ANC President Jacob Zuma, Address to the National Congress of the Young Communist League – Jacob Zuma

Jacob ZumaComrade Yershen Pillay,
National Deputy Chairperson of SACP, Cde Thulas Nxesi,
National Deputy General Secretary, Cde Solly Mapaila,
National Secretary of the Young Communist League, Cde Buti Manamela,
Central committee members of the SACP,
The Leadership of the ANC,
The Leadership of COSATU,
Leadership of the Progressive Youth Alliance,
Comrades Delegates,

I bring revolutionary greetings from the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress.

Let me take this opportunity to welcome all guests and representatives from our international fraternal organizations.

You are welcomed and we thank you for coming to South Africa to observe proceedings at this important congress of the Young Communist League. Your presence here confirms what we have known for a long time that the struggle for socialism is an international struggle which cannot be conducted successfully by any one country in isolation.

Comrade Chairperson,

This congress takes place just a week after we commemorated one year anniversary of the passing away of our icon, Isithwalandwe President Nelson Mandela. It is important to continuously reflect on the life and times of this outstanding patriot and great son of Africa in order to draw lessons from him which will make us serve our people better.

In memory of Madiba we must recommit ourselves to the age-old values of our movement such as self-sacrifice, humility, service to the people, tolerance, discipline, hard-work and integrity. Madiba was a unifying figure not just of our movement but also of our country as a whole. In his memory, we must also work hard to preserve the unity of our movement and country. We must solidify the values which distinguish our movement from the rest such as the culture of open debate and democracy. We must vow to fight against anything that seeks to undermine the type of society our leader Madiba fought so hard and was prepared to die for. Also important is to remember that he respected the Communist.

Comrades and friends,

This congress is convened under the theme ‘Intensifying youth mobilization for socialism.’

This theme is important not only because young people are a majority in our society but also because they are the most energetic, militant, radical and robust.

It is inconceivable that any revolution will succeed unless it draws and relies on the militant energies of the youth. The mobilization and conscientization of young people will help accelerate the pace towards the establishment of the type of society envisioned by our forebears.

This is because, as we have said before, the creation of such a society is totally and absolutely dependent on the conscious actions of the politically advanced sections of our population. We therefore fully agree with you on the importance of youth mobilization towards a national democratic society. It important to fully understand what we mean when we say we are mobilizing you for the advancement of the National Democratic Revolution. There are various types of politics, there are reactionary politics, progressive politics and there are also revolutionary politics. You as young people, must decide which politics will you support.

Congresses are important because it is through them that we assess the road traversed by an organisation. You as young communists must do so but in a more scientific manner.

You must convince young people in the battlefield of ideas on various platforms be it Twitter or Facebook and all other social media which appeals to them, that the struggle waged by the ANC, SACP and COSATU is a just one.

The progressive youth are the inheritors of the legacy of Yusuf Dadoo, Nelson Mandela, Moses Kotane or JB Marks. They should analyse and understand the balance of forces and ensure that the revolution does not go astray in the midst of opportunism that abounds in the political environment.

In essence comrades, your role young communists is also to begin putting political analysis back into the national discourse, especially class analysis. The Young Communist League should be a platform that prepares young people ideologically. Members of the YCL are not expected to be just good in slogans. We expect you to analyse the material conditions and be able to provide answers to the many political problems and challenges we face.

One of the biggest challenges confronting our democratic movement is the dominant thinking championed by liberal parties which place greater emphasis on the rights of individuals above the collective interests of the people as a whole.   As a young person who has an account with either of the social networks, your behaviour must distinguishable from what the other people update about. You need to use these platforms to advance your struggle for socialism.

It is also this thinking that sets certain standards so that the success of our revolution is judged according to others rather than through our own yardstick. We have allowed too much space for liberalism and reactionaries, be it when watching TV or listening to radio, all they do is complain about how we are governing.

I even once complained about the growing poverty of revolutionary ideas in our society. If we agree that there are counter revolutionaries in our society, who exposes them and challenges the bankruptcy of their ideas in the public discourse? Young communists must help in closing this space. Our course must be defended wherever necessary.

