Today, we mark the 87th Anniversary of the birth of the African National Congress.
Since its birth, this organisation of the people of South Africa has occupied the front trenches in the struggle for the total emancipation of all the people of our country.
We observe our anniversary this year in special circumstances.
As we live through this year 1999, we will also be preparing to usher in the last year of the twentieth century and the second millennium.
Many in our country and the rest of the world have made elaborate preparations to celebrate the Year 2000 as the beginning of the new century and millennium – which adds to the expectations which the passing of the seasons confers on this particular year, during which we celebrate the 87th birthday of the movement of the people.
During this same year, we will also be celebrating 5 years of democratic rule for our country and people.
Having known centuries of oppression for the majority of the people of our country, this will be a moment when we will truly have to celebrate.
We will have to celebrate the fact, which many who did not struggle for freedom will take for granted, that the victory of 1994 has not been reversed, despite everything that threatened that historic success.
This is an occasion during which we will have an opportunity to pay tribute to all the people of our country, regardless of race, colour, gender, social status, age or belief, for the steps they took during the last 5 years to defend the democratic gains the people earned through their sacrifices.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 1999
The conclusion of our first 5 years of freedom also means that, during this historic year, l999, the people will have the possibility to decide who shall govern our country at both provincial and national levels during our second 5 years of democratic rule.
Accordingly, one of the principal moments on our national agenda this year, will be the holding of our second national and provincial democratic elections.
There are other important events which will mark 1999 as a very special year for all of us as South Africans, as well as millions of others outside our own borders.
The Gold Heart of Africa, Johannesburg, will host the All-Africa Games, which will bring to our shores the best athletes of our Continent.
Through these Games, the youth of Africa will expose to themselves, to their Continent and the world the spirit which lives and burns in all our hearts, which says that we are united by the fact that we are African and which demonstrates that, as these Africans, we dare to reach for the skies.
Our teams, the Springboks and the Proteas, will also be competing in the Rugby and Cricket World Cups. All of us must give them the necessary support as they participate in these tournaments, so that they emerge from these competitions as the World Champions.
I-Theku, Durban, our Window to the East, will host the meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth, their own variety and togetherness confirming our own unity in diversity.
During this year, we will also bid a fond farewell to a great son of our people, Nelson Mandela, as he retires from public life.
To state the matter more accurately, we will have occasion to wish Madiba success as he continues to serve us and the peoples of the world in capacities that are reserved for the African sages of unending intellect and eternal passion.
Recalling earlier and painful times which helped to fashion our modern times, we will also commemorate the 120th Anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana and the Centenary of the beginning of the Anglo-Boer War.
These unforgettable events in the birth of the nation will pose a challenge to all of us as to whether we shall commemorate our history in order to re-ignite the conflicts of the past or whether we shall commemorate our past in a manner that helps to build the new.
As we begin the Year of the 87th Anniversary of the people's movement, our tasks as a people are very clear!
Together we must celebrate 5 years of democratic rule!
All of us must exercise our democratic right to vote to decide who shall govern our country until the year 2004!
We must, in our millions, welcome the youth of our Continent as they demonstrate that we too are Olympians, as well as support our national rugby and cricket teams!
We must open our hearts to the world leaders who will walk on our soil, drawn from a Commonwealth of Nations which expects that we will contribute something to the common good!
We must, together, observe our historic anniversaries, giving them a meaning that enhances the legacy which Nelson Mandela leaves us with, of a truly South African nation!
We must prepare for the end of the century and the millennium in a manner which will ensure that when the new century dawns, it will rise as an African century!
THE ANC LIVES!
In circumstances such as these, coinciding with our 87th anniversary of dedication to the cause of the people, it is correct to recollect the visionary words – glory was it to be alive, but to be young was heavenly!
Accordingly, this we must say, that on its 87th anniversary:
it is truly glorious that the ANC lives!
it is heavenly that the ANC has the vitality of youth!
it is our fortune that the ANC leads!
These words will have meaning only to the extent that your movement, the ANC, remains loyal to what is most fundamental to its character – to serve the people of South Africa!
