Declaration of the ANC 50th National Conference
We the delegates to this
50th National Conference of the African National Congress, drawn, as we are,
from all corners of our country, and from every sector of South African society,
solemnly dedicate ourselves to meeting the challenges of the ongoing struggle
for social transformation.
In re-dedicating ourselves, we draw strength from the extensive changes
brought about by the ANC over many decades, and especially since we became the
governing party of our country. Political peace and stability, a new sense of
national pride, unity and patriotism, the consolidation of democratic governance
in all spheres - these enormous gains have been ushered in by the ANC.
We have begun to turn around an economy that was in the throes of chronic
decline. In health-care, in the provision of safe drinking water, in the supply
of electricity, in land restitution and reform, in welfare provisions, in
education and housing, vast struggles for transformation are unfolding. In
thousands of localities, change is underway. It is tangible. We are immensely
proud of these achievements. We are strengthened by the conviction that it is
only the ANC, underpinned by huge popular support, that could lead this historic
But we are also well aware that the pace of change and the quality of
services need much improvement. As the leading political organisation in
government, we need to strengthen our links and consultation with the masses.
We have only just begun the gigantic task of building a new society out of
the ruins of racial oppression and minority rule. Problems of poverty,
unemployment, crime, and corruption persist. Much needs to be done to transform
the state machinery. Some of the forces which sought to prevent democracy are
today regrouping and trying to undermine the people's gains. There are also new
difficulties. Our country and our continent are faced with the challenge of
combatting a devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic.
On every front, the struggle for a better life for all continues.
We have met in this 50th National
Conference under the banner of: "All Power to the People!" This slogan
captures the central tasks of building a common national agenda of
reconciliation and transformation. The resolutions we have taken at this
Conference, the programmatic perspectives we have reaffirmed, all of these are
fundamentally directed towards ensuring the involvement of the people in
governing themselves, and in changing their lives for the better. We also
reaffirm the principle that the people are, and will continue to be, their own
In particular, this Conference has reaffirmed the historic alignment of our
movement to those who have been most oppressed because they are black, because
they are working people, because they are women, because they are from rural
areas, because they are poor, because they are disabled. We continue to dedicate
our organisation to the principle that change must be change, first and
foremost, for the overwhelming majority.
In our deliberations at this 50th Conference we have returned, time and
again, to the centrality of morality in rebuilding of the fabric of our society.
As cadres of the ANC we have a duty to be in the vanguard of fostering a
morality of democracy, openness, and humanism, of respect for life, and
tolerance of difference. In particular, we dedicate ourselves to working
selflessly in the historic struggle for a people-centred transformation. We will
work to expunge any elements of opportunistic careerism, let alone corruption,
from within our own ranks, and indeed from within our wider society.
We have embarked on a vast process of transformation, that touches every
single aspect and sector of our society. It is a process of transformation that
is, and shall remain, throughly democratic and participatory in character. We
have declined, out of deep conviction, a path to growth and development that
would be based on a top-down, bureaucratic mobilisation of resources. In many
respects, what we are attempting is unique in recent world history. We are also
seeking to emerge from colonialism, civil war and under-development in a world
which has changed dramatically in the past decade. We are, as South Africans,
In this context, the 50th National
Conference of the ANC calls on the widest range of South Africans, whether they
be ANC supporters or not, to join us in partnership in this pioneering task of
nation building. The challenges before us require the building of a spirit of
Masakhane amongst the rich and poor, the employed and unemployed, old and young,
black and white. We call on intellectuals, religious leaders and the media to
join us in the challenge of finding the values, concepts and words for this
pioneering task on which we are embarked.
As South Africans, we are well aware that there can be no sustainable
reconstruction and development within our own country without the transformation
of the Southern African region and of our broader continent. It is for this
reason that we have, in this 50th Conference, embraced the vision and concrete
challenges of an African Renaissance.
We, the delegates to this Conference,
salute our outgoing President. Comrade Nelson Mandela, during the long, hard
decades of apartheid rule you were the embodiment and personification of our
collective spirit of resistance. Over the last eight years you have steered our
organisation and inspired our country and the world, not just with the values of
collective resistance, but also with your example of determination,
reconciliation and rootedness amongst the millions of ordinary people.
We hope that the vibrancy, depth of discussion, and unity of this Conference
has reassured you that your life's work has borne fruit. You hand over the
leadership of our organisation to a new generation of leaders who have,
themselves, been nurtured in decades of struggle. Comrade, you take leave of the
Presidency of an organisation that is building on over eighty years of
experience, but which is, truly, also a vibrant organisation for the coming
Long live the ANC!
Long live the spirit of revolutionary unity and
determination that has prevailed through our 50th Conference!
The struggle continues!