ANC NYTT divisions laid bare as co-ordinator Sibongile Besani resigns

Image credit: Twitter/ANCYL

Co-ordinator of the African National Congress National Youth Task Team (NYTT) Sibongile Besani has resigned from the structure.

In a resignation letter addressed to the ANC Secretary General’s Office and top 6 officials on Thursday, Besani said he could no longer be part of NYTT “in an emerging environment that seeks to remove me from some of my critical responsibilities.”

He wrote, “It has come to my attention that there is an audit process that is separate to the one I am exposed to or I know, as the co-ordinator. This relates to the appointment of auditors without my knowledge.”

Some NYTT members ‘excluded’

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) appointed the NYTT last year to revive the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), which was liquidated in 2018.

The NYTT is now organising a national conference, scheduled for 26-30 March, to elect the ANCYL’s new leaders. Part of this process includes “auditing” of branches.

According to Besani, some NYTT members have been excluded from it. He said, “Most importantly, processes designed to exclude others, in particular myself as co-ordinator, carry the possibility of dubious legitimacy because I will not vouch and support them.”

The NYTT includes several high profile ANC NEC members, including convener Tandi Mahambehlala, former ministers Malusi Gigaba and Nomvula Mokonyane, and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Statements issued ‘without consulting me’

The second reason Besani cited for his resignation is a “tendency” for the NYTT to issue press statements without consulting him as the co-ordinator.

He said this is done “under the guise of ensuring presence of the voice of the youth and autonomy of the YL.”

Besani added, “This is a recipe for unnecessary disagreements between myself as co-ordinator and those who advocate for this tendency.

“The fact is that I can no longer own up to statements that carry my name without being consulted and this will consequently undermine the rebuilding of the ANCYL.”

Statements on Zuma, de Ruyter

The NYTT raised eyebrows with a controversial statement on Wednesday on the warrant of arrest issued against former President Jacob Zuma.

In another statement last year, it also harshly criticised the appointment of André de Ruyter’s appointment as Eskom CEO.

Besani, who is an ANC NEC member, also serves as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s head of ANC Presidency.

His resignation points to divisions not only in the NYTT, but also in the ANC. In a telling Facebook post on Thursday, he wrote, “I don’t quench my thirst for politics in a politically poisoned well.”

NYTT’s convener Mahambehlala, along with several other members, are widely seen as allies of ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and Zuma.

There are concerns that ANC “elders” are seeking to position a revived ANCYL as a critic of Ramaphosa in the run-up to ANC National General Council (NGC) in June.

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