Deputy Chairperson, Cde Mlungisi Mvoko
Members of the Provincial Executive Committee
Leadership of our Alliance
Leadership of our Leagues
Delegates to this Special PGC
Revolutionary greetings to all you comrades and welcome to our Provincial General Council. We hold this meeting in a very important month in the calendar of our country. This is the month wherein we celebrate the birthdate of our liberation struggle hero and international icon, President Nelson Mandela who was born on the 18th of July in 1918.
Before saying anything further on Madiba, allow me Chairperson to congratulate Banyana Banyana on their heroic win yesternight. It has been coming and it finally arrived. These are fruits of freedom we are enjoying and gains we must jealously guard as we advance the NDR. We are proud of national team, our daughters and flowers of the nation, particularly u Biyana, u Moodaly, Mbane and Holweni.
As we all know Madiba paid great personal sacrifices for our revolution at the hands of our oppressors. But when we attained our freedom, he was first to extend an olive branch of peace because he understood that the objective our revolution was to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, and prosperous South Africa. Madiba’s life was characterized by many values such as humility, forgiveness, selflessness, compassion, and human dignity. Madiba was also a devoted leader of the ANC, a leader who respected the African National Congress.
Ngalo lonke ixesha uMadiba wayencipha, ukuze I ANC ikhule. Yiyo lonto ngexesha lokukhokhela kwakhe I ANC yayinevumba elimnandi kubantu boMzantsi Afrika. As popular as Madiba was, he always insisted that the ANC was bigger than all its leaders and members. Madiba understood that the ANC is not only for us ANC members, but it also has a bigger purpose of serving the interests of all South Africans who at this current time are faced with stubborn challenges of unemployment, poverty, and inequality. As we discharge our work in this PGC, we must be mindful that the masses of our people expect us to come out with concrete solutions to their challenges.
Comrades, in this month of Madiba we sadly lost cadres of our movement, our DSG Comrade Jessie Duarte and SASCO Deputy President, comrade Buyile Matiwane, as well as the 21 young people who perished at e Nyobeni tarven. We also lost 11 young lives due to initiation or circumcision and another 10 young people from Mbhashe who lost their lives on N2, and many other lives lost due to road carnage and GBV/F. We dip our banner in honour of Comrade Jesse Duarte and Comrade Buyile Matiwane and further extend our condolences to the families that lost their loved ones as highlighted above. Comrade DSG and DP of SASCO made sterling contributions in advancing the transformation of our society and for that their names will forever be engraved in our history. May their souls rest in peace.
Maqabane sibize leNgqugquthela ye Provincial General Council ukuze sidibanise iintloko siliphondo sigqibezele umsebenzi we 9th ANC Provincial Conference, ngaxeshanye sibe sele silungiselela inkomfa yesithandathu ye miGaqo-Nkqubo ye ANC. The National Policy Conference is a very important platform that we must use solely to discuss policy matters. We must assess whether the policies we adopted at Nasrec have worked or not and whether there is a need to strengthen current policies or develop new policies.
Our country is facing so many challenges, ones that are pushing our country towards a brink of catastrophe due to unrelenting problems of underdevelopment, high levels of unemployment and poverty.
The interest of ordinary people in our province is what the ANC will say after the policy conference on its Renewal, Land, the Economy, Energy provision in the country, on Health, Education, Local Government, and other matters that are important to their daily lives of our people, as we all know our masses are faced with rising costs of food and fuel and other related living costs.
On top of that the Reserve Bank recently announced the biggest interest rate hike in nearly 20 years, meaning our people will pay more for cars, houses, and loans they have borrowed from banks. In essence life is getting tougher for our people and the ANC as a leader of society must provide solutions. We will not be able to provide solutions to these challenges faced by our people if we allow the National Policy Conference to be diverted from its intended purpose of discussing policy matters.
As this Eastern Cape Province that has high unemployment rate and under-development, we must ensure that the Policy Conference is not used as a platform to display strength of groupings within the ANC. The only strength we want to see at the National Policy Conference is of a united ANC that must emerge with concrete solutions to the socio-economic realities faced by our people.
We will use the Policy Conference as a platform to debate, engage and resolve on critical policy matters that will translate to the fundamental transformation of our country. We will oppose any attempts to turn the National Policy Conference into an NGC. We have heard that there are plans by some to turn it into an NGC that will then call for the removal of the NEC including the President. Those plans will find us ready to defend our movement from degenerating into a circus. Many cadres in the movement still do not see the pain and damage caused by the removal of two Presidents of our organization before the end of their terms of office. Some even collaborate with opposition parties to injure the image of the ANC by attacking our President and his NEC collective.
As true and disciplined cadres we must reaffirm our support to President Cyril Ramaphosa and entire NEC to lead us to the 55th National Conference. This has been our principled position even when our previous Presidents were subjected to constant attacks by the opposition, and we are not going to change it now.
Comrades there are several policy proposals that will be tabled at the National Policy Conference. We must ensure that the policy conference takes thoroughly thought policy positions and not sloganeering policy positions.
As an underdeveloped province with vast socio-economic challenges, we must have a strong voice on economic discussions. In the past two years, we had four waves of Covid 19 with a huge impact on lives and livelihoods of our people. The economy was negatively affected resulting in job losses, closure of businesses and stalled economic investments.
The post-Covid period has brought new international and regional challenges that have stretched and tested our ability to recover from shocks and scars caused by the severe downturn in economic activity, with growing social ills, rising levels of violence, service delivery protest and decline in the welfare of our people.
