Statement by former National Secretary of the YCLSA handing over to the newly elected National Secretary, Mluleki Dlelanga
14 December 2014
We have come to the end of a successful Fourth National Congress of the YCLSA more rejuvenated, focused and refreshed about the prospects of building a socialist future for South Africa.
Since the tender age of 15 when I attended my first Congress of the ANC Youth League in Limpopo, some twenty years ago, I have never been to an exciting Congress as this one, and I have been to many.
In the build up to this Congress, we were confronted with negativity, gloom and despondency about the prospects of its success. We have tried our level best as the 3rd Congress National Committee to ensure that we avert any form of logistical nightmare as was the case in Mafikeng. We do not have a war chest and do not possess the millions that others have to host Congresses in luxury, and thus ensured that the 4th Congress is arranged to the best of our ability with the limited resources as our disposal. There were fewer hiccups, but we are happy that they did not avert this Congress and we hope that all delegates will give it a thumbs up.
In 2003, I was approached to avail myself for election at the Re-establishment Congress at the Vaal University. Comrade Jacob Mamabolo, who was then the National Steering Committee Coordinator, was also nominated for the same position.
There were discussions by all the provinces on what the best possible solution would be so that we do what is best for the YCLSA. It was ultimately agreed that I should be elected uncontested for that position.
Building up to the Second National Congress, there was again unanimity on the National Secretary's position as I was elected unopposed together with all the other officials.
The same applied with the third National Congress. However, at that Congress, there was a contracted debate about the credentials, the KZN Congress was disrupted, the National Congress itself was slmost disrupted by people who resorted to violence instead of political engagement. We have moved beyond that and have just emerged from one of the most successful National Congress.
When we requested the Central Committee of the SACP to facilitate the discussions of the provinces on leadership, and made this process open without intimidation, coercion, the use of moneybags and allowed all of our structures to participate, we were hopeful that we are beginning a fresher look into the approach that many of our organisations in the Mass Democratic Movement should follow. Although there were three candidates for the National Secretary position, it was clear that only one enjoyed the support of the majority. Through negotiations, open engagements and persuasion, provinces also agreed on all the other positions and of the National Committee. If this would not have happened, we would have to extend the process to voting, an important part of the democratic process within the YCLSA. Fortunately this was not to be.
Im stating this history for the benefit of all so that we appreciate the importance of open engagement in the process of the election of leadership, and the lessons that we should learn as young communists, that leadership is not about the occupation of office but about the collevtive membership and cadres who will give themselves the time and energy to rebuild this organization. Those who are not part of this team, you are still part of the family of the beautiful young reds.
The robustness of the engagements in the commissions and here in plenary reassures me that we are leaving an organization that will be the lifeblood of the liberation of young people.
A young communist must be about ideas, innovation, engagement, enquiry and must represent the best example of what it means to be within the NLM. They must ensure that they dedicate themselves to the values of democratic principle, revolutionary discipline and morality, fight against corruption and greed, expose dishonest and divisive behavior, be the face of a progressive movement in society and through such, attracts others within our ranks. We must never isolate cadres merely because they disagree with us within the principles and discipline of the organization. Our role must be to win them over.
The challenge moving forward is to maintain vibrancy, militancy, unity and discipline. This is the fighting force and these are soldiers for socialism. Please make show that they grow both in content, quality and quantity. There will be many temptations and agitations, do everything for the organization and nothing against it as you execute your task of building socialism.
Comrade Mluleki, you have seen how exciting it is to be in a united young communist league Congress. Whenever you hand it over, it should even be bigger and more lively than how you found it. Taking up the responsibility of National Secretary comes with many challenges and sacrifices. The sacrifice of family, time and various other interests that you may have. Never take for granted this responsibility.
You should also know that you are the first line of defense for this organization. Never send soldiers to defend the YCLSA and the struggle for socialism without being prepared to fight the same fight. Dirty your hands, and never betray the trust bestowed on you by the 90 000 members of the YCLSA.
You are a youth organization, and therefore do everything for the youth and never for your own friends, family or confidantes. The youth of this country will be casting their eyes towards your direction. Listen carefully to what the GS of the Party and the ANC President said, but more importantly, listen to this delegates and the 20.3 million young people as to what their needs, interests and aspirations are.
Be prepared for the scorn, and for the negativity and ridicule, but cherish the praise and the commitment to assist you to take this organization forward that this cadres will be giving to you.
Trust me, there will never be a need for me or any of the former leaders of the YCLSA to try and stand in your limelight. We would be interfering with the democracy that just took place in this Congress.
I congratulate all of you elected and wish you all the best. Leaving the YCLSA is equal to leaving my own child, and I do that with so much pain but with the excitement that here is are the leaders who will take care of its further
growth. You are the new hands, and until we meet again