Perhaps I should, by way of paraphrasing, remind you of what President Mandela said about liberal thinking. He said:

“The high-sounding principles enunciated by the Liberal Party, though apparently democratic and progressive in form, are essentially reactionary in content. They stand not for freedom of the people but for the adoption of more subtle systems of oppression and exploitation”.

Equally important is your task to relate the concept of socialism to the real issues and struggles young people contend with on a daily basis such as high unemployment, poverty and inequality. Most people who talk about these triple challenges are criticizing us, no one is there to defend and give scientific historical materialist analysis of problems. Part of the problems relating to our poor education system, is because of our history. Black people were given substandard education while their white counterparts were given quality education.

We can never stop speaking about how apartheid has crippled us, because before democracy, we were not on equal footing. We need communists to come to the fore and give scientific analysis of our problems.

You must do this bearing in mind what Amilcar Cabral meant when he said:

“People are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”

Lenin criticized his brother who killed the king, the Tsar in the hope that people’s conditions will get better but unfortunately they did not. It is the system that is the problem, and must be collapsed, and not an individual.

In a much more pointed way, Former General Secretary of the SACP Comrade Chris Hani said:

“Socialism is not about big concepts and heavy theory. Socialism is about decent shelter for those who are homeless. It is about water for those who have no safe drinking water. It is about healthcare, it is about life of dignity for the old. It is about overcoming the huge divide between the urban and rural areas.

“It is about a decent education for all our people. Socialism is about rolling back the tyranny of the market. As long as the economy is dominated by an unelected privileged few, the case for socialism will exist.”

Your overarching task as young communists is to interpret the objectives of our revolution to the masses of our people and to convince them of its necessity. When you meet a worker who is member of Cosatu and not a member of the Party, your task is to recruit them into the Party. The same applies to those who are ANC members but are not affiliated to COSATU as workers.

You must do this so that our people can become more and more involved in the cause of their own liberation, in this case, economic liberation.

The ownership and control of the means of production, including land remains high up on the agenda of the liberation movement. Our struggle will never be fully complete until economic liberation is achieved.

It is still a long road to the destination of a prosperous and equal society given the apartheid backlogs. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

This congress takes place as we conclude the first six months of the fifth democratic ANC administration.

In May 2014, South Africans gave a decisive and overwhelming mandate for the African National Congress to govern South Africa.

The 2014 General Elections reaffirmed South Africa as a stable democracy with a firmly entrenched human rights culture.

As a country we told the good story of a South Africa that is much better today than it was in 1994, particularly when it comes to the implementation of policies that favour the working class and the poor.

The year also saw the implementation of the 1st phase of the National Development Plan, our country’s blueprint to eradicate poverty, create full employment and reduce inequality by 2030.

We can confirm specifically that our infrastructure development programme is on track. We are implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme at a number of pilot sites.

We have made good progress in meeting the Millenium Development Goals which include the eradication of extreme poverty, the achievement of universal primary education.

Much progress has been made towards attaining gender equality and the empowerment of women.

We have reduced child mortality, improved maternal health and reduced the burden of disease through primarily combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Our focus now is on radical socio-economic transformation to bring about the type of society envisioned in the Freedom Charter. As the ANC we cannot go beyond the demands of the Freedom Charter, beyond that, we will expect you take us further. Take us to a society based on the prince from each according to ability, and to each according to need.

The 2014 General Elections Manifesto of the ANC was instructive. Now is the time for accelerated radical socio-economic transformation.

The Budget has been aligned with the Programme of Action to bring about radical change.

We are also re-orientating State Owned Companies and Development Finance Institutions to be effective instruments for change. We have also taken measures to assist and revitalise the SOEs that are facing difficulties such as Eskom, SAA and the SA Post Office.

Energy security has been identified as a key growth driver of our economy. To this end we have identified and are responding to the challenges caused by the Eskom’s load shedding programme.

Since 2008, South Africa has been experiencing challenges with the regular disruptions in the supply of electricity. Such challenges have been as a result of amongst others, the rapid and unprecedented connection of millions of South Africans who were previously excluded from the electricity grid.

