The ANC National Youth Task Team (NYTT) has defended itself over criticism that it is dismally failing to revive the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) whose many structures have now degenerated into a state of paralysis and dysfunction.
The NYTT, which was appointed by the ANC national executive committee last year after the ANCYL national structure was dissolved, has blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for stalling its work of reviving branches of the youth organisation.
After its appointment, mostly consisting of ANC NEC members, the NYTT undertook to deliver the ANCYL to a national conference by March this year where legitimate national leadership would be installed.
Speaking on Wednesday, NYTT coordinator Sibongile Besani said the national conference was now expected to take place in March next year with preparations being underway to ensure the readiness of provinces.
“Between now and mid-September we will be having all provincial visits virtually so that we assess the state of the organisation and based on that assessment, we will be able to provide a comprehensive report and enrich our roadmap,” Besani said.
Lower ANCYL structures have blasted what they call the overstay of the NYTT, which they have dubbed “eldership” over the once-powerful structure while it continued to be dragged to perpetual irrelevance due to its diminishing influence and contribution in ANC internal and public political affairs in the country.
Besani insisted that the NYTT had an elaborate roadmap of ensuring that the youth body was finally handed back to young people through a conference early next year.
He said the NYTT was pushing to ensure that all provincial conferences were held very early in 2021 to enable the national conference to take place and new ANCYL leaders to be finally elected.
“By the 31st of March next year, if the regulations allow, we will be able to go to the national congress. What will dictate the conference are the regulations but we are hopeful that the regulations might change in such a manner that we are able to take the ANCYL to the conference,” he said.
On Thursday, the ANCYL will be commemorating its 76th anniversary since its establishment in 1944 and ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile will deliver the keynote address at the commemorative event, which will also be attended by former presidents of the youth body, including former minister Malusi Gigaba and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
NYTT spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize said this year’s celebrations would be dedicated to the late former ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and the late former NEC member Bavelile Hlongwa.
“When we say that we are celebrating the ANCYL it was important for us to be able to remember comrades of the youth league in the recent generation who died on this very same month,” Mkhize said.