At our 50th National Conference in Mafikeng in December, 1997, our outgoing President, Nelson Mandela, drew attention to certain problems that had emerged within our organisation.
FIGHT CORRUPTION AND CAREERISM IN OUR RANKS
These related to the fact that certain elements had managed to gain entry into the ANC who, in reality, should not be members of this organisation which, for almost nine decades, has devoted itself to the liberation of the people of South Africa.
This minority among our members are wolves in sheep's skins whose purpose is not the betterment of the lives of the people. Their objective is to prey on the people and on society, for personal benefit.
We find these enemies of the people throughout the structures of government, from the local to the national level. Some of them have now made themselves available for nomination as ANC candidates for the forthcoming provincial and national elections.
But this we must make clear, that your movement will take all necessary steps to ensure that these fail to smuggle themselves into the ranks of the genuine representatives of the people.
These are the elements, who have joined other rogues we inherited from the previous administrations, who are responsible for the corruption in the public service which your movement, the ANC, is determined to uproot and fight with all the means at its disposal.
Others of these elements, both old and new members of our system of public administration, are also involved in other crimes against the people, including murder, robbery, theft, rape and fraud.
On this important 87th year of the African National Congress, we must make this one of our central tasks, to remove from our ranks these rotten eggs which our society lays everyday.
We must rid ourselves of these elements so that they no longer tarnish the image and reputation of hundreds of thousands of honest members of the ANC who work everyday to advance the cause of all the people of our country.
None of us should hesitate to expose and act against the enemies of the people who have wormed themselves into the ranks of the progressive movement, because we are afraid that this information will be used by our opponents to attack us.
Nothing, whatsoever, should encourage anyone of us to hide or tolerate corruption, crime and abuse of power, however important those might be who are guilty of these offences.
GOOD CADRES FOR A STRONG ANC
We must also attend continuously to the task of ensuring that we develop all our members so that they continue to be the pride of the people as activists for the promotion of the interests of the masses of our people, their defenders and servants.
This relates not only to the political morality and commitment of our cadres and leaders but also their skill and capacity to discharge their responsibilities at the places where they work, especially as public representatives and members of the public administration.
We need to ensure that our branches are truly in contact with the communities in which they are based, becoming the locus of popular mobilisation for reconstruction and development.
They must become lively and vibrant centres for political and other information and education and the cultivation of all the cultural, moral and other elements necessary for the renewal of our communities.
We emphasise the need for a strong ANC made up of honest and dedicated cadres because this is the only political instrument that the masses of our people have in their hands to carry out the many and difficult tasks we have to discharge, to ensure that we continue to meet our firm commitment to the provision of a better life for all.
No other formation exists in our country that can carry out this task.
Without a strong ANC dedicated to the service of the people by word and deed, the ordinary masses of our people would have no political organisation to advance their cause and protect their interests.
Our country would be without the political instrument which must take all of us through the process of national reconciliation and transformation and promote our continuing integration within the community of nations.
MOBILISE FOR THE ELECTIONS
Undoubtedly, the biggest political event in our country this year will be the holding of our provincial and national elections.
It is vitally important that as many people as possible should participate in these elections to choose the government they would like to see taking our country into the new century and millennium.
We must all treat this as a national duty.
For this purpose, it is necessary that all potential voters should be registered. In this regard, good progress has already been made.
However, millions of our people remain unregistered. It is therefore critical that all structures and members of the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement should go all out to mobilise those who have not registered as voters, to register.
In this context, we must go all out to organise our youth in particular to register and vote. We salute the initiative taken by the National Youth Commission in this regard and call on all youth organisations, in particular, including our own Youth League, vigorously to join the campaign for the mobilisation of the youth.
We also call especially on the black professionals and intellectuals themselves to use their influence in society to help ensure that everybody discharges their democratic responsibility to register and vote.
We must also work with our traditional leaders, whom we respect and who constitute an important part of our system of governance, to reach out to the people they lead so that these, too, can be encouraged to exercise the democratic rights.
