The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Free State’s Fezile Dabi region has invited all its members to sign up for a youth military training camp.
Its invitation, embellished with pictures of the organisation’s logo and two guns, advertises the camp as offering basic military training, hiking, gun handling, guerrilla tactics and political education.
Members, who it says are committed to defending the revolution and are combatants for Africans, are advised to contact the organisation’s Deputy Regional Secretary Thabo Baleni by the end of October.
Baleni says the programme is in response to issues facing the country such as gender-based violence.
“This programme is made by the ANC Youth League in response to the current issues we are facing as a country, the gender-based violence that is ongoing. The issue of human trafficking; we are no longer feeling safe and protected. We believe that this programme is supposed to be meeting the government halfway in as far as trying to curb the challenges. So it is in no way a form of saying an encouragement or incitement to violence but to say it is for self-protection.”
National structures not consulted
Baleni has acknowledged that they have not engaged national structures of the party about the youth military training camp it is establishing.
The ANC Youth League is currently under the administration of a national task team following the disbandment of its leadership after it failed since 2010 to convene an elective conference.
The camp will offer basic military training, hiking, gun handling, guerrilla tactics and political education.
Baleni claims that as an autonomous, elected body, the regional ANC Youth League is not required to consult with either the national leadership of the party or the league about its programmes.
“There are a number of programmes that we have championed in the youth interest and there has not been any consultation with the ANC NEC in that regard. It is not the practice in the ANC that the region would do the programmes in consultation with the ANC or the ANCYL national. There would have to be a basis on which we are told why this programme would not necessarily be good if the ANC Youth League in the national would have a problem which this perhaps they should outline what they see as best for the country.”