Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Ad­dress­ing the ANC cadres fo­rum in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, re­flects on ANC progress

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS&VIEWS -

IT HAS been 24 years since the death of Oliver Tambo and 30 years since the death of Steve Biko. This year also marks 60 years of the Free­dom Char­ter and 23 years of democ­racy.

As the ANC and the pro­gres­sive forces in so­ci­ety, we must re­flect on how far we have come, our cur­rent cir­cum­stances and, most im­por­tantly, what needs to be done for us to con­tinue the ad­vance­ment of the Na­tional Demo­cratic Revo­lu­tion to im­prove the lives of our peo­ple.

It is there­fore im­per­a­tive that we re­mind our­selves of the con­tri­bu­tion of the great men and women that came be­fore us and built and shaped this or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Com­rade OR (Tambo) stepped down as the pres­i­dent of the ANC when he handed over our move­ment to be­gin the process of build­ing a demo­cratic, non-racial, non-sex­ist and pros­per­ous South Africa.

In his open­ing ad­dress to the ANC’S 48th na­tional con­fer­ence, he said: “Be­fore I sit down, I wish to make a few ob­ser­va­tions: we did not tear our­selves apart be­cause of lack of progress at times. We were al­ways ready to ac­cept our mis­takes and to cor­rect them. Above all, we suc­ceeded to foster and de­fend the unity of the ANC and of our peo­ple.

“Even in bleak mo­ments, we were never in doubt re­gard­ing the win­ning of free­dom. We have never been in doubt that the peo­ple’s cause shall tri­umph.”

We must never for­get the painful his­tory of our coun­try. We need to do ev­ery­thing in our power, both the gov­ern­ment – in­clud­ing the law en­force­ment agen­cies and the ANC – to end vi­o­lence and killing within our ranks.

It is also im­por­tant that all mem­bers of the ANC un­der­stand that the branches are the cen­tre of power. The branches are the ba­sic unit of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The high­est de­ci­sion-mak­ing struc­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is the na­tional con­fer­ence and it is a con­fer­ence of branches.

This means that when it comes to pol­icy or mat­ters around elec­tive pro­cesses, the branches will de­ter­mine the out­comes.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma will not be hand­ing over power to any­one.

Branches elected him in Man­gaung and in De­cem­ber the post will be­come va­cant and will be con­tested by those nom­i­nated by struc­tures. The branches and ANC struc­tures, who are also the vot­ing del­e­gates, will then vote for their pre­ferred can­di­date, guided by the con­sti­tu­tion.

Branches need not ex­plain and there is no tra­di­tion of which com­rade should be elected.

We need to be clear on this, be­cause se­nior lead­ers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion can­not im­pose their pres­i­den­tial pref­er­ences on our or­gan­i­sa­tional pro­cesses. This is anti-demo­cratic. We must guard against such ut­ter­ances.

The chal­lenges faced by the al­liance deepen the weak­ness of our struc­tures. This per­pet­u­ates dis­unity in the al­liance and in so­ci­ety. We will not have the abil­ity to unite so­ci­ety when we are di­vided. To unite so­ci­ety, we must be united our­selves. The frac­tures in our move­ment cre­ate a vac­uum which is be­ing filled by op­por­tunis­tic el­e­ments. The ANC, as the leader of the al­liance, has the re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure the al­liance re­mains in­tact and we need to en­sure con­stant ef­forts to­ward unity in the al­liance for our col­lec­tive pro­gramme.

The work­ing class is our mo­ti­vat­ing force and our al­liance part­ners need to re­main a vi­able home for them. We must fo­cus on restor­ing the con­fi­dence our peo­ple show in us through the bal­lot to im­prove their lives.

We need to make sure cadres in­ter­nalise the fact that they have an enor­mous re­spon­si­bil­ity to change the lives of our peo­ple.

They should not see their de­ploy­ment as power, but as a re­spon­si­bil­ity. They are there to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sions of the ANC. If there are im­ped­i­ments to im­ple­men­ta­tion, cadres must bring those chal­lenges to the lead­er­ship to re­solve them.

We need a trans­par­ent gov­ern­ment, cor­rup­tion-free, that is re­spon­sive to the needs of our peo­ple. This in­cludes civil ser­vants.

We must have car­ing and com­pas­sion­ate staff who treat our peo­ple with re­spect and dig­nity. Gov­ern­ment of­fices, par­tic­u­larly the front-line de­part­ments, must be known for their ef­fi­ciency and re­spon­sive­ness and the mind­set of the staff must be sound, with clear po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship at the head.

This is im­por­tant as we move to­ward the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the poli­cies we will adopt in De­cem­ber which will em­power cadres de­ployed to the state to im­ple­ment rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

We need a fun­da­men­tal change in the struc­ture, sys­tems, in­sti­tu­tions, pat­terns of own­er­ship, man­age­ment and con­trol of the econ­omy in favour of the peo­ple, es­pe­cially the poor, the ma­jor­ity of whom are African and fe­male.

Chang­ing the sta­tus quo is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult as there will be a lot of pres­sure, in­tim­i­da­tion and op­po­si­tion from those who wish to safe­guard their eco­nomic in­ter­ests.