As the organisation of the people, it is our responsibility to ensure that these masses use the precious democratic rights they won through struggle, to determine their own destiny.
It will similarly be critically important that, when the time comes, again we mobilise these masses to go to the polls to vote, in both urban and rural areas, involving both the old and the young and drawing in everybody without regard to race, colour or gender.
Once again, only our movement, and no other political formation, is capable of carrying out this national mobilisation.
We will do this work as confirmation of our commitment to a democratic system which involves the masses of the people, consistent with our confidence in these masses to continue to be their own liberators.
Similarly, we must mobilise the masses to return the ANC to power with an overwhelming majority so that we continue our work for the genuine emancipation of all our people.
We welcome the decision of the IFP to commit itself to the noble task of the rebuilding of our society so that it can, itself, make its own contribution to the improvement of the lives of the millions of our people in urban and rural areas who were disadvantaged by colonialism and apartheid.
We will continue to work with the IFP in a common effort to realise these goals.
POLITICAL OPPONENTS AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION
Our political opponents are approaching the forthcoming elections as a battle-field on which they will wage a struggle with the sole aim to defeat or weaken the democratic movement as a whole, and specifically your organisation, the ANC.
Indeed, so determined are they to pursue their hopeless cause, that they are competing for the title of "the most effective opponent of the ANC".
Not surprisingly, none of them ever competed to earn the title, through struggle, of "the most effective opponent of the criminal apartheid system".
Even during those dark days of oppression, persecution and torture for the majority of our people and millions beyond our borders who were the victims of the apartheid campaign of aggression and destabilisation, most of the champion opponents of the ANC of today were already champion opponents of the ANC then.
The answer to the question – to what are the opposition parties opposed is not difficult to answer. They are opposed to the fundamental transformation of our country into a non- racial and non-sexist democracy!
The leopard has not changed its spots. Even when it dyes these spots in the colours of the movement, time soon wears out the false colours, revealing that the leopard has not changed its spots.
These opponents of ours have spent long months behind closed doors cooking a foul- smelling stew described as an alliance to stop the ANC.
They entertain the hope that they will serve this inedible dish to the people at election time, necessarily dressed up as the most appetising meal that anyone of us has ever tasted.
As part of their marketing, these champion opponents of the ANC will tell all manner of stories suggesting that the problems which our country continues to face are a fault of the democratic system for whose birth you sacrificed everything in struggle.
In particular, they will seek to lay at the door of the ANC the many disasters we inherited from the criminal system of apartheid, such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, rural neglect, corruption and crime and the human resource disaster brought about by the system of Bantu Education and job reservation.
They will seek to deny the progress that you yourselves know has been made in all these areas and many others besides.
The architects, beneficiaries and agents of apartheid, who created the problems which the government you elected in 1994 continues to struggle to overcome, will now come back to you, the people, pretending that they are best placed to wipe out the apartheid legacy which will take our country many years to overcome and which they imposed on all of us.
We have a responsibility to the people and our country ourselves not to be diverted by the manoeuvres of our opponents.
Counter-revolution in all kinds of guises continue attempts to destabilise our country and threaten our revolution. Not even the TRC hearings and investigations have been able to shed light on what happened to the National Security Management System.
These attempts by counter-revolutionaries call on all of us to be vigilant and to defend, not only the ANC, but all the gains of our revolution.
We must, at all times, bear in mind the principle known to all strategists – the enemy manoeuvres but it remains the enemy!
ELIMINATE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION
There are some people in our country who are still committed to the use of political violence to gain political power.
The killings that continue to take place in areas such as Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal, reflect the existence of forces that are enemies of democracy.
As far as these are concerned, we will not hesitate to use the full force of the law to crush them once and for all.
This is a task we have pursued very successfully during the past four years and which we commit ourselves to pursue with even greater vigour in the years ahead.
In this regard, we also call on all contingents within the criminal justice system themselves to act conscientiously in the discharge of their own responsibility to give no quarter to those who resort to intimidation, criminality and violence.
The people must be free to decide as they wish!
