Key note address by Cde Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the 8th Provincial Conference of the ANC in Limpopo: 14th-16th February 2014

Key note address by Cde Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the 8th Provincial Conference of the ANC in Limpopo: 14th-16th February 2014

14 February 2014

Programme Director
NEC deployees in the Province
PTT members
Veterans of our Movement
Alliance Partners
Youth and Woman`s League
Traditional Leaders
Religious Leaders
Delegates from branches
Members of the media
Comrades and Friends

I greet you on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC. The province decided to endorse the ANC theme for this year to be the one for the conference as well: "The year of united action to move South Africa forward".

Almost 108 years on the 5th April 1906, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme wrote on the subject of the regeneration of Africa. In his address he asserted: `I have chosen to speak to you on this occasion upon the regeneration of Africa, I am an African and I set my pride in my race over against a hostile public opinion.....the African people, although not strictly a homogeneous race, possess a common fundamental sentiment which is everywhere manifested, crystallising itself into one common controlling idea. Conflicts and strife are disappearing before the fusing force of this enlightened perception. On the true intertribal relation, which relation should subsist among a people with common destiny....He has refused to camp forever on the borders of the industrial world, having learned that knowledge is power, he is educating his children. You find them in Edinburgh, in Cambridge and great schools of Germany. These return to their countries like arrows, to drive darkness from the land. I hold that his industrial and education initiative, and his untiring devotion to these activities, must be regarded as positive evidences of this process of his regeneration".

Pixley ka Isaka Seme`s intervention as early as 1906 planted in our society seeds of intertribal harmony, of education, hard work, of African assertiveness, peace in the continent, re awakening of Africa, human solidarity and of Africans as citizens of the world who refuse to be confined to national borders. It is important that we reflect on these fundamental values of human condition for they are as relevant now as they were more than a century ago.

The unique challenges which the ANC is faced with today as a ruling party is worth taking stock of. Whilst these challenges and dangers are unique to our situation, they can also be traced to some other ruling parties elsewhere in the world. Our perspective on organisational renewal captures this succinctly as it warns on the dangers of any governing party.

Dangers facing the ruling party

1. The political life of the organisation revolves around permanent internal strife and factional battles for power. This is a silent retreat from the mass line to palace politics of factionalism and perpetual in-fighting.
2. The internal strife revolves around contestation for power and state resources, rather than the difference on how to implement the policies of the movement. The situation has shifted the focus of the cadres and members of the movement away from societal concerns and peoples aspirations.
3. These circumstances have produced a new type of ANC leader and member who sees ill-discipline, divisions, factionalism and in-fighting as normal practices and necessary forms of political survival.
4. Cumulatively, the socio-economic conditions of the majority create a sense of grievances and social injustice, especially among the urban poor who live side by side with the rich.
5. Over the past decade and half, new tendencies have emerged that undermine the democratic character of the movement. Leadership elections are fraught with problems such as the manipulation of the membership system in order to influence the outcome of the conferences; suppressions of the views of members through a culture of slates that are developed in secret caucuses and forced down the throats of members in chaotic branch general meetings; and the use of money and mobilisation of other resources as part of lobbying. ANC members and branches should be liberated from the clutches of secret caucuses by ensuring that the leadership question is discussed and decided openly by members on the basis of the task, requirements and political line of each phase.

Drastic measures and consistent action against these negative tendencies are necessary to root out anarchy and decay.

The subjective weaknesses of our movement are not unrelated to the influence on neo-liberal ideological paradigm. The cumulative impact of all these weaknesses is the silent shift from transformative politics to palace politics wherein internal strife and factional battles over power and resources define the political life of the movement.

None of these trends are written in stone and they can be reversed through painstaking political and organisational work among the masses and motive forces. Organisational renewal must enable us to respond comprehensively and address socio-economic challenges faced by our people as well as the concerns of our supporters pertaining to our movement`s reputation and capacity to bring about a shared prosperity and a better life for all.

Revolutionary unity of our movement

The African National Congress was founded in 1912 to unify, defend and advance the rights of the African people after the violent destruction of their independence.

The question of revolutionary unity is the cornerstone upon which the African National Congress was formed and continued its existence.

Whereas in the course of fulfilling this historic aim, the ANC has emerged to lead the struggle of all democratic and patriotic forces to destroy the apartheid state and replace it with the united, non racial, non sexist and democratic South Africa in which the people as whole shall govern and shall enjoy equal rights.

Whereas through the struggles and sacrifices of its members through the generations, the ANC has come to be recognised as the central organiser and inspirer of a vast popular upsurge against apartheid, involving a great array of social, cultural, religious, trade union, professional and political organisations.

Unity and discipline combined constitute the cornerstone of which our movement was founded and sustained.
Cognisant of the historic mission of the ANC and of the need to build a united mass based democratic structure to enable it to fulfil its historic mission.

