Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 108th Anniversary of the ANC
Comrades, Compatriots, Friends and fellow South Africans.
We gather here today, in the city of Kimberley in the province of the Northern Cape, to celebrate the 108th anniversary of the formation of the African National Congress.
We have come together where the Khoe, San, Korana, Batlhaping, Batlhoro, Griqua and Batswana courageously fought against the colonial occupation of their land and the subjugation of their people.
We are gathered where great leaders of our people were born and lived and fought for freedom. On this day and at this place, we pay tribute to the likes of Sol Plaatje, the first Secretary General of the African National Congress, and to leaders like Charlotte Maxeke, ZR Mahabane, ZK Matthews, Frances Baard, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Mittah Seperepere.
Over the past week, we, the leadership of the African National Congress, have walked the streets and visited the homes of this province. We have spoken with you – the people of the Northern Cape – about your lives, about the challenges you face, about your wishes and ambitions.
You have told us about the progress you have seen – the schools and clinics that have been built, the electricity and water that now comes to your homes, about local business opportunities and improved roads.
But you have also told us about the problems – about the lack of jobs, about the devastating drought, about streets that are not maintained and drains that don’t work, about alcohol abuse and crime.
Today, we are releasing the January 8th Statement of the African National Congress, which sets out the priorities and tasks of our movement for 2020.
This year, we celebrate the centenary years of several great leaders of our nation.
These include Raymond Mhlaba, Harry Gwala, Vuyisile Mini, Rusty Bernstein and Robert Resha.
This is also the centenary of the birth of Eduardo Mondlane, the founder and President of Frelimo, whose close relationship with ANC President Oliver Tambo laid the foundation for joint military operations between Umkhonto we Sizwe and Frelimo fighters in Portuguese-occupied Mozambique.
During the course of 2020, we will organize events to recall the achievements of these leaders and honour their contributions to our freedom.
This year will be 60 years since the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 peaceful protesters were killed by the apartheid police, ushering in a new period of repression and resistance.It is also 60 years since the ANC and PAC were banned, driving opposition to apartheid underground and the leadership of the movements into exile.
In 2020, we will be celebrating 30 years since the unbanning of the ANC, PAC, SACP and other organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, which set the stage for negotiations and the transition to democracy in South Africa.
Our priorities this year will be informed by the demands contained in that historic document, which continues to guide everything we do.
Our first priority is to build a capable state that serves all the people.
We will restore our public institutions to a higher standard of accountability and service.
It is therefore vital that local government – which is closest to where people live and work – performs its functions efficiently and consistently. We will focus on the capabilities, commitment and integrity of councillors and local government officials.
Our second priority is to build a united and cohesive society. We must bridge the divides between South Africans, be they economic, social, political or cultural. To build a united society, we must recognise the equal right of all South Africans to share in this country’s wealth and its land. We must ensure that every South African appreciates their equal right to call this country home. All South Africans must feel that they have a future here.
Our third priority is to pursue investment, jobs and inclusive growth.
The creation of jobs remains our central priority for 2020.
To achieve a far greater pace of economic development, we will step up our investment drive, invest in a massive infrastructure build programme, reduce the cost of doing business, and expand pathways for young people into the world of work.
We will unlock the potential of small business, cooperatives and the township economy.
Our fourth priority is an effective land reform programme.
The struggle to return the land of this country to all the people of South Africa remains a historical and economic imperative.
It is to address this persistent injustice, that we are proceeding with the implementation of an accelerated land reform programme to provide land to those who work it and who need it, including young people and women.
Our fifth priority is to eradicate poverty and improve people’s lives.
We will intensify both job creation and other measures to improve the lives of the poor. This includes the provision of electricity, water, sanitation and other services to those South Africans who still do not have access to them.
We will work to reduce the cost of living for poor and working people generally, through better public transport and lower costs for electricity and other services.
We will work to improve access for all to quality health care, focusing in particular on the introduction of a National Health Insurance.