When South Africans celebrated twenty years of democracy this year, our country also marked the historic milestone of more than 11 million households having access to electricity; double the number of households with access to electricity in 1994.

This project of the fundamental transformation has not been without its share of problems. Amongst these was it being carried out without the necessary concomitant investment being made to expand generation capacity and ensure energy security in the immediate future.

Moving forward, we are accelerating the pace to bring Medupi and Kusile power stations on to the grid. We are licensing Independent Power Producers. Projects in the region with the potential to produce power in the short term are being assessed and we continue to evaluate options with the intention to maximise all sources of energy including coal, gas, nuclear, solar and renewable energy options.


With regards to the ANC Youth League, following an assessment by the ANC, it was noted that while much work has been done by the National Task Team, it was decided that the ANC Youth League was not ready for an elective conference in 2014.

A decision was thus taken to convene a Consultative Conference in Johannesburg last month. The ANC has established a Congress Preparatory Team with a mandate to convene a National Congress of the ANC Youth League in 2015.

The ANC remains committed to rebuilding a radical and militant ANC Youth League that is a critical body of opinion in the Congress movement tasked with delivery on its twin mission. That mission is to mobilise the youth behind the historic and current mission of the African National Congress as well as to champion the needs and aspirations of the country’s youth within the ANC and society.


South Africa needs a strong, united, cohesive and focused ANC and a strong Alliance.

We will mark the 103rd anniversary of our glorious movement next month, and will reflect on the road travelled thus far and what we must do to strengthen and unite the ANC further so that it can lead this country to prosperity.

Therefore as a youth formation within the mass democratic movement, you have a responsibility to contribute to the renewal and cohesion of the ANC and the Alliance. I am encouraged by communist when they speak quoting the Communist Manifesto when it says “the history of the hitherto societies, is the history of class struggle”. Therefore, the contradiction we see today are not new, they are old. But what we must ask is, how have communists been analysing this history?

We cannot overemphasize the need of theory because it is through it that we are empowered to advance the struggle. We need to educate our people in this regard. They must be helped to understand that poverty is not necessarily a result of their laziness, but because of the system itself.

We need to work hard and selfishly guard the unity of the alliance because it is only through unity that we can defeat the might of the market forces.


You as communists must also help analyse the growing disparities in South Africa. It is not acceptable for you to just say there are growing inequalities in the country. You must add your voice and help us understand why the antagonism between the contending classes is sharpening.

On this note, we wish you fruitful discussions which will make the YCL stronger than ever before as it emerges out of this congress, so that it can play its role in the Alliance and in broader society.

I thank you.

Issued by the SACP

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1 Comment

  1. You cant stick a daisy in someones asshole then call it vase, Mr Zuma !!
    Zuma is a narcissistic and as a result a liar of note and a user of people . Sure we rolled power to the masses but the distribution has f .a. to do with generation. Even Eskom warned government way way back 15 year ago and Governments own white paper on energy made it quire clear .. Zuma’s bunch is not directly to blame, is correct, for the problem predates Zuma .. but the ANC allowed the crisis to develope by ignoring all the warnings and .Zumas admin has done nothing extra to solve it apart from delays in construction and looting of the public purse. Zumas logic is so flawed as to be laughable . Sure the power issue was structured initially by apartheid and sure it was skewed … we cant fault that but the crisis is one of generation of power not distribution and the state and the ANC have had twenty years to solve this and then they go and build two semi redundant coal powered stations that wont even replace whats been lost . You cant blame apartheid for poor maintenance , inept management , cadre deployment of ill qualified personal , job for friends , wastage and theft ,poor and confused policies all on apartheid. Rolling out more power to the people is a good story sure but doing this and not providing for that power is the worst kind of planning and ineptitude Even Eskom are not blame directly for the generation problems ..its firmly a problem of ANC governments past and current . Does this man think we are all misinformed assholes ? They used cheap below cost electricity to buy votes .. its that simple and its now come back to bite them in the bum



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