We must therefore work hard to ensure that the forthcoming elections are truly free and fair by stopping anybody who tries to intimidate the people and thus deny the people their democratic right to exercise their right to choose freely.
RENEW THE DEMOCRATIC MANDATE
For us the forthcoming elections are first and foremost about what you, the people of South Africa, want your country to be, you whom your organisation, the ANC, is committed to continue to serve.
The forthcoming elections are about the vision you uphold and the future you desire for your country, yourselves, your children and your grandchildren.
You, yourselves, commanded your movement, the ANC, to fulfil a difficult and challenging mandate, namely, to lead our country in the struggle to create a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, peaceful and prosperous society.
When you issued this command, you knew that, after three hundred years of colonial and apartheid rule, such a society could not be created in a day, a month, or even five years.
Consequently, after four-and-a-half-years of democratic rule, we must ask ourselves the question – how far have we moved towards the realisation of the people's mandate!
ENTRENCH DISCIPLINE AND DEMOCRACY
All of us, both black and white, have gone through a few exhilarating and exciting years learning how to live in and manage a democratic society.
Some among us have dishonestly pretended that they have ready-made answers for all the questions which this new experience has thrown up.
This was done by these in an attempt to occupy a predominant position in the struggle to decide who shall determine the nature and direction of the society we are trying to create.
It is clear that as we learnt how to live in a democratic society, many among us began to mistake freedom for licence, and democracy for anarchy.
Among these, some began to get wedded to the false notion that democracy meant that they only had rights and no obligations.
This has included contempt for the law and disrespect for the institutions of state established under and within the context of our democratic constitution.
This has led to a permissive and free-for-all atmosphere in the country which, in many instances, results in actions and activities by some of us which, in reality, constitute a threat to the very democracy which all of us have an obligation to consolidate and entrench.
In the period ahead of us, we have no choice but to ensure that we defeat the forces of anarchy which seek to corrupt our democratic system by encouraging the emergence of a society without any discipline – one that is characterised by the abuse of freedom in the name of freedom.
This subversion of democracy is demonstrated everyday in many ways. This includes:
the seeming ease with which some among us commit murder;
the rape and abuse of women and children;
a very weak work ethic among some in both the public and the private sector;
corruption and illegal self-enrichment;
the violence that has accompanied some strike actions during this past year;
the refusal by some to meet their public obligations such as payment for public services they receive, paying their taxes, and so on.
Accordingly, we must work to consolidate the broadest possible unity of our people around the fundamental objectives we have to achieve as a country and strengthen the capacity of the people to speak out in defence of what they think is right.
We should then not allow ourselves to be diverted from the pursuit of these goals by individuals who will argue that they have a power of veto over what the people have decided are their best interests.
As a movement we will, in action, say – no to anarchy!, and yes to a disciplined and democratic society!
In the struggle to consolidate the democratic system, we will also have to take decisive steps to ensure that the public administration is, in reality, geared towards the objective of batho pele – the people first!
Nobody should be employed within the public service who thinks that they occupy the positions they do simply to make a living, without devotion to their duties and without any commitment to serve the people they are employed to serve.
The reality is that we will not be able to build a successful democracy if do not have a public administration that is both willing to and capable of serving the public.
The safety and security of the people depends to a large extent on the law enforcement agencies doing their work with all necessary diligence, professionalism and honesty.
We must therefore weed out from among these agencies all those who do not measure up or refuse to measure up to these standards.
In this context, we salute the initiative taken by POPCRU to appeal to its members to forsake their time-off during this past festive season to be available for law-enforcement duties during this period.
The most vulnerable in our society, the children, the aged, the disabled, women and the unemployed depend greatly on this honest, hard-working and professional public service.
When it fails them because of criminal misconduct, negligence and gross insensitivity, they have virtually nowhere else to turn, except into even deeper levels of despair.
This will be emphasised this year by the fact that we will be observing the International Year of the Aged, during which we must enhance the level of care and the degree of sensitivity towards the mature citizens of our country.
We cannot describe ourselves as a people-centred society if we allow this callous behaviour to continue, involving people who have voluntary elected to enter an occupation whose very purpose is to serve the people.
