8 January 2017, Orlando, Soweto
His Excellency President Brahim Ghali, President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic,
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and all Officials and members of the National Executive Committee,
Leadership of the leagues and alliance partners,
Leadership from all sectors,
International guests and members of the diplomatic corps,
Comrades, Compatriots and Friends,
Mphakathi wase-Soweto namaphethelo,
Sanibonani, Dumelang, Molweni!
The African National Congress turns one hundred and five years old today.
This tremendous achievement is the result of the dedication, sacrifice and hard work of millions of people, in South Africa and across the world, who acted in unity to ensure that we can live in a free South Africa.
Sizizwa sijabule kakhulu njengoba lolusuku lokugubha iminyaka eyikhulu nanhlanu uKhongolose asungulwa, silugubha ekhaya lomzabalazo nekhaya le-ANC, e-Soweto.
Compatriots, this is a special year for the ANC and our country. One of the key architects of the freedom we enjoy today, Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo, would have celebrated 100 years of age had he lived until 2017.
We proudly dedicate this year – his centenary – to him.
We also honour one of the great heroes of liberation struggles throughout the world, El Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz, who passed away on 25 November 2016. All cadres of the Movement must emulate the historic examples of President OR Tambo and comrade Fidel Castro.
As we mark one hundred and five years of this glorious movement, the National Democratic Revolution continues.
The ANC has remained resolute in our determination to build united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
President OR consistently emphasised the importance of having maximum political and organisational unity.
We must draw lessons from this illustrious leader and promote unity in action, within our movement and in our country.
Our people have told us that we come across as too busy fighting one another and do not pay sufficient attention to their needs.
We must give our people hope. We must unite against our common enemies - which are unemployment, poverty and inequality, and not against one another.
The ANC Leagues – the ANC Women’s League, Youth League and Veterans League are at the coalface of representing the specific interests of their constituencies within the Movement.
They must lead programmes that unite the people. Our task is also to unite the Alliance as directed by OR Tambo at the funeral of Comrade Moses Mabhida, to guard it jealously and to not tear ourselves apart.
We also call for the unity of the South African people across the party political spectrum. We can disagree as South Africans but still engage one another respectfully as compatriots.
We must also continue building a non-racial society. Apartheid entrenched artificial divisions and distrust between the people based on race and ethnicity.
South Africans know the danger of racism and we must actively fight against the ‘demon of racialism’, ethnic jealousies and divisions as well as all other backward tendencies.
Work continues to build a better life. South Africans have said we must grow the economy so that jobs can be created, that we must fight crime and corruption and that the land should be returned to our people!
We have heard our people, and
Radical economic transformation remains at the core of our economic strategy.
More decisive steps must and will be taken to promote greater economic inclusion and to advance ownership, control and real leadership of the economy by black people.
The ANC must use the levers of state power to transform the economy and promote job creation.
We will use government incentives, procurement, infrastructure investment and other measures to create new industries and expand existing industries, which would increase the ownership of the economy by the Black majority.
Importantly, there is a need to embark on a labour absorbing growth path by ensuring that every rand that the government spends, assists in job creation.
If spent efficiently, the eight hundred and seventy billion rand budgeted for infrastructure development over the next three years will help to create entrepreneurs and jobs by supporting SMMEs and cooperatives operating in the construction sector, building schools, clinics, roads and colleges.
The State spends five hundred billion rand a year procuring goods and services which also offers great opportunities for economic transformation.
New regulations will come into place this year, making it compulsory for big contractors to subcontract 30 percent of business to small and medium enterprises, as proposed in the last ANC National General Council.
This should be used to empower and develop black owned SMEs. A strict enforcement of Black economic empowerment criteria should be undertaken and an effective supplier development programme with clear timelines will contribute to transformation.
Furthermore, there is a need to broaden the industrial base through transforming the manufacturing sector which has a great job creating potential.
The manufacturing sector created more than 7 000 new jobs during the first six months of 2016.
We call on South Africans, and in particular young, Black and female entrepreneurs, to take advantage of all the programmes and incentives, including the black industrialists programme.
Continued support must be provided to State owned enterprises and companies so that they can play their role in advancing the developmental mandate. Some progress has been made by some SOEs.
We commend Eskom for the stabilisation of the electricity grid which has a good impact on the economy. There has been no loadshedding since August last year.
Importantly, the SOEs must actively encourage the entrance of new players, especially black-owned SMMEs in their procurement of goods and services, as part of economic transformation.
The training of young people as apprentices in various trades in our SOEs and other companies is also critical as we develop skills for the economy and empower our youth.
We are encouraged by the recent increase in commodity prices, and
are relatively confident that our mining sector will begin to show an improvement in the near future.
The Mining Charter is being reviewed. We expect all mining companies to abide by the conditions of their licences including improving the living and working conditions of workers.
The ANC government will also continue its programmes of revitalising mining towns to improve the living conditions, and to pursue beneficiation.
The ANC, once again, extends its condolences to the families of those killed who were killed in Marikana.
Government announced recently that discussions are continuing among legal representatives for the compensation related to the Marikana tragedy.
