24 March 2019

South Africa: Youngest ANC Gauteng Nominee Pushing Hard for the Old Guard to Retire - 'Future of SA Must Be Dictated By the Youth'

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ANC African National Congress flag

The national lists of the ruling party, the ANC, have been the subject of media and public scrutiny, not least for having old faces who were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

However, the party also included fresh and young faces, some of which were part of the Fees Must Fall movement.

Tlhologelo Collen Malatji, 26, is the youngest nominee from the Gauteng province who may be heading to Parliament. Much like his peers, he believes the older generation must make way for the new.

Malatji, known in his circles as an activist for social change, has been part of the ANC for over a decade. Born and raised in Tembisa, Malatji began his political career at the tender age of 13 as part of the Congress of South African Students and became its president.

He was later elected branch chairperson for his ward as well as the convener for the Young Lions regional task team in his region of Ekurhuleni. In 2018, he was chosen to be part of the prestigious Mail & Guardian's 200 influential young people in South Africa. He recently made the City of Ekurhuleni's 100 shinning stars for the year 2019.

'Future of SA must be dictated by the youth'

A graduate in municipal governance from the University of Johannesburg, Malatji believes that the future of the country must be dictated by the youth. This, he says, will be done by force in his own party if needs be.

"There is perception that Parliament is a place for old people, which is not true and we must change that perception. If we are not given these positions how are we going to learn? I will work very hard to make sure that in the next office at least 90% in Parliament must be young. Young people must be deployed," he said.

Currently, 20% of the ANC's nomination list is made up of the youth.

"Change is not an easy process, especially because they have been there for so long and they are comfortable. When young people are pushing hard, there is bound to be a revolt from the old guard. We are doing the work internally to make sure the old guard retires. We can't have leadership of that age when the country is getting younger, it's a battle internally that we are going to win."

Currently, the average age for President Cyril Ramaphosa's Cabinet is 60 years. After former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba's resignation, minister in communications Stella Ndabeni-Abraham became the only surviving Cabinet minister from the ANC Youth League of the Julius Malema era.

'We must deploy a younger guard'

"After elections we must deploy a younger guard. Society does not relate to what we have previously deployed. We have raised a lot of issues that the ANC must be younger. We are the born-free generation that really must be taking over. The Peter Mokaba generation is not leading and that is a problem. We can't be led by the exiled generation. The caucus of the ANC must be radicalised to a stage where they are able to counter the EFF."

Should Malatji find himself in the august house that is the National Assembly, he plans on making a difference in the education portfolio. His passions include a skills revolution for the youth as well as advocating for technical subjects to be introduced as compulsory subjects at high school.

"Technical subjects must be compulsory. Every young person, when they leave matric, must leave with some skill to survive. History must be compulsory. Those are the most important. We can't do anything with an unskilled society who can't play a role in the economy of the country. That is my passion. Education above all," he said.

Malatji is currently studying towards a social science degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Source: News24

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