As we prepare to elect the government that will lead our country into the next century, we must bear in mind that these are among the principal tasks we face as a country in the continuing struggle to consolidate the democratic system which we will defend with our lives, if necessary.
END RACE AND GENDER DISCRIMINATION
It is also obvious that our country continues to be distinguished by the racial divisions and gender discrimination we inherited from the past.
We will have to speed up the process towards the elimination of this blight that is so visible in all spheres of life in our country.
Among other things, all of us must unite in resolute opposition to any suggestion that the national project of national reconciliation consists in tolerance of the apartheid legacy of racial and gender inequality, division and oppression.
All of us, regardless of our race and colour, must take into account the actual reality that the perpetuation of this legacy constitutes the greatest threat to the democratic order, for which all of us paid such a high price to bring it into being.
Resolutely to tackle this legacy, will require a sustained national effort in which those better placed will, even in their selfish interest, have to sacrifice a little in order to help uplift the millions who remain the black disadvantaged.
Together, we will have to expand all our existing programmes so that we produce visible change in as short a period of time as possible, without raising false hopes by setting targets that are impossible to realise.
Accordingly, once more, we must put high among our objectives the cultivation of the new patriotism of which we have spoken in the past.
Many of us still have to develop the healthy love for our own country which bonds together most nations in the world. We also have to break out of the prison of a dominant selfishness which makes it impossible for us to do anything unless it results in private gain for ourselves as individuals.
It is only when we address these questions that we will be able to develop the new patriotism of which we have spoken and thus generate the national impetus and momentum which will enable us, acting together, to move decisively in our struggle to build a non- racial and non-sexist society.
PURSUE THE RDP GOALS
Naturally, the tasks we set ourselves in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) have not all been accomplished. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the RDP and the perspectives it contains.
Accordingly, we must sustain and intensify the struggle against poverty. This means that the new government that will be formed after the elections later this year will have further to refine and expedite the implementation of the existing anti-poverty programmes.
These range from welfare, through the provision of housing, water and sanitation, electricity and health services to public works, roads construction, telecommunications, land redistribution and rural development.
We must also intensify the struggle against HIV/AIDS to make sure that we stop and reverse the spread of this epidemic which threatens to decimate our society.
Similarly, we must continue to sharpen our focus on youth development, the emancipation of women and the empowerment of the disabled, to rescue these important sectors of our society from oppression and despair, thus to fulfil objectives that are central to the building of a truly democratic, caring and people-centred society.
THE CULTURE OF LEARNING, TEACHING AND SERVICE
We would like to take this opportunity to salute the teachers, pupils, parents and education authorities who have worked hard to improve the culture of learning, teaching and service in our schools, which has already resulted in better matriculation results.
We also congratulate all those who passed the examinations and wish them well for the future.
As we begin the academic year in schools and higher levels of education, we also call on everybody concerned not to respond in a confrontational manner to any problems we may experience. The government, itself, will be ready to engage all those concerned to find the necessary and possible solutions.
The agreements that have been reached between the Government and the teachers' unions on such matters as teacher deployment, as well as the magnificent response of the teachers to the call to them to help in the process of voter registration, show that none of the challenges we face education cannot be solved through constructive engagement among the stakeholders.
Before the present government is dissolved to make way for the new one, the necessary work will have to be done thoroughly to assess the progress we have achieved in these and other fields.
This will make it possible for the new government to move more expeditiously to effect such improvements as may be necessary to ensure even more effective implementation of the correct measures which the Government has been pursuing to date.
DEVELOP THE ECONOMY AND CREATE JOBS
We will have to give particular focus to the question of adding a new vibrancy to the economy, bearing in mind the state of the world economy, from which we cannot insulate ourselves.
Among others, the issue of the unacceptably high interest rates will have to be addressed.
At the same time, ongoing work affecting various sectors of the economy will have to be completed, enabling us to take the necessary measures to help generate further growth and development in these sectors, again bearing in mind the state of the world economy.
Job creation is a particular element of focus in this ongoing work. It therefore also incorporates the important issue of the development of small, micro and medium business, an important feature of which is the central issue of black economic empowerment.