Comrades and compatriots,
The ANC remains committed to putting in place a decent and living wage for all.
We congratulate the business, labour, government and community sectors on the proposal of R3500 as a floor wage, the proposed start below which no employer should pay workers.
We encourage all to participate in the discussions aimed at reaching consensus about the eventual figure.
President OR Tambo recognised that the struggle for national liberation is intrinsically linked to the emancipation of women.
The ANC commits that we shall actively work to improve women’s access to economic opportunities and, in particular, business financing and credit so that women can pursue business opportunities in all areas.
Comrades and compatriots,
Land, housing, health and education are among the critical levers towards a better life and prosperity.
Our land reform and land redistribution programmes have shown measurable success.
However, too many of our people continue to suffer from the historic injustice perpetrated by the horrendous land dispossessions.
This year, we shall begin to utilise the Expropriation of Land Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution, with greater speed and urgency, following the prescripts of our Constitution.
The provision of dignity to our people continues and more than twenty two million people have been provided with housing over the last two decades.
However, we are also concerned that some people sell the houses or rent them out. This is unacceptable and has to stop. It undermines the progress we are making with the social transformation programme.
The ANC also began a programme of handing over title deeds to beneficiaries. We call on our government to accelerate this programme.
Education and skills are fundamental requirements for creating a prosperous society.
The ANC is inspired by the great intellectualism of comrade OR and celebrates this teacher in appreciating the role of mathematics and science.
The ANC government has made great strides in providing quality basic education.
The ANC commends learners, parents and teachers for their dedication and congratulates the class of 2016. The ANC is especially proud of the Free State province which achieved a 93, 2% pass rate.
It is equally commendable that an increasing number of the top performing learners are from government schools. It demonstrates that our pro-poor policies are successful!
Some of these policies include an increase in the number of fee-free schools where children of the poor study free of charge and also receive meals at school to improve concentration and performance.
Our successes, in basic education, add to the legitimate demands for quality and affordable post-school education.
We agree, at a fundamental level, that we must achieve our goal of the progressive realisation of free education for the poor and working class, as per the prescripts of the Freedom Charter.
In line with the call in the Freedom Charter that "higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit,” the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) currently covers over 75% of students in tertiary institutions, mostly from poor and working class households.
The ANC government has also introduced measures to alleviate the burden on students whose families earn up to six hundred thousand rand annual household income, the so-called ‘missing middle’ to further expand access for students.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training will make final recommendations on the long-term funding of higher education and training.
As we wait for the commission to conclude its work in the next few months, we expect all higher education stakeholders and government to speak in one voice.
We are proud of the increase in life expectancy from 60 years in 2012 to 62 years in 2014. South Africans are living longer due to improved health care, especially the success of our fight against HIV and AIDS.
The ANC calls on all South Africans to participate in the newly launched “whole government, whole society” campaign that aims to reduce new infections amongst young women aged 15-24 years, to protect our children and youth.
Our people say we must fight corruption decisively.
The ANC has continued with our efforts aimed at rooting out corruption and promoting adherence to the principles of revolutionary morality within the organisation.
The ANC government has also put in place many programmes to fight corruption and promote ethics throughout the public service.
We encourage the criminal justice system to deal decisively with instances of corruption, wherever it may occur, including the private sector. We call on our people to work with the criminal justice system and to report all instances of crime and corruption.
Comrades and compatriots,
Comrade OR Tambo worked tirelessly to ensure that South Africa becomes a constitutional democracy and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is now the supreme law of the country.
We take great pride in the fact that the ANC-government ensured the establishment of a democratic multi-party Parliament, an independent judiciary based on the rule of law and various institutions supporting democracy.
We must ensure that all of these institutions are protected and supported.
We are proud that our Constitution espouses progressive values and protects all persons equally, especially women, children and persons living with disabilities.
It also includes provisions aimed at safeguarding cultural, linguistic and religious rights and those entrenching the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex South Africans.
Our Constitution recognises the institution, status and role of traditional leadership. The ANC also fully supports traditional leadership as an instrument of unity and as an agent of change within our constitutional democracy.
The ANC supports the democratic right of all persons to protest peacefully in line with the Constitution, without resorting to violence and the destruction of property.
The ANC is unwavering in our defence of the freedom of the media. As a result of our relentless fight for the freedom of religion, belief, opinion and expression, these rights have now been entrenched in our Constitution.
Never again, in our democracy, will any newspaper be banned as happened to the World and Weekend World newspapers forty years ago.
Likewise, the media should report fairly and factually.
Comrade OR was a great internationalist and succeeded in building a united, mass force against the Apartheid regime.
In the year of Oliver Tambo, we also commemorate one hundred years of the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution by Russian workers.
The ANC remains appreciative of the solidarity and material support provided by the people of Russia during our struggle for liberation.
The ANC continues to champion internationalism based on our ideals of a just and equitable world.
The ongoing strengthening of South-South cooperation and the growing influence of BRICS are encouraging.
