ANC Youth League president Collen Maine has charged the ruling ANC to give room for younger leaders within the party to emerge and lead the country in the coming elections.
The youth leader who was speaking at the Youth League’s launch of Youth Month and the commemoration of the 1976 June 16 uprising in Soweto, called on the party leaders to allow the next president of the party to be a young person as the older ones have proved unable to implement good ideas.
“Recent experiences have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the ideas of the old guard… they no longer have energy to implement them,”
Maine was speaking in reaction to the party’s tradition which allows Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the party after President Jacob Zuma. At the launch, he spoke at length about a third revolution where young people must be allowed to lead and correct “mistakes” committed by the old guard during the Codesa negotiations which resulted in compromises.
“We must not forget that the centre of all revolution is young people. They are the driver of revolutions. At some point we have to discuss the calibre of leaders who are capable of leading this change. Let us not forget that South Africa is getting younger‚ and it is therefore logical that leadership of the ANC must get younger”.
Speaking further, Maine called on the youths to rise and take up the mantle of leadership while they appreciate the “old guard” in the party for all the work they had done to get South Africa to where it was today.
“Those who are in their 70s [heading towards] retirement [should] allow new blood, which is in touch with the basic demands of South Africans which are younger, to lead.” Maine said.
“The ANC can only remain a movement of the people and rooted among the masses if it allows natural processes to take place. Those in their 70s must allow new blood which is in touch with the demands of our people to lead‚” he added.
Maine however explained that his call for the youths in the party to rise is far from inciting the removal of the current leadership within the ruling party. He said it’s rather a point that young people needed to take up the responsibility of taking the country forward.
“We are not saying that we will go to the offices of government and say ‘Leave!’ or to Luthuli house and say ‘so and so, leave!’ but we are saying that at the right time, we must make sure that those who are given responsibility to take our revolution forward, are young people.”
“Our people cannot eat slogans or our history‚ our people don’t eat slogans.
“We must lead a revolution which will ensure that our people are sharing in the country’s wealth.
“We need to correct the abnormal situation which happened in South Africa that the oppressor did not lose anything. Revolutions are about fundamental change‚” he said
Maine dived into the high unemployment rates in the country and repeated previous calls on the ANC to extend free education to tertiary levels as means of getting employment.
He said Jobs are linked to education levels and those without matric are likely to remain unemployed. It is extremely clear that free quality education is a necessity which our government of the ANC should have delivered as early as yesterday he said.