The family and Children
Reverend (Tshawe) and The Church @ large
The Executive Mayor
Provincial Executive Committee and NEC members present,
Leadership of the SACP, COSATU, SANCO, and other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement,
Inkosi zonke ezikhoyo pakathi kwethu,
Branch Executive Committees present here
Members of the ANC.
Allow me to greet you on behalf of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC in the Province of the Eastern Cape, on this day that marks the 37th anniversary of the brutal assassination of Cde Griffiths Mxenge in 1981 at Umlazi; Durban. The brutal murder of Cde Griffiths Mxenge in 1981, robbed his family of a loving father and a husband. The family was further robbed of their only immediate parent four years later, as Cde Victoria Mxenge was also assassinated in 1985.
Cdes Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, were known human rights lawyers and ANC underground operatives. They have collectively left an indelible mark in the legal profession as well as in our struggle for human rights and struggle against apartheid colonialism.
Cde Griffiths and Cde Victoria were husband and wife, they were also comrades and revolutionaries who collectively struggled for the freedom of our people. As laywers, they represented a number of ANC Comrades during the struggle for liberation. After Comrade Griffiths was assassinated, uMama uVictoria ensured that their service to the people through their legal practice continued, as such in 1984 she represented the UDF Comrades who were facing charges of treason.
It is in this context that we commemorate and celebrate their contribution to our struggle jointly because when they lived they struggled as one in true embodiment of husband and wife.
Comrades we don’t hold memorial lectures or commemorate our heroes because its fashionable to do so, rather we hold these memorial lectures firstly in order to remind ourselves that the freedom we enjoy today was literally paid for in blood. The blood of Mama Nonyamezelo, Cde Griffiths, and many others watered and nourished the tree of freedom that we are harvesting today.
We don’t invoke these memories simply because we want to take a romantic walk down the memory lane or because of a nostalgic longing for the past. We invoke these memories ukuze sivuselele izazazela zethu, siyazi uba njengokuba sidlala nge African National Congress, sidlala ngegazi lika Mama uNonyamezelo no Tata uGriffiths and many others.
The freedom that we take for granted today and the ANC we are destroying is a product of the ultimate sacrifice some had to pay. uMbasa nabantakwabo bakhule ngaphandle kwabazali ngenxa yale nkululeko nale African National Congress kodwa thina silibele kukudlala ngayo. We invoke these memories so that we can remind ourselves that the ANC is not our private property for us to do anyhow with it, the ANC is our collective inheritance, a guarantee and a promise of our collective future.
We owe it to Mbasa Mxenge and his siblings to take good care of the African National Congress, when we play with the ANC we must know uba sifana nje nemigqakhwe edlala ngelifa labo, their parents lived and died for the ANC and the only inheritance they were left with is the ANC as a guarantor of their future and a promise that they and the collective children of South Africa will indeed enjoy a better life.
We have called here all the Branch Executive Committees, RECs, Councillors and all our deployees in the province; meaning gathered here is the collective leadership of the ANC in the Province across all levels. We have called you here to give you one message that in memory of uMama uNonyamezelo and uTata uGriffiths, the ANC in the Eastern Cape is rising to occupy its rightful place at the centre of the renewal and rebuilding of the African National Congress.
This is not a statement of arrogance, entitlement or regionalism, but a commitment we have made as this PEC, as we are known as the home of legends because of the historical role we have played in the struggle. We owe it to the collective memory of the legends who have called our province a home to rise and rescue the African National Congress.
We owe it to the memory of uTata uCanon James Calata and President AB Xuma who led the renewal of the ANC in the 1940s, we owe it to Walter Sisulu, Alfred Nzo, O.R Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Chris Hani, Nelson Mandela and many others whose names have become synonymous with the renewal and the building of a strong ANC.
We owe it to ourselves, we owe to the future of our children, we our it to the rural poor of our province who have no other hope but the ANC. Ligazi like Mama uNonyamezelo Eli sidlala ngala, lilifa lika Mbasa nabo bonke abantwana base South Africa eli sidlala ngalo. Ngalomhla wesikhumbuzo sika Mama no Tata uMxenge simisa umda, we are now drawing the line that we can no longer tolerate ukumoshwa kwe ANC sithule. The line must be clear between those who want to help save the ANC and those who are hellbent on destroying it.
As we go to the 54th National Conference, let us go there as a province with one aim to help save the ANC from self-destruction. The Eastern Cape should play its historic responsibility of being at the centre of the program to rebuild the ANC. At the centre of the this program is the Unity of the ANC and to us unity of the province is a prerequisite for the broader unity of the movement. Branches will today conclude their nomination BGMs, we are indeed grateful to the work done by branches in convening their BGMs to meet the tight deadlines especially in light of the delays which were outside our control, nisebenzile Comrades.
Comrades the democratic processes of the ANC are underway, the nominations are just a start of the process that will be concluded by the ballot in NASREC. The period between now and that ballot will be extremely critical. If we are to help save the ANC then we must all agree that we can’t afford a bruising contest like the one we had in Polokwane, the ANC may not survive another blow like that. Going to the 54th National Conference of the ANC, we stand in the threshold of history, ngesiXhosa singathi siphakathi kokufa neyeza.
If there is a moment where our leadership will be tested, it is the in coming National Conference, the proof of our leadership abilities will be in how we are able to rise above our own egos and sentimentalities and unite the ANC. The period between branch nominations and the ballot paper is a period of engagement and lobbying, we have all seen the outcomes of nominations, it is clear Comrades that if we don’t engage each other we are set for a bruising contest and healing post such a conference may take us more than 10 years, we don’t have 10 years, we have 2019 and 2021 elections to win.
The coming 26 or so days will require a decisive leadership, as the PEC we commit ourselves to rise to the occasion, we have heard branches of our province through their nominations, we will now criss cross the country to engage all other provinces in an effort to unite the ANC.
The stance taken by the Mpumalanga leadership to unite the ANC should be greatly welcomed and as the Province we must go out and engage other provinces in a bid to emerge with a united National Conference. Democracy in the ANC is a combination of branch nominations, convincing and being convinced (lobbying) and ultimately the ballot. In the next 26 days we must spend a lot of time in the practise of convincing and being convinced in order to ensure that by the time we arrive at the ballot we have found each other, this is not anti-democratic because democracy is also about holding different views, engaging and finding consensus.
As long as this process is transparent, and not a product of narrow deals of leaders but a collective embodiment of the aspirations of members, then democracy would have still prevailed.
Indeed Comrades, in memory of uMama uNonyamezlo Victoria no Tata uGriffiths Mxenge, its time for the Eastern Cape to rise. The ANC is our collective inheritance and our only future, let us therefore commit to playing a role in overcoming the challenges facing the ANC. Let us commit to building the ANC, let us confront and renew the ANC to place it again at the hands of the people as an instrument to deliver the promise of a better life for all”
In conclusion , the ANC’s fundamental goal remains that struggle for complete liberation of our people, that struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, and prosperous South Africa.
Let’s all commit ourselves on this Goal and redouble our effort for the realization of it. The ANC in the Eastern Cape must still honor these Gallant fighters with prestige they deserve and that will be done.