Address by Limpopo ANC Chairperson Cde Cassel Mathale during the ANC Peter Mokaba Regional Conference, Peter Mokaba Region

Address by Limpopo ANC Chairperson Cde Cassel Mathale during the ANC Peter Mokaba Regional Conference, Peter Mokaba Region

25-27 May 2012

NEC members
PEC members present here
REC members
The leadership of the Alliance structures
The leadership of the ANCYL,Women`s League and the entire PYA structures (YCL, SASCO & COSAS)
Delegates
Distinguished guests
Comrades

The Provincial Executive Committee would like to pass revolutionary greetings to you in the name of our living and leading glorious movement, the African National Congress. On the 09th of June, a decade ago, a brave revolutionary, our brother and hero of our struggle for freedom and a better life for all, cde Peter Ramoshoana Mokaba ceased to breathe.

Death robbed us of a quality leader of great credentials who was still due to offer immensely to the construction of our new democratic society where the previously oppressed masses have equal opportunities, not only in the political space, but also in the economic mainstream. In cde Peter, we lost a grounded revolutionary who was forever prepared to fight and defend the course of a free and prosperous South Africa.

We are pleased to join this important parliament of the movement in this region, which has been named after our brother, and hero, cde Peter Mokaba, a brave leader who led from the front without fear.

Cde Peter Mokaba loved the African National Congress and dedicated his entire youth and adult life to the programmes of the movement and he was also passionate about making a positive change to the lives of our people. He was a true soldier who always went to the battle field without a white flag in his possession for he understood that a true soldier is one who goes to the frontline with one determination; victory, victory and victory.

We will always remember cde Peter for he remains a true inspiration to many of us, and the future generation will benefit from reading about the role he played in fighting the white apartheid regime, and the energy he devoted to the building of a new democratic society.

One of the things that we will always remember cde Peter for is that he was not obsessed with positions in the movement or in government.

Even when he was not reappointed to the cabinet after the 1999 General Elections, he never organised any internal rebellion against the leadership of the movement. In actual fact, he wholeheartedly supported those who were considered for government posts and was always available to offer his assistance in ensuring that the ANC meets all promises made to the people.

At some point we wanted cde Peter to be the Chairperson of the ANC in the province, but after certain discussions that plan had to be deferred. And because he was never obsessed with positions in the movement, he did not only accept the decision, but he was in the forefront of communicating the decision and urging all those who supported his nomination to rally behind those who were elected.

He accepted to serve the movement in whatever capacity, including in a full time capacity, without considering his own personal interests for he understood that interests of the movement are above all others. Although we will never replace cde Peter we can learn a lot from his political life and contribution to our movement. Therefore comrades, your region must act in a manner that reflects the fact that it is named after cde Peter Ramoshoana Mokaba.

Comrades, furthermore, we must always remember that this region produced the second President of the movement, our father, President-General Sefako Makgatho, who led the ANC with dignity and courage during a difficult period, in particular when the country and the world at large were still recovering from the First World War.

This region also produced cde Selaelo Ramushi, a brave commander of our liberation army, Mkhondo we Sizwe, who gallantly fought the apartheid regime without retreating. We cannot forget another brave soldier of our liberation struggle, cde Andrew Mehlape who also descended from this region.

Comrades, this region produced Mama Charlotte Maxeke who in 1918 led the formation of the Bantu Women`s League, the forerunner of the African National Congress Women`s League. Therefore, you have a responsibility on your shoulders to ensure that your actions and approach to issues resembles the contribution that this region has made to the liberation movement.

This region has offered to the struggle for freedom selfless cadres who were not opportunists, cadres who were forever prepared to sacrifice their lives for the movement. Therefore, it cannot be in this region that we have a certain group claiming to be the legitimate PEC of the ANC Youth League whilst fully knowing that it is living under unfortunate imaginations.

The fact that as the movement, we did not take any action against the engineers of the ill-disciplined actions of this group does not mean we have unlimited patience, which can be stretched indefinitely. The actions of this group tarnished the good name of the movement and brought the entire organisation into disrepute. The perpetual ill-disciplined actions of this group continue to threaten the good image and name of our glorious organisation.

We have, on several occasions urged all members of the ANC, in particular members of the ANC Youth League to refrain from any action that undermines the unity and discipline of the movement. Regrettably some have deliberately ignored our call.

The reality is that we have one ANC Youth League in this Province whose conference was convened in accordance with the tenets of our internal procedures, under the guidance of the National Executive Committee of the ANC Youth League. Therefore, any other group parading itself as the rightful and authentic provincial leadership of the Youth League is skating on thin ice testing the patience of the movement.

Comrades

This region is supposed to be one of the biggest regions in the movement in terms of membership numbers. The fact that this region has few members indicates that more needs to be done to accelerate our recruitment drive which must also include other racial groups.

We expect all our members to command clarity on issues and learn more about the movement and broader issues affecting our people. Our members must dominate the public discourse as advocates of ideas.

We must abandon the culture of reviving structures of the movement during elective conferences. We should work very hard to ensure that we construct an organic organisation in this region. The fact that even our Branch General Meetings take time, some even the whole day, to reach a quorum is a sign confirming that something is not right.

We must have consistent interaction as members of the movement where we debate organisational and societal issues. We cannot inform or influence the direction of the society if we are not having formal organisational meetings.

As members of the ANC, we must be deeply concerned with the fact that we did not perform well during the last Local Government Elections in wards that are situated here in town. We cannot claim to be legitimate representatives of the society whilst on the other hand lose ground to the opposition. This is not revolutionary.

This situation also says something about our capacity to recruit people from other racial groups into the ranks of the movement. How do we build a non-racial society when this conference is largely attended by comrades from one racial group? Our resolve to build a non-racial nation must reflect in the membership composition of the movement.

