ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says the party “rejects” the military training which will be provided by its greater Johannesburg youth league branch.
“We do not accept the decision for a youth league, that they will be training militarily, and they would be handing out guns,” Duarte said during the national executive committee (NEC) briefing at Luthuli House on Tuesday.
She pleaded with those who wanted to do military training to apply with the South African National Defence Force.
“The youth league will be requested to come and explain themselves to us. We do not subscribe to private armies on the side,” she said.
This comes after a flyer about the upcoming ANC Youth League (ANCYL) camping trip which said members would take part in military training and gun handling.
The inter-zonal and greater Johannesburg ANCYL’s Spring Weekend Camp event is due to take place from August 30 until September 1 at Camp Zenith in Heidelberg.
However, according to reports management at the campsite were unaware of any type of military training which was due to be taking place on their premises.
ANCYL branch secretary Sandile Ngcobo insisted that the matter had been misunderstood and was blown out of proportion.
“There is a paranoia within certain circles in South Africa. There were no intentions to start any form of upheaval in the country,” he told City Press in reaction to the briefing.
He explained that the military training would be done at a shooting ranch as a form of team-building.
“What we are doing there is that military training promotes, among other things, fitness and teamwork and teaches us basic discipline. Contrary to what people believe or think – which is the shooting and the killing,” he said.
The ANCYL’s Bheki Nkutha, who initially spoke to the media about the matter, was with Ngcobo during the interview with City Press.
Nkutha said the league had not yet been approached by its mother body about the matter.
It has been a slippery slope for the governing party’s youth wing with the NEC announcing that the leadership which was elected in 2015 would be disbanded.
This was sparked by ongoing anger and protest action by some members of the league concerning leadership which they have regarded as “elderly”.
The youth league will be replaced in the interim by the national youth task team, which ANC general-secretary Ace Magashule said would be convened by ANC MP Tandi Mahambehlala