The African National Congress (ANC) Youth League leadership had "veered off the rails" and become obsessed with the leadership of the party, says former youth league president and national executive committee (NEC) member Malusi Gigaba .
Shortly after the expulsion of former league president Julius Malema, deputy Ronald Lamola was lambasted by the ANC last week for criticising President Jacob Zuma .
In recent years, the relationship between the league and ANC has been acrimonious, with league leaders at the forefront of the bid to prevent Mr Zuma from achieving a second term in office.
› LETTER: Prejudice seen as heroic work — Vavi
› SA closer to driving on ethanol
Ironically, Mr Malema and the league under its previous president, now sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, were instrumental in Mr Zuma’s rise to the ruling party’s presidency.
Mr Gigaba, who is also public enterprises minister, spoke out this week about the current generation of league leaders, admonishing them for allegedly failing to champion the causes of their own constituency.
"Is it necessary for you to be so obsessed with the leadership of the ANC and to say nothing or very little about the challenges facing young people at the present stage? About the challenges facing the ANC?" he asked.
The league should have volunteered to deliver textbooks in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape and assisted with the education woes in those provinces, but instead its energies were occupied with talking about and insulting Mr Zuma.
"I think the leadership of the league has derailed.… I think they’ve veered totally off the rail, they have become an impediment for the youth understanding the ANC as they should, and they have become an impediment for the ANC reaching out to the youth as it should," he said. "There is no longer that seamless point of contact; they have raised themselves as an obstacle and I think that the ANC must deal with this."
Article continues on page two...