The ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL’s) controversial spring weekend camp which includes military training‚ gun handling and guerrilla tactics is not about creating “another Orania”.
“Most of the time people think we’ll be running the country‚ shooting everyone you meet … We are not creating another Orania here. We are happy to see Orania and what they’re doing‚ but we are not creating it here‚” ANCYL Soweto Zone 9 leader Bheki Nkutha told TimesLIVE on Wednesday morning.
Orania is a privately owned town in the Northern Cape that aims to be a stronghold for Afrikaner identity by keeping the language and culture alive.
“We are there for discipline‚ physical training and integrity … If you want integrity in leaders‚ we need to train our young leaders somehow to be disciplined.
“If you are dealing with electing leaders‚ they don’t even know anything about integrity. They don’t know anything about discipline and honesty. How will we actually have leaders if we don’t start grooming them now?”
The event‚ set for August 30 until September 1 in Gauteng‚ offers participants the chance to do an obstacle course‚ and test themselves at swimming and hiking in addition to learning gun handling and guerrilla tactics.
Nkutha believes this training is necessary because “many of these kids don’t understand what is a coat of arms”.
“What I’m trying to say to these young people is the importance of us having this flag and what does it actually mean for the people who are raising this flag of old SA …
“It’s just a simple thing‚ I’m just equipping my brothers and my sisters here so that they are aware of the national heritage and the national assets [and] how they should be protected.”
Nkutha said ANCYL members are 14 to 35 years old but he did not yet know what the profile of the average camp applicant was.
“The ones most probably who will be making it are 19‚ because most of them are school leavers or unemployed youth of the [ANC] youth league.”
Nkutha said people often forget the ANCYL has a diverse range of members.
“In the universities we’ve got a high number of white affiliates who are our members‚ now people are making this into a racial thing. They are making into a thing that will create a war …“
Referring to the high crime rate‚ he added‚ “You can’t even travel in the city of Johannesburg‚ but we are quiet about this. We are fighting these young people who want to be equipped.”
The ANCYL will need to book a site for the training‚ as the advertised venue has distanced itself from the event.
Camp Zenith campsite in Heidelberg‚ Gauteng‚ said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that they first became aware of the possible military training on Thursday “when a photo of their (ANCYL) poster was sent to us by a member of the local community”.
“We are not a political organisation nor officially affiliate with any political party. We are simply a venue with a vision to be a catalyst that ignites positive change and promotes development‚” Camp Zenith wrote.
“They never booked our facility and in fact our facility was booked months ago for these dates so had they even inquired‚ they would not have received even a quote for the event as advertised.
“Upon being made aware that the intent is to train citizens for warfare is definitely against the values of our peace-loving campsite. We are a Christian campsite and our goal and mission is purely for the good of the people of SA‚ and we have never nor will ever promote violence or hate speech towards any race in our beautiful land.”