South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) youth wing celebrated its 68th anniversary on Monday by calling for leadership renewal in a direct attack against President Jacob Zuma.
Addressing hundreds of supporters in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) deputy president Ronald Lamola said, the young people of the ANC “must never be apologetic” about their role in the party.
“The ANC has achieved 100 years because of the many contributions of young people” Lamola said.
He said the future of the ANC was “doomed” if creative and innovative leaders were not given space to grow within the organisation.
The youth league has been in the news lately with the expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema becoming a critical voice against Jacob Zuma.
“We are not a group a cheerleaders and praise worshippers for the leadership of the ANC and we are a critical body of opinion and a preparatory school for the ANC,” Lamola said.
We are not a group a cheerleaders and praise worshippers
“Since its birth the youth league is a force for change in the ANC –this is not new.”
ANC’s Gauteng leader, Paul Mashattile was even more vocal in his address and called for a “renewal” of the party’s leadership.
“We must renew our leadership and make sure when we elect leaders in Mangaung (December elective conference) we bring in the new generation of leaders,” he said.
Earlier, Gauteng ANCYL secretary Ayanda Kasa-Ntsobi said the ANC needed “decisive leadership that was not afraid of its people”.
According to news reports the crowd sang songs in favour of Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe while rolling their hands in the gesture used to call for the substitution of a soccer player.
Motlanthe has emerged as Zuma’s challenger for the ANC leader at the end of year conference.
A three-tier cake, decorated in the ANC’s green, black and gold, and the words “economic freedom in our lifetime” was cut and distributed after the speeches.