THE ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Limpopo has launched a mass mobilisation drive to get young people in the province to march to Premier Stan Mathabatha’s office in demand of jobs and the resignation of “lazy mayors and MECs.”
According to the league’s provincial secretary, Oliver Mabunda, they took the decision at an eight-hour ordinary ANCYL provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting held at the ANC’s provincial headquarters, Frans Mohlala House, in Polokwane this week. Mabunda said the PEC also wants Mathabatha to reshuffle his cabinet in favour of younger leaders. The young lions also want Mathabatha to appoint ANCYL provincial chairperson Tonny Rachoene as MEC.
“We want our provincial chairperson Tonny Rachoene to be made an MEC, as he has the necessary energy and skills to turn around any provincial department. “We also urge the premier to follow the examples of other provinces that created a department of youth and people living with disability, which we believe must also be led by a young MEC,” he said.
Mabunda said they initially planned to embark on a voter registration programme ahead of next year’s general elections, but considered that the challenge facing their target market – the youth – was unemployment.
“Being mindful of the high youth unemployment and lack of apathy, (we) will have to dig deep into our youth’s mass character to travel a journey with the youth and champion the interests of our strata. “The youth unemployment in our province is currently sitting at a disheartening 65%. The ANCYL will organise the youth of this province to march to the provincial government and the mining chamber to demand that (they) immediately come up with a programme of action,” he said.
He added that the ANCYL PEC felt that the young people of the province were being pushed to “the periphery.” They invited all youth formations in the province to recruit marchers who should bring their CVs and wear their graduation gowns when they confront the provincial government leadership headed by Mathabatha.
“We can’t be pushed to the periphery. We also demand that all municipality youth officer posts must be filled urgently by June month end. The unemployment march will take place on/before the end of May.
“The ANCYL in Limpopo is worried that when boards and State-owned enterprises appoint members, young people are constantly being side-lined even though they have the necessary skills and qualifications to serve them,” Mabunda said.
“The PEC has requested the list of all boards of departments and SOEs in the province through the ANC to check whether they comply with 25% youth representation. Furthermore, we resolved that the premier must urgently establish the youth advisory board in the province.”
Rachuene could not be reached for comment. However, in a radio interview with public broadcaster SABC, he confirmed the demands of the ANCYL.
“We want all young people to join the march. We don’t want comrades. We are also aware that there are buses in this province that are subsidised by the government. We will ask those bus companies to ferry our youth because they are not employed, but we are also aware that our march will be shaking the government so they won’t help us.
“If they refuse to help us with transport, we call upon the youth to go to the bus stops and get in those buses; we will pay the fares the day we are employed. We encourage unemployed graduates to bring their CVs and wear their gowns. We will submit those CVs to the premier’s office,” said Rachoene.
He said the youth had lost faith in the ANC government.
“We want to demonstrate that we are tired of unemployment in Limpopo and across the country. Our leaders do as they please. Service delivery is no longer there. They are busy stealing, and all those kinds of shenanigans while the youth languish in poverty.
“Limpopo is different from others because we have everything. We have mines everywhere. It is clear that there is no good coordination from our leaders who can influence the mines to create jobs,” he said. “We cannot suffer while we have about three big mines. Our research has convinced us that there are job opportunities but our leaders lack skills.”
Rachoene also called on Mathabatha to force “lazy” mayors and MECs to resign or be fired.
“We must assess our mayors and MECs. Our MECs are running around town doing nothing. We only see blue lights at funerals and children’s parties but never on the ground where we need service delivery.
“We have 27 mayors but we only see two or three. This is a clear demonstration that we have leaders who are not willing to work. That is why we will make sure that we pressure the ANC in the province that all mayors and MECs, all leaders, who don’t want to work must leave.
“There are many strategic positions in the provincial cabinet where there are no young people. We have boards that need our skilled youth. Many municipalities and departments have vacant posts for officers while we have a skills pool amongst young people. We are not going to be popular, but we are going to fight against the status quo,” Rachoene said.
Spokesperson for Mathabatha, Willy Mosoma, said the ANCYL march was welcome. However, it is the premier’s discretion to appoint and fire MEC’s, he added.
“On the issue of reshuffling, it is a common knowledge that it is only the Premier who has the constitutional powers to do so and therefore, we can’t comment on the matter until he himself as the Premier makes that pronouncement.
“On youth development, the province is running tangible youth development programmes, working together with its agencies. More detailed reports can be made available on request. Youth unemployment is a national challenge, and not only limited to Limpopo. We know that as our province was expecting significant improvement with regard to employment figures, resulting from the 2008 global financial meltdown, coronavirus reversed all the economic gains that were achieved,” he said.
Mosoma said Limpopo was showing measurable improvement in terms of recent employment statistics.
“However, the Premier believes that more still needs to be done, particularly on young people who are not in employment, education or training,” said Mosoma.