There are no fallouts between the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the National Youth Task Team (NYTT) that was roped in by the mother body to help rebuild the ailing organisation.
What exists between the two structures are “robust engagements”.
This is how the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule downplayed the continued tensions between the ANCYL and the task team that was introduced following the disbandment of the party’s youth wing in July last year.
Tensions between some youth league members and task team coordinator Sibongile Besani reached unprecedented levels last week and culminated in the announcements that the former had resigned.
Read: Besani quits as coordinator of ANCYL task team
This announcement was not accepted by Magashule who on Tuesday – during the ANC’s launch of a series of commemorative exhibitions at Constitutional Hill to mark 30 years since the release of former president Nelson Mandela from prison and the unbanning of the ANC – said Besani would still lead the charge to turn around the fortunes of the party’s youth league.
We also fought for everything. At some point while I was a university student I remember us marching for gravy and complaining that the food was too dry.
“There are no fallouts or tensions as many would like to portray. What is happening is that these young people are having robust discussions. People might not see eye-to-eye on every decision and this is normal,” said the secretary general.
Reminiscing on his own youth, Magashule said the current situation playing out in the party’s youth wing reminded him of his own formative years in the party.
“We also fought for everything. At some point while I was a university student I remember us marching for gravy and complaining that the food was too dry. We were also very temperamental, even Mandela who we gather today to commemorate was temperamental during his youth. We should take it as being normal and do our best to guide these young people towards the right path,” said Magashule.
The ANCYL is scheduled to hold its national elective conference by the end of March, but preparations have been marred by violence and disruptions.
In November a 25-year-old youth league member was shot dead and another wounded at a rally at the Temba Stadium in Hammanskraal.
Magashule, however, said he was confident that come March all will be in order and the structure will elect its leadership.
Touching on the 30 year anniversary, Magashule said South Africa was in a better place as a result of the strides taken by Mandela and his contemporaries who were jailed for their actions.
“The spatial segregation synonymous with apartheid is now a thing of the past. There is now free education, feeding schemes in schools, the provision of water and housing,” he said.
He acknowledged that there was still a lot that the ruling party needed to improve, but assured South Africans that “just like today is better than yesterday, tomorrow will also be better than today under the ANC.”