PRESIDENT  Jacob Zuma today warned the ANC Youth League of trying to define itself outside the mother body.

“Don’t try to emphasise the autonomy,” he told delegates at the 25th national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg.

“The ANC is big, it has leagues’ which belongs to it… you can’t have one of these all of sudden starting to emphasise autonomy.”

Zuma, in an apparent reference to former ANCYL president and current EFF leader Julius Malema, said those who spoke about autonomy were thinking of breaking away from the ANC.

In 2012, when Malema was suspended from the ANC, the youth league at the time insisted that he would continue his duties as president.

The national executive committee at the time had decided to “protect and defend the autonomy of the ANCYL by not agreeing with the removal or release of any of the elected leaders of the ANCYL until 2014”.

Later in 2012, Malema was eventually expelled from the ANC. The following year he formed the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Zuma today turned to the newly elected ANCYL top five officials and told them: “Don’t try to emphasise the autonomy”.

He said the league had the responsibility to influence ANC policy but it could not force its ideas “down the throat” of the mother body.

He was referring to the ANC’s 2010 national general council held in Durban, where the ANCYL, under Malema, pushed its stance on the nationalisation of mines.

Zuma said the ANCYL had to be militant but disciplined otherwise that militancy turned to anarchy.

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