JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress needs to engage with young people more and hear their views in order to stay relevant and not lose touch with the populace, the party’s stalwarts said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a media briefing held at St George’s Anglican Church in downtown Johannesburg, the ANC stalwarts offered a wide-ranging response to the ANC January 8 Statement made by President Jacob Zuma during the party’s 105th birthday celebration on Sunday.

Reverend Frank Chikane said that starting from now until March 2017, the stalwarts would lobby for an early national consultative conference in a bid to interact with the structures of the ANC and engage with alliance partners of the movement.

“We need to focus on the youth and listen to what they are saying, intervene and change the trajectory. Consulting with them will help us meet our objectives,” Chikane said.

This section of ANC veterans, made up of at least 101 members, has of late been critical of Zuma and expressed their wishes for change in the party’s leadership.

Chikane said they were pleased that the leadership of the ANC had agreed to meet them next week Monday in order to deliberate more on paragraphs six, seven, and eight of the January 8 Statement.

“The ANC is not about itself but people. It exists for people, not the other way around. The ultimate outcome of the meeting is in the interest of people,” Chikane said.

Chikane also said they wanted the ANC to review some of its policies and elective processes.

Former Minister of Safety and Security Sydney Mufamadi said the January 8 Statement should be taken advantage of and be used as a point of reference when dealing with the issues faced by the country.

“2017 has been declared as a year of “Unity in Action” and that means members and supporters have to raise the issues talked about on the January 8 Statement and also use it as a backdrop,” Mufamadi said.

– African News Agency

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