The entire ANC top six, save for secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, are at retirement age and will have to go, if the Eastern Cape ANC Youth League has its way.
The provincial youth league yesterday revealed that it would be advocating for a review of the retirement age within ANC structures, saying it was time the party’s old guard passed the baton to younger leaders.
The league’s provincial secretary, Butsha Lali, said during the party’s next provincial elective conference, they would push for a review of the retirement age for those deployed in the party’s leadership positions and in government posts.
Lali said it was time for the youth to take centre stage in leading the ANC, calling for the retirement age for deployment to be reconsidered so that it be on a par with the 60 to 65 years age bracket for old-age retirement.
“In terms of leadership renewal, it is time that young people find expression with regards to leadership of the ANC.
“This is critical in addressing the issue of legacy, so that we take it upon ourselves to determine our future, because currently structures do not represent the aspirations of young people,” Lali said.
The retirement age for women in South Africa is 60, while men retire at 65.
If their proposal receives backing nationally, four of the top six leaders, including President Jacob Zuma, would not be eligible to stand for nomination when the party goes to its elective conference in December next year.
Zuma is 74, while his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa would be turning 65 next year.
Mantashe would be likely to miss the cut as he is now 60, while deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte would not be off the hook, as Lali stated the cut-off age for women would have to be 60, as that is their official retirement age. Duarte is 63.
The party’s national chairwoman, Baleka Mbethe, is already 67. This means only Mkhize, 60, and Mantashe from the current crop in the top six would make the cut, if the league’s aspirations are anything to go by.
Some of the ANC MPs, such as Andrew Mlangeni, are in their 80s, while Nelson Mandela Bay’s former mayor, Ben Fihla, was 82 when he assumed office in 2014.
Meanwhile, Lali told the media that South Africa was in a permanent state of anxiety as a result of improper leadership within ANC structures across all levels.
Lali said their mother body, the ANC, was in demise and that the recent loss of support in the local government elections was as a result of “decaying social capital” within party structures.