Mashatile calls on ANC youth to lead reignition of SA economy

08 January 2021 - 06:18 By ANDISIWE MAKINANA
ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile. File picture.
ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile. File picture.
Image: Puxley Makgatho

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile has called on young people to emulate the late former president of the ANC Youth League, Peter Mokaba, in fearlessly tackling the country’s problems.

Mashatile was delivering a lecture titled “Commemorating the Life of and Times of ANCYL president Peter Mokaba” on what would have been Mokaba's 62nd birthday on Thursday.

He praised the firebrand leader who died in June 2002 for the role he played in the struggle against apartheid, from when he led school boycotts during the 1976 student uprisings in Mankweng, to his service in the democratic government as an MP and a deputy minister.

Mashatile said the youth could learn valuable lessons from the examples of Mokaba and his generation of ANC Youth League leaders who took to heart and practised the historic role of the league within the congress movement and in society.

Mashatile said the ANC expects its youth members to contribute to the process of economic reconstruction and recovery which has been designed to deal with the unprecedented levels of economic contraction and job losses as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

“We need fresh and innovative ideas from young people on how to reignite our economy. Let us make the economic recovery plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa workable and successful,” he said.

Other immediate tasks for the party's youth included the rebuilding, renewal and revival of all structures of the league.

Linked to this was the urgent need to move towards a successful national congress of the ANCYL this year.

“We reiterate that the process of rebuilding structures of the ANC Youth League, renewing and reviving the organisation must be led by young people themselves.

“When the founders of the ANCYL gathered at the Bantu Men’s Social Club in Johannesburg to form the youth league in 1944, there were no elders there — young people took the lead,” he said.

“I urge young people of the ANC to seize the moment and ensure that they are at the cutting edge of ongoing efforts to breathe life into the congress youth movement; and build it to become a powerful force behind the African National Congress.”

Mashatile said this was part of the league's generational mission and part of honouring Mokaba's legacy.

The ANC disbanded the leadership of the ANCYL in July 2019 and replaced it with a national task team (NTT) which was supposed to reboot the league and convene a conference to elect new leaders.

But there has been unhappiness in the league's ranks, as some members opposed the NTT which is largely made up of people who are too old to be ANCYL members.