Opening Remarks by the YCLSA National Chairperson Comrade Yershen Pillay
8 December 2016
We open this 3rd National Council of the YCLSA here at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus and welcome all delegates to this important gathering of our organisation. We convene this 3rd National Council at a time when our movement is faced with the most difficult of times. It, therefore, becomes a critical task of this National Council to discuss and resolve on how best to rebuild and reunite the people's camp and the measures needed to reconnect the motive forces with the national democratic revolution.
We must use this National Council to make a thorough assessment of the political and economic climate both locally and globally.
We must further use this National Council to assess the current state of the YCLSA both politically and organizationally.
Another important task of this National Council should be to discuss the role of the SACP and its position in the current political climate. How best do we strengthen structures of the Party to play a leading vanguard role in the second phase of the NDR. The SACP is an independent political party representing the working class of South Africa. The Party must take the bold and decisive decision to contest state power as a party of power. Which Communist Party in the world today does not contest for state power? The answer is none. Why should the SACP be any different given the current senile state of the ANC?
The YCLSA should robustly debate whether or not our mother body should take a decisive decision to contest state power through the ballot and when would be the right time for the Party to do so given our own shortcomings as well as the low levels of political and class consciousness in society. The question of timing becomes critical for a successful campaign to be waged and for the primary objective of a Socialist State to be realised. We should use this important gathering of the YCLSA to define the kind of SACP we would want to emerge out of the 14th National Congress to be held in July next year.
We must commend efforts made by leaders of the YCLSA to establish Youth Structures in COSATU affiliates as political cells for mobilising, organising and conscientising young workers in the country. These comrades continue to work tirelessly to ensure that young workers play a greater, more significant role in shaping the future of COSATU. This National Council must discuss the role of the YCLSA in ensuring that all COSATU affiliates establish Youth Structures that are political, ideologically, organizationally and financially capacitated to carry out their revolutionary tasks on the factory floor.
Given the current political climate and the need to reunite the people's front, this National Council must discuss the role of COSATU in building popular people's power. The reunification of COSATU and the return of FAWU and NUMSA could be necessary and critical for COSATU to play a more complete and comprehensive role in building popular people's power.
Comrades, we must salute COSATU for resolving and pronouncing its support for comrade Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma at the National Conference of the ANC in 2017. The mighty trade union federation was right about E-tolls but the ANC chose not to listen. The mighty trade union federation was right about the youth wage subsidy but the ANC chose not to listen.
The track record of COSATU suggests that the mighty trade union federation has been right for most of the past. Will COSATU be right again by pronouncing its support for comrade Cyril Ramaphosa as the best and most suitable leader to unite the mass democratic movement and advance the interests of the poor, working class. The YCLSA should discuss whether we should play the role of shouting loud enough so that this time the ANC listens to COSATU for the unity and success of our glorious movement.
This National Council must reflect on the life and times of one of the greatest revolutionaries, if not the greatest revolutionary of our times, comrade Fidel Castro. Let us pay our respects to this gallant and noble leader of Communist Cuba by continuing the fight for a new, more just, more equitable, more peaceful world order - A Socialist World Order.
Comrade Fidel once said, "If we wish to express what we want the future generations to be, we must say: Let them be like Che! If we wish to say how we want our children to be educated, we must say without hesitation: We want them to be educated in Che's spirit."
Let us take the advice of comrade Fidel and ensure the youth of today are educated in Che's spirit. Our "Read to Lead" campaign must be intensified to reach every corner of the country. A campaign that was conceptualised by the leadership you elected two years ago at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. We must use this National Council to robustly discuss how best to
massify our campaigns on education.
Finally, comrades, let us use this National Council to reflect on resolutions of the YCLSA as it relates to the most pressing issues facing young people today, from youth unemployment to University fees and the struggle for free education for all. As the YCLSA, we must be radical but disciplined, exercising iron discipline at all times. We must use this National Council to clarify and sharply communicate our position on Free Education for All by 2020. Let us use this opportunity to further guide the country with solutions on how to create jobs for youth, how to fight corruption, how to address the issue of climate change, how to implement the NHI as best as possible and how best to advance Socialism and end Capitalism.
Issued by YCLSA
Molaodi Wa Sekake- YCLSA National Spokesperson
Mobile: 078 164 3668
Mawande Ndawo- YCLSA Media Liaison Officer
Mobile: 062 062 7714