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53rd National Conference: Draft Declaration

20 December 2012

We, the five thousand delegates to this 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress, gathered at the University of the Free State, united in the diversity of our nation, black and white, women and men, workers and business people, rural and urban, young and old, intellectuals and religious communities, hereby adopt this declaration as our collective message to our country and to the world.

We came from every corner of our land to Mangaung, the birthplace of our people’s movement. We came representing the hopes and aspirations of all South Africans.

We were strengthened by the presence and contributions of fraternal parties from across the world, our Alliance partners, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the South African National Civics Organisation, and the mass democratic movement.

In response to the echoes of the call by Pixley ka Isaka Seme that brought the founding mothers and fathers of our people’s movement to Mangaung a century ago, we returned here "in order to review the past and reject therein all those things which have retarded our progress, the things which poison the springs of our national life and virtue; to label and distinguish the sins of civilisation, and as members of one house-hold to talk and think loudly on our home problems and the solution of them."

The memory of our forebears who worked tirelessly and relentlessly to build the ANC into a powerful instrument of liberation in the hands of our people, pervaded our open and honest debates, conducted in the spirit of convincing others and allowing ourselves to be convinced.

As we conclude our year-long celebrations and reflections on the Centenary of the ANC, we paid tribute to many generations of freedom fighters who made supreme sacrifices to bring us where we are today.

We reiterate our commitment to the vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as enshrined in the Freedom Charter.

These include the guarantee of the fundamental human rights of all South Africans, reinforced by an entrenched Bill of Rights, a multiparty system of government, a representative and independent judiciary and regular elections.

We are conscious that these rights will be meaningless without the fundamental transformation of the economy to serve the interests of the people and far-reaching transformation in the areas of land distribution, housing, education, health, water and sanitation and social security.

Inspired by the theme of UNITY IN ACTION TOWARDS SOCIO-ECONOMIC FREEDOM, we reviewed the progress made over the last 18 years towards the building of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

We engaged in vigorous and searching debates on the persistence of the legacy of apartheid colonialism, reflected in the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Responding to these challenges, we are boldly entering the second phase of the transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society. This phase will be characterised by decisive action to effect economic transformation and democratic consolidation, critical both to improve the quality of life of all South Africans and to promote nation-building and social cohesion.

Consequently, in pursuance of these objectives, we embraced Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan as a platform for united action by all South Africans to eradicate poverty, create full employment and reduce inequality as critical building blocks towards a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

We recognise that these efforts cannot bear fruit if carried out by government and the ANC alone. We therefore commit ourselves to build strong partnerships with community organizations and social movements, trade unions, religious bodies, business organisations, women and youth structures as well as other organisations to ensure that, in actual practice, South Africans - black and white - act as their own liberators.

At the core of the above, should be a united and revolutionary ANC and Alliance formations that are rooted amongst the people and have a committed, conscientious, competent, disciplined and capable corps of cadres.

We hereby declare the next ten years as the Decade of the Cadre and commit to implementing a decade-long programme of organizational renewal to safeguard the core values of the ANC and build its transformative capacity as a strategic centre of power and driver of fundamental change.

We pay tribute to Comrade Nelson Mandela, who during the long, hard decades of apartheid rule was the embodiment and personification of our collective spirit of resistance. As our first democratic President, he inspires our nation and the world and steered our organisation, not just with the values of collective resistance, but also with his example of determination, reconciliation and rootedness amongst the millions of ordinary people. We wish you a speedy recovery, Tata.
As we rise, we are conscious that next year marks the centenary of the 1913 Land Act, which should serve as a reminder of the urgent task of dealing with the historical injustice.

In 2013 we also commemorate the 50th Anniversary since the founding of the OAU, an organization who made it its mission to rid the continent of colonialism. We will continue to strengthen its successor, the African Union as it steers the continent towards integration, peace and prosperity.

We will also be gearing up towards the completion of our Second Decade of Freedom and the fifth democratic and non-racial elections.

We are mindful that this conference rises on the threshold of the second centenary of our glorious movement. We are deeply aware of the historical obligations that this imposes on us to implement our resolutions and ensure that the ANC has the resilience to survive and thrive as a people’s movement for yet another century.

We emerge from the 53rd National Conference having reaffirmed our firm conviction that the ANC’s culture of vibrant internal democracy enhances our unity of purpose rather than being a source of division and internal discord.

We arrived here with different viewpoints on many issues and are returning to our communities and branches with an unbreakable unity of purpose and a single-minded focus on ensuring that the ANC continues to be a loyal servant of the people, a dynamic leader of our society and an effective movement for transformation.

Asinamona, asinanzondo, siyayidumisa, iANC!