The outbreak of hostilities between Ukraine and Russia and the impact of EU and US policy postures and their supply of arms have exacerbated the crisis and we are now affected by rising energy prices, food shortages across the world. This is reversing gains in economic recovery and pushing inflation to new levels that could trigger recessions and economic hardships across the world.
We need to focus more energy on implementing the economic transformation agenda by building on well-articulated policy directives from previous conferences to expand economic activities by investing in infrastructure, energy security, building new factories, investing massively in agriculture, digital technologies, and growing our tourism sector. We must ensure that the National Policy Conference adopts policies that directs National Government to invest more resources on infrastructure development for the so-called rural provinces.
This is where the voting power of the ANC resides, and we must consolidate it by accelerating development. Sivile xa besiphulukana ne Metros kusithiwa i ANC ngumbutho wasezilalini. If you look at our backlogs on roads infrastructure, on rail, on ports, on water it needs massive funding that we don’t have in provincial coffers. National Government must be courageous in providing funding for development so that we can see Umzimvubu Dam implemented with certainty, and so that critical roads such as the one to Coffee Bay can be surfaced speedily to boost tourism.
Comrades the ANC is the movement of the people, and its existence is to serve the people. Therefore, ours is to improve the lives of our people rather than our narrow internal party battles and fights. We are encouraged to note that the recent Stats SA household survey report made public in June this year has shown a progressive realization of the basic needs of our people.
In the province, 63% of households receive grants as the main source of income, with over 42% of the households depending on social grants, while 37% of households earn a salary and over 11% of subsistence is on remittances from people working outside the province. We remain with high levels of employment compared to WC and GP where over 60% of household income is only salaries.
The ANC government has made significant improvements in the lives of the people. The data from Stats SA household surveys reported that there were greater improvements in the provision of basic social services, access to sanitation increased by 31% from 58% in 2002 to 96,7 in 2021, access to pipe water on dwelling on-site water increased by 14,9% from 56% in 2002 to 71% in 2021, a household with improved access to improved sanitation increased from 33% in 2002 to 92% in 2021. The percentage of households connected to the national electricity grid increased from 55% in 2002 to 93% in 2021.
These changes in the social conditions of our people demonstrate the relevance of our policies in changing the material conditions of our people but more needs to be done to ensure that our policies are effective in reducing the high levels of youth employment, the rising number of households that fall below the poverty lines, rooting out the criminals who cause security risks in our communities and fighting corruption in government and our political movement.
As you know comrades, the ANC dedicated the year 2022 as the year of unity and renewal and to defend the advances of South Africa’s democratic gains. At the National Policy Conference, we must defend the resolution of the 54th National Conference which said we must renew the ANC. The delegates who took that resolution were correct because the ANC in its current form with its challenges of factionalism and ill-disciplined members will be irrelevant to soon.
If that happens all of us as current members of the ANC will have to hang our heads in shame for destroying the movement of our people. That means we have a long way to go on renewal because even branches as basic units do not understanding the harm caused to the name of the ANC when its leaders are charged with serious crimes. Xa inkokheli ye ANC ibekwe ityala lorhwaphilizo, abantu bathi amasela e ANC, abakhombi lomntu ubekwe ityala.
Therefore, we must insist at the National Policy Conferences that ANC structures must be revitalized, starting from branches. We must insist on reforming the election of leaders in the ANC to be the best cadres within the ranks of the organisation to lead the process of transformation, particularly in the rise of the of the use of money that has infiltrated our current system. Renewal will not be complete without electoral reforms in the ANC. We must insist on building an ethical cadre ship as a commitment to root out corruption and as a response to the recommendations of the Zondo Commission of State Capture.
Our movement faces its challenges as witnessed by the decline in support during the local government election in 2021, which signals the lack of trust and support of our liberation movement as many ANC supporters opt to stay at home. This has resulted in loss of Metros in other province and unstable coalition government in our Metro at NMB.
We must work as a collective to pursue a social compact with all formations of our movements, strengthen the revolutionary alliance, and build a strong ma withs democratic movement and a broad front with all progressive forces in our society including traditional leaders, the religious sector, civil society organisations and community-based structures. That is why these critical partners made inputs in the policy documents that will be discussed at the National Policy Conference.
Let us all gear ourselves for the road to the 55th ANC National Conference which, like the 54th National Conference, will be an opportunity for the ANC to self-correct and renew itself as an instrument for transformation in the hands of the toiling masses of our people. History has given the ANC another opportunity to cleanse itself from elements that seek to erode what constitutes as the essence of this revolutionary organisation of the people. We must come out of the 55th National Conference with a united, stronger, and more coherent organisation that is able to lead the process of transformation in the country and advance the national democratic revolution. If we can do this, we will be able to secure a decisive victory in the upcoming national general elections in 2024.
The victory of the ANC headed alliance in 2024, is not just for the ANC remaining in power, but is necessary for the advancing, defending, and deepening the gains of the democratic breakthrough and the NDR. Much of what we have achieved which has led to the immense improvement of the lives of millions of our people will be reversed if we are unable to secure popular support in the 2024 national general elections. Therefore, we must close ranks, unite the peoples camp to advance, deepen and defend our shared NDR.
As I descend the stage let me urge all of us to be courageous in calling for policies that will benefit the masses of our people. There will be opposition to radical policies that will benefit the masses of our people from certain interest groups at the national policy conference, but it is our responsibility to push back against such opposition with the strength of our arguments. With those few words I declare this Special PGC open.