A hopeful contender to head up the ANC Youth League is the latest member of the organisation to hit out at its leadership.

Ndumiso Mokako accused the league of excessive gatekeeping, sidelining those who held different views, and only focusing on branches in the lead up to congresses where leaders would be selected.

He was speaking during an event in Elukwatini, Mpumalanga, on Wednesday to honour the lives of three of the liberation movement’s heroes.

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Mokako refused to dwell on the sacrifices made by Solomon Mahlangu, who was hanged by the apartheid government; OR Tambo, who was the ANC’s longest-serving president; and struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who passed away on April 2; telling those in attendance that he deliberately opted not to “waste” their time as they could look up the biographies and heroic acts credited to the fallen heroes.

“Your presence here is a protest against the culture of being forced by old people to elect ANCYL leaders who have no resonance with the values, principles and traditions of the ANCYL,” said Mokako.

Their only claim to leadership is unwavering loyalty to old people, he added.

The attack on the ANCYL leadership by a member of its national executive committee (NEC) is similar to an open letter addressed to its president by another NEC member, Rhulani Thembi Siweya, who described his behaviour as “alien” to the movement.


ANCYL president Collen Maine has drawn even more criticism from within his ranks after he seemingly had a Damascus moment while paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela this month. He confessed that North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was the person who introduced him to the Guptas.

Maine also said he would go and account for his relationship with the notorious family, which has been accused of looting the state and having undue influence over former president Jacob Zuma.

READ MORE: ‘Maine belongs in an old age home’ – ANCYL member calls for leader’s removal

His sudden confession resulted in the youth league’s deputy secretary general Thembi Morake using a platform meant to honour Madikizela-Mandela to instead lambaste her former close ally.
She called Maine a liar and a sell-out over his admission that he had gone to meet with the Gupta family.

Mokako, however, did not single out a specific leader of the league as being problematic, instead taking issue with the entire collective, which he too is a part of.

“Your presence here is a protest against an ANCYL leadership that only speaks and marches when they are defending certain leaders of the ANC or pronouncing them for leadership positions, but hardly speak about the injustices young people are subjected to on a daily basis,” said Mokako.

He said the league was no longer an organ of dealing with youth issues but had reduced young people in the liberation movement to becoming “praise singers” and “drum majorettes” for certain leaders.

Positions for older generation

Mokako also questioned why the youth in the ANC were comfortable with a party that only handed out leadership positions such as ministers, councillors, heads of departments and MECs to the older generation.

He added that the league was completely overlooked when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his new Cabinet shortly after taking office in February, in spite of the party’s continuous discussions on the need for government and its own leaders to consist of a generational mix.

Some within the ranks of the ANCYL regard Mokako as the ideal candidate to succeed Maine.

The ANCYL’s president’s term of office expires in September but a NEC decision was taken to bring the conference forward to June.News24, however, understands that plans for the congress have been moving at a snail’s pace.

The league’s treasurer Reggie Nkabinde and the outspoken KwaZulu-Natal secretary Thanduxolo Sabela are also being touted as firm favourites to take over from Maine when he eventually steps down.

Attempts to reach the ANCYL for comment were unsuccessful. — News24