How do you characterize the state of the African youth in the country?
It is a crisis if not a disaster. The African youth in South Africa is faced by a myriad of challenges that we had hoped would come to an abrupt end but ironically remains entrenched features 15 years into the so called free South Africa. Our youth is faced with the same challenges they were faced with during the apartheid regime, hence you’ll find them leading demonstrations against this neo-colonial government and being brutalized, harassed and arrested by the ruling elite and their verandah boys.
Some of these challenges facing our youth include grinding unemployment; lack of access to education and skills training; poor and brain damaging education system called OBE; financial and academic exclusion from institutions of learning; economic exclusion; lack of sporting and recreational facilities; and the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
The plight of the African child and African youth remains unchanged thus far, hence the task to mobilize the African youth into a revolutionary force remain central to us so that we can achieve political, economical, social, mental and cultural emancipation of our people.
Do you believe the ANC government is doing enough to redress the Apartheid inequalities amongst the youth?
Not at all, we really do not believe in cosmetic changes that the ANC has been busy with over the last 15 years. We believe in absolute change. We believe the ANC government has failed immensely to address the plight of our people in general, more so that of the African youth. The ANC government has been up and about creating ANCYL individuals into fly-by-night millionaires under the pretext of youth empowerment. The toothless bodies they created were useless and could not deliver youth development and empowerment. They were just employment agencies for uneducated and incompetent ANCYL members. The ANC has failed the youth of our country completely and these needs no rocket science to understand.
At this juncture the Apartheid status quo remains. The African youth are suffering and the white settler youth is enjoying the investments of their fathers during the days of apartheid and the ANC government is not making any effort to address this sad state of affairs. Just like in the days of Apartheid the white settler young graduate stand a better chance of finding work in the first few months after graduating as opposed to the African graduate who may not do so for years and might find herself cleaning Municipal toilets with her degree or National Diploma, if lucky.
Young white graduates join companies and in three to six months are absorbed into sections, divisions and departments while African graduates are told to accumulate five to ten years experience. These things are taking place every where in the country and the government is doing absolutely nothing to address them. They only speak against racism to defend arrogant and incompetent ANC members like Jacob Maroga and others.
What is your view on the establishment of the NYDA which is an amalgamation of the former National Youth Commission (NYC) and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF)?
We are not necessarily convinced that the establishment of the NYDA would really deliver expected results of youth development and youth empowerment. The problem was not with the names or the fact that NYC and UYF were not sharing the building, but the policy approach and strategic direction. NYDA is still driven by the same people who failed and they are still pursuing the same mandate. PAYCO of course is conscious that the ruling party is convinced that NYDA is the way to go and would not stand outside and attack NYDA but we would rollup our sleeves and assist in accelerating youth development and advancement.
Do you think a mere change of name, NYC and UYF to NYDA will make a difference and what is the significance of the Ministry of Youth, Women, Children and People with Disability in your view?
The issue was not the names but the policy approach and the terms of reference given to the merged structures. To us this confirms our claim that ANC is preoccupied with cosmetic changes than a total overhaul of society. The two merged structures had failed dismally on their mandate and we needed a new policy and strategy to fast track youth development.
On the Ministry of youth, Women, Children and People with Disability, as much as we are happy that our call for youth Ministry has been heeded, to an extent, but we are aware that this department is not new as it existed before in the Office of the Presidency and was headed by Essop Pahad, then Minister in the Presidency. The only difference is that now it is no longer in the Office of the Presidency to accommodate the new ministries of Planning and Performance Monitoring. We call for NYDA and other youth related functions to be relocated in one centre, which is the Ministry of Youth, to ensure proper governance and management of youth development. We understand that this is the Ministry that shall be the custodian of youth development and empowerment and should be empowered with powers and structures to do so to avoid duplication and unnecessary bureaucracy.
The ANCYL dominates the news all the time and the recurring theme of their public engagement is that they are defending the revolution and the transformation Agenda. Do you know which revolution and agenda is this? What is your view on that?
It is nice to sound and appear revolutionary, but the real test is on living a revolutionary life on a day to day. We doubt if our brothers in the ANCYL understand that reality. They still have to tell our people which revolution are they defending when the masses of our people are unemployed, when our people still suffers at the hands of brutal white racist farmers, when our youth is denied tertiary education and skills, when our youth is driven to crime and drugs by abject poverty that affects our people on the daily basis. Our view is that the revolution they claim to represent is in defense of the ill gotten wealth by some in the ruling party including leading figures in the ANCYL through the late Brett Keble’s corruption schemes.
Of course the ANCYL continue to dominate the news and would continue to do so as long as ANC runs the country and controls the public broadcaster. Let’s be honest here, the ANCYL is not dominating news over youth development programmes but on ANC intra party squabbles and openly defending corrupt and incompetent officials who are ANC members. In fact the ANCYL is the mess cleaner for the corrupt and incompetent officials in the ANC.
Will you consider forming alliances or united fronts with other youth formations? What will be the basis of such an alliance or front?
We cannot rule out alliances with progressive organizations that truly stand for the interests and aspirations of the African youth. Let me hasten to indicate that every alliance we build should be purpose driven and founded on the socialist principles and programmes including introduction of a free compulsory socialist education; fast tracking youth development; uniting mother Africa; and Africanization of every strata of our society. We will work with anyone who wants to destroy the evil capitalist system that oppresses, exploit and promotes racism and tribalism among our people to keep them divided and fighting amongst themselves.
At this point in time what challenges is PAYCO faced with and how will you resolve them?
We have challenges with regard to financial and other material resources to run our programmes and activities effectively. We also do not have full time Office Bearers. We intend to deal with these challenges in the first year of our term. We have introduced programmes which will address these challenges and of course we trust that our members would be there to assist us to reach the desired results.
For a long time you have vowed to rebuild and reposition your motherbody, the PAC, what is the progress?
We remain committed to get PAC right and in working order. It is often said that if the centre cannot hold things fall apart. To us our centre is the PAC and we don’t expect to succeed in our mandate when PAC is not in order. We continue to work hard in our effort to cleanse, rebuild, repositioning and prepare PAC for government in the near future. We are currently part of the convening team of the 3rd PAC National Convention that will take place in Cape Town on the 28 – 29 November 2009.
We believe thus far all our efforts in party building are succeeding and getting massive support within the party and outside. All great revolutionaries like Lenin, Stalin, Nkrumah, Mao Tse Tung and Marcus Garvey placed more emphasis on building a strong party to achieve true emancipation, hence our efforts to get PAC right.