South African’s National Liberation Movement

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A prosperous SA depends on unified, focused ANC

The guarantee of a prosperous SA cannot happen without a unified and focused ANC

Just over a month ago, the ANC held our 6th National Policy Conference where the state of the governing party and its renewal was an underlying theme.

We sought to use the conference to bring the National Democratic Revolution back on track, and to instil confidence and ignite hope among South Africans that our tomorrow will be better than today and yesterday.

For this to be realised, our delegates were left with no doubt that the unity of our movement is one of our urgent priorities.

This is as crucial for the country as it is for the ANC. It is no exaggeration to assert that a strong, united, working, and trustworthy ANC is one of the only viable avenues towards a prosperous and successful SA.

We should not be ashamed to assert this truth. Why do I say this, and why was this belief the key starting point in our discussion of the organisational renewal of our movement? It is not that the ANC (and fixing its problems) is somehow more important than the country, as our detractors will no doubt try to misconstrue it.

It is not a sign that as a party we are pre-occupied with our own internal challenges more than we are with the very real issues that the majority of our people deal with every day.

This stems from an acknowledgement that the ANC, through its history, its status, and its place in the hearts and minds of the vast majority of South Africans, is the most obvious embodiment of the hopes and dreams of our people. Despite our many obvious missteps and shortcomings, the ANC remains the only political organisation to command the near universal trust of South Africans

Essentially, SA’s democracy has produced a stable, dominant-party state, largely because despite the proliferation of post-1994 political parties, only one organisation espouses values and political programmes that speak to the interest of all South Africans in their ethnic, linguistic, geographic, cultural, and class diversity. Virtually, all other parties represent either distinct segments of the population or are geographically limited.

And many are often organised around single issues or specific grievances.

The ANC remains, to all intents and purposes, what it was during the darkest days of our oppression under apartheid and colonialism: the People’s Parliament. But this historical bond and legitimacy of our movement has been tested to near breaking point by our flirtation with factionalism, corruption, maladministration, weak leadership and often an absence from the daily struggles of South Africans. We are cognizant that we must arrest this slide, both for our own survival and for the greater good of our democratic project.

As a result of both our subjective and objective weaknesses, the social distance between the people of SA and the ANC continues to increase.

While taking stock of our party , delegates pulled no punches regarding where we currently are and what needs to urgently change. The Policy Conference took place at a time when our movement has been weakened on many fronts.

We have also witnessed declining levels of voter participation in elections and diminishing electoral support for the ANC.

Our flaws have also found expression in many of our structures losing touch with the communities they are supposed to serve. Mindful of the dangers this presents, our conference reaffirmed the need to intensify the genuine renewal of the ANC as well as the building of a capable, ethical and developmental state as necessary preconditions towards our comprehensive response to the challenges of our country.

While we noted progress in implementing previous resolutions on renewal and rebuilding of the ANC, we recognised that we need to act with greater purpose and urgency.

We agreed that the over-arching framework for renewal needs to include:

  • The renewal of the ANC’s values and organisational culture and ethics
  • Deal decisively with corruption and unacceptable conduct
  • Engage with, and pursue the aspirations of South Africans
  • Taking responsibility to use the resources of the state for the people’s benefit as required by the Constitution – economically, efficiently and equitably

Ahead of our 55th national conference in December and our seventh national general election in 2024, it is imperative that everyone who holds elected office in the ANC internalises this stance and adopts renewal of the ANC as their daily mantra.

But this is not the responsibility of our leadership alone. It belongs to every member, leader, public representative and structure of the ANC. Our branches must always be visible in communities. They must take a lead in the daily struggles of communities, and they must maintain a permanent presence among the people.

The will to change and improve exists among all genuine ANC activists. We must harness this will, as it is the only way to do better by our people, ourselves, and our historical mission. We must strive as much as possible to reassert the values on which this grand old party was founded 110 years ago.

The ANC can and should do more than just point to a glorious past. It has a responsibility still to lead us towards a prosperous future.

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