We are steadfast in our commitment to African unity and the achievement of a prosperous Africa. The ANC celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the independence of Ghana and remains inspired by its son, Kwame Nkrumah.
The ANC urges our government to continue our peacekeeping efforts and solidarity work in countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and others.
The ANC re-affirms our solidarity and unity with all the oppressed people of the world. We are honoured to host the President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic republic with us today.
We remain unwavering in our support for an independent and free Western Sahara. We shall continue to offer concrete support and solidarity for the programmes of the Polisario Front.
The ANC continues to stand with the people of Cuba and calls on the United States to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba and lift the economic embargo.
The people of Palestine continue to suffer in their rightful quest for self-determination and the ANC pledges its ongoing solidarity and support for their just cause.
We reiterate that we firmly discourage travel to Israel for causes not related to fostering peace in the region. We call for unity in Palestine, and support UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016.
We call on the international community to assist the people of Syria to find a peaceful and lasting resolution to the conflict.
We wish to emphasise that in this year of OR Tambo, we must build a caring, listening and responsive ANC.
The ANC has heard the message that the people delivered during the August 2016 local government elections. We accept that we have made mistakes and shall correct these mistakes.
One example of correcting our mistakes is that where list processes have been manipulated, the ANC has sent teams to these regions to take the necessary corrective measures.
All ANC councillors have signed performance and accountability agreements with the Movement and these agreements are being enforced.
The councillors are aware that they must be accessible to the communities. ANC municipalities must conduct regular surveys to gauge the levels of satisfaction amongst their communities.
Deployees of the ANC at provincial and national level must also respect our people and listen to them. Public servants who are implementing ANC policies must also listen to our people and respond to their suggestions and complaints swiftly and in a caring manner.
Indeed the ANC must be a listening and humble organisation. That is what OR Tambo taught us.
We must also learn from President Tambo and keep in mind that the people must always have a say in shaping and developing ANC policy and decisions.
The ANC will elect a new national leadership in December. These leaders must demonstrate a desire and commitment to serve the people.
They must have a proven track record and be able to unite, organise and inspire the masses to be their own liberators.
The tasks of the movement are clear.
Every member, branch and structure must focus on building the African National Congress.
We call on all ANC members, structures and the Alliance Partners to work together and build unity at all levels.
We call on our members to organise and participate in discussions on how to build a common South African identity and to develop campaigns to strengthen national solidarity.
We repeat that we expect our branches and structures to lead campaigns on non-racialism, eradicating patriarchy and all forms of sexism and other campaigns that promote progressive values in society.
We must lead a concentrated drive, throughout the country, to recruit new members and to bring former supporters and activists back to the structures of the Movement.
In this regard, we call on ANC members to be decisive and stamp out gatekeeping, ill-discipline, factionalism, the buying of members and the manipulation of internal democratic processes.
Members of the ANC are called upon to be exemplary in their conduct and lifestyle. We expect our cadres to emulate comrade OR Tambo and live a life of humility, integrity and selfless service to the people.
The 54th National Conference will take place in December 2017 and we encourage members and structures to prepare thoroughly for it. The ANC calls on its structures to spread the message of the ANC widely and to encourage discussion about ANC policy proposals within their communities.
There must be consensus on the policies and programmes that the Movement must pursue during the next five years. These policies must inform the discussion about leadership. We therefore expect that ANC members will firstly conclude in-depth discussions about the principles that qualify comrades for leadership.
There must be agreement about these principles before comrades begin discussions about the names of specific leaders.
We also urge that the power of ANC branches must not be undermined by slates and lobby groups.
We congratulate all branches of the ANC and leagues that have worked hard in the past year.
We are pleased to announce the winners of the ANC Achievement Awards for 2017:
The Sol Plaatje Award, conferred on the best performing ANC branch, goes to the Nelson Mandela branch, Bohlabela region, Mpumalanga.
The runner-up is Ward 19, Eddy Ngwanaeng branch, Dr Ruth Mompati region, North West.
The Charlotte Maxeke Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Women`s League branch, goes to the Moses Kotane branch, Bojanala region, North West.
The Anton Lembede Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Youth League branch, goes to the Lillian Ngoyi branch, Lejweleputswa region, Free State.
The ZK Matthews Award, conferred on the best performing group of ANC councillors goes to the ANC councillors of the Nkangala District Municipality, Mpumalanga.
The runner-up is Lejweleputswa district municipality, Free State
We congratulate the recipients of these awards.
The ANC wishes to honour the spirit and unwavering courage of those comrades who passed away during 2016.
We also extend our deepest condolences to the families of the 16 people, mainly children, who died in accidents caused by the floods in Hammanskraal and Kwaggafontein yesterday. The pain felt by the families is immeasurable.
As we close, we must once again pay special tribute to a man from humble beginnings, hailing from beyond the Engeli Mountains, Oliver Reginald Tambo.
His spirit must inspire us as we build unity within the organisation and in our country.
THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE DECLARES THIS THE YEAR OF OLIVER REGINALD TAMBO: LET US DEEPEN UNITY!
The ANC Lives!
The ANC Leads!