The African National Congress Youth League was last week said to have been rocked by an age scandal involving the National Youth Task Team (NYTT). On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary-General of the party, Jessie Duarte announced that the affected members would be kicked out of the 35 member body.
According to the constitution of the ANC, members that are part of the Youth League should be under the age of 35 and once they are older than this, they need to leave the league. According to complaints emerging from within the league, some of the members that are within the party’s national task team are much older than the required age. It is reported that at least five of the members are affected by this clause in the youth league constitution. According to sources, these members are said to be close to the embattled Secretary-General of the ANC Ace Magashule, who is also under suspension following his failure to step aside after he was charged with corruption.
Those affected by this requirement are the head of organising Mlondi Mkhize, ANC Gauteng MPL Lesego Makhubela as well as Sonto Malapeng of Mpumalanga. It is reported that the three actually turned 35 before they were appointed to the task team. In addition, Eastern Cape’s Xolani Mgxoteni, 36, is also said to have submitted a fake ID document which showed that he was 34 years old, while another member Boitumelo Setlogelo was 37 years old.
However, in their defense, these members accused their leadership of fueling divisions within the task team because those members they support were losing in debates. “You are 35 until you are 36. It is senior members of the ANC who are factionalising the NYTT and they are doing this now because they see that the people they support in the NYTT are not winning discussions as they expected,” according to Mlondi Mkhize.
On the other hand, the ANC has come out strongly against this, with President Ramaphosa going as far as to mention this in his closing remarks to the NEC meeting that was held over the weekend. Ramaphosa said Luthuli house was to make sure that, “all NYTT members meet the age requirements of the ANCYL constitution, which is that they should be below 35 years of age”.
Against this background, Duarte said on Tuesday that all members of the NYTT who did not meet the requirements of the constitution would be booted out of the Task Team. She said all those that were 35 years and older would be removed from the team, which was tasked with taking the league to the next elective conference. However, Duarte said that she believed that checks were done but there had been a misunderstanding about the cutoff point. This is in collaboration with her former boss, who said that proper vetting had been done in the election of members to the task team. This is despite the fact that there are other members that had passed the cutoff age by at least two years.