Programme Director : cde Nomvula and Meth
National Executive Committee Members
Provincial Executive Committee Members
PEC Members from our sister provinces
Leaders of the Women’s League and Youth League
Our Alliance Partners, and MDM
Religious Leaders and Traditional Leaders
UFH VC and representatives of other universities
Comrades and friends, those who are here physical and those who connected virtually.
Let me extend revolutionary greeting to all of you on behalf of the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee. We are honored as the Eastern Cape Province to host the 67th Commemoration of the adoption of the Freedom Charter, a blueprint produced by the masses of our people that shaped the democratic South Africa we live in today. We all know that the very same idea of Freedom charter was conceived here in our province , Home of Legends.
Comrades, as we commemorate the 67th year of the Freedom Charter, today we unfortunately woke up to the devastating news of the incident that took place in an East London night club where 20 people were found dead. Although the cause of death is unknown, the horrific incident is something that should’ve not happened, which is why we have instructed the law enforcement authorities to urgently investigate the matter with the aim of ensuring that whoever is behind killings is brought to book.
What happened in the early hours of today should be a cause for reflection on a number of issues that contribute to the social ills that are confronting our society today. One of them is the fact that during youth month, young people lost their lives whilst engaging in entertainment activities involving the consumption of alcohol and other substances.
As the ANC in the province, we call for all parents and members of the community to allow for the processes of investigation to unfold without interruption. We commit to ensure that no stone is left unturned as we get to uncover what actually transpired.
Comrades, on an occasion such as this one, it is important that we go down memory lane to remind ourselves how the Freedom Charter came about and why?
Maqabane isizathu esiphambili sokwenziwa kwe Freedom Charter akufuneki sisijonge phaya kwi 1950s. I Freedom Charter yazalwa sisono sokuqala sokuphucwa kwabantu bakuthi umhlaba, nto leyo yakhokhelela kwiimfazwe ezilithoba apha kweliphondo lethu.
When land was stolen from our people, that was the beginning of a series of other violations of their rights such as forced removals, displacement of families, and migrant labor system to mention a few. Other transgression by the apartheid regime such as pass laws, segregation laws agitated the masses of our people to renew resistance to oppression. Hence in the 1950s a new onslaught of struggle against apartheid was waged which culminated in the development of the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter created the commandments on how the struggle would be fought and outlined a new direction on how our liberation would be achieved.
The Freedom Charter gave birth to significant political developments such as the Pondo Revolt, the establishment of MK, APLA and formation of workers unions to wage the struggle in the shop floors and later the June 16 uprisings. In essence the Freedom Charter was a vision to reconstruct what our people had before the arrival of colonialists.
It is a vision that led us to the 1994 democratic breakthrough and the adoption of a new Constitution in 1996. The preamble of our Constitution was drawn from the Freedom Charter. It spelt out how we wanted to undo our painful past, how we wanted to govern ourselves and how we envisioned our future.
On this 67th Commemoration of the adoption of the Freedom Charter we must reflect honestly on whether we have achieved all the demands that the Freedom Charter promised our people. The response to this important question lies in how we answer the following questions:
Are the people governing?
Are all our people enjoying equal rights?
Are all our people sharing the country’s wealth?
Is the Land shared among those who work it?
Are all our people equal before the law?
Are all our people enjoying equal human rights?
Is there work for all our people?
Are the doors of learning open?
Are there houses, security, and comfort for all?
And lastly, is there peace and friendship amongst our people and the peoples of the world?
The answer to most of these questions is affirmative and various statistics conducted by Stats SA and other independent bodies agree that generally, there is tremendous improvement in the socio-economic conditions of South African than it was the case before 1994. Here in our province, where most of the colonial and apartheid carnages were rife, life in democratic South Africa is far better than life in apartheid South Africa.
But we are the first to admit that we could have done more to transform our society. Along the way we have made big mistakes and one of those mistakes is that comrades who were supposed to be champions of implementing the Freedom Charter were sidetracked by personal interests which are leading to internal fights in the movement.
The Freedom Charter was meant to improve the living conditions of the people and not leaders. We have left people outside hence election after election we are losing electoral support. This is why we have embarked on a process to unite and renew our movement to be truly an instrument for transformation in the hands of the people. This is the only way that the ANC can be able to lead the process of reversing the injustices of our colonial and apartheid past which disrupted the development of our country and our province.
Part of this requires that reconstruct and recover our economy to serve all the people. An important aspect of that is attracting investments to the province as part of our developmental agenda. As such, we welcome the announcement made by the TNPA to embark on a R9.1 bn seven year infrastructure development programme in our province. This investment will go a long way in improving our socio-economic situation that at the moment is not desirable.
Comrades we must internalize that, the renewal of the ANC is fundamental for the full realization of the demands of the Freedom Charter. For ANC to relent pursue Freedom charter and NDR , It must modernise, adapt and reform. How to conduct our conferences particularly on the issue of election of the leadership needs serious review all.
We really need to serious consider one member one vote policy proposal we made as a province to the 54th Naserc National conference.
ANC renewal is not and has never been about step aside only, it is about renewing and transforming ourselves so that we are fit for purpose to the remaining phase of the NDR. Masinciphe sonke sings Amalungu e ANC , khona ukuze I ANC ikhule
With those few words, Comrades as the Eastern Cape PEC we invite you to enrich discussions about what we must do going forward to achieve full realization of the Freedom Charter demands.