ANCYL Freedom Day statement
27 April 2018
The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) joins the urban and rural working class youth and poor in commemorating 24 years of our democratic breakthrough of April 27, 1994. This day was achieved through the shed of blood by our revolutionary martyr and decorated people’s hero, cde Chris Hani, a principled, committed, loyal and dedicated graduate of the Youth League.
Twenty-four years ago, South Africans, young and old, had the first opportunity to vote in the first ever democratic elections to be held in our country. April 27, continues to provide South Africans, across racial lines and class background, an opportunity to reflect on the turbulent journey we have travelled for nearly two decades to build a South Africa that genuinely belongs to all as envisaged in the Freedom Charter.
April 27, would have not been possible without the resilience and militancy of the youth of South Africa during years of Apartheid; banishments; torture; detentions; underground and exile years. It was the fighting youth that held the flame of freedom and fought gallantly against a system that was declared a crime against humanity.
Our April 27 message is dedicated to our departed “Mother of the Nation”, cde Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela-Mandela – a fearless symbol of our struggle against struggle and revered leader of our freedom.
A significant number of social, economic and educational gains have been ushered by the ANC-led government to benefit the youth of our country. Over the years, the ANC headed government has rolled-out social grants to dent poverty amongst South Africans and youth; doors of learning have been opened so that the youth of our country can acquire the necessary skills to partake in the economy and be employed in various sectors of the economy, school feeding scheme has been made available for those coming from poverty-stricken households.
We are celebrating April 27, amidst escalating crisis of youth unemployment, as a result of a stagnant and a jobless growth economy. The Youth League has always maintained that South Africa’s genuine freedom lies at the heart of radically changing the dominant colonial character of our economy that serves the interest of a few; the overgrowing economic dominance of white and imperialist owned capitalist monopolies and compradorial black economic empowerment. Our struggle will be meaningless if we do not radically change these and other socio-economic conditions as mandated by 54th National Conference, to advance a radical socio-economic transformation for overall benefit of our people, especially the youth.
We are celebrating twenty-four years of our freedom in the midst persisting crisis of youth unemployment since the advent of our democratic breakthrough. We welcome the political will by the new ANC leadership to confront head on the scourge of youth unemployment.
The ANC-led government recently launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) to mitigate the crisis of youth unemployment, mainly faced by Black and African working class and poor youth of our country. According to President Cyril Ramaphosa “it is the young people of this country who, more than most, must daily grapple with the misery and indignity of poverty and unemployment”. Whilst we embrace YES as a progressive initiative to dent youth unemployment, we strongly believe it is not a panacea to the creation of decent employment for the overwhelming majority of the youth of our country. It is evident that the National Youth Wage Subsidy has not delivered on it intended or desired outcomes. This call on government to review the Youth Wage Subsidy, and consider adopting alternative and progressive reforms that will lead to massive jobs being created in the economy.
We call on the ANC-led government to convene a National Youth for Jobs Summit involving a broad range of stakeholders, to solicit means and ways of dealing with youth unemployment in South Africa. The summit will accord the youth of South Africa, to assert it demands on best ways to find a lasting solution.
Whilst we celebrate April 27, we are disturbed that a number of learner’s are losing their lives in some public schools due to pit toilets. It has been found that there 3 452 “deadly” pit toilets in some schools. We call on government, especially the Department of Basic Education to issue as a matter of urgency a detailed plan to abolish pit toilets. We believe that through the National Youth Service, pit toilets can be abolished and restore the dignity of affected learners.
We also want to take this opportunity to salute successive generations of youth activists that played a decisive role to usher April 27, 1994. We salute Solomon Mahlangu; Linda Jobane; Ruth First; Joe Gqabi; Ashley Kriel; Andrew Zondo; and many others because their selfless “blood has nourished the tree of freedom”.
Issued by Mlondi Mkhize, ANCYL national spokesperson, 27 April 2018