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Declaration of the 24th National Congress

We, the delegates from branches, regions and provinces of the ANC Youth League across South Africa, gathered for the 24th National Congress of the ANC Youth League in Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, to map out a concrete programme on how we galvanise youth to attain total economic freedom in our lifetime. The 24th National Congress is the biggest Congress of the liberation movement in South Africa, attended by more than 5000 delegates from branches of the ANC Youth League across the country. The 24th National Congress was ideologically, politically and organisationally the most definitive in the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.

The 24th National Congress received inspiring and decisive messages of support and addresses from our fraternal organisations, and progressive organisations from around Africa. We appreciate the inspiration and agitation that we should never give up on the struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime. The National Congress was further graced by the presence of ANC leadership, former leaders of the ANC Youth League and representatives of business, religious sector and traditional leadership.

As we gather, we salute the 1976 generation of freedom fighters who fearlessly confronted the repressive apartheid regime and agitated South Africa's youth to fearlessly confront the regime until it was collapsed. We appreciate and applaud the fact that the ANC Youth League continues to qualitatively and quantitatively grow and expand to exert hegemony in our communities. Congress appreciates that as compared to 2008, the ANC Youth League has more than 900 additional audited branches, meaning that the ANC Youth League now exists in areas it previously never existed.

The National Congress re-affirms the centrality of the Freedom Charter as the strategic goal of the African National Congress and entire national liberation movement, and that everything we do should be directed towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives. We therefore commit to ensure that the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in 2012 should re-assert and concretely programmatise the Freedom Charter as focus of the ANC post its centenary celebrations. Our strong conviction is that in the spirit reflective of the founding generation of the ANC Youth League in the 1940s, our generation should do everything in its power to radicalise and re-energise the African National Congress to be a fighting force for people's political, social and economic freedom. Like the 1944 generation of the African National Congress Youth League, this generation will fight aggressively the tendencies in the ANC to intimidate the ANC Youth League through disciplinary action, particularly through the use of rule 25 of the ANC Constitution.

The National Congress affirms the view expressed in the Political Report that part of re-energising and radicalising the African National Congress will include election of younger, more energetic and militant leadership into senior leadership of the ANC. We therefore call on younger and more energetic members of the ANC with plausible and adequate organisational experience and understanding to lead the ANC at regional, provincial and national level. The 2012 ANC 53rd National Conference should epitomise the programme to re-energise and give new impetus to the African National Congress both with regards to the political programme adopted and leadership elected by that Conference.

Congress believes that discussion of ANC leadership should be opened and members should at all time be at liberty to discuss and deliberate on the leadership question, particularly for the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in 2012. Putting timeframes of the leadership question disadvantages members and structures of the ANC to honestly reflect on the kind of leadership needed to lead the ANC post 100 years of its existence. Congress further disapproves ofState power as a tool to dispense patronage and empower friends and families.

Congress disapproves of all manifestations of social intolerances, in particular, racism, xenophobia and tribalism. The ANC Youth League will intensify the struggles against social intolerances because they undermine efforts to realise the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution. Congress is firm against these intolerances because certain sections of society utilise tribalism and racism as tools for political mobilisation and support.

The National Congress calls on all members of the Youth League to join the African National Congress and ensure that more than 50% of the 1 million membership of the ANC are young people. This will assist in placing the Youth Development agenda at the forefront of all government programmes, because young people in South Africa are the least beneficiaries of economic opportunities presented by the democratic government. National Congress instructs all structures of the ANC Youth League to build the Progressive Youth Alliance in order to strengthen the revolutionary alliance now and in the future.

The National Congress expresses displeasure with the re-emergence of a political tendency in the ANC of politically and ideologically associating with imperialists on foreign policy decisions, particularly as it relates to Libya and Ivory Coast. We call on the South African government to delegitimize the NATO military campaign by publicly declaring it criminal neo-colonial venture against defenceless people and undermining of the sovereignty of a nation-state. We further ask the South African government to lodge a criminal case with the International Criminal Court against Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy for launching an unprovoked war, destroying civilian infrastructure, killing innocent civilians and attempting to assassinate a foreign head of state. We call for the immediate end to the NATO bombardment.

