Cyril’s maiden speech gives hope to all

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - POLITICS - BONGANI HANS

ANC pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s Jan­uary 8 state­ment yes­ter­day was well re­ceived by sup­port­ers who filled East Lon­don’s Buf­falo City Sta­dium to ca­pac­ity – and the two over­flow fa­cil­i­ties: the Jan Smuts Sta­dium and Buf­falo Park Cricket Sta­dium. They all hoped the ANC would be re­vived and uni­fied and fi­nally de­liver on the party’s prom­ise of a bet­ter life for all.

The event be­gan with pa­rades by tra­di­tional dancers, a church brass band, a march past by Umkhonto we Sizwe vet­er­ans and the Khoisan, who camped out at the Union Build­ings re­cently.

Many more sup­port­ers spurned the event in favour of spend­ing the swel­ter­ing morn­ing on lo­cal beaches.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma ar­rived late, with Kenya’s Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta in tow. Zuma was loudly booed, while Keny­atta was cheered.

Koisan para­mount chief Gert Steenkamp, who led a del­e­ga­tion to the sta­dium, said he hoped the ANC would fi­nally recog­nise their cul­ture and award their lan­guage of­fi­cial sta­tus in South Africa.

“Af­ter more than 20 years of democ­racy, our cul­ture and lan­guage are not recog­nised, but we hope this will change.”

He added that the ANC should not be vin­dic­tive against white farm­ers in deal­ing with the land is­sue.

“We lost our land when white peo­ple stole it, and we want it back. But we should not be like them. We must re­turn the land in a way that is not go­ing to harm our econ­omy,” he said.

Wheel­chair-bound Maxwell Moss from Sal­danha Bay in the Western Cape said Ramaphosa’s elec­tion was a bless­ing for the coun­try.

“It is clear that the del­e­gates elected unity. Now we need to show peo­ple that the ANC stands for the poor and work­ing class.

“We hope the ANC will work gen­uinely in meet­ing its res­o­lu­tions of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and land ex­pro­pri­a­tion,” said Moss.

No­mafrench Vale, 55, from Wil­low­vale in the Eastern Cape, said her chil­dren were un­em­ployed, de­spite hav­ing passed their ma­tric.

“We want our chil­dren to ac­cess higher ed­u­ca­tion and get job op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

Khayakazi Zinto, ANC Youth League sec­re­tary in Ward 50 in East Lon­don, called for the new lead­er­ship to cre­ate unity within the party and to tighten the al­liance. She said unity would bring bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“We hope that he (Ramaphosa) will erad­i­cate cor­rup­tion and greed. We also hope that Cyril will look af­ter us, and help us to get ed­u­cated be­cause he him­self is an ed­u­cated per­son. We hope the NEC (na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee) will pri­ori­tise peo­ple in­stead of them­selves,” she said.

No­bath­embu Bu­tana, 26, said Ramaphosa had given her hope.

“This sounds like a new ANC, an ANC that is ready to el­e­vate dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple.”


ANC pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech gave hope to many sup­port­ers who at­tended the party’s 106th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions at East Lon­don’s Buf­falo City Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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