Leadership of our Leagues
Leadership of our Alliance Partners
Revolutionary greetings comrades and welcome to our Provincial General Council. We have convened this Provincial General Council solely to have a meeting of minds with delegates to the 55th National Conference. Gathered here today are delegates who were elected by branches to be part of the Eastern Cape delegation to the 55th National Conference.
All of us are ambassadors of the Eastern Cape Province to the National Conference. We are not going there to represent our personal views or views of our regions. This is not a provincial conference, therefore the popular views of ANC branches in the Eastern Cape on policy matters and on the election of leadership takes precedence. We must all behave like loyal and disciplined soldiers in an army for us to succeed in the mission we have been given by Eastern Cape branches. We do not foresee a situation where in this formidable battalion of delegates that we are leading to the national conference there would be delegates that would betray our mission for their own personal agendas.
We want to remind every delegate that it is a privilege that your branch elected you to form part of the Eastern Cape delegation to National Conference of the ANC. Do not misuse the privilege you have been given by branches of our province. The PEC will lead and guide all delegates throughout the conference.
Let us go as a united force to make telling contributions at the 55th National Conference.
Comrades, our first mission at the Conference is to advance the renewal of the ANC. If we are true to ourselves all of us can see that our organisation is in trouble particularly from disunity, factionalism, and a weakened moral compass of members and leaders. These challenges were identified by the NEC that was led by former President Nelson Mandela, but nothing was done to arrest them. Our troubles have further been exacerbated by our mismanagement of government where we allowed malfeasance to prevail. The implications of what we are talking about are in the decline in electoral support that we have seen since 2009 because our people have been saying we don’t know this African National Congress that is behaving badly.
The Nasrec Conference that elected the NEC that is led by President Cyril Ramaphosa took a stand and said let’s go back to the basics. It said let us renew the ANC and unite the ANC. As the ANC in the Eastern Cape, we have played a crucial role in the renewal and unity project of the ANC, and we have supported the step aside resolution since 2017 without any reservations. We did not support the resolution for convenience, but we believed it would deter ANC members from wrongdoing in society, because we are the leader of society.
Step aside might not be popular amongst implicated members, but for the millions of South Africans who love and vote for the ANC, step aside is the right policy to protect the image of the ANC. Therefore, we are going to this 55th National Conference to defend the step aside resolution. Scrapping it is not an option, instead it must be strengthened to close all loopholes on it. But renewal is not only about step-aside. It is about self-introspection as individuals ANC Members to ask ourselves if we are serving the ANC and its objectives to the best of our abilities. It is about asking ourselves as members what must we do collectively to give the ANC the aura it had in the hearts, minds, and eyes of our people. Renewal is about ending careerism and modernising the ANC to insulate it from factions, gatekeeping, and manipulation.
Tied to renewal is unity of the ANC which is sacrosanct. When we talk unity, we must maintain unity even if we disagree. Collective decisions are our line of march. ANC members and leaders have allowed disagreements on how we must advance the NDR to deteriorate into continuous disunity. Now we have members who passionately hate elected leaders which is a behaviour we must condemn. Part of the reason for continued disunity in the ANC is that some members place too much loyalty on individual leaders than on the ANC. You have members classifying themselves as TM people, JZ people and CR people than they are ANC people. I think it is about time that the Presidents of our organisation are encouraged to talk to each other by the 55th National Conference. I mean these are elders of the organisation, leaders who played an important role in building our democratic dispensation. It should not be difficult for them to call each other and have tea to discuss matters. The tea party we yearn for as ANC members is between JZ and TM, JZ and CR and CR and TM. Their show of unity as elders of the ANC would have a positive effect on the entire membership.
Comrades our second mission is to affirm the need for discipline in the ANC. Part of the renewal effort we must drive at the National Conference is to call for the strengthening of discipline in the ANC. There has been an unprecedented disregard for rules, revolutionary morality, and political consciousness in our organisation. In the NEC which is supposed to set an example to the entire membership, it has been a free for all cadres recklessly expressing their views outside the structure they are part of. This renders our movement disorganised in the eyes of the public. We cannot successfully inculcate discipline in lower structures when members of the NEC themselves are not behaving properly.
