The African National Congress has forgotten the struggle at the expense of the poor, ANC Youth League leader Collen Maine said on Saturday.
“The problem with the ANC, in the view of the league, is that we are too comfortable; we have forgotten why we embarked on the struggle,” Maine told the youth league’s eThekwini elective congress at Howard College in Durban.
“We are driven in driving German cars and we forget about everything else. We are forgetting that our people are poor and go to bed without eating,” he said.
Revolutions were not led by the “old”, which was why the young needed to take over the ANC and do things differently, because there were many problems within the mother body.
“There is leadership in the ANC that loves media coverage at the expense of the ANC. Talking too much and little delivery is a problem in the ANC.” These “limelight-loving” leaders were known as “popcorn” within the league, because they were populists and popped-up whenever the media were present. It was the function of the youth league to mobilise society in general and the youth in particular, and yet the league did not lead during the fees must fall protests, he said.
“We as the youth league, did we lead fees must fall? We didn’t. What did the regional and provincial youth league leadership do during fees must fall? Dololo. You were nowhere to be found. We are not leading. We were not leading from the front in terms of that.”
Maybe the “narrative” of fees must fall needed to be changed. “Fees must fall is not our language as the ANC. And as the ANC, we must fight for free education, not for something called fees must fall,” Maine said.
It was a foreign concept that some people were trying to make a South African concept. “We don’t have a struggle called fees must fall. Our struggle as the youth and since the inception of the youth league in 1944 has always been a call for free education for the poor.”
People who could afford education for their children should have to pay for it, including himself. Government could not pay for the education of those who could afford it.
Maine said the problems facing the ANC were “deadly” and if not addressed the organisation faced the same fate as other liberation movements.
“We heard the message the people sent during the [recent municipal] elections. That’s why we cannot afford to have leaders pop-corning in the African National Congress. The only way to change this is for the young to take over the ANC. It is time for us to take over the ANC so that we save the ANC from itself,” he said.
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