ANCYL branches across the province since its appointment, said Sayed.
It found only 198 branches made the grade, with most of these branches having at least 100 members.
“This means we have 198 branches in good standing. All their paperwork is proper. It’s clean,” said Sayed.
Sayed said representatives from all these 198 branches would now need to travel to their conference in the southern Cape where they would need to find accommodation and a venue to elect their new leaders.
They would elect a chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary, deputy secretary and treasurer. An additional 20-member provincial executive committee (PEC) would also be elected.
The PEC would then elect a working committee that would comprise about 10 members.
The task team included national executive committee members, such as former Western Cape ANC chairman Mcebisi Skwatsha, who served briefly on a leadership team that was disbanded after factionalism led to its demise.
Skwatsha is presently deputy minister for rural development and land reform. He said their clean up has “not been an easy job”.
“The (clean up) process continues. It will continue way beyond the provincial conference. For now the ANCYL is ready to go to conference. All preparations are in place,” said Skwatsha.
“There is commitment that we have to have a healthy ANCYL. It has been audited and it is ready. It will work with all other ANC structures towards a successful municipal election (in 2016).”