Leading up to the 55th National Conference we have seen NEC members who were elected at the 54th National Conference apportion blame for all current challenges in the ANC and in the country to the Top Six Officials. That is not how we are taught to behave within a leadership collective in the ANC. It’s a foreign behaviour that delegates at the 55th National Conference must seriously consider when electing the new NEC. We must elect in the NEC cadres who are willing to work with any President who is elected by branches of the ANC. Akufuneki sixakekise uMongameli esizakumonyula simsebenzise nabantu abangafuni usebenza naye. As the Eastern Cape delegation, we must ensure that our votes count in the election of the Top Six and the entire NEC. We have a strong blend of experienced cadres and young cadres nominated for the NEC from our Province. It is our responsibility to get them in the 80 member NEC.
Our third mission is to ensure policy certainty to advance socio-economic transformation in our country. The National Conference is the most important final leg in the democratic processes of our movement to review policies and give leaders a new mandate. The first leg was the National Policy Conference where our delegates successfully put forward policy proposals that are crucial for renewal and advancement of South Africa’s democratic gains. We must now put a rubber stamp on those policy proposals. The policy proposals are not for our personal interests comrades, they are for improving the living conditions of South Africans.
All of us know of community members in our Wards who are unemployed. We know families that struggles to have 3 meals a day. We know of villages that have no water and electricity. We know townships or villages that are affected by a spree of crime and infestation of drugs. More importantly we are a province that is still highly underdeveloped with limited economic opportunities. This is despite the fact that we are one of the strong bases of the ANC when it comes to the contestation of State Power. That is why comrades we must elect a leadership that appreciates the fact that rural provinces need extra ordinary socio-economic development focus from 2023 to 2030, to achieve real economic meaning in our democratic dispensation. Luckily for us the rural provinces of our country are endowed naturally, it should not be difficult to transform them into economic hubs. All we need is leaders with political will.
The national conference must discuss seriously the electricity crisis and its impact on the economy and households. In doing that, we must be honest about the origins of problems at Eskom, the failure to maintain power stations and the malfeasance that was laid before our eyes by the Zondo Commission on State Capture. The current President is trying to fix the mess of yester years, that is a fact.
The national conference must reflect on economic transformation and on whether the policies we have adopted in government are working or not. Have we created enough opportunities for previously disadvantaged businesses people to participate in the economy, to grow their businesses and create more jobs for our people?
The national conference must also come up with solutions to the issue of crime in our country, including corruption, GBVF, violence against children, the elderly and LGBTIQA+ community. As we go to the national conference, we must remember that certain members of our movement celebrated the destruction of our national economy during the July unrest that happened in Gauteng and KZN. Do they deserve to serve in the highest decision-making body of our organisation between conferences? That is the question we must ask ourselves.
Leadership Perspective :
Comrades when all is said and done on policy discussions, we would be called upon to vote for new leaders that will implement the resolutions of the 55th National Conference for the next 5 years. These are leaders who will be called upon to lead us to an ANC victory in the 2024 general elections, an election that will be difficult in some of our provinces.
As the Eastern Cape we have maintained that the very structure of the NEC must be renewed with new faces, cadres with new ideas and energy to take the NDR forward.
We have called for experience, generational mix, gender parity and the election of cadres who have an appetite for the renewal and unity of the ANC and for serving the interests of South Africans.
The Electoral Committee headed by former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced nominations and as the Eastern Cape we have no issues with the nomination list because it is the will of branches.
Our branches nominated three cadres to contest the Top Six positions namely, myself, comrade Gwede Mantashe and comrade Phumulo Masuale. We have all accepted nominations because we believe the view of our branches is genuine. I for one I am humbled by the nomination to such a senior position in the ANC. I want to assure delegates that I am standing for the Deputy President position, andibuyi ngamva, induma zam zingaphambili.
