Earlier this year the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans stated that 20 000 young people will be trained by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as part of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec).
The Minister stated that the service would not offer training for military engagement but rather focus on the ‘potential of military training to promote discipline, self-esteem and a sense of belonging to the national community’.
One of the aims of Narysec according to its website are ”to create a major countryside revolution for socio-economic freedom through nation-building and community service.”
Trainees will also be learning of ”the impact of land accumulation by dispossession” and ”how land reform can be a radical and rapid move from the past without impacting on agricultural production.”
According to Rural Affairs Minister Gugil Nkwinti: “These non-military youths will become our Agents of Change…”
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is in charge of recruitment and has urged recruits “to emulate the young revolutionaries of the 1976 generation.”
According to a budget vote speech by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, participants of Narysec will be beneficiaries of land under the Pro-Active Land Acquisition Strategy – PLAS.
Members of both the ANC Youth League and Young Communist League have been invited to join Narysec.
It should be noted that Youth groups of opposition political parties have not been invited to take part and are therefore excluded from the training programme.
The DA states: “This programme poses a huge risk for the Defence Force because it can be used far too easily as a backdoor to provide militia-training for the ANC Youth League,” and that ”The parliamentary standing committee was never informed about this.”
The reply from the Ministry of Defence has been that even though training takes place at military bases, no military training takes place ”but we teach them how to salute and parade and we show them the guns”.
The fact that the Youth League of a ruling party is being trained at a military base and ‘shown’ guns should in itself be quite worrying.
Besides the indoctrination of the ruling party’s views, the main cause for concern should be of mobilisation.
The ruling party aims to have at least 20 000 people trained, who are loyal to a single political party.