June 20, 2011

Youth league decrees 'don't change ANC policy'

Resolutions of the recent African National Congress Youth League congress did not alter the ANC policies being implemented at government level, the ruling party has noted. "We want to state unequivocally that the youth league's resolutions remain those of the league and do not alter ANC policies being implemented at government level," said African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. The ANC's statement was issued after agricultural unions on Monday raised serious concerns about league president Julius Malema's talk of taking land without compensation. Mthembu said pronouncements by the ANCYL on matters such as the nationalisation of mines and land redistribution formed part of ongoing discussions within the ruling party. "These have already been shared at numerous political platforms, which include last year's National General Council held in Durban."

Mthembu said the ANC had established the youth league as an integral part of the ANC but that it existed as an autonomous structure. Agri SA and the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) reacted angrily to Malema's vow to "take land without payment", warning of the dire food safety and foreign investor confidence consequences. The African Farmers Association of SA (Afasa), which represents emerging black farmers, said it wanted to work with the government and traditional white agricultural groups to create job security, employment and food security. "We are trying to find a way forward. A common, united voice from white and black farmers. We want to go to government with one voice and talk one language," Afasa president Mike Mlengana told the South African Press Association. "That language should be about the commercial viability of agricultural production in South Africa, so that we are both domestically efficient and so that we can compete globally. "We are for sustaining the economy, not destroying it," said Mlengana. He did not want to comment specifically on Malema's call for an end to the willing buyer, willing seller policy, but would rather stick with the land policy discussions it was already having with the government and other agricultural bodies. "We can't comment every time a politician says, 'I will do that', it can annoy and confuse the various stakeholders." (Mail & Guardian Online)

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