Our sixth priority is education and skills for a changing world
The matric results released this week demonstrate that South Africa has made great strides in improving educational outcomes over the last 25 years, particularly in township and rural schools,
However, we must do more to effectively prepare South African youth for the society and economy of the future. We will continue to prioritise the upskilling of educators and school management.
Our seventh priority is social cohesion and safe communities.
We will ensure that our law-enforcement agencies are supported so that they can investigate thoroughly and prosecute effectively without fear or favour.
We will intensify our efforts to end state capture in all its forms, ensure those responsible are held accountable and that all money stolen from the government or public bodies is recovered.
We will strengthen the ability of the ANC’s Integrity Commission to act decisively, without fear or favour, against those within our ranks who are implicated in corrupt activity.
We will work to make our streets, homes and communities safer through improved police visibility, more effective training of police and the greater involvement of community policing and safety forums in fighting crime.
Our final priority is to build a better Africa, a better world
Africa is poised on the threshold of a new era of integration, growth, prosperity and development. But to seize these opportunities requires a concerted effort to silence the guns
We commend our brother, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, affirming the determination of the people of Ethiopia and of the continent to strive for lasting peace.
In line with the decisions of our 54th National Conference, we will intensify actions of support and solidarity with the Palestinian, Saharawi and Kurdish people, and all people who suffer occupation, oppression and discrimination.
In the context of the pursuit of global peace, the ANC is deeply concerned by the provocative military actions of the United States in Iraq that resulted in the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
We urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
On the 30thanniversary of the ANC’s return from exile, preparations are in progress to bring back to South Africa the mortal remains of former ANC Secretary General Duma Nokwe and former ANC Women’s League President Florence Mophosho as well as to honour the bravery of the Luthuli Detachment during the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns.
Based on these priorities, we have identified a number of tasks that should guide the work of all ANC leaders, members, public representatives and supporters for 2020.
During this year, we will renew the ANC as the most effective force for social change, by rebuilding branches as centres for community development and rolling out a mass political education campaign,
We will build a movement united in action, by healing the divisions with our organisation and Alliance and placing the interests of the people above all other interests.
We will prepare for a decisive local government mandate, by strengthening local government, reviewing the selection of local government candidates and meeting with communities on their needs and concerns.
We will mobilise all social partners to grow and transform the economy, by focusing all efforts onincreasing investment, stimulating growth, deepening skills development and removing all impediments to greater economic activity.
We will strengthen governance and tackle corruption, by continuing torebuild public institutions and ensuringthat all appointees are fit for purpose and demonstrate the highest levels of integrity.
We will work to end gender-based violence and femicide, by mobilising communities, civil society, faith-based organisations and others to confront violence against women and children in all its forms.
We will work for peace, integration and development in Africa, by working with fraternal organisations across the continent for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, to advance peace and stability, and to promote sustainable growth and development.
On this occasion, the ANC honours the courage, dedication and selfless service of those veterans, stalwarts and activists who passed away over the past year.
We dip our banner in honour of His Majesty King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, Ben Turok, Rhoda Joemat, BavelileHlongwa, Ebrahim Moola, Dumisani Kumalo, Mfengu Makhalima, Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe, Eddie Nair, General Isaac Lesiba Maphoto, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Johnny Clegg, Mam Agnes Dlamini, Magang Mmereki Phologane, Thandi Ndlovu, Thobile Mhlalo, Mam Joyce Jili-Mkhize, Duma Ndleleni, Sindisiwe Ndlovu, Andile Gumbi, Rose Nkondo, Sandile Dikeni, David Koloane, Dorothy Masuka, Hugh Lewin and Richard Maponya.
We also join the people of Zimbabwe and the continent in mourning the passing of President Robert Mugabe, an icon of African liberation.
In recognition of the tasks set by the 54thNational Conference of the ANC and the ideals for which our movement was founded, and in recognising the challenges we face and the tasks we must undertake, the ANC National Executive Committee declares 2020 as THE YEAR OF UNITY, SOCIO-ECONOMIC RENEWAL AND NATION BUILDING.
The ANC Lives! The ANC Leads!