May 03 2010 at 09:07AM
By Sinegugu Ndlovu
Young people should be militant and vibrant instead of being docile, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
He was addressing student leaders from tertiary institutions at the National Association of Student Development Practitioners conference in Durban on Sunday. The conference was intended for student leaders to exchange ideas on dealing with issues including crime and HIV and Aids at universities.
Mthethwa said former president Nelson Mandela had been an outspoken and key component of the armed struggle in his youth, while the late Robert Resha and Peter Mokaba had talked about killing white people.
“The ANC did not kill Peter Mokaba, he continued to be a leader in the political map of this country. We must not make youth docile. We want that militancy and vibrancy, it must all be there,” he said.
Mthethwa, a member of the ANC’s national executive committee, was speaking on the eve of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s disciplinary hearing, which is expected to commence on Monday.
Malema stands accused of bringing the ANC into disrepute and of misconduct for disregarding ANC policy.
Mthethwa, however, denied that his comments were intended to defend Malema, who was not mentioned during his address.
He said he had been referring to the nature of the ANC, which had never been led by “docile” leaders.
“People must be built, not destroyed. The major thing is that when there is a war to be pursued in a revolutionary situation, the youth must be at the cutting edge of that situation. Nelson Mandela was extremely militant to the extent of being out of order. Resha was militant to the point of calling people to murder.
“Young people must be within parameters, but not blunt objects. We wouldn’t be here if Mandela had been destroyed. I’m not defending anyone,” said Mthethwa.
He also used the opportunity to defend the militarisation of the police, saying the government wanted to take a “tougher” stance on crime.
He added that the police were expected to combat crime within the boundaries of the law.
“We have balanced our approach to policing with emphasising that there will be greater accountability and civilian over- sight of the police,” he said.
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on May 03, 2010