Eastern Cape, KZN to form united block for ANC Youth League conference

The two biggest provinces in the league hope to take at least two positions in the top six when the structure sits for its conference in June

Eastern Cape, KZN to form united block for ANC Youth League conference

The ANC Youth League’s two biggest provinces — Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal — are in talks over a possible alliance ahead of the league’s much awaited elective conference in June. 

Sources told the Mail & Guardian that Eastern Cape leaders have contacted their counterparts in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape in the hope that the four provinces will form a united block to have representation among the top six officials of the young lions. 

While the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have been fractured by factions emanating from the mother body, the Eastern Cape has already made it known that it is seeking the secretary general’s position, with Mntuwoxolo Ngudle and Bongani Mani touted by the two factions in the province as their preferred candidates. 

The league’s national youth task team (NYTT) spokesperson and KwaZulu-Natal heavyweight Sizophila Mkhize is believed to be seeking the position of president. 

Mkhize told the M&G that the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal were clear they needed to go to the conference united. 

“The details of how they are going to unite, the details of who is going to stand for what, is something that has not been done yet. So I am just happy from where I am with the fact that at least … they’ve agreed on principles that they need to work together going to the national conference,” she said. 

Mkhize said she had been lobbied by league members and would run for president. She added that she had no slate because youth league members were still negotiating.

“I do not imagine myself doing the same thing that other people have done before and failed. I think that perhaps I need to understand, and make even my peers understand, the importance of working together as young people. Our issues are the same regardless of which faction you may want to associate yourself with. We’re dealing with the same issues. Issues of unemployment, issues of social ills, issues of exclusion in higher institutions of learning,” she said.

“Our issues are the same, regardless of who you may like as an elder of the ANC. Now, if we are able, as young people to unite and say, these are the people that we think can at least take us to the promised land, can at least fight the status quo, can at least, change the lives of young people otherwise, really, getting there and just being elected for the fun of it would just be wasting young people’s time.”

Mkhize will have to contend with a highly divided KwaZulu-Natal that has been unable to hold its provincial conference. City Press recently reported that the contending factions were planning two parallel conferences. The league’s provincial coordinator, Mafika Mndebele, has been accused of convening a conference unilaterally and smuggling bogus delegates. The province has failed to hold a conference on two occasions. 

Mkhize said there was hope that the KwaZulu-Natal conference would be held in April. The Eastern Cape has also been unable to hold a conference because of factionalism.

“At least if there’s one thing that I think all parties agree on [it] is that the congresses of the two provinces must sit. Also even ourselves in the NYTT we agree that the national congress needs to sit,” she said.

Four regions in the Eastern Cape are yet to hold their conference. 

The league was disbanded in 2018 when it failed to elect new leaders to take over from that of Collen Maine. The previous task team was ordered to take the young lions to their elective conference but the Covid-19 national lockdown caused another delay. 

The task team was then disbanded and a new one with a younger cohort installed.

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