Address by Limpopo ANC Chairperson Cde Cassel Mathale during the ANC Sekhukhune Regional Conference, Elias Motswaledi Sub Region

Address by Limpopo ANC Chairperson Cde Cassel Mathale during the ANC Sekhukhune Regional Conference, Elias Motswaledi Sub Region

22 December 2011

NEC members;
PEC members present here;
REC members;
The leadership of the Alliance structures;
The leadership of the Veterans League, the Women`s League and the Youth League;
Other PYA structures (YCL, SASCO & COSAS)
Traditional leaders,
Media houses
Delegates
Distinguished guests
Comrades

Please receive revolutionary greetings from the recently elected Provincial Executive Committee. This Regional Conference is taking place just some few hours after the adjournment of our 7th Provincial Conference which took place under the theme: "Unity in diversity towards the ANC centenary and economic emancipation."

We have realised the promise made to our membership that we will deliver a successful conference with clear policy outcomes as we commence the voyage to the second centenary of our glorious movement, the African National Congress.

We have adjourned the 7th Provincial Conference on a high note and it is our trust that this Regional Conference will do the same. What gives us more courage is the fact that this area of Sekhukhune has produced great leaders who dedicated their time and energy to the establishment of underground structures of the movement and sustained politics of the movement without any retreat.

Amongst the people who descended to Mangaung to form the African National Congress 99 years ago was Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune wa Bobedi, who traveled hundreds of kilometers in order to assist with the formation of this glorious movement in whose name we are gathering here today.

This morning we have converged here at the land of Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune to attend the Regional Conference of the organisation he has assisted to establish on the 8th of January nearly 100 years ago.

It is also important to indicate that this year marks the 111 anniversary of the leadership of Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune wa Bobedi who ascended to the throne in 1900 and ruled his tribe intelligently for 43 years until he passed on in 1943. We can`t tell better the story of the formation of the ANC without referring to the immense role that was played by Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune wa Bobedi who inherited the throne from our warrior Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune wa Pele.

Comrades

Our forefathers met to form this liberation movement with the sole intention of fighting for the rights and freedom of the indigenous people of South Africa. The ANC was also formed to unite people, cutting across all racial and tribal lines, under one organised formation.

The ANC since establishment has always strived to build a non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous nation led by the people formed government. At all times, we have ensured that our policy direction is canvassed along this primary mission of building a non racial, non sexist, democratic South Africa.

Comrades

The movement is engulfed by many foreign tendencies which have the capacity to shorten its existence. And failure to speak against such counter revolutionary actions will undoubtedly lead to the destruction of our movement.

It is regrettable that in our meetings, in particular elective conferences, we spend much time arguing and differing over credentials than discussing real challenges facing the movement and the country at large. In certain areas the fight starts at the Branch General Meetings, whereby people differ on the delegation to conferences, with everyone fighting to be a delegate. Some comrades fight to the level of disrupting BGM`s and threatening to kill each other.

Some of the BGM`s struggle to reach quorums in order to proceed with the meetings, on the account of non-attendance by members. But during the BGM`s organised to elect representatives to conferences people attend in numbers, some with ulterior motives. Those with interests often offer resources to collect members from their respective homes in order for the BGM to reach the required quorum. But in most instances, they only collect those members who will vote according to their preference.

This is wrong and counter revolutionary, for we expect all members to be assisted in order to attend meetings regardless of their views. If transport is made available to collect members who are residing far from the meeting place, such transport must not have restrictions and selfish conditions. But it must collect members of the ANC who are residing in those selected areas without looking at the views of the comrade.

In the event refreshments are organised during the BGM, no comrade must be denied such refreshment because of his or her views on the leadership issues or policy matters. The invitation to the BGM must not be limited to certain members, but must be extended to all members of the African National Congress in the branch.

All delegates who are present here representing various branches must report back about the resolutions of this Conference, including discussions and the state of the organisation, to their respective branches at the formally convened BGM`s. The process of representing a branch does not end with voting or making a nomination, but it ends where it started, at the Branch General Meeting, where you were chosen to be here.

It is the responsibility of the regional leadership and sub regions to ensure that those branches which could not attend both the Provincial Conference and this Conference are given all the discussion documents and resolutions of these meetings.

The branch as the basic unit must be well informed and be rooted amongst the people. It should stand with the people and provide direction in line with the objectives of the ANC. The course to better the living conditions of the people needs strong and vibrant branches.

The regional executive committees are expected to perform certain political functions, in particular supporting the branches and also at the same time assisting the PEC in building a strong and coherent organisation. The REC must not be biased in its operation because that will precipitate the destruction of the ANC at the BEC level or even BGM`s.

The PEC should also function fairly and in accordance with its political and constitutional mandate. The PEC is the political centre in the province whilst RECs represents the political centre in the regions. The PEC must be united in order for the organisation to be united and the same applies to the RECs. Comrades who are leading the organisation at the high level must be matured in order to lead the branches and general membership in a proper manner.

Comrades

We cannot tolerate destructive elements who want to collapse this movement, whilst furthering their narrow political ambitions. Those amongst us who see factional politics as the most viable option to advance their selfish political ambitions must be exposed and removed from the centre of events. Factionalists have no role to play in the building of a strong African National Congress.

They always regard themselves as important comrades in the ANC who have the right and authority to violate the norms, principles and the Constitution of the ANC with immunity. They create and strive over division amongst our members. At no point must we assume that factionalists are those who joined the ANC yesterday. The reality is that factionalists are those who have years in the ANC; those who know what is wrong and what is right; those who know what the ANC stands for, but unfortunately opt to do all the things that are against the African National Congress.

