Re-Launch of the Young Communist League of South Africa

Category: Statements

17 December 2003, 11h30, COSATU House, SACP Head Office

Background

From the 12th – 14th December 2003, 500 young communists from all provinces of our country convened at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark to participate in the congress to relaunch the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA).

The YCL is the youth wing of the South African Communist Party (SACP). It was formed after a resolution passed by the SACP’s 11th Congress held in Rustenburg in July last year. The YCL was banned with the then Communist Party of South Africa in 1950, and when all political parties were un-banned in 1990, the YCL could not be re-launched.

Whilst the YCLSA is an autonomous mass organisation, it is a structure of the SACP, and, to quote the General Secretary of the SACP, it will not be a mere loud-hailer.

The congress was addressed by the General Secretary of the SACP, Blade Nzimande, the Deputy President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma and the General Secretary of COSATU, Zwelinzima Vavi, Esther Barsel a YCL veteran from the 1940s and international guests. The Congress expressed confidence in the message delivered by, and the political perspective advanced by Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Leadership

The leadership of the Young Communist League, which was elected unanimously at the launching Congress, is representative of the geographic, racial and gender spread of our country.

It comprises leaders from the student movement, broader youth movement, trade union movement, young workers and the unemployed: who are all seasoned members of the SACP. (Refer to attached list of the National Committee).

School and University Fees

The YCL is extremely concerned with the increase in school and university fees, of which some are way beyond the inflation rate. We believe that this will result in exclusions from compulsory education and higher education and thus deny millions their right to education. We call on the Ministry of Education to hasten in introducing the regulations of school and university fees.

During January, we will be working with COSAS, SASCO and other youth organisations in calling Young People’s Forums were young people will be allowed to express themselves and take action with regard to the current fee increases and to mobilise young people for public funding of education.

Voter Registration and Youth Mobilisation

We note the low voter turnout in the first round of voter registration in November. We believe that the biggest threat of our democracy does not come from the so-called opposition, but from the South African citizens who will not be participating in the coming registration for election, and thus, would not be eligible to vote.

We call on all young people who are 16 years or older to register in their municipalities and also participate in next year’s elections. The future of young people is not possible without their participation in elections and the political process. The YCL rejects the notion that young people are apathetic and apolitical. The YCL calls on all young people to express their needs, interests and aspirations by taking part in the voter registration and election process. Young people’s participation in voter registration and the elections will guarantee that young people have a real stake in national life.

Finally, the YCL calls on all young people to Vote wisely, Vote ANC.

Matric Exams

Towards the end of this month matriculants will be receiving their results. We would like to wish them well and hope that they will pass. But on the same note, we will be seeing more than half of those who passed being unemployed and not having access to further their studies. Unemployment, as expressed by the speakers who spoke in our Re-Launch Congress, is at a highly alarming rate.

We call on partners to the Growth and Development Summit to commit themselves to the set targets and ensure that quality jobs are created and sustained. We will therefore also mobilise young people working with the ANC Youth League and other organisations against unemployment and through co-operatives.

Media

We call for the transformation of the programme content of SABC Radio and TV, together with the free to air channel, e-tv and the rest of the media.

We believe that the majority of the content conveyed contributes to the de-culturalisation of young people and transformation of our country’s youth into atoms of a CNN culture. These programmes present a South Africa that is without poverty and unemployment. They promote sexual harassment and women oppression, workers exploitation, and drug young people with American fiction filled with violence, substance abuse and foul language.

HIV/AIDS

The scourge of HIV and AIDS has become the main problem in our country. We note that government is accelerating the provision of ARVs. We will be calling young people to contribute into the human resource and other needs of this huge programme. We will advise them to exercise care in dealing with the infected and affected and in having safe sex.

BEE

We will challenge the notion of Black Economic Empowerment that says it is only the few black elite who have access to capital who should benefit. We believe that BEE is about access to housing, water, electricity, education, jobs, free health care and food for all as protected by the Constitution of the country. We believe that the democratic state’s responsibility is not to enrich a few but to empower the overwhelming majority of our people.

Umsobomvu Youth Fund

The YCL Congress noted the existence of the South African Youth Council, the National Youth Commission, as principal organs of youth development in South Africa. In this, the Congress also noted the role of Umsobomvu Youth Fund in dealing with challenges of unemployment, creating opportunities for young people and dealing with persisting poverty amongst youth. It however noted the failure by UYF in its investment decision to focuss of poor youth, but has consistently promoted individualism which promotes only entrepreunership instead of collective opportunities i.e. co-operatives, and promotion of sustainable livelihoods.

The YCL Congress resolved that the South African Youth Council immediately meets with Umsobomvu Board to discuss the national priorities for South African youth in which investments must be made.

We call on the UMSOBOMVU Youth Fund (UYF) to subject itself to the leadership of youth political formations such as the National Youth Commission and the South African Youth Council. We believe that it cannot exist without understanding and seeking mandate from young people.

Claiming historical YCL documents from state archives

In conclusion, after 53 years in absence, the Young Communist League is back. We will be rewriting the history of the YCL before its un-banning. In this regard, we know that the state had at one point or another ceased documents of the YCL. We will be calling on them to indicate which of the documents are in their archives and which have been destroyed. We will not rest until we find them. It is not only the history of the SACP and YCL at stake here, but the history of the country.

CONTACT
Buti Manamela
National Secretary
Young Communist League
Cell – 082 222 5474

NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF SOUTH AFRICA

OFFICE BEARERS
Manamela Buti (Man) – National Secretary
Masondo David (Man) – National Chairperson
Jara Mazibuko (Man) – Deputy National Secretary
Hlophe Hlengiwe (Woman) – Deputy National Chairperson
Chetty Jenny (Woman) – National Treasurer

ADDITIONAL MEMBERS
Dikgale Lesetja (Man, Mpumalanga province)
Jiyane Lucy (Woman, Limpopo province)
Kaaf Gannett (Man, Free State province)
Kolisile Nkosiphendule (Man, Gauteng)
Lejaka Lesego (Woman, North West)
Maine Sam (Man, Western Cape)
Mampuru Makhukhu (Man, Gauteng)
Mlatha Thembisa (Woman, Northern Cape)
Moletse Khathatso (Man, Free State)
Nkambule Vusi – (Man, Mpumalanga)
Orr Liesl (Woman, Gauteng)
Segwane Kentse (Woman, North West)
Shezi Sizwe (Man, KwaZulu Natal)
Thomo Skhumbuzo (Man, Gauteng)
Tshayana Xolani (Man, Eastern Cape)