South African’s National Liberation Movement
ADDRESS BY ANC PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON THE 112TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ANC
Comrade Gwede Mantashe, ANC National Chairperson,
Comrade Paul Mashatile, Deputy President,
National Officials and Members of the ANC National Executive Committee,
Comrade Solly Mapaila, General Secretary of the SACP,
Comrade Zingiswa Losi, President of COSATU,
Representatives of the ANC Veteran’s League, Women’s League and Youth League,
Representatives of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Liberation War Veterans,
Veterans and Stalwarts of our Movement,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Leaders from the Religious Sector,
Comrades and Friends,
People of South Africa,
We gather in the city of Mbombela, in the beautiful province of Mpumalanga, the place of the rising sun, to celebrate our past, chart the future and outline the tasks for the period ahead.
In the diverse cultures and traditions of our nation, sunrise represents a moment of hope: the advent of a new day with opportunities for rejuvenation, reconstruction and renewal.
This is such a moment for our movement, the African National Congress, and for all the people of South Africa, as we work together to build a better life for all.
We celebrate the 112th anniversary of the founding of the ANC as we prepare to celebrate 30 years since the achievement of our democracy.
Working together over the last 30 years, we have put in place the building blocks of the free and democratic society described in the Freedom Charter.
We have adopted a transformative Constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and human rights to all South Africans.
We have expanded basic services and infrastructure to millions of people who now have access to housing, roads, education, health, water, energy and income support.
We have advanced economic transformation and economic growth by introducing laws and policies on worker rights, employment equity and broad-based black empowerment.
We have invested significantly in infrastructure and established large public employment programmes.
We have established democratic state institutions in accordance with the Constitution to protect our democracy and freedoms.
And we have taken our place amongst the community of nations, advancing the African agenda, multilateralism, solidarity and a peaceful and just world order.
The democratic South Africa of today is very different from the lived experiences of apartheid South Africa 30 years ago.
We have made tremendous strides in empowering women, increasing the representation of women in nearly all areas of public life, from Parliament to the public service, from the judiciary to the security services.
Our task now is to ensure that representation translates into meaningful and positive change in the lives of all women.
Young people have played a vital role in shaping the democratic social order we have today.
Our nation has benefitted immensely from the creative energies of the youth.
Their campaigns on education, health, economic development, disability, environment, LGBTQI+ issues and international solidarity have repeatedly pushed us to rethink our policies and ways of doing things.
Our country will continue to rely on the youth to reimagine the future and rejuvenate our nation.
The ANC government is investing enormous effort and resources to stimulate, transform and grow our economy so that it can create jobs and business opportunities for millions of young men and women.
The provision of housing to millions of South Africans is one of the great achievements of our nation. Through the provision of houses, subsidies and serviced sites, government has managed to provide 4.7 million homes.
Eighty nine percent of households now have access to water, while 85% of South African homes have access to mains electricity.
One of the most direct actions by our government has been the provision of an effective social security net. Today, more than 18 million people in our country receive social grants.
Many interventions have been introduced, including school fee exemption, the school nutrition programme and scholar transport, to ensure poverty does not stand in the way of children’s access to quality education.
Adult literacy now stands at 85%, up from only 64% in 1996.
Under apartheid, the law prevented black people from entering skilled occupations. Today we have a growing black and skilled professional sector.
Our work in promoting universal access to quality healthcare has made a tremendous impact on the health of our people and sustained investment in healthcare facilities in even the most remote areas of our country.
Life expectancy has progressively improved, infant mortality has declined and we have achieved key targets in the fight against AIDS.
After three decades of work, the passing by Parliament of the National Health Insurance Bill last year was an important step towards our goal of universal and equitable access to healthcare.
Despite persistent challenges, the South African economy has expanded over the past 30 years.
The number of South Africans in employment increased from 8 million in 1994 to 16.7 million now.
The ANC has steadily worked to change the economy to ensure that reconstruction, growth and recovery leads to shared prosperity.
As we celebrate these achievements, we acknowledge that there have been missteps and mistakes.
However, we have never betrayed the vision of the Freedom Charter.
All our programmes, initiatives and actions have been directed towards transforming South Africa so that we may eradicate the stubborn legacy of apartheid, patriarchy and colonialism.
We have pursued this responsibility in the face of resistance from those who want to halt and reverse transformation.
We know that there are social and political forces hard at work to undermine the gains of freedom.
These anti-transformation forces are converging into pacts while trying to fragment the forces for change through splinter groups and small parties to contest the ANC.
