Nkangala young communist league leader Themba ‘Ntshebe’ Ntimane is now the provincial secretary of the league in the Mpumalanga province.
Ntimane took the reigns of the YCL as its 5th provincial secretary on Saturday night (6 Apr), taking over from Tinyiko Nyini who got elected the national secretary last year December.
Their congress was held at the Noma-Nini Lodge in White River and received messages of support from the Communist Party of Swaziland, Cosas, SASCO, Cosatu as well as the SACP.
In their address, the SACP reminded the young communists that although they were “autonomous” they were not “independent”.
Communist provincial deputy secretary Mandla Tibane said the YCL was formed by the SACP as its child for the sole goal of fighting and achieving the total freedom of oppressed people “and that still remains that way”.
“We are not here to babysit you. We are here to show you the maximum support that you expect from your elders and in that way we expect a maximum discipline from you, ” Tibane told the YCL congress Saturday night.
Newly elected chair Mzwandile Vilakazi (right) seen here with secretary Themba ‘Ntshebe’ Ntimane (second from right). The congress also elected N. Khumalo as Ntshebe’s deputy, Fikile Malandule as deputy chair and treasurer Fikile Khoza
The SACP founded the YCL in 1921 but in 1950 the Apartheid government declared it illegal together with the SACP under the Suppression of Communism Act. It was then re-established in 2003 after a 2002 SACP congress took a resolution to re-establish it.
Ntimane served two terms as leader of the Nkangala YCL.
In his address as the newly elected leader of the Mpumalanga YCL on Sunday afternoon, he said the responsibility of young people is “to learn and once you have learnt you must then assist with clarity”.
“Young people must give a correct response in the right time. Our responsibility as we are learning should not be only to defend old people but assist the society on how to bring change for young people in the province,” he said.
He also condemned the physical attack on deputy chair Fikile Malandule who could not attend the congress because of injuries. She was elected in absentia.
“We will never allow any of our persons to be attacked. We are saying not in our lifetime and those who did it should not think that harming young people will be a walk in the park, ” Ntimane said.
Ntimane’s big job ahead will be to try and mend sour relations between the Mpumalanga ANCYL and the YCL.
The fight between the two organisations stems from tensions between firebrand provincial communist leader Bonakele Majuba and then ANC provincial leader DD Mabuza.
The two were united by then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa during an Alliance Summit in April 2016.
The ANCYL snubbed the YCL provincial congress, sending nobody to deliver a message of support.
He said this comes as a result of the ANC’s own blunder in neglecting the poor.
The leader of the young communist league in the Mpumalanga province has shot down suggestions that their resolutions of divorcing the ANC and wanting to convince other provinces to do so and contest the 2019 general elections is informed by anger.
The Mpumalanga SACP in September 2016 took the resolution to divorce the ANC and contest elections in 2019 but they still have to convince the other provinces when the South African Communist Party convenes its national elective conference in July 2017.
Ntini told the community members at the Zamokuhle community hall in Amersfoort, south of Ermelo, that quitting the ANC will not be because they are angry over not getting blue-light positions.
He said they faced many challenges with the ANC, such as the corruption of its leaders and neglecting the poor.
“Today when you start talking about corruption there are people who feel that you are talking about them,” Ntini said on Freedom Day on Thursday this week.
“The way those people are corrupt they already know their synonym is corruption, you would hear them say, ‘YCL now is talking us’,” he said.
Ntini said a Gert Sibande YCL march which was supposed to deliver a memorandum to mayor Muzi Chirwa’s office on 28 February 2017 couldn’t materialise because their application for permission to march was rejected.
“When we organised that march, there’s a time when last year we came to this district and we consulted with the community and we got complains from the community but when we announced we would march to the municipality the march was sabotaged.
What happened, the beneficiaries of corruption, the beneficiaries of state capture immediately stood up to sabotage the march, to a point that even our judiciary was implicated,” Ntini said to the shock of the community members.
The YCL organises Bua Thursday talks every Thursday where they reach out to people and this week’s Bua Thursday coincided with Freedom Day that was being celebrated across the country on Thursday this week.
Provincial communist mother-body leader Bonakele Majuba also addressed the Zamokuhle community hall.
National young communist leader Mluleki Dlelanga was expected to arrive from Eastern Cape and addressed the hall but couldn’t do so due to the SAA strike.
Community members atttending the Bua Thursday of the Young Communist League at the Zamokuhle community hall, Amersfooert, south of Ermelo. PICTURE BY Teboho Moloi
Ntini said even when they went to the magistrate to ask for permission to march to Chirwa’s office their application was rejected and that was done by the magistrate “in defence of wrong things”.
“But we can’t keep quiet comrades because as the YCL we say we want to be like Chris Hani,” he said.
He said the Hani memorandum which led to the first special national congress in 1969 to deal with internal ANC issues was “kicked up by that memorandum” but then the issues continued and the reason the ANC had another consultative conference in 1985.
“But today we have a leadership that is very allergic to the masses, we are the ones who voted for them but they’re allergic to us.
“When we speak they don’t listen. When we talk they tell us that here you are not supposed to talk, is not your issue but when campaign we’re not told that.
“The entire alliance goes to the ground and campaign[for the ANC] but after campaigning we’re reminded that, ‘look, this is a process of the ANC’, no longer alliance.
“These things when we raise them we’re misinterpreted as if we’re fighting for positions or we’re fighting for deployment and it’s not like that.
“Comrade Chris Hani, though it was tough, was able to raise those issues.
“We have leaders who don’t want to listen to the people and that’s why as YCL we’re very unapologetic, even as we go towards the national congress of the SACP we won’t be doing anyone a favour when we say it is high time that the SACP takes responsibility and lead the working class and be the vanguard of the poor and by doing so making sure that when 2019 comes the SACP must be on the ballot and contest and represent the poor people,” Ntini said to thunderous applause.
Two NGOs are heading to the Tshwane High Court to force government to respect the constitutional rights of people with regard to the air pollution being caused by Mpumalanga’s Sasol and Eskom power plants.