Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged the election of young people into the national executive committee of the ANC.
However, the presidential hopeful cautioned that prospective young leaders should not be the stupid or ill-disciplined, but well-educated and equipped to take the country forward.
Describing himself and other ANC leaders as old, Ramaphosa emphasised the need for youngsters to take charge and campaign vigorously for the unity of the ANC ahead of its elective conference in December.
“We are old geezers, and you are entitled to say you want a youthful leadership, and I support you in that,” he said at the ANC Youth League’s 73rd anniversary celebrations at the Hillbrow Theatre in Johannesburg.
“The ANC belongs to the youth of our country. Whether we like it or not, it belongs to you. We expect it is this youth who will make sure it becomes disciplined. It’s this youth who must ensure it’s educated,” he said.
“We don’t want youthful leaders who are stupid, but ones who know how to take country forward; who are educated.
“We don’t want youthful leaders who will get into politics to get lucrative tenders.”
He took shots at the current leadership of the league, saying they had to be more disciplined.
“The ANC Youth League must not do things that don’t give people hope. We want a youth league that inspires all of us,” he said, adding that they must learn from the youth league of former president Nelson Mandela.
Recently, ANC national executive committee member Joel Netshitenzhe suggested the league was led by foot soldiers of factions.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa told the audience at the packed venue that it was their task to ensure that they inherit an ANC that was united, intact and powerful, and a party that will win reclaim its glory as the leader of society.
“The expectation is that youth will take the country forward. Seventy-three years is a long time to be in existence. It also means there is a lot of experience, and it’s expected that that experience starts rolling out as we develop our nation,” he said.
Ramaphosa was welcomed like a king as his supporters sang his praises and referred to him as the incoming president who will fix all things bad in the ANC.
He took the opportunity to remind his supporters to ensure that those who were captured did not get elected at the party’s elective conference.
Former ANC Youth League national executive committee member Abner Mosaase said Ramaphosa was the perfect candidate to replace President Jacob Zuma, adding that they would never retreat.
A jovial Ramaphosa, visibly pleased that an imbongi was there to sing his praises before he spoke, was accompanied by ANC national executive committee member Mathole Motshekga.
Displaying confidence that he will win the conference, Ramaphosa said his focus was now on winning elections for the ANC in 2019.
“We must focus on 2019; 2017 is done and dusted. We just need to go to conference and finalise everything. If you work hard and allow the best to rise, we will reclaim our metros. We will reclaim all metros and even go after Cape Town,” he said, to loud applause.
He reminded his supporters that the ANC had been through difficult moments in history, but that the party always prevailed.
“When we take the side of our people, we always win.”
He joked that even the opposition wanted the ANC conference to go well because it was the ANC that made them relevant.