We will also have to pay great attention to the implementation of the decisions the country adopted at the Presidential Job Summit, as part of the process of ensuring that we make better progress in addressing the plight of the millions in our country who are unemployed.
In this context, we must also respond positively to the call of the Trade Unions for us to contribute a day's earnings to support the projected training projects as well as the Business Initiative which also aims at enabling the realisation of the objectives of the Job Summit.
The Government itself will also have to attend to better co-ordination of its programmes and better utilisation of existing resources as part of its contribution to the accomplishment of these objectives.
Similarly, we will also have to pursue other initiatives that have been taken, which relate particularly to the question of youth employment and development.
The offensive against poverty will therefore remain at the centre of the work of the Government, addressed in a manner which will ensure that we create new and sustainable job opportunities for our people.
ENHANCE SAFETY AND SECURITY
Our drive to build a people-centred society also means that we must implement additional measures radically to improve the safety and security of all our people.
It is a matter of common cause in the country that all of us are subject to unacceptably high levels of crime. We must root out this scourge, using all legal and constitutional resources available to us.
In this regard, as a movement we commit ourselves to support and participate in the process led by the religious leaders of our country which began with the summoning of the Morals Summit last year.
We remain convinced that one of the major challenges we have to meet as an integral part of the reconstruction and development of our country is the moral renewal of our society. Despite the refusal by the white establishment to admit this, it is perfectly clear that the long period of white colonial and apartheid domination of our country, did enormous damage to the moral fibre of our society.
The predatory and anti-human values nurtured during this period and imposed on society, lie at the base of much that is wrong in our country today, including the high levels of crime.
Together with this offensive for the moral renewal of our society, new steps will have to be taken to strengthen all elements of our criminal justice system, involving the police, the prosecution service, the court system, correctional services and the rehabilitation of former prisoners.
In this regard, we welcome the establishment of the institution of the National Director of Prosecutions, convinced that all necessary measures should be taken to strengthen this Office.
We also welcome the steps that have been taken to transform the judicial system by the appointment to senior positions of black people and women. We are confident that these measures and yet others that must still be taken, will assist in taking the judiciary into the democratic era.
This will be contrary to the view among some of the members of this judiciary who served the apartheid system, that the true mark of their independence is to find against the Government and the ANC, specifically, regardless of the detail of the particular case they have to deal with.
We are also convinced that the Government will also have to investigate further what new legislation to initiate to strengthen the possibilities of the law enforcement agencies to discharge their responsibilities to ensure the safety and security of the people.
We will also have to ensure that the National Crime Prevention Strategy becomes more of a living reality than it has been up to now.
Areas such as the Western Cape and parts of the Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal are still victims of gangsters and killers who, for criminal purposes, carry out a campaign of terror against our communities. It is necessary that the criminal justice system should spare no effort in ensuring that this mayhem is brought to an end.
This must include the mobilisation of the masses of the people themselves by ourselves and the rest of the popular and democratic forces to ensure that these masses become combatants against crime, actively co-operating with the law enforcement agencies, especially the Police Service.
At the same time, more stern and vigorous measures will have to be taken to root out corruption within the criminal justice system.
If necessary, new legislation will have to be passed to address this issue. Existing institutions will have to be strengthened or new ones created, to ensure that we have the requisite capacity to deal with the monster of corruption within the criminal justice system.
It will be necessary that the Government acts ruthlessly and expeditiously against the many criminal elements who have entrenched themselves within this system and who use their official positions as defenders of the people to carry out crimes against the people.
As a movement, we will mobilise the masses of our people, and especially the youth, to act vigorously in support of the campaign against the criminals who have entrenched themselves in the very belly of the very institutions which are supposed to fight crime.
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
During this year, we will also have to deal with the challenges thrown up by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Whatever its faults, we accept that the TRC has indeed made an invaluable contribution to the twin objectives of unravelling the truth about the past and further encouraging the process of reconciliation among the forces that stood against one another in the past as sworn enemies.
However, none of the elements of this work has been concluded.