We need to re­main de­ter­mined and not be dis­tracted by those who do not have the in­ter­est of the peo­ple at heart.

An ex­am­ple of this was when I was in the Musa Dladla re­gion, I spoke about the ques­tion of land and the feed­back from some sec­tions of so­ci­ety was ex­tremely neg­a­tive.

Those favoured by the cur­rent sta­tus quo will re­sist and chal­lenge you on all fronts, but we must forge ahead as rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion is no longer a choice, it is an im­per­a­tive.

With­out its im­ple­men­ta­tion, we can­not re­solve per­sis­tent poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment.

Cen­tral to trans­form­ing our coun­try and to the de­vel­op­ment of our peo­ple is the re­dis­tri­bu­tion of our land, which was taken from us through the bar­rel of a gun.

We need to re­turn the land to our peo­ple. We need land for res­i­den­tial pur­poses, to build busi­nesses, schools and uni­ver­si­ties, re­cre­ational pur­poses and of course agriculture.

Our peo­ple are liv­ing in over­crowded town­ships while the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties re­side on dry, rocky land. Our op­pres­sors took the bulk of the land they wanted and left us with un­de­sir­able land with just enough space for us to live and bury each other and ser­vice white South Africa. We can­not carry on in this fash­ion.

Fun­da­men­tal to colo­nial­ism and racial eco­nomic dom­i­na­tion is the dis­pos­ses­sion of the land and the con­tin­ued oc­cu­pa­tion of the land by a mi­nor­ity.

We have been in power for 23 years, yet land own­er­ship pat­terns re­main largely un­changed.

This can only mean there is some­thing fun­da­men­tally wrong with the mech­a­nisms or leg­isla­tive frame­work we have em­ployed to re­dis­tribute land over the years.

The NPC has re­leased rec­om­men­da­tions about the land ques­tion, which in­cludes mech­a­nisms to en­able land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion. Let us con­tinue to dis­cuss in our branches how best to fast track the re­turn of the land to the peo­ple.

We dare not fail to undo this fun­da­men­tal in­jus­tice of our past.

This has been the agenda of the ANC and some­thing our fore­bears in­structed us to pur­sue, and in 2012 the ANC re­solved to un­der­take rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Tambo said: “It is in­con­ceiv­able for lib­er­a­tion to have mean­ing with­out a re­turn of the wealth of the coun­try to the peo­ple.

“To al­low ex­ist­ing eco­nomic forces to re­tain their in­ter­ests in­tact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and ex­ploita­tion and does not rep­re­sent even the shadow of lib­er­a­tion.”

The op­po­si­tion, sec­tions of the me­dia and some NGOS be­have as if they’re ten­ta­cles of white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal (WMC). This is a fea­ture of the South African econ­omy as in each sec­tor a num­ber of com­pa­nies con­trol the en­tire sec­tor. They of­ten en­gage in mo­nop­o­lis­tic be­hav­iour, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for new en­trants.

These com­pa­nies, be­cause of our his­tory, tend to be white and male-owned. WMC main­tains its stran­gle­hold on the econ­omy and this must come to an end.

In the ab­sence of a vi­brant and in­clu­sive fi­nan­cial sec­tor, no econ­omy can grow. It is in this re­gard that we must fully sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion made by the pol­icy con­fer­ence to en­sure that the anom­aly of the man­date and own­er­ship of our SA Re­serve

Bank is ad­dressed, in line with in­ter­na­tional trends.

This will help cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the es­tab­lish­ment of state and other banks to counter mo­nop­o­lies in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor.

The fi­nan­cial sec­tor is the com­mand­ing heights of our econ­omy and the state must play a lead­ing role in fos­ter­ing trans­for­ma­tion and in­ter­vene for the de­vel­op­ment of the peo­ple.

We can­not have a ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion un­able to ac­cess fi­nance and thus be ex­cluded from the pro­duc­tive and job-cre­at­ing sec­tions of our econ­omy.

Ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion is a pre­req­ui­site for job cre­ation and the ex­pan­sion and growth of our econ­omy.

None of this will be pos­si­ble if we do not have the pre­req­ui­site skills. The qual­ity of our ed­u­ca­tion must be of a high cal­i­bre and we must ed­u­cate our chil­dren to be pa­tri­otic and not only job seek­ers, but also job cre­ators and in­no­va­tors.

We need to en­sure that we em­bark on a skills revo­lu­tion which will see thou­sands skilled in var­i­ous fields re­quired for our de­vel­op­men­tal econ­omy – with spe­cific at­ten­tion paid to the Stem sub­jects (sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and maths), as well as ar­ti­san and vo­ca­tional train­ing, which are skills needed by our econ­omy.

Our pol­icy con­fer­ence re­solved to rec­om­mend the im­ple­men­ta­tion of free higher ed­u­ca­tion for the poor from 2018. Let us make sure that in De­cem­ber we emerge with this as a res­o­lu­tion.

Unity can only be achieved when we have a com­mon pur­pose. Our pro­gramme is rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, now or never.

Let us close ranks, foster unity and be­have as dis­ci­plined cadres at all times. Our revo­lu­tion is far from over.


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