As we have intensified the renewal of the ANC, several factional groupings within the movement have mutated into opposition parties.
While these parties sound revolutionary, the reality is that they have found common cause with the forces opposing transformation.
The reality is that the ANC, the Alliance and the broad progressive movement remains the only reliable force that is capable of uniting and working with various social forces to advance the national democratic agenda.
Unique among political formations in South Africa, the ANC has been able to work with workers, women, youth, progressive professionals, intellectuals, business people, middle-strata, faith-based organisations, cultural activists, traditional leaders, and various community-based and non-governmental organisations to achieve social and economic change.
The onslaught against transformation should make us more determined to succeed in building a better life for all and to be more deliberate and resolute about the renewal of the ANC, the broad democratic forces and our society.
The first task for the ANC this year is to win a decisive victory in the 2024 elections.
The ANC is ready to launch a formidable elections campaign this year that will seek a decisive mandate from South Africans to accelerate and intensify change.
The ANC’s role in working with the people to liberate South Africa from the yoke of apartheid and to vastly improve the lives of millions over the last 30 years cannot be matched by any other party.
No other party has both a clear vision for a better more equal society and the ability to achieve it.
The ANC remains the party of choice for all who seek to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
We call on all ANC members and supporters to go to every farm, village and township, to every town, city and suburb to account to the people as we seek a renewed democratic mandate.
The ANC will launch its Election Manifesto next month setting out in detail our vision and programme for taking our country forward during the next five years and beyond.
Our immediate task is to mobilise all South Africans, especially the youth, to register to vote when the IEC holds the next voter registration weekend on the 3rd and 4th of February 2024.
The second task for the ANC this year is to intensify the renewal of the movement.
The National Executive Committee has directed the newly-established ANC Renewal Commission to develop a comprehensive renewal programme of action in 2024.
Renewal is about the quality of an organisation: the calibre of its membership, cadreship and leadership.
Accordingly, the NEC has decided that, from 2024, all ANC members, including those in all leadership structures, will be required to complete a comprehensive Foundation Course as part of the revival of a nationwide political education programme.
A comprehensive Branch Functionality Audit will guide the building of strong and vibrant ANC branches that are dynamically connected to the social life and developmental aspirations of their communities.
We will work with our Alliance partners – the SACP, COSATU and SANCO – to ensure the strategic repositioning of the Alliance as a more effective agent of change.
We will work to enhance the moral and ethical orientation of the ANC’s membership.
The living embodiment of a renewed ANC will be members who show exemplary conduct in society by upholding the core values and principles of the ANC.
We call on ANC structures to mobilise South Africans in a campaign against racism, tribalism, ethnic chauvinism and related intolerances in our country and organisation.
The ANC is committed to developing and, where necessary, correcting its members and leaders.
However, as renewal gains momentum those whose conduct is in conflict with our values and principles will find themselves outside the ANC.
The criminals, the corrupt, the careerists and the factionalists, and those who actively work against the organisation, will find that there is no place for them within the liberation movement.
There will be no compromise on the fundamental matters of organisational discipline and integrity.
We will continue to focus on the quality of our leaders and public representatives.
The NEC has appointed an ANC Electoral Committee and adopted stringent and transparent rules for electing leaders and selecting candidates to be public representatives.
All leaders and public representatives, once elected, must be held accountable through the rigorous monitoring and evaluation system adopted by the NEC.
The third task for the year is to reconstruct our economy to create more jobs and growth.
A prosperous society is one where people’s lives are better, where they flourish and are happy.
A prosperous people are free from poverty, unemployment, crime and hunger.
To achieve such prosperity, we must transform our the economy to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and control.
What the ANC government has done over the last 30 years to transform and rebuild the economy is significant.
Laws such as the Employment Equity Act and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act have enabled both women and men greater access to employment, business and investment opportunities.
But more must still be done.
We will continue our work to advance the social and economic position of women, from the redistribution of land to the provision of housing, from access to public employment programmes to the provision of higher education funding.
We must do more to change sexist attitudes and end all forms of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
We call on business to ensure that women receive equal pay for work of equal value, and to adopt policies to advance women-owned businesses.
We welcome the fact that the Preferential Procurement Bill with set asides for women, youth and persons with disabilities has now been passed by the National Assembly.
Despite the progress made in rebuilding and transforming the economy in the wake of apartheid, for more than a decade the economy has been characterised by low growth and higher levels of unemployment.