The sovereignty and independence of African countries should never be sacrificed in pursuit of pleasing the narrow interests of investors and imperialists. This notion should altogether be defeated in the African National Congress as it has potential of donating our country to the whims and needs of imperialists. Congress vehemently disagrees with the justification and explanation given by the President of South Africa on the decision of South Africa to support a UN resolution that called for the imperialist invasion of Libya by neo-colonial forces.

The National Congress adopts the programme of action for economic freedom in our lifetime, which is the guideline of our struggles in the war for economic freedom in our lifetime. The ANC Youth League will rally the ANC, the South African society and the African continent behind the seven cardinal pillars in the programme of action for economic freedom in our lifetime. In the absence of the vanguard of the working class in South Africa, the ANC Youth League commits to be the vanguard of the working class in the struggles for total social, political and economic emancipation. This means that from now onwards, the ANC Youth League's political and ideological focus will be about the protection of the working class and the poor and active mobilisation of particularly vulnerable workers who are exploited as petrol attendants, waiters and waitresses, mine workers and farm workers.

The National Congress re-asserts the importance of Discipline as a weapon of the struggle and transformation, which does not exist for its own sake, but to safeguard the unity of the movement. It is through discipline, focus and persuasion that the ANC Youth League will triumph in the battle to realise the seven cardinal pillars for economic freedom in our lifetime, particularly the Nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation. It is the National Congress's conviction that Nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation will happen because the balance of forces in South Africa are in Youth League will therefore mobilise the whole of society to support nationalisation of Mines, as a component of the struggles to realise economic freedom in our lifetime. As part of struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime, the ANC Youth League calls for the urgent amendment of Section 25 of South Africa's Constitution, because it prevents progressive programmes and interventions by the State to drive redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all our people. The State should be empowered to expropriate all property in the justifiable interests of the people of South Africa without compensation.

The ANC Youth League and ANC should through action and concrete tangible programmes, consistency and accountability, work towards attainments of more than 75% victory in the 2014 general elections. The 75% victory of the ANC will re-assert the hegemony of the ANC in society and give the movement the power to amend the Constitution for progressive purposes. Congress supports all efforts and actions to align local government and general elections into single elections.

The 24th National Congress is of the view that the ANC Youth League is far much stronger and better positioned to lead struggles for social and economic transformation and will intensify in all fronts to ensure that young people have access to better education, healthcare, housing, and many other social needs. Our branches of the ANC Youth League should be at the forefront of the struggles against crime, alcohol abuse and rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Multi-sexual relationships cannot continue to be fashionable amongst the youth and should be combated.

The ANC Youth League will continue to relate internationally with progressive formations, particularly former liberation movements such as Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, SWAPO in Namibia, Frelimo in Mozambique, Chama Chama Pindudzi in Tanzania, MPLA in Angola, POLASARIO in Western Sahara and many other progressive formations across the world. The ANC Youth League will also campaign for a better world and social justice across the world in the international organisations we participate in, particularly World Federation for Democratic Youth, International Union of Socialist Youth and Pan African Youth Union. As an immediate focus, the ANC Youth League will campaign for social and political justice in Swaziland. We cannot continue to behave like all is well is Swaziland because political parties remain banned and political activists are brutalised and killed by the Monarchy.

The ANC and South Africa's leadership role in the African continent should be re-asserted. This leadership role should be defined by a clear agenda to re-affirm the political and economic independence of the African countries and the continent. In this regard, the ANC Youth League will convene all progressive youth formations from all countries in the African continent to develop political and ideological programmes to reclaim Africa's wealth in particular mineral and land from colonial masters.

The ANC Youth League will continue to be a robust, honest and leading youth formation in South Africa and is now more than determined to fight all battles in the war towards attainment of total economic freedom in our lifetime.

Issued by the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS YOUTH LEAGUE (ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS)