POLITICAL REPORT TO THE MID-TERM AND SPECIAL PROVINCIAL GENERAL COUNCIL
PROVINCE OF THE EASTERN CAPE HELD IN MTHATHA O1-04/10/2015
Program Director, Cde Deputy Chairperson
The Vice Chancellor of WSU
Members of the National Executive Committee
Members of the Provincial Executive Committee
Leadership of the Revolutionary Alliance
Ministers, MEC’s, MP’s and MPL’s
Leadership of the Leagues of the ANC
The Leadership of the Host Region and all the REC’s
The Leadership of the Mass Democratic Movement
Religious Leaders, Traditional Leaders and Business
Executive Mayors, Mayors, Speakers and Chief Whips
Cadres of the Movement
Our Esteemed Guests
Comrades and Friends
Allow me on behalf of the Provincial Executive Committee to welcome you yet again to this beautiful part of our province named after our struggle hero and leader, Oliver Reginald Tambo.
It is a striking coincidence that we are meeting here during this month that the movement of our people, the ANC is leading the nation in remembrance of this giant that strode the globe like a colossus as described by his friend, and former President, Nelson Mandela.
On the occasion of another momentous event in the life of this organization, President Oliver Tambo in opening the Kabwe Consultative Conference-1985, had this to say,
“This day, the opening of the National Consultative Conference of the ANC, is a great and moving moment in the history of our struggle for national liberation. The days we will spend here will live forever in the records of that struggle as marking a turning point in the history of all the people of South Africa. Our Conference itself will be remembered by our people as a council-of-war that planned the seizure of power by these masses, the penultimate convention that gave the order for us to take our country through the terrible but cleansing fires of revolutionary war to a condition of peace, democracy and the fulfilment of our people who have already suffered far too much and far too long.
History has therefore placed on the shoulders of the delegates here, both singly and collectively, a responsibility and a challenge which we must all discharge with all due seriousness. We greet and welcome you all and look forward to your constructive contributions in charting our way forward to people`s power. The eyes of our people and the rest of the world, both friend and foe, are focussed on this Conference.”
Fellow delegates, this Provincial General Council is meant to serve two very distinct objectives, firstly, the Constitutionally mandated mid-term review and secondly to conduct preparations towards the National General Council taking place a week from now. It is therefore incumbent upon us to heed the wise counsel of our late President and see to it that the days we shall spend here truly mark the turning point in the discharge of our political responsibilities and thus usher in that prosperous society free of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
Twenty-one years on, our March towards greater freedom for our people continues steadfastly albeit with an increasing intensity of obstacles and challenges along the way. We nonetheless find comfort and solace in the support we continue to receive from the majority of our people. Since the advent of democracy, the will of the people is tested every two and half years. This will be the case in the next seven months. I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that our organization remains the only beacon of hope for the majority of our people. They shall not hesitate yet again to entrust us the responsibility to look after their interests even at this time.
Comrades and fellow Delegates, the global confluence of a multiplicity of world events, since 2008 have been very unfavorable. The world has been experiencing declining levels of economic growth. This has become even more acute with the economic slump experienced by the Chinese economy. As a member of the family of nations of the world, we are not immune from the effects of these developments. This in many respects has impacted negatively in some of our strategic priorities. The resultant decline in revenues available for the fiscus has imposed prudence in the management of available resources. However whilst there are these constraints there are opportunities as well.
Twenty seven months ago, in the Nelson Mandela Metro we held our 7th provincial Conference. Relative to the conferences we have held in the recent period this conference was a marked departure from those conferences characterized by extreme divisions amongst our cadres. It set in motion the possibility of further entrenching unity of purpose and action within our structures. It is this unity that carried us through the Provincial and National Elections of May 2014 wherein we managed a decisive 70.1% of the total votes cast which was an improvement from the previous elections.
This Leadership successfully overseen and guided the transition from the 4th administration to the 5th relatively smooth without any hair raising incidents. We can today account for a very stable Provincial Administration capable of addressing the development needs of our communities in a seamless and assuring manner. Relations between the different spheres of government is underpinned by confidence and mutual respect, that which augurs well for our people. There continues to be recorded improvements in the quality and quantum of services rendered to our people consistent with the mandate of a developmental state. It is however needless to say that there is still much room for improvements.
As we prepare for the 2016 Local Government Elections, we welcome the move by Municipal demarcation Board to amalgamate some of our smaller municipalities to create much viable municipal entities to serve our people better. This is seeing the fruition of the resolution we took in the 53rd National Conference to do away with plenary type municipalities. With this development, we can now focus on stabilizing our municipalities, ensuring that there is adequate capacity and resources to meet the needs of our communities. This we must do as our people in their majority pin their hopes on the ANC for their self emancipation.
As we gather in this PGC, we can account for greater social cohesion within and amongst various social forces with the province. Over this period we have been able to foster cooperation and collaboration with a range of organizations thus making the ANC truly the centre of gravity around which society pivots. It is important though that we make the point that in the by-elections thus far held, there is congruence with the provincial and national trends albeit with declining averages. There are also instances where we experienced reversals as a result of a number of factors including candidate selection.
This has also invigorated the forces in opposition to target some of the municipalities and wards where we show weaknesses. Our Metro’s particularly Nelson Mandela and Municipalities like KSD, Kouga, Camdeboo etc have been identified as sites of intensified battles with the opposition for reasons cited above. The spate of public protects is many of our communities is also an indication of the extent to which our public representatives collectively keep contact with the masses but also the growing impatience that is gripping our communities. In reality, whilst we face all these challenges, most of our wounds are self inflicted. The degree to which divisions amongst us are so pervasive, weaken our ability to stem some of these at the earliest before much harm is visited to our movement.
I have already indicated that this PGC is also a platform to ready ourselves for the coming NGC. It is itself an opportunity to evaluate progress since 2012. We would also be looking afresh at the balance of forces globally and domestically, to take stock and assess the relevance or otherwise of some of our policies and institute review and development of new policies where applicable. The discussion documents that have been distributed require a collective reflection as we deepen the project for the consolidation of our national democratic society. We shall also have to look at how we strengthen the organization to meet the challenges of the day.
This movement that will be celebrating 104 years by the next Jan08 since its birth, must live on to further expand the contours of freedom, non-racial democracy and prosperity for all the peoples of our country. To this day it remains true that there is no force outside of the ANC capable of destroying it. We the members, in many many ways are are hard at work consciously or not, blunting the ability of this glorious movement to serve society better!
Over the last two years, we have painstakingly emphasized the necessity of unity within our members as a condition to unite society behind the program of the ANC. We have emphasized the respect for collective decisions of our structures from the NEC right to our lowest organs. There is an observable malfunction of our structures particularly at branch level where it matters the most. The most important activity over the next coming period is undeniably restoring the dignity and integrity of the branch of the ANC.
As we know nature does not permit a vacuum. This gap has seen the emergence of a phenomenon of individuals or groups of individuals called factions standing up to usurp the authority of branches of the ANC. Money is extensively used to lure unsuspecting members and leaders into the agendas of these individuals or groups of individuals called factions. For these groups to thrive, they must appropriate to themselves a cause, a political cause in which they hide their true individual ambitions. The most common of such maneuvers, is the protecting or defending individual leaders of the organization at all levels. It is common cause that at every given time the organization acts collectively to defend itself, it’s leaders and programs. Leaders need not be isolated from each other and from the collectives they are part of.
The newest incarnation of this factionalization of political activity within the organization is the so-called Premier League. Like any other faction this is self-serving, it is not in the best interest of the organization. As members of the organization, we must isolate, expose and condemn any such tendencies as the NEC has also begun to do.
(Genuine members of the ANC do not act I a manner that destroy the image of the organization)
Building a stronger ANC also means building its leagues to be much stronger. It is needless to say that over the last two years, except the Veterans League, both the Women’s League and the Youth League have been in disarray. These leagues are in a rebuilding phase having been disbanded and taken to their conferences. Unfortunately the phenomenon of factions have impacted negatively in this rebuilding phase. Moving forward in consolidating our leagues we must work consciously to defeat these tendencies.
The ANC needs a highly mobile and vibrant Ancyl. The majority of our population is youthful, we can therefore ill afford a weak and confused ANCYL. This is evident in the elections for the student representative councils in our tertiary institutions. We must work even harder to restore our leadership and reverse the losses we have suffered some of the universities.
We equally need a stronger mobilization of women in society and in this regard the ANCWL plays a pivotal part. The entrenched culture of patriarchy, the continued abuse of women and the girl child within our society call for a much vibrant champion of women’s emancipation within the ANC. For this democracy to thrive, women must be sufficiently energized to play their catalytic role. A divided ANCWL will postpone much further this important struggle.
The movement has succeeded in mobilizing the whole of society behind its banner by strengthening the Alliance and the rest of the mass democratic movement. In the last two years, we have been rather on the slower side in mobilizing and activating programmatically this critical political axis. It is therefore incumbent on us give due attention to this area of work in immediate future. This has given rise at times to unnecessary conflicts even though isolated.
Towards conclusion Cde Delegates
We have come a long way, we have seen it all, we are much stronger and we can’t be divided. Our preoccupation is making the ANC serve the people even better. There is no room for self-serving individuals and factions.
We have through the preparation for the NGC the opportunity to unleash our creative minds to interrogate the best means of advancing the program of the movement. We must find the most effective means of defeating and exposing all the manifestations of corruption within our ourselves and within society in general. Our people hate corruption and would never associate with corrupt deeds and individuals. Let’s use this period to focus our energies in fighting this scourge.
Going to the NGC we must set the bar even higher! In Mangaung we surprised even ourselves, we can still do much better. We must distinguish ourselves in the contents to be debated in that general council.
We should not be distracted, the NGC has a specific purpose and it must be made to deliver on that mandate.
As former President Tambo aptly observed, the eyes of the people of our province and beyond both friend and foe are upon this PGC lets engage, we can’t fail our people!