We have started the year with massive, colourful and highly successful celebrations of the 103rd anniversary of our glorious movement, the African National Congress in Cape Town on the 10th of January 2015.
The celebrations befitted an organization that is the oldest liberation movement in Africa. The ANC is 103 years old, but younger than ever!
It is old in terms of its unmatched political experience and wisdom yet it is young in terms of its enviable energy, militancy and political will to act decisively to change the lives of our people for the better.
It is young in the manner in which it still manages to capture the excitement and imagination of all young and old.
The celebrations of the 103rd anniversary took place under the general context of the Imvuselelo campaign which gives us the opportunity to interact with our people on the ground. The leadership undertook an intensive door to door programme as well as mini-rallies throughout the whole week. The positive reception of our people was overwhelming and proved to us just how deeply rooted the ANC is in the hearts and minds of all South Africans. They also indicated clearly that the people needed the ANC. They need this glorious movement to come and change their lives in the Western Cape.
Let me thank all the tens of thousands of our people from the Western Cape Province and other provinces, members and supporters alike, who braved the heat and came to celebrate 103 years of an organization whose fundamental aim, when it was founded in 1912, was to unite the people of South Africa against racism and discrimination and to build a democratic, inclusive and prosperous South Africa. We thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the rally a success. We thank all our members for the loyalty to the
ANC and for the utmost revolutionary discipline they displayed throughout the proceedings of the day. You all made the rally such a huge success.
We thank also those who endured travelling long distances using buses, taxis and trains in order to be part of the festivities marking 103 years of this liberation movement. Your efforts towards making our rally the success that it was have not gone unnoticed. In you, we know we have dependable cadres who work to make the ANC an even stronger organization. May you continue demonstrating this exemplary dedication to our Movement.
We once again extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Cape Minstrels who came out in their numbers to join our rally as a sign of support to the ANC, proving that the ANC belongs to all. Indeed 10 January 2015 is a day to remember for many many years to come.
We thank the law enforcement agencies for hard work which ensured that the rally takes place without any untoward behavior, and our members for iron discipline which made the work of the law enforcement agencies easy. We thank the veterans of uMkhonto weSizwe and our marshals, who worked extremely hard to maintain order solely to guarantee the safety of the tens of thousands who attended the rally. We salute you!
I also want to extend our sincere gratitude on behalf of the leadership of the ANC to all ANC staff members who sacrificed their festive season and left their families behind to respond to our call to descend on Cape Town to do organizational work without which the celebrations would not have happened. We thank everyone including those who participated in door to door work, handing out pamphlets and flyers, putting up posters, loud-hailing, and using all other means to convince people to come to the stadium.
These are indeed the basic tenets of organizing, which you have perfected and we are proud that we have in our ranks skilled organizers of your calibre. Your hard work, commitment and love for your organization serve as a reminder to all and sundry of the age-old principle that being a member of the ANC means being a servant of the people. You continue to prove that self-sacrifice and service to the people are two sides of the same coin.
The organization of this rally was not without challenges. The fact that it happened and it was a success is indicative of our innate capacity as ANC members to overcome challenges and forge ahead to implement our programme.
Holding the rally in Cape Town reminded our people in that province of what we said in our 2009 election Manifesto, which remains relevant as we head towards local government elections in 2016. We said:
“In the period ahead South Africa will need a government with both experience and political will, a government that fully understands what needs to be done to address our apartheid past, a government that puts people first (batho pele) and builds a participatory democracy. The ANC, working together with the people, can form such a government’’.
Every ANC member in the Western Cape and beyond should work tirelessly to ensure that the local government elections result in a caring government that will understand the needs of the people of the Western Cape, especially the poor, and that is an ANC government.
Going forward, the tasks of the movement are very clear as outlined in the January 8, 2015 statement and branches should ensure that the tasks outlined in the statement are carried out as we advance towards a National Democratic Society, informed by the Freedom Charter which marks 60 years this year.
As the January 8 statement points out, we should use the Imvuselelo campaign to draw more people to the ANC and to grow the Movement. Our primary message to all members and branches is that the ANC belongs to all the people of South Africa, that is why it is called a Liberation Movement. The duty of members is to organize people and draw them into the ANC, and not to chase them away. The problems that we have identified in our branches such as gatekeeping or membership buying must be nipped in the bud. All ANC members must report such malpractices to the leadership as we build an ANC that belongs to all.
Recruitment should go with political education and conscientisation. We should also renew and restore the values and principles of our Movement among all members – unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates, constructive criticism and self-criticism and mutual respect.
Let me remind you that we must build a caring ANC. ANC branches must champion the interests of communities wherever they are found. Our people need to know that the ANC is their trusted ally and there is no issue that is too big for the ANC to resolve nor too small to warrant its attention. We have launched the popular Back to Basics local government campaign. Our branches should participate in this campaign aimed at revitalizing local government and improving efficiency and effectiveness.
We should also move swiftly to implement the Polokwane conference resolution to establish street committees which will assist in handling community issues. The committees also have a key role to play in the fight against crime, including crimes against women and children, which are an apex priority.
This year we will hold our National General Council, (NGC), a platform of the organization where we reflect on the implementation of congress resolutions since the last conference. We must give ourselves time to scientifically analyze the implementation of our policies and determine whether or not they have achieved their intended noble objectives.
The branches of the ANC must make sure that the organisation emerges from the NGC as a renewed organization with the organizational capacity and direction to improve the lives of South Africans and move our country forward.
We once again thank all comrades and supporters for painting the City of Cape Town black, green and gold on the 10th of January and giving hope in the future for the people of Cape Town and the Western Cape! Let us begin working on programmes to implement the directives in the January 8 Statement.
The leadership wishes you all a prosperous and successful 2015.
Let us work hard in unity, during this year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action for economic freedom!
>> Jacob Zuma is the President of the African National Congress