Jessie Duarte demands answers over ANC Youth League age cheating scandal
ID presented appears to be fake
Luthuli House has been rocked by an age cheating scandal after it emerged that one of the leaders appointed to the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) national youth task team (NYTT) could be overage.
TimesLIVE can reveal ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has written to Xolani Mgxoteni, giving him until 5pm on Wednesday to prove he is not older than 35.
The issue of Mgxoteni’s age has been the subject of corridor talk at Luthuli House since the NYTT was appointed.
The ANC national executive committee (NEC) last month decided all members of the NYTT have to be below the age of 35. Official ANC documents show Mgxoteni was born in 1985, meaning he is 36 years old and this automatically disqualifies him from the NYTT.
Insiders said Mgxoteni’s name was not on the list of young leaders sent by the ANC in the Eastern Cape to Luthuli House. Provincial leaders believe his name came from the office of secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Mgxoteni is believed to be aligned to former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who is a well-known Magashule ally.
In her letter dated May 4, Duarte wrote: “There has been an allegation that you have misrepresented yourself with regard to your age and are above the age of 35, which would make you too old to serve in the national youth task team."
“The [Eastern Cape] provincial secretary comrade Lulama Ngcukaitobi informed us that he requested a copy of your ID and was not successful in his attempt to verify your age. We are now requesting a police certified copy of both your ID and birth certificate by Wednesday 5pm.”
TimesLIVE is in possession of an ID document submitted to Luthuli House which states he was born on December 12 1987. However, a TimesLIVE investigation has revealed the ID number belongs to Ntsako Vusi Ngobeni, who resides in Phalaborwa, Limpopo.
Ngobeni told TimesLIVE he got the shock of his life last week when he was contacted by the national department of home affairs informing him that he may be sharing his ID number with someone else. This was after TimesLIVE alerted the department of its investigation seeking confirmation and a comment.
Ngobeni said he was told to immediately report to the nearest home affairs offices, where his fingerprints would be taken and he would then be issued with a smartcard ID.
“Yes, it’s my ID number. I don’t know what’s going on,” Ngobeni told TimesLIVE.
“I got a call from home affairs in Pretoria and they sent me to home affairs in Phalaborwa. They said I should go there to get a smartcard. I received the call on Saturday last week. When I got there they told me it appears I may be sharing my ID number with someone else. They checked and said there was no indication of that.”
TimesLIVE is in possession of an ANC branch membership list from Mgxoteni’s ward in Nelson Mandela Bay which shows he was born on February 12 1985, and not in 1987 as he has allegedly claimed.
When confronted with this information, Mgxoteni denied sharing what now appears to be a fake identity document with the ANC headquarters. He also could not be drawn into confirming his actual age and whether he qualified to be in the NYTT. He blamed unknown people for distributing the fake ID.
“I said I do not discuss my identities in public, that’s what I said. I’m also observing a process in which I do not want to make a single mistake when I’m following it up, the internal process,” Mgxoteni said.
“I will attend to these ones who are trying to be mischievous but I want to first observe the internal process.”
Duarte raised concern in her letter to Mgxoteni that the Eastern Cape ANC secretary Ngcukaitobi could not verify his age.
TimesLIVE understands Ngcukaitobi had sent Mgxoteni a letter asking him for identity documentation but he did not respond.
When asked why he ignored Ngcukaitobi, Mgxoteni said: “On that one it’s very simple, I can respond to you. I kept quiet because I understand the organisational process and their jurisdiction in the context of the matter at hand.
“Imagine you are not a local newspaper, you are a national newspaper having to account to a local newspaper from Soshanguve. It’s not in their jurisdiction. They must go and talk to the NEC or secretary-generals or whoever is given the task to deal with matters relating to the Youth League.”