Leaders and members alike should understand that divisions within the movement inevitably undermine the effective functioning of the organisation to the benefit of our enemies

Unity of purpose
1. Unity is an organisational value upheld and pursued by all revolutionary movements because it enhances the effectiveness of the collective action.
2. But, political collectives are made up of diverse individual members, who have come together to pool their energies in pursuance of shared objectives.
3. Unity of purpose and of action are indispensable for the realisation of its objectives.
4. The tradition of the ANC evolved through practice, is that while debate and ongoing discussion is the life-blood of the movement, differences of opinion should not undermine the movement`s capacity or collective action. This is achieved by the requirement that a minority viewpoint submits to the majority.
5. Consequently political programmes and the program of action by which to pursue them are the devices by which political adherent commit themselves to common action.
6. The collective commitment made by the members of the movement is further reinforced by agreed mechanism of mutual discipline-which entails submission of the individual member to the collective in all matter affecting the collective good.
7. The unity of the movement thus involves a social contract between the individual member and the collective in terms of which the individual member surrenders a measure of personal sovereignty in order to pursue a common purpose, in return for which the individual is reciprocated by the support of the collective to pursue an individual objective that is unattainable except through collective action.
8. The imperatives of coherent and effective action therefore require a leadership to exercise vigilance not to allow potential and actual tension to jeopardise it.
9. The art of successful political leadership entails the management of the tension contradiction occasioned by the demands of coherent collective interventions and the reality that the political environment is not static and thus requires adaptation and constant adjustment and re-adjustment.
10. Unity of purpose is thus not a given nor is it constant. It is the outcome of ongoing political and ideological struggle through which the oppressed learn its virtue from their own experience.
11. The challenge faced by the political leadership was devising strategies and tactics that could result in unity of purpose and collective action, despite the diversity of communities to be mobilised. To achieve this, they emphasised the shared political status of blacks as colonised people.
12. The task of leadership is to be concrete and to examine the unfolding realities at a given moment and to act in accordance with their comprehension of it.
13. The strategy of the ANC sought to maximise the unity of the African people in the first instance, then create wider alliances with the movements of the other oppressed communities, while stimulating opposition to the white minority regime among whites.

At its birth the movement that became the historic bearer of African nationalism, the ANC, embraces a number of values, principles and ideas as the key pillars of its political canon. They are still recognisable as deriving from a specific political tradition - a culture of human rights, rooted in inextricably linked to the political resolutions of the late 18th century, those of the mid-19th century and the post-war 20th century.

Character of the ANC member.

These are certain characteristics that a member of the African National Congress must possess at all material times. These are the following, amongst others:
1. Personal integrity. A member of the ANC must have integrity. He or she at all material times demonstrate worthiness and reliability to the ANC and to the members of the public.
2. Hard working. A member of the movement must be a hard worker and be prepared to go an extra mile in pursuance of the objective of the National Democratic Revolution.
3. Discipline. A member of this movement must be discipline, honest and be loyal to carry out the decisions of the collective even if during the discussions you held a different view. The decisions of the higher structures are binding.
4. Strengthening of the organization. It is the duty of every member to build the African National Congress and to take part in the formulation of policy.
5. Member of the Branch. Members of the ANC are expected to take an active part in the life of their branches.
6. Inquiring mind. It is a duty of the members of this movement to deepen their own understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic challenges that the country faces.
7. Fight against discrimination. It is the duty of the ANC member to fight against racism, ethnic chauvinism, sexism and religious intolerance.
8. Takes interest in the life of society. It is the duty of the member of the Movement to take keen interest in the issues that affect society. It is not to take over structure of society but to give guidance of these structures.

Negative trends:
Over the last 23 years of its unbanning the movement due to its popularity, had attracted people who did not share its visions of creating a better life for all.

These characters are only interested in self-enrichment programmes which came about through corruption, patronage, political killings, careerism, factionalism and ill-discipline.

The organisation must take bold action to reverse these negative trends.
We must always remember that ordinary South Africans pinned their hopes on the Movement to select people who will be servants of the people, not their bosses.

A living, movement generates masses of information to keep participants and supporters abreast of current news and debates in and around national and international politics.

The ANC evolved and grew during the 1950s because it was consistently politically engaged. It had interacted with and leant from a host of other political formations in South Africa and beyond its borders.

Way forward

In 1994 in Limpopo, 1.9 million people voted in the general elections. Of this number, 1.7 million voted for the African National Congress. This constituted a round figure of 92% vote for the ANC. In 2009 out of 1.4 million people who voted in this province, 1.2 million voted for the ANC constituting 85% of the total votes casted. Although we had a 7% decrease but the people continued to give us an unfretted majority to govern them. But do we understand what this means? Are we not taking this for granted? Did it mean running their province down the drain? How do we handle such massive power to the benefit of those who entrusted it to us? We need to change our ways, apologise to our people of Limpopo and lead them to a better life, and not to corruption and plunder.

Tasks of ANC in Limpopo

1. The incoming PEC should lead us on its first task of securing a landslide victory for the ANC come the 7th May general elections.
2. The conference should denounce negative tendencies including corruption, factionalism, regionalism, tribalism and others. A program and structure to accompany this denouncement. We will do this without undermining the right of members to lobby and canvass their opinions and leadership candidates as stipulated in the through the Eye of the Needle document.
3. We commit our Province to intensify cadre development program, investing all the resources at our disposal, both human and material.
4. Having embarked on a year long process of rebuilding structures, such should be accelerated both quantitatively and qualitatively.

As we rise on Sunday with the new leadership, we must be vigilant and ensure that we close ranks against and all round enemy offensive, no matter who emerges as part of leadership collective. We are neither strangers nor shaken by enemy`s offensive and in response we know we have to strengthen our movement. Without a strong organisation, any group of people will be defenceless and are bound to fail in trying to address any social, economic or political problem. A strong organisation releases a potential strength in each person and the strength of each person makes the strength of an organisation

This conclusion has not been arrived at by deduction of a sum total of simple experiences as mere events. It has been arrived at from concrete historical conditions attending to the existence of humans, their relationship with nature on the one hand, and their interaction and relationship with their fellow humans on the other hand. (Umrabulo 1st Quarter 2013, theory of the organisation.)

The ANC lives, the ANC leads
Asinamona, Asinanzondo
Siyayidumisa I ANC
Thank you Comrades.