Statement of the YCLSA National Committee Lekgotla Plenary Session
18 March 2018
The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) convened its National Committee Lekgotla from the 16 -18 March 2018, COSATU House, Johannesburg. The Lekgotla was attended by National Committee Members, Provincial Committee Officials and District secretaries. The Lekgotla received, discussed and adopted the political, organizational and financial reports. The National Committee Lekgotla was addressed by the SACP 1st Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila on the current political developments and the road map of the SACP towards the State and Popular power as was resolved in the 14th National Congress in July 2017; the Ambassador of Western Sahara, Ambassador Bachir on the developments and needed interventions; and by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Comrade Buti Manamela.
The National Committee Lekgotla started by paying tribute to our fallen heroes for the period under review and observed a moment of silent in honour of Comrade Teenage Monama, Cde Fezeka Loliwe, Cde Brian Matyila and Cde Alois 'Charles' Setsubi. Furthermore, the Lekgotla expressed its views on the following issues;-
The State of the Youth
The national Committee Lekgotla dedicated the time on analysing the generic challenges facing young people in our country and a special emphasise was made on the necessity of young people to understand their generational consensus. We further characterised the youth question in particular on how to socialise the youth. Currently young people continue to suffer unemployment, poverty, equality and landlessness.
We arrived on a social perspective that youth must be viewed as assets to society. The asset perspective views youth as having the potential to contribute actively and meaningfully to society. Youth are seen as benefactors of development and not simply as beneficiaries of development. This social perspective sees youth in a position to help rather than to receive assistance.
This viewpoint resonates with youth as agents of change capable of leading their own development with society's support. It empowers youth away from problems such as crime, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse to one of enhancing potential. Youth become agents for addressing service delivery challenges such as involvement in the building of houses as opposed to being passive recipients of housing programmes. A switch to such a social perspective would offer tremendous rewards for society, not to mention youth and their families. The decision makers in our society have placed little value in the potential of youth leading to young people becoming undervalued by society and overlooked in policy. The asset perspective has been more beneficial to improving the levels of youth participation and the quality of youth leadership.
The SACP, State and Popular Power
We have noted the desperate media reports to present the Party of Socialism to be divided. This is to defocus the people, the Party and its leadership from the radical campaigns the SACP has been advancing for the South African working class. We re-affirm the unity of the Party as such peddling of fallacious rumours will not succeed because the Party remains intact and more united than before.
The YCLSA National Committee Lekgotla welcomed the SACP 14th National Congress resolution on the SACP, State and Popular power and fully understand that it was not a mechanical process that the Party took the decision, there was a political context and process that was followed. We fully understand the decision and the political process that will be followed as part of the implementation of the resolution. The YCLSA is committed to the implementation of the 14th SACP National Congress resolution on this question and the National Committee Lekgotla resolved to embark on the activities, campaigns and programmes seeking to contribute with concrete foundations towards envisaging the implementation and attainment of the State Power in our lifetime. Using our Operation Khula, we are going to build YCLSA and SACP branches as part of laying needed foundation for the State and Popular Power. We are indeed happy to know that the issue of State and Popular Power is always in the agenda of the Party. We will also prepare discussion paper in contributing to this debate of the development of the modalities on the State and Popular Power.
The State of Higher Education & Training and Fee-Free Education
The National Lekgotla extensively discussed the state of higher education. We have noted the ineffectiveness of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has continued to affect poor and working class students, we call on the DHET to take very radical decisions that will see NSFAS delivering and ensuring that poor students receive the desired service and are able to study without the existing NSFAS frustrations. We further call on all former Colleges of education and agriculture to be reopened with immediate effect to address the question of lack of space and infrastructure in higher education. Our call for curriculum transformation will be taken to greater heights through our engagements with academia.
We have agreed that 2018 will be a year of the TVETs in the YCLSA. To build active branches and to transform the management of TVETs so that students are not depoliticized and refused activism. We will engage the DHET to assure us of measures that are put in place to ensure that TVET funding and TVET infrastructure does not get compromised in any way.
The Lekgotla welcomed the pronounced implementation of the Fee or Free Education by the government. We also note with great interest the steps taken so far towards implementation of this important campaign. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this decision. Although it's not enough, we are of the firm view that the implementation of this pronouncement will positively contribute to the upliftment of the working class and poor standard of living.