Support for President Ramaphosa:
Comrades, it is the mandate of EC branches that we must go to the national conference and elect President Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the ANC for the second term. Branches of the ANC have remarkable wisdom. They see that their organization and the country are in good hands under President Cyril Ramaphosa. He has unfinished business he must complete to advance socio-economic transformation in our country. That is why we are happy that he took the Phala Phala Panel Report on Judicial Review. There are also ongoing investigations by Hawks, SA Reserve Bank and Public Protector on the matter. We urge all delegates to be patient with all these processes.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has done tremendous work of leading the renewal agenda in the ANC as directed by the 2017 Nasrec Conference. Renewal will not succeed if we think it his personal project. Each of us as ANC members must be renewed in the way we carry ourselves in the movement. We must be in the ANC to be agents of change, changing the quality of life of our people, not ourselves.
He has done very well in leading government too. People conveniently forget that he had to rebuild state institutions that were destroyed by State Capture such as NPA, Hawks, SARS and SOEs (Eskom, Transnet, PRASA, SABC) all of which were playground for corruption. Through his efforts billions of rands are being recovered and the taps of corruption have run dry.
People also forget that two years of President Ramaphosa tenure were spent fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. People forget the interventions he made to save lives and livelihoods and to keep the economy working. The government he leads made billions of rands available to rescue businesses and save jobs. Some of the initiatives of his government during Covid-19 include among others:
Debt Relief Scheme
Spaza Support Scheme
Covid-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund and the
Government also made billions of rands available through TERS to save jobs and ease financial difficulties for businesses and workers during hard lock down. More important he introduced the Social Relief of Distress Grant (350) which benefits millions of unemployed people in our country. This amount might seem small to the haves, but it has made a difference to those who are not working.
When President Ramaphosa came into office, our economy was in ICU. We were receiving negative ratings from ratings agencies all the time which drove investors away. The economy is now recovering steadily, even the Eastern Cape economy recorded the largest decrease in the country on unemployment of 5.0 percentage point in Quarter 3 of 2022.
In 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed to attract R1.2 trillion in terms of investments. He has by now attracted R1.14 trillion (95 %) to our economy with a year short of his 5-year target. He now needs 60 billion to fulfil his commitment. Some of the investments he has attracted are in our province such as Aspen, Isuzu, Ford, and many others in renewable energy.
Because of the foundation President Ramaphosa laid nationally, in our recent Provincial Investment Conference we received R46.5 billion new investments from 11 companies. The new investments take the total value of investments in our province to R168.5 billion for the 6th term of government.
Why would we want to change an ANC President who has done so well for the country in a very difficult period such as Covid-19?
We don’t not understand the agitation to change him as President, we see it as fight back against renewal because he is turning the tide against corruption. People must be ready for his second term or else bazoba ne chest pains.
The project of building the Eastern Cape we want has better chances of progressing under President Ramaphosa’s leadership. Already, his administration will bring to life the Mzimvubu Water Project with dedicated funding to be allocated in the new financial year by the Finance Minister. Two Mega Bridges of Mtentu and Msikaba are being built as we speak in the Eastern side of our Province creating jobs and opportunities for local SMMEs. We need his leadership to change lives in all the rural Districts of our Province through infrastructure development and establishment of Industrial Parks.
President OR Tambo once said and I quote:
“We will always have differences amongst us quite simply because we are human. Some may be personal, others political and yet others tactical- especially as relates to issues such as organization. However , we must constantly be mindful of the historic objective that unites us .
We must guard against efforts to blow our differences out of proportion in order to make us lose sight of our unifying vision. In this regard, we must remember that a house divided cannot stand and that a people united can never be defeated”.
Comrades, we have been given a clear mandate by the Eastern Cape branches to go to 55th National Conference to adopt policies that will transform the lives of our people. Branches have said when we are done adopting policies, we must elect Matamele as President to lead the ANC for another 5 years. We will not fail to deliver on that resounding mandate.