We will have to continue to pay, particular attention to the question of amnesty, so that we do not tear the country apart and drive it back into conflict by seeking to exact retribution for actions which belong to a past which cannot be undone.
A critical issue all of us will also have to address, as part of the process of national reconciliation, will be the question of reparations to and the restoration of the dignity of the victims of the apartheid crime against humanity.
This, too, will require a national effort, beyond the mere expectation that the Government must supply material resources to provide specific benefits to particular individuals who were harmed by acts of repression carried out by the apartheid regime.
The process of responding to the work of the TRC provides our country with an unique opportunity to strengthen the sense of national solidarity, confirm our oneness as a people and entrench the understanding that all of us, both black and white, truly care for one another and do indeed share a common destiny.
It would be an historic tragedy of immense dimensions and incalculable consequences if we were to miss this opportunity to promote and entrench these values, which are so fundamental to the creation of the new South Africa.
THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE
As much as it is itself a new South Africa, our country will only consolidate its character as a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and peaceful country, if our Continent, Africa, itself continues to pursue its own process of renewal.
As a movement, we therefore recommit ourselves to the struggle for the victory of the African Renaissance.
Among other things, this requires that we link up with other political forces on our Continent, together to decide on the steps we should take to ensure that our common continental motherland becomes a place of democracy, peace, prosperity and a better life for the millions of our peoples.
In this regard, we look forward with great expectation to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria this year. This is important both for the people of that largest country on our Continent as well as the Continent itself, given the contribution that democratic Nigeria will make to the common project of Africa's renewal.
We are also convinced that during this year, the common effort of the peoples of Africa, acting together with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will bring peace to this important African country and set it on the road to democracy, reconstruction and development.
As a movement, we will also do whatever we can to contribute to the termination of other violent conflicts that are taking place on our continent, fully cognisant of the importance of saving African lives and the creation of conditions of stability, without which no development is possible.
We will pursue the goal of the African Renaissance driven by the urgent need to restore the dignity of all the peoples of Africa as peoples of great intellect, a rich culture and inspiring creativity, who are entitled to freedom, human rights, a decent standard of living and a healthy environment which can be enjoyed by all future generations.
Through our efforts as Africans, we will begin to push back an insult of many centuries according to which many across the world despised the very colour black as the very epitome of backwardness and barbarism.
As a country, we will also have to discharge all our other international obligations to contribute to the evolution of a world community of peace, democracy, sustainable development and prosperity for all.
TRIBUTE TO THE PATRIOTS
As we begin the Year of our 87th Anniversary, we also lower our banners in memory of patriots who left us during this past year, such as Dorothy Nyembe and those who died in Lesotho during the struggle for peace and democracy in that country.
We also salute our members, the leaders and members of our allied organisations as well as the democratic movement as a whole, for the work they did during this past year which helped to take our country forward along the road of reconstruction and development.
In particular, we would like to thank those of our members who had to play the role of pathfinders as the first ever democratically elected members of our country's legislatures and governments.
We are proud of their work and extend our best wishes to those who will be directed to do other work, as we begin our second period of five years of democratic government.
INTENSIFY THE STRUGGLE!
We call on all our members diligently and in a disciplined manner to carry out the tasks contained in this Annual Message to our Members and People, the January 8th Statement.
In particular we must mobilise the people as never before so that, in their millions, they renew the mandate for the fundamental transformation of our country, consistent with the goals spelt out in our Programme for Reconstruction and Development.
We must also position ourselves so that we carry out all our tasks directed at ensuring that we make further progress in providing a better life for the people, against those who seek to diminish the quality of life of the people through indiscipline in the public service, corruption and crime.
Central to these, is the task of ensuring that the ANC is re-elected with an overwhelming majority as a mandate for us to continue our work of the fundamental transformation of our society so that all can enjoy a better life.
We designate this, the Year of Mass Mobilisation for the Renewal of the Democratic Mandate!
We extend our best wishes to all the people of our country for a successful year of the Renewal of the Democratic Mandate.
Matla ke a rona!
Matimbha ya hina!