Therefore, it will be very difficult to educate the sponsors and architects of factional enterprises because they know what is required from a disciplined ANC cadre.

Some of the heckling and disruptions of speakers including leaders are led by people who have been in the ANC for some time. In certain instances, owing to the fact that they are cowards, they may not be able to do those wrong things in person, but use innocent members to hackle and insult other members of the African National Congress. In return this denies such innocent members the opportunity to grow very well in the ANC. Such members will know nothing about the ANC except factional politics.

A comrade who has been recruited and groomed through factional politics will require a special attention than a comrade who joined the ANC because he or she believes in the politics and objectives of the African National Congress. But such comrades must not be harassed or destroyed further. Instead, we must dedicate time and create space to educate them about the ANC. We must rescue them from the factionalists and feed them with correct politics of the ANC.

Comrades, to share a particular perspective does not mean you are a factionalists. To be comrades and friends at the same time does not qualify you to be factionalists. On the other side, to differ on a particular issue does not make you political rivals or enemies. In actual fact, it will be dangerous to the ANC to have members who have the same perspective on every issue. This will mean the end of politics and robust discussions in the ANC.

We must build the movement which is composed of cadres with divergent ideas, but who are able to argue their respective points within the proper internal platforms of the movement, whilst at the same time being open to be persuaded. Comrades must be able to persuade others and be persuaded in return.

Factionalists are not tolerant, and mostly, they cannot even be persuaded, because they always create an atmosphere which is tense and divided. They speak divisive politics with authority without caring about the harm they cause to the movement. Also the fact that factionalists use insult to intimidate others reduces all possibilities to have robust, frank and open discussions, which will enable members to persuade and be persuaded.

Because, factionalists cannot be persuaded, they often refuse to accept the outcomes of political engagements. This is because they come to the meetings and conferences motivated by one thing, which is, `we are going to show them who we are`.

Factionalists are highly talented in spreading lies about other comrades. The lies they speak about comrades refuses them the opportunity to have open political discussions because their lies will be exposed. It is always about them and nothing else. In the event they fail to get what they want they commence the process of rubbishing other leaders and planning for their down fall.

Factionalists are not honest and they will never be. And no person must ever claim to be a factionalist because he inherited that from his forefathers. No person is born a factionalist. But just like leaders, factionalists are also cultivated by circumstances. They become disparate for opportunities to the extent that they employ every deception to seize that opportunity. Factionalists are opportunists in character and form.

Therefore, comrades, factional politics are not sustainable and are the cause of many divisions in the movement. We should all speak and act against factional politics in the movement without any fear or restrictions. Those who come to our gatherings with a solid conviction that they must emerge victorious under all circumstances regardless of the realities on the ground do not know the African National Congress and pose a danger to the concrete foundation upon which this glorious movement has been found.

Despite our consistent position that there is no winner or loser in the movement, some continue to perpetuate politics of winners and losers. Those who have lost will attempt to create anything possible in order to launch a protest against the outcomes of elective conferences. Protests are only launched by those who lost. But those who understand that in the movement there is no winner or loser they allow the ANC to be the winner and immediately embrace the outcomes of democratic processes. This does not mean that comrades must remain silent even when wrong things are done to further a narrow and selfish politics.

Comrades

The fight for positions in the movement is not sustainable and impact negatively on the organisation. It is now fashionable to come to elective conferences with every position being contested. Comrades cannot engage each other with the aim of reaching consensus on issues especially on leadership matters. Some comrades spend fortunes trying to buy delegates in order to be elected to positions in the organisation.

On the other side, other comrades promise employment opportunities to delegates in return for votes. It is also wrong to lobby comrades to vote for you so that in return you will be a mayor and then employ them or give them tenders. All this unfortunate tendencies cause problems at our BGM`s and other structures of the movement.

Comrades

This Conference is taking place at the time when the movement is preparing itself for the mother of all celebrations, the centenary of the African National Conference. As Sekhukhune Region, you must choose between two available options. Its either you approach the centenary of the movement more united and focused or you approach the 100 years celebrations more divided along personal issues that have nothing to do with the principles of the movement. In the event you choose division at the expense of unity then you are on your own.

It is very important to also appreciate the fact that our generation is very fortunate to have lived to see the African National Congress turning 100 years. The 1912 generation that converged to form this glorious movement will remain a golden generation in the history of human race for it has created an organic movement that has proven for many years to be a trusted formation for change, promotion and respect for human rights.

We must treasurer the legacy of Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune wa bobedi by building strong structures of the African National Congress. We must build branches that exist throughout all seasons. Our branches must not exist because elective conferences are due. We must work very hard to ensure that branch meetings are called regularly without compromise.

Those who have personalised branches of the African National Congress must be told in no uncertain terms that the evolution of the ANC will clean them away. We must build an effective and responsive living organisation that has the capacity to resolve societal challenges. This government is ANC led and therefore, it cannot be impossible for us to address societal difficulties.

We expect this Region to produce cadres who will resemble the commitment and character of the struggle heroes produced by this land of Kgošikgolo Sekhukhune such as cde Elias Motswaledi, cde Lawrence Phokanoka, cde John Phala, cde John Nkadimeng, cde Flag Boshielo, cde Peter Nchabeleng, cde Senyeki Mashegoana, cde Uriah Maleka, and many others.

We want Sekhukhune Region that is not only having many members, but which also has finest cadres in the movement who will understand the politics of the African National Congress and act according to such politics.

Comrades

We are wishing this Conference fruitful discussions and outcomes! Once more, we are also wishing a Marry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Maatla!

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