Members of the African National Congress youth league who are coughing consistently will be tested for HIV, says the provincial secretary of the ANCYL in Mpumalanga, Desmond Moela.
Moela made the announcement at the organisation’s 70th anniversary celebrations held at the ANC’s provincial head office in Mbombela last Friday.
“I was telling the secretary of the ANCYL, I said ‘comrade Sasekani in the PEC there are many members who are coughing consistently. In one of the PEC meetings I will bring a professional doctor (sic) to test all of you, so that we know our (HIV) status,’” said Moela.
Moela’s unorthodox approach to motivate his peers to test for HIV has drawn stern criticism and warning from the country’s leading non-governmental organisation that supports people living HIV and AIDS, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
Mpumalanga’s TAC leader, Linda Mavuso, warned against what he called “unscientific” diagnosis.
“It is reckless to diagnose on something you see. You can’t diagnose a person on symptoms. It can be translated as offensive. It could be flu,” said Mavuso.
He said that many organisations have wellness programmes and they encourage their members to voluntarily use those services. He said where organisations do not have such services they should available public clinics.
He said the best approach is to encourage people to test voluntarily than to force them to test for HIV.
“They should avoid a doctor where people are not counselled. Hence it is voluntary. It is not a force, because you’ll be encouraging stigma, and stigma perpetuates many things, such as (drunkenness). Some people commit suicide because they were not counselled,” Mavuso said.
Moela also called on the government to create jobs for the youth and warned that any failure to do so could lead the youth to a “certain direction”.
“We are the ones that bring a (large) number of votes (for) the ANC, at the very same time our government must make it a point that our people on the ground are being employed, because if we can’t do that, these young people will resort to a certain direction and in that direction it will be difficult for us to go and convince them,” he said.
The ANCYL was founded by militant young leaders of the ANC, such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede on the 10th September 1944 to transform the ANC from a nationalist movement into a radical mass based organisation.
Moela said that the youth would take over power in a romantic (sic) manner.
“Young people are the future and the future is now, we can’t postpone future (sic). The future is for us to take over, not take over in a radical manner, but in a very swiftly (sic), nicely and romance direction (sic),” he said.
The ANCYL in Mpumalanga was the hardest hit by the defections to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) just before the general elections earlier this year, following the disbandment of ANCYL structures by the league’s National Task Team.
The EFF obtained two seats, while the Bushbuckridge Residents Association obtained one, reducing the ANC majority in the Mpumalanga legislature from 27 to 24 seats.
In an indirect reference to the EFF, Moela likened the recently established organisation to the biblical Egypt, a place where there was suffering and called on the members of the league to bring the EFF members to the ANCYL, where there’s wealth.
“God sent Moses to liberate people from Egypt. We must go and liberate people from Egypt to bring them to Canan where there’s wealth,” said Moela.
Moela is not new to controversy. Earlier this year, a picture of his, surrounded by scantily dressed young girls was posted in the social media.