This has been compounded by the effects of the most severe global pandemic in more than a century.
Yet in the midst of severe load shedding and increased global volatility, the economy has been resilient and is now larger than it was before the pandemic.
Over the last two years, the number of people with jobs has increased, bringing the level of employment to its pre-pandemic level and creating an additional 300,000 jobs.
The Presidential Employment Stimulus has created over 1.2 million work and livelihood opportunities. since its establishment, representing the largest expansion of public employment in South Africa’s history
In addition, over 4 million young people have registered on the SAYouth online platform, and more than 1 million of these have been able to access opportunities for learning and earning.
But there is still more we can and must do.
South Africa is blessed with rich natural resources. Yet too many of our natural resources are still exported in raw form, and then imported back into South Africa as manufactured goods.
Our election manifesto will outline industrial policy measures to ensure more of what is consumed by us is produced by us, and enable us to benefit from new growth areas such as the fourth industrial revolution and the green economy.
Among other things, these measures would enable South African entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area to expand their exports of manufactured goods to other African countries.
None of these growth measures can become a reality as long as our logistics infrastructure constrains trade. The ANC welcomes measures to bring new investors to upgrade our ports and rail network.
The establishment of the National Logistics Crisis Committee enables all role players, including state owned enterprises and the private sector, to focus on resolving the immediate problem of port, rail and road congestion.
The fourth task for the year is to improve basic services and infrastructure.
Infrastructure projects stimulate economic activity.
The construction of human settlements, roads, rural bridges, dams and water treatment plants provide the infrastructure necessary for the growth of our economy and meeting the needs of the people.
Yet we have seen many communities suffering from sewage spills, lack of water, power cuts, refuse not being removed and other service delivery challenges.
In 2023, we put in place a monitoring, evaluation and intervention system to ensure swift and responsive attention to the issues raised by communities, as well as addressing the challenges faced by local government.
This year, we will continue to address service delivery and infrastructure challenges.
This means that every ANC branch must continue to work in its community to ensure problems of service delivery are attended to swiftly and sustainably.
Government departments at all levels must plan, budget and implement together through the District Development Model to ensure coordinated action and sustained interventions.
Every ANC branch must mobilise communities to protect public institutions like schools, libraries and clinics, electricity infrastructure, railways, roads and bridges from vandalism and destruction.
Every public servant must, in the spirit of Batho Pele, work hard, be ethical and competent and put the people first so that we enhance the performance of state institutions.
The ANC government will ensure that competent and ethical professionals be appointed to the public service on merit, be given space to do their job and account on transformation and developmental objectives.
Our local governments will focus on their key responsibility of providing services to promote social and economic development and create a safe and healthy environment in partnership with communities, local businesses and civil society.
The fifth task for the year is to combat gender-based violence and build the family.
To defend and advance our freedom and successfully build a cohesive nation, we must combat gender-based violence and promote the family as a basic unit of society.
Every ANC member must speak out against a toxic masculinity that enables men to abuse women and children and abandon their family responsibilities.
All ANC structures must emulate the ANC Women’s League in their excellent campaign to ensure culprits of femicide, child abuse and rape are arrested, denied bail and face the full might of the law.
In schools, clinics, in faith-based organisations and in society at large, we must work to prevent young women becoming mothers before they have finished their own education and childhoods.
Parents must understand their roles and responsibilities in raising their children.
ANC branches must work with every household to ensure all children attend schooling from pre-school, and actively work with the education system and parents to prevent school drop-outs.
ANC members should always be in the forefront of advocating for the rights of persons with disability, persons with albinism, the LGBTQI+ community and other groups subjected to prejudice and discrimination.
The sixth task for the year is to resolve the energy crisis and ending loadshedding.
The work that has been done over the last year in implementing the Energy Action Plan has given us greater confidence that we will bring load shedding to an end.
Although we still experience interruptions in electricity supply, the overall trend is towards less severe load shedding and better management and communication of outages.
The regulatory reforms we have initiated have enabled a massive increase in investment in electricity generation. Attention is now being given to greater investment in additional transmission grid capacity.
In the short term, we continue to call upon all South Africans to use electricity sparingly and to reduce their overall consumption of electricity.
ANC branches must campaign to ensure communities pay for services used, and support programmes to introduce pay-as-you-go meters and to disconnect illegal electricity and water connections.
The seventh task for 2024 is to strengthen the fight against crime and corruption.
Crime undermines the gains of freedom and hampers our efforts to improve people’s lives.
