ANC in KZN worried as EFF chalks up SRC wins

27 September 2018 - 16:59 By Bongani Mthethwa
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said on Wednesday that the party was worried about the EFFSC’s increasing dominance in student politics.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said on Wednesday that the party was worried about the EFFSC’s increasing dominance in student politics.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

When the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) cleaned up during Student Representative Council (SRC) elections at Wits in October last year‚ EFF leader Julius Malema poked fun at the ANC’s Fikile Mbalula on Twitter.

“@MbalulaFikile You said @WitsUniversity Students always vote correctly‚ I should think that this time around you are correct. Shapa@WitsEFF” tweeted Malama after his young troops took 12 out of 15 seats in the SRC.

Three seats went to the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA)‚ which is made up of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL)‚ the Young Communists League (YCL) and the Muslim Students Association.

In June last year‚ the University of Cape Town elected its first black SRC president who is affiliated to the EFF. The EFFSC recently won the SRC elections at the Durban University of Technology and Mangosuthu University of Technology after trouncing the ANC-aligned SA Student Congress (Sasco).

The EFFSC took eight out of 11 seats at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) and won all eight available seats at Durban University of Technology.

Now inroads being made by the EFF Student Command on SA campuses is bothering the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal as they believe “it has the potential to create an impression that young people do not want to associate with those in close proximity to the ANC”.

So says ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli‚ who made it clear during a media briefing in Durban on Wednesday that the party was worried about the EFFSC’s increasing dominance in student politics.

“It does concern us. It concerns us because it has the potential to create an impression in society that young people and students in particular do not want to associate with those in close proximity to the ANC‚” said Ntuli.

The ANC is concerned because student politics in SA was largely dominated by its ally Sasco. However it now appears to be losing its momentum and appeal among students.

In KwaZulu-Natal‚ Sasco is now only leading the SRC at the University of Zululand. SRC elections are currently under way at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where the EEFSC is also squaring up against Sasco.

Said Ntuli: “We need to understand that Sasco is not an entity of the ANC but an organisation of the ANC. It’s part of what we call a mass democratic movement but its orientation‚ its ideas about SA now‚ the future and the past are largely drawn from the national liberation movement led by the ANC.

“So when there is what appears to be a rejection of Sasco in certain campuses it does worry us because the youth league is on campuses‚ Sasco is on campuses and we believe that part of their responsibility is to nurture young people in these campuses into the congress traditions for them to understand where we come from and where are we going.”

Ntuli said the ANC was in discussion with the leadership of Sasco‚ ANCYL and the YCL to reflect on this issue.

“It’s unprecedented. It has never happened that the Youth League‚ Sasco‚ YCL and PYA‚ all progressive forces‚ will lose a campus in a way that it has been done. So we think it’s a matter that we can’t trivialise. We are concerned about it. It’s a reflection of the amount of work that we need to do.”

The ANC in the province is so worried about the shift in student politics that the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) will also deal with the issue when it meets over the next two days.

“I think as the ANC PEC sits over the next two days it will have to decide how best we can help the mass democratic movement to reclaim the lost ground in the campuses. But we are very excited about the campaign they have mounted‚ particularly in MUT,"  said Ntuli.

"We have seen a very decisive and uniting campaign of Sasco and the Youth League. They were defeated‚ it’s a setback but we have been saying to them these things will happen. When you are in the struggle you should expect that one day things will not go your own way and you can’t run away.”

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