Cyril’s maiden speech gives hope to all
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.