The ANC welcomes steps that have already been taken to put 20,000 more police personnel on the streets and to improve the capacity of the National Prosecuting Authority and courts to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.
We welcome the establishment of specialised units and the recent work of Operation Shanela to target illegal mining and other priority crimes.
Empowering communities through Community Policing Forums is fundamentally important if we are to defeat crime and corruption.
By fostering collaboration between citizens and law enforcement agencies, these forums play a vital role in preventing crime, promoting public safety and building trust in the justice system.
The NEC has instructed our deployees in government to ensure the police service is more responsive to issues raised by CPFs so that we avoid vigilante actions by disgruntled residents.
To ensure that our government has a more integrated approach to crime fighting, which includes the effective use of crime intelligence, law enforcement and successful public prosecution, the ANC manifesto will focus on the necessary additional measures to combat lawlessness and criminality.
The Border Management Agency, working with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, is seized with the task of monitoring our borders to ensure security and the lawful passage of documented persons in and out of South Africa.
Corruption in government, business and society undermines our efforts to improve the conditions of those living in poverty and to transform society.
Corruption is counter-revolutionary.
We disassociate ourselves from those who are corrupt, commit serious crimes, abuse women and children and are involved in sexual harassment.
Our final task for the year is to contribute towards a better Africa and a just, equitable and more humane world
Today progressive people across the world stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
We condemn in the strongest terms the appalling slaughter by the Israeli government of more than 23 000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The ANC has always stood side by side with the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination.
President Nelson Mandela famously declared that our own freedom as South Africa was incomplete without the freedom of Palestine.
We tremble with indignation as we witness the injustice against the people of Palestine.
The ongoing genocide in Palestine has led us to take the extraordinary step of submitting a case to the International Court of Justice.
We recall that 30 years ago, in 1994 as South Africa was preparing to hold our first democratic elections, one million Africans were killed in the genocide that unfolded in Rwanda while the world looked on with indifference.
Today we reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire in the assault on Gaza, the opening of corridors so that humanitarian assistance can reach those in dire need, the release of hostages and political prisoners, and the settlement of the conflict based on the two-state solution in terms of the 1967 borders.
We remain vocal on matters pertaining to those oppressed and marginalised throughout the world. Accordingly we have solidly continued to support the peoples of Cuba and Western Sahara in their struggles.
Multiple global crises and risks cannot be resolved through a unipolar world dominated by the Global North or by armed conflict.
Developing countries and progressive forces are pushing for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced global order with strong multilateral collaboration and international solidarity.
We will continue to play an active role in Africa’s renewal and development agenda.
We are a trusted partner in conflict resolution and peace missions across the continent, in countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, the DRC and Mozambique.
Working with other national liberation movements and progressive parties in the Africa, the ANC will continue to make its contribution towards peace and the development of the African Continent.
We remain resolute in advancing the African Agenda 2063 to build a peaceful, united and prosperous continent.
We will continue to work to advance industrialisation, intra-African trade, food and water security, and infrastructural development on the continent.
It is important for the renewal of our movement to be grounded in its history, traditions and values.
We draw lessons and inspiration from several significant anniversaries this year.
These include the 80 year anniversary of the formation of the ANC Youth League in 1944, the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Federation of South African Women – FEDSAW – in 1954, and 45 years since the formation of the Congress of South African Students – COSAS – in 1979.
Most importantly, this year, we will celebrate 30 years since our first democratic elections on 27 April 1994.
On the occasion of January 8th, we honour the courage, dedication and selfless service of those veterans, stalwarts and activists who passed away over the past year.
The achievement of freedom and the democratic gains made should neither be taken for granted nor diminished.
Millions of people suffered, struggled and sacrificed enormously so that our country can achieve freedom, peace and democracy.
It is for this reason that today we echo the words of Nelson Mandela, the founding President of democratic South Africa, who boldly pronounced during his inauguration in 1994: “Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”.
Deepening democracy and fast-tracking fundamental socio-economic transformation is the best way to defend and advance freedom.
Accordingly, we dedicate the 112th anniversary of the ANC to the defence and advancement of the gains of freedom and to the intensification of the struggle for a better life for all.
We therefore declare 2024 to be:
THE YEAR OF UNITED ACTION TO DEFEND OUR FREEDOM AND ADVANCE A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL: FORWARD TO A DECISIVE VICTORY!
Maatla ke a rona!
All power to the people!
Alle mag aan die mense!
I thank you.