Address by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa at Local Government Candidates’ Roll Call and affirmation of pledge
Candidates of the African National Congress for the local government elections, Friends and Comrades, South Africans,
This evening, throughout the length and breadth of our country, nearly 10,000 ANC local government candidates have made a solemn pledge to the people of South Africa.
The candidates have made this pledge as part of the ANC’s commitment to do better and be better, a pledge to correct what has gone wrong and fix our mistakes.
As part of our renewal and our rebuilding, we have chosen candidates who have the support and confidence of the communities they are expected to serve.
We have sought to involve ordinary community members in our candidate selection process, so that our candidates understand that their first responsibility is to the people they represent.
The candidates that have gathered here and across the country reflect the diversity of the South African people.
These are men and women, of all languages, all cultures and all races, who together represent the interests and aspirations of a united nation.
These candidates bring together youth and experience.
They represent hope and a promise that we will, together, succeed in building a better life for all.
These candidates have, this evening, pledged to serve the people with honesty and dedication, and to do so humbly and selflessly.
They have undertaken to be responsive, inclusive and accountable.
They have taken a pledge to end corruption, fraud and patronage, no matter what form it takes and no matter who is involved.
Most importantly, they have committed themselves to strive each and every day to improve the lives of the people they serve.
In making this pledge, they undertake not to rest until all people have proper housing, clean water and reliable electricity.
They will not stand by as roads fall into disrepair or raw sewage flows in the street.
They will make sure that streetlights work and that there are places in every community where children can play in safety.
This means that they will work together, as individual councillors and as a collective, to fix municipal finances and systems, to improve billing and revenue collection, to ensure that service providers – both big and small – are paid, and that council budgets are spent wisely.
As the African National Congress, we undertake to do these things not only because it is what our people expect and deserve, but also because functioning local government is vital to the recovery of our economy, to investment and to the creation of jobs.
Every city and every town must be a place where businesses can thrive and where investors can be confident that they will achieve sustainable returns.
We make this pledge because we know that we have not always lived up to the expectations of our people.
We know that there are areas where we have disappointed them, where services have not been delivered, where corruption and mismanagement have taken hold, where infrastructure has not been properly maintained.
We know that there are councillors who have not listened to the concerns of people, have not explained the problems, have not offered solutions – councillors who have grown distant and who have appeared unconcerned.
This is what we are determined to end.
Even in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we have made clear and demonstrable progress in implementing the mandate we received in the 2019 national and provincial elections.
We have confronted corruption and state capture.
We have rebuilt public institutions and started to revitalise state-owned enterprises.
We have undertaken mass public employment programmes and driven far-reaching reforms.
We have demonstrated that we will not stand for wrongdoing, no matter who is involved.
We will not protect any ANC leader, public representative or member who faces allegations of corruption or other serious offences.
The law must take its course and justice must be done.
And though there will be days when the tasks of renewal will be difficult, when correcting our mistakes may be painful, we are determined to restore our movement and rebuild our country.
We are now asking for a mandate to ensure that renewal takes place at a local level.
We are asking for a mandate to build partnerships with communities, workers, businesses and NGOs to improve living conditions and create better opportunities for all.
I wish to commend all the ANC candidates who have taken this solemn pledge this evening.
I commend you for having put yourselves forward to serve and to strive.
You have committed yourselves before the nation to use your energies and capabilities to respond to the needs of the people.
By making this pledge, you have taken on your shoulders the responsibility of driving progressive change in communities, of building partnerships and of finding innovative solutions to the challenges that our people face.
You have promised to take nothing from the people, to accept no inducements, to commit no fraud, to disavow any form of nepotism or patronage.
As the nation prepares to vote on the 1st of November, please remember that you will be held to the commitments you have made this evening, not only by the organisation you represent, but by the people you are elected to serve.
You must carry this pledge with you wherever you go.
It must be in your office and your home.
It must be shared with residents in your ward and the businesses in your area.
But most importantly, it must be evident in your actions.
It must show itself in the way that you conduct yourself and in the way that you apply yourself to the implementation of your mandate.
On the 1st of November, the voters of the country will put their faith and their hope for a better life in your hands.
I have every confidence that you will prove yourselves worthy of this greatest of honours: to serve the people of South Africa.
I thank you.