News24.com | White youth need to join the ANCYL – league‘s outgoing secretary general

The ANC Youth League‘s (ANCYL) policies on the economy and land do not mean that the organisation only wants its membership to be dominated by black Africans, its outgoing secretary general Njabulo Nzuza has said.

Young white South Africans need to join the organisation in order for the true spirit of “non-racialism” to be reflected through its members, he told News24 in an interview this week as the league marks 74 years.

Nzuza was reflecting on the current leadership collective‘s tenure and sharing his views on the way forward ahead of the ANCYL‘s national elective conference set for October 18-21.

“The fact that we say bring back the land does not mean we hate white people – we are just saying let‘s correct the injustices of the past.”

He insisted that the league, like its mother body, could not exist as just an organisation for black Africans.

“Saying we want economic freedom in our lifetime, that we want the land from those who dispossessed it doesn‘t mean we are saying the organisation must be dominated by just black Africans.”

ANCYL leaders accused of being ‘henchmen‘

Nzuza forms part of a crop of leaders elected in 2015 in an attempt to revive the league after its executive was disbanded in 2013. The year before that, its then president Julius Malema, who now leads the EFF, and then ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, were expelled.

The ANCYL secretary general during that period, Sindiso Magaqa, received a suspension after which he returned to serve the ANC. He died in hospital after being gunned down last year in an attack believed to be linked to ongoing political tensions in KwaZulu-Natal.

The current leaders of the league have often been criticised for lacking the vibrancy shown by many of the organisation‘s past leaders, and of being former president Jacob Zuma‘s stooges. They have also been labelled as too old to lead the youth and have been accused, by leaders in their own political party, of operating as “henchmen” doing the bidding of others in the ANC.

Nzuza, who said he was relieved the league did not die in their hands, also reflected on the kind of leadership he wanted to see take over from them.

“They need to be focused and to resonate with young people with varying interests and [the conference] needs to come out with a leadership composition that must reflect the character of the ANCYL,” he said.

Mantashe was wrong

Nzuza, who is believed to be in support of outgoing treasurer general Reggie Nkabinde‘s bid for the ANCYL‘s presidency, denied that he was backing anyone and criticised former secretary general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, who made his support for party president Cyril Ramaphosa known while presiding over the organisation‘s road to conference.

“Mantashe was wrong to weigh in on who should lead,” said Nzuza.

Mantashe is currently the national chairperson of the ANC.

Nzuza said there was a certain level of integrity he wanted to maintain in his last few days in office, and leaning towards any of those vying for leadership would be wrong.

Nkabinde‘s competition is the fiery ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo, whose views on both current affairs and ANC politics have often found their way onto national platforms.

“As an SG (secretary general) I am expected to sign audit reports. Where have you seen an independent auditor walking into a government building and saying I am in favour of this institution?” asked Nzuza.

“I want to be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that I did not favour anyone.”