This region stands in a good position to lead the process of recruiting, Whites, Indians and Coloured people to become active members of the African National Congress. We cannot afford to neglect our elementary responsibility to build a homogenic organisation that represents people across all racial lines.

We must build a living movement that is able to provide solutions to all challenges facing our people. As members of the ANC we must conduct ourselves in a manner that is acceptable to the community and society at large. The ANC cannot have members who perpetrate criminal activities against our people.

We can only succeed in recruiting new members, if we as the membership of the movement, conduct ourselves in a manner that is humble and appealing to our people. People must find it possible and interesting to become members of the African National Congress.

We must not recruit people for the purpose of advancing narrow political ambitions. Those who recruit people in order to secure nomination or election into certain political offices offend the movement and must be exposed and isolated.

Members who are recruited to support certain individuals, in most instances do not stay for long in the organisation. And the day they leave the ANC, they depart without having known or felt the greatness of this organisation in particular its power to transform a member into a conscious and quality asset to the movement and the society at large.

Members who are recruited to the ranks of the movement in order to insult or boo certain members, especially the leadership, require more attention that will teach them correct politics of the movement. Those who perpetuate foreign tendencies that are normally practiced in soccer matches by supporters, who want to tell the coach when to make substitutions, are causing harm to the ANC and we are duty bound to condemn them.

It is important for us to remember that comrades, who do not have any factual point to make, always resort to making noise and causing chaos, so that no one can make a progressive point that will assist the meeting. These comrades are not known for any thing in the structures of the movement, except for noise and causing anarchy.

When you are not interested in what a speaker is saying you must not cause disruptions by rolling your hands in the air or by booing the comrade recognised to speak. In actual fact, those who lose interest in what a speaker is saying, do that not because they differ with the argument advanced by the speaker. But they act in such a disruptive manner because they do not share the same perspective on leadership issues. It is wrong to be patient only with those comrades who agree with you on who must occupy which position in the organisation and differ with those who have a varying view.

Booing and rolling hands has never been part of our ground rules and they will never become part of our rules. These tendencies of booing and rolling hands are very rife during the conferences where leadership positions are bitterly contested. Comrades, we should always be alive to the fact that where leadership positions are bitterly contested, foreign tendencies emerge and enjoy domination. This is the reason why we should always strive to find each other, not for our personal sake, but for the sake of the movement.

The disappearance of political tolerance, especially during elective conferences, is negatively eroding one of our seasoned cultures of having robust and honest discussions. Our different perspectives on issues must be factual and advanced in a respectable manner that encourages robust and frank debates.

Any continuation of some of these foreign tendencies will refuse us the opportunity to recruit and retain new members. These tendencies also affect our ability to build quality membership. Therefore, as part of our organisational renewal programme we should let go of these foreign practices immediately.

Comrades

As the African National Congress, we have long declared our support for the people of Palestine and also called for the full affirmation of the State of Palestine with all the rights accorded to a sovereign State. We have never supported the expansion of Israel into the territories of Palestine. In actual fact, we pronounced our support for the declaration of a Palestinian State whose borders are based on the 1967 border lines as determined by the United Nations. We declared our support for a Palestinian State that exists in peace with its neighbours.

But the perpetual extension of Israel into Palestinian land does not only undermine the long standing resolution of the international community, but also threatens all possibilities of Palestine becoming a full independent State with clear borders, surface and airspace for its people.

The people of Palestine are under consistent attack from Israel through ground and air attacks. Every family in Palestine has a close experience of Israel`s brutalities which are being perpetrated without condemnation from the Western powers who on the other hand, claim to be paragons of human rights promotion.

Palestinians do not know human rights because of Israel. Portions of the land of Palestine are continuously being taken by Israel without restrain. What is happening to our brothers and sisters in Palestine should remind us of the days of apartheid when the land of our forefathers was taken against their will.

We have been supporting the people of Palestine in their course to self-determination and now is the time to take that support to another level. The plan to put a special label on food products produced in Palestinian land that is being forcefully occupied by Israel is long overdue and must be supported.

We must not denounce what Israel is doing to the Palestinians but yet on the other hand, support economic activities of Israel. We must be consistent in our words and in our actions. The placing of the label on specified Israel products is a step in the right direction which must serve as a first signal towards the total ban if things do not change.

As members of the ANC, we must mobilise masses of our people not to buy Israel products produced in the occupied Palestine land.

We as South Africans especially with the history of oppression have an obligation to do more for the people of Palestine. We need to mobilise all progressive forces to commence the process of isolating Israel. It cannot be right that enemies of the international community must always be those identified by the Western Powers such as Iran.

Comrades

We will never stop our efforts to have a strong Alliance in the province which is programme based and respects the other`s sovereign right. We would like to reiterate our position that as the African National Congress, we will never undermine or seek to influence internal processes of any of our Alliance partners. Our Alliance is based on a solid ,concrete foundation with known rules of engagements.

Each member of the Alliance partners has a vital responsibility to play in the life of the movement and it cannot be overemphasised that each Alliance partner must not neglect its responsibility or encroach on others responsibilities in a way that undermines the unity of the Alliance or degrades the dignity of certain leaders of the Alliance.

Comrades

This Regional Conference is the last in the province before the 2012 Policy Conference of the movement. Therefore, we are urging you to devote reasonable attention to the discussion documents in order to make a meaningful contribution to the direction of the movement and the country.

As we open this conference, we should all remember President General cde Sefako Makgatho, cde Peter Mokaba and many other comrades who were produced by this region. We are wishing you a successful regional conference whose outcomes will add value to the course of realising the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution.

The ANC lives! The ANC leads!

Amandla!

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