On the ANC and New Administration post Former President Jacob Zuma era
The Young Communist League of South Africa National Committee Lekgotla noted the contemporary developments in the ANC and the country generally. It is our firm view that should the Alliance become a strategic political centre for accountability, monitoring and evaluation, there will be least challenges within the Alliance. The speedy implementation of the Transformation of the education sector coupled with the Free Quality and Compulsory Education, the Radical Socio-Economic Transformation, the National Health Insurance (NHI), the support of the youth dominated cooperatives, the expropriation of the land without compensation to the hands of state and the creation of decent jobs prioritizing the youth will be closely monitored by the YCLSA.
We further welcome the new appointments to the Cabinet in particular of our SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande. These new appointments signal the beginning of a new era of much hope and anticipation for a better, more effective and transformative government. We further congratulate all the SACP members who were appointed in the Cabinet. From them, we are expecting none other than delivering of the services and goods for the working class. We hope this new administration will indeed be considerate and take into consideration the Alliance in all its decision making processes.
The hard work to rebuild confidence and credibility in the state and government institutions must be the pre-occupation of not only individuals but the collective. The YCLSA commits to support the new administration on all progressive initiatives and will not hesitate to be extremely critical on those that do not promote the interests of the working class and poor. The current political period requires deployees who are dedicated and capable in the execution of the duties and responsibilities entrusted to them.
It important to indicate from the beginning that our support to this new administration this time around will not be a blank cheque. We are committing to be among those who will be holding this new government to account on its non pro poor and working class policies. It is our firm view as the YCLSA that the policies of the ANC - led Alliance are not implemented generally. It is against this background that we will be calling for the implementation of the ANC-led Alliance polices.
On the question of the expropriation of Land
The YCLSA also welcomes the ANC resolution on expropriation of land without compensation which has also been passed by parliament as a resolution to amend the constitution and allow expropriation without compensation. Sadly, few contributions to the public debate are informed by the available evidence. And poorly informed commentators often misrepresent the issues. Compounding this is a serious problem - the absence of reliable national data on many aspects of the land issue. Land policy, at the centre of the storm, is flailing around in the dark. Land reform has been slow, with government reporting that, so far, around 9% of commercial farmland has been transferred through restitution and redistribution. In reality, there is only the haziest of understandings of how well or how badly land reform is doing, and why.
Nobody knows precisely how much agricultural land has been privately purchased by black farmers and how much has been acquired via land reform. Government's latest land audit is also not particularly useful. It provides some evidence of continuing patterns of racial inequality in land ownership. But it can't identify the racial, gender and national identity of the 320 000 companies, trust and community based organisations that own 61% of all privately owned land. Neither of these audits is able to identify zones of need and opportunity for land reform. Information of this kind, crucial for well-planned redistribution, simply doesn't exist. There is almost zero information on how many people have actually benefited from land reform, patterns of land use after transfer, and levels of production and income.
The YCLSA therefore demands an overall extensive and thorough land audit by National government which must be capacitated for consultation and engagement all spheres of government and corners of South Africa. The YCLSA also demand the revisit of the SACP resolutions on Land Reform which must be informed by consultative local forums to feed into the Regional, Provincial and ultimately National Land Reform Summit. This is because the land reform programme should be driven by the movement but owned by the people. Our people over the years have eagerly willing work the land for agricultural purpose, there is therefore a need to expand the government capacities to re-capacitate young people and women on how to work the land. As part of expediting land reform, the so-called illegal miners by capital in the former mining towns must be formalised and assisted with registration and formalization as a way of rehabilitating the mining dumps and economic activities of such former mining towns.
Building a more modern, militant and disciplined YCLSA
The National Committee Lekgotla emphasized that our main pre-occupation should always be on how we mobilize young people to join YCLSA, to appreciate the struggle for socialism that will never be delinked with strong SASCO, COSAS and ANCYL. Also our approach on strengthening the organization is to continue to strengthen an YCLSA branch, YCLSA District, YCLSA Province and YCLSA National Committee as to advance the struggle for socialism. As we do so we continue to champion the needs, interests and aspirations of the youth in our country, to be the youth voice and struggle for socialism.
Issued by the YCLSA National Committee
For more information contact YCLSA National Secretary