Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, January 26, 2007

ANC Youth League: Too good to be true?
I haven't been well endeared to the ANC Youth League of late, and especially of their president, Fikile Mbalula. Their vehement positions on a number of issues, as well as the underhanded tactics employed by their president and spokespeople engender little respect. So it is not without some solace that I read this morning an internal report leaked to the Mail & Guardian that details the horrendous state the ANCYL finds itself in.

The report, written by the ANCYL national working committee, states that seven of its provincial structures are either collapsing or in deep crisis, being replaced by "task teams", and outlines a panorama of "leadership squabbles, political infighting and internal rebellion."

According to the Mail & Guardian, the following extracts from the internal report of the ANC Youth League’s national working committee highlight the league’s provincial collapse:

# On KwaZulu-Natal, it says: “It [the provincial executive committee (PEC)] has paid less attention on sustaining organisational structures, hence most of the RECs [regional executive committees] have collapsed. The failure of the PEC to sustain structures erodes the base of the organisation and poses a danger of an organisation that will remain visible only at the provincial and national level.”
# In the Western Cape, “the province has been affected by the lack of leadership at all levels”.
# In Gauteng, “the PEC has failed dismally to provide political and organisational support to regions and branches, hence all structures have collapsed. The mandates of all regions have lapsed and most of them are led by regional task teams.”
# The report says that in the Eastern Cape, “we have witnessed an unprecedented decline in the state of the organisation. The Nelson Mandela REC has collapsed with almost all of its branches. There has been no intention of building the organisation in Cacadu, Chris Hani and Ukhahlamba regions.”
# Mpumalanga is “characterised by a challenge of leadership with [no] capacity to implement the organisational programme, which resulted from the lack of commitment and collective responsibility amongst PEC members.”
# The North West PEC “has failed to provide political support to both regions and branches. This was further compounded by the election of the ANC Youth League leadership, specifically the provincial chairperson and deputy chairperson into the ANC PEC, which shifted their focus into the ANC programmes.”
# On Free State, it says: “The weak centre of coordination has resulted in the failure of the provincial executive committee to provide political support to regions and branches, resulting in the failure of these structures to discharge their mandates.”

The ANCYL has been given an elevated status of full provincial voting powers at this year's AGM, which gives them increased power in the succession debates, but with 'insiders' saying that "the unwavering support of the league’s national leaders for Jacob Zuma is a significant factor in this decline", this tough spot they find themselves in could finally be the pin that pops the balloon of irrational hubris the league employs in its political and social commentary.

I, for one, would welcome it.