20 December, 2007
We the delegates to this the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress, assembled here at the University of Limpopo, in the great north of our country, for four days of vibrant and democratic debate about the future of our movement and the nation it leads.
We were four thousand strong, representing more than 600,000 members of the African National Congress from thousands of branches across the length and breadth of our beautiful nation. We were joined by members of our Women’s and Youth Leagues and strengthened by the participation of ANC veterans, our allies and the activists of the all formations of the South African democratic movement and guests from progressive parties of all the continents of the world
This University – formerly known as the University of the North, Turfloop – has been amongst the well recognised political centres from where was waged some of the most serious political campaigns and struggles during the harsh days of apartheid. Many comrades in the ranks of the ANC and the broad democratic movement sharpened their political consciousness and activism from here and other tertiary institutions. It is therefore most fitting that the 52nd National Conference of the ANC took place here in recognition of the struggles that have brought us the democratic order we now enjoy.
The ANC wishes once more to express its profound gratitude to the Council, the Vice Chancellor and the Staff of the University of Limpopo and the people of Polokwane for their hospitality, which created an atmosphere in which we could carry out the business of conference without let or hindrance.
All South Africans, and many others throughout Africa and the world, were keenly interested both in the quality of our deliberations and in the decisions we have taken. This interest is a welcome indicator of the high esteem in which South Africans and our millions of friends across the globe hold the African National Congress. We wish to confirm, as we rise from National Conference, that the ANC will continue acting in a manner that earns it the respect and trust of our people.
One of the abiding strengths of the ANC has always been to be truthful to the people and never to hide our shortcomings or the extent of the challenges we face, the better to find ways of improving our work and our standing as the leader of the National Democratic Revolution. Our 52nd National Conference has been yet another confirmation of this proud tradition.
Flowing from five days of constructive and at times intense engagement, the integrity of the ANC and its democratic processes have emerged victorious. Eschewing dangers of division and discord that threatened to distract us from our historic mission, we emerged in unity to recommit ourselves to the tasks of reconstruction and development, nation building and reconciliation.
We do acknowledge that there were moments when some of us seemed to veer away from the dignified conduct that has always been the hallmark of the ANC. However, as we conclude the business of conference we are inspired that we have emerged with welcome consensus on our strategic outlook and the detailed policies that will guide our movement for the next five years and beyond.
The ANC has emerged the winner, as a disciplined force of the left committed to constructing a better life for all. We have also emerged with a leadership collective to which we all pay allegiance, and which we are confident will lead us in unity towards our centenary in 2012.
We are also united around a common strategic objective, the creation of a national democratic society, and have agreed on the tactical stances that will advance us towards this goal. Our strategic vision and the policy resolutions that flow from it are the outcomes of a sustained process of consultation in which our members, our Alliance partners and thousands of other South Africans engaged in vigorous debate.
The strategic vision and the resolutions of National Conference constitute a mandate that will guide the actions of all cadres of the ANC, wherever they may be deployed, and which will form the centre piece of our policy agenda over the next five years.
Conference celebrated the many achievements we have made in the years since 1994. The democratic freedoms that we won became the cornerstone upon which we are advancing towards a better life for all. The faster pace of job creation, the unbroken period of economic growth, the extension of social security and the delivery of basic services are improving the conditions of life for millions.
Our work is far from complete. We are only at the beginning of a long journey to a truly united, democratic and prosperous society, based on the principles contained in the Freedom Charter. Yet we are confident that the strategy and policies we have adopted will take us further towards the goal of a better life for all.
Conference acknowledged that organisational building and renewal require consistent attention and reflection. We still believe that the abiding strength of the ANC is its culture of robust debate, which brings more wisdom to all those who participate in them. Instead of causing divisions, debating matters helps us listen to and learn from one another. Collectively, we are all wiser than when we assembled in Polokwane five days ago.
We, the delegates, are of the firm view that the energy, enthusiasm and passion that has characterized the discussions in our branches in the run-up to this Conference and robust debates among delegates are a reflection of the seriousness and high level of interest among ANC members in the political life of the movement.
As we advance in unity towards the centenary of the ANC we are confident that the dictum “ANC lives, the ANC leads” will ring even truer in the months and years to come.
Adopted by ANC 52nd National Conference
20 December 2007
University of Limpopo, Polokwane