Renewal, unity and jobs in year of Nelson Mandela

Renewal, unity and jobs in year of Nelson Mandela
CHANGE: New ANC President Cyril Ramapahosa says renewal, unity of purpose and creation of jobs will be the hallmark of his leadership. PICTURE BY IoL.

Ending gate-keeping, fighting corruption, growing the economy, creating jobs and then uniting all people of all races.

The year 2018 marks 100 years since Nelson Mandela – the former leader of the party who died in 2013 – was born and has been declared his year.

This is the year to unite the ANC and all people of South Africa regardless of their race, national leader Cyril Ramaphosa said, and to achieve Madiba’s vision of freedom from hunger, want and suffering.

Ramaphosa addressed the ANC’s 106th birthday celebration at the East London stadium on Saturday morning.

He said anybody dividing the ANC will have to explain to the party why they are doing so.

He said all people should be allowed into the ANC and feel at home.

Ramaphosa said the distance created between elected leaders and the community “has damaged the bond between the ANC and the masses of the people”.

“At the centre of all our efforts this year must be the fundamental renewal and revitalisation of the African National Congress,” he said.

He said the national congress that elected him as the 14th President in December 2017 “recognised that the movement has become deeply divided through factionalism, patronage, corruption and competition for resources”.

“Structures of the movement have been weakened and the confidence of the people in the ANC has been eroded,” Ramaphosa told thousands of supporters at the East London stadium.

“This, and the development of social distance between elected leaders and the electorate, has damaged the bond between the ANC and the masses of the people,” he said.

“Conference decided that the ANC should embark with immediate effect, on a far-reaching programme of organisation-building and renewal aimed at making it a more effective instrument of social and economic change,” the new President said.

He said moving forward the ANC will need to “rekindle” Madiba’s vision of a democratic society “in which all citizens have equal opportunity to determine their own destiny”.

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“We shall achieve this not only through strengthening the instruments of representative and participatory democracy but also by ensuring that people have economic opportunities and the ability to make choices about their own lives,” he said to applause.

He said this is the year for restoring confidence in the ANC and working towards “a shared vision for radical social and economic transformation”.

“We shall confront, together, the lack of broad-based economic participation and the social marginalisation of millions of poor and landless people,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the number of unemployed people in South Africa rose from 8.9 million in 1994 to 16 million in 2018.

He said turning the tide around for the poor will require the ANC to “work with urgency and seriousness”.

Ramaphosa said economic growth remains quite low in South Africa and investments dropped, with rating agencies downgrading the country and this was “the result of an economy whose structure is largely unchanged since the end of apartheid”.

“Over the last few years, this has been exacerbated by the effects of the global financial crisis, lower demand for our commodities and domestic challenges such as infrastructure constraints, low skills levels and the erosion of our manufacturing capacity.

“Our economy has also been severely undermined by corruption and state capture, institutional instability, policy inconsistency, poor performance of state-owned enterprises and a sense of drift within the ANC,” he said.

“Therefore, if we are to turn the economy around and get the National Democratic Revolution firmly back on track, we need to work with urgency and seriousness to address these challenges,” said Ramaphosa.

“We will build unity of purpose, ensuring that the ANC is strengthened as a vanguard of the process of social transformation,” he said.

(edited by ZK)

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