African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has cracked the whip, telling the ANC Youth League that it should introspect, and be concerned about the large number of young people who drop out of school.
He has also called on young people to equip themselves with technical skills in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which needs skilled artisans and technicians.
Ramaphosa was addressing a rally of young people in Durban to celebrate the 60th birthday of the late Youth League President Peter Mokaba.
The life of the late ANC Youth League President Peter Mokaba was celebrated with music, dance and speeches that reflected his immense role in the youth league.
Mokaba would have turned 60 on Wednesday.
The vibrant and militant Mokaba was elected President of the Youth League in 1991 and served in this position until 1994. He died in 2002.
Addressing young people in Cato Crest in Durban, Ramaphosa pointed to disturbing figures of the high number of young people who drop out of school before finishing Grade 12.
“It must be a matter of concern to you that every year one million young children enter into our schools. You and Cosas have a responsibility to make sure those one million people, as they enter schools, they must finish their schooling 12 years later. What we are finding is that 450 000 of those young people drop out at Grade 9 and 10.”
Ramaphosa also asked the Youth League to do introspection to see whether they still live up to the values of leaders like Mokaba.
“ANCYL must be seen in communities organizing together with the masses and championing their interest. This is what the ANCYL of today needs to ask itself – that are we still living up to these values that Peter Mokaba was committed to.”
Ramaphosa has praised the Youth League for advocating issues like free education, land expropriation and radical economic transformation.
“You raised the land question at the very early stage. Today, the land question is clearly ANC policy and we are going to expropriate land without compensation and today, we have free education.”
Meanwhile, ANC Youth League President Collin Maine says the ANC must be aware that its role in the liberation struggle does not matter much to some people. He says people are concerned about what the ANC is going to do to change their lives for the better.
“People don’t worry any more about what we did during apartheid, but they want to know what we are doing to address their situation.”
Ramaphosa has called on the Youth League to mobilise young people to register and vote during the upcoming general elections saying the figures show that a high number of eligible young people are not registered.
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