Address by ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Gauteng ANC Provincial Conference
3 October 2014
Provincial Chairperson, Cde Paul Mashatile,
Members of the National Executive Committee,
Members of the Provincial Executive Committee,
Members of Regional Executive Committees,
Leadership of the SACP, COSATU and SANCO,
Leadership of fraternal organisations,
I bring you revolutionary greetings from the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress.
The 12th Gauteng provincial conference takes place during an important period in the political life of our movement. We are reviving our organisation and restoring the historic values of selflessness, sacrifice, humility and service.
This conference confirms that the ANC is a living organisation with vibrant structures rooted among our people. It confirms the value of debate and the importance of organisation renewal.
In this month of October, we would have celebrated the 97th birthday of a stalwart of our movement who dedicated his entire adult life to the cause of freedom, former ANC President Isithwalandwe Oliver Reginald Tambo.
President Tambo was a symbol of the unity of our movement, the alliance and all our people. He was an internationalist who understood the true meaning of human solidarity.
During this decade, the decade of the cadre, we would be well advised to draw lessons from the life of OR Tambo who, determined never to put himself above the people, exemplified humility and service.
When delivering his political report to the Durban Conference in 1991, he said:
"We did not tear ourselves apart because of lack of progress at times. We were always ready to accept our mistakes and to correct them. Above all we succeeded to foster and defend the unity of the ANC and the unity of our people in general. Even in bleak moments, we were never in doubt regarding the winning of freedom. We have never been in doubt that the people`s cause shall triumph."
It was thanks to leaders like OR Tambo that the ANC was able to remain united, committed and close to the people even in times of great difficulty.
Comrades and friends,
Here present are branch delegates from all corners of Gauteng. On your shoulders rest the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our people in the communities you represent.
This is what distinguishes the ANC from any other political party as a real movement of the people deeply rooted in their hearts and minds. This conference is therefore not happening for its own sake.
It is happening as part of the broader struggle of changing people`s lives for the better.
The people of Gauteng want to know whether the ANC that will emerge from this conference is capable of fulfilling their legitimate expectations of a better life.
The people of Gauteng are looking to this conference to provide answers on how implementation will be accelerated so that they can all have water, electricity, housing and decent sanitation.
They seek from this conference an indication of how the National Development Plan is practically going to contribute to building a better, more inclusive and more prosperous society over the next 20 years.
They want to know how they can get involved in making this common vision a shared reality.
This conference needs to engage with these issues and understand how the NDP can be given effect in Gauteng. What are the province`s development priorities? How does it affect its spatial planning? What impact does it have on budgeting and the allocation of resources?
This conference needs to acknowledge that the level of dissatisfaction with the performance of local government in Gauteng is alarmingly high.
We urgently need to improve on service delivery. We need to be more responsive. We need to be more accountable.
Certainly, we need to make better use of the rapid response teams that exist down to ward level. But also, and more importantly, we need to improve the way government works. We need a credible and capable state.
As ANC leaders we need to listen to people, acknowledge dissatisfaction and make sure that we address it. We also need to give feedback to our people on their concerns raised. Our structures must take the lead in effective service delivery.
I am particularly heartened by the determination of this province to revitalise and mainstream the township economy. This has the potential to change the structure of the provincial economy and contribute to radical economic transformation.
Small businesses that are producing goods and services need to be supported. They need finance, mentoring, training and, most importantly, they need access to opportunities.
If Gauteng succeeds in this endeavour, it will forever change the spatial dimensions of apartheid development and under-development.
None of these programmes will achieve their objectives if the effectiveness of implementation continues to be eroded by corrupt practices.
We need to strengthen measures to prevent corruption and to act decisively against those engaged in corruption.
The ANC needs to lead. Integrity Commissions should be active in investigating and reporting on their findings.
In our deliberations during the course of this conference, we must be preoccupied with these important questions because being a member of the ANC means you are answerable to the people at all times.
Being a delegate means you carry the heavy burden to go back and report on the outcomes of this conference not just to your branch but also to your community.
This conference needs to critically assess just how close the ANC is to the people here in Gauteng. Our performance during the 2014 national and provincial elections provides cause for concern.
We must face the reality that a decline of 10% at the polls from 64.04% in 2009 to 53.59% in 2014 is a serious matter that deserves the full attention of the membership.
We must grapple with the uncomfortable truths that it reveals about our organisation, about our presence in communities, and about the needs and concerns of the electorate.
We must attend to this matter with utmost humility and honesty, ever ready to accept our mistakes and correct them. We must resist at all times the urge to tear each other apart because of lack of progress. We must foster and defend the unity of the ANC and our people in general.
If we successfully carry out this reflection, even in bleak moments, we will never be in any doubt that we can indeed receive a decisive mandate in the 2016 local government elections.
One of the most important responsibilities of a conference is to elect leadership. As a democratic organisation, we are not unfamiliar with healthy contestation for leadership positions.
But contestation must happen in a disciplined and principled manner that puts the interests of the organisation and the people first. It must not be done to satisfy personal ambitions or to establish a system of political patronage.
We have seen in recent years how regrettable tendencies have emerged that threaten to tear our movement asunder. We have seen vote buying, gate keeping, patronage, factionalism and even violence. Conference must discuss what can be done urgently to reverse these tendencies.
As we elect leadership, we must remember that the ANC is and has always been about bettering the lives of our people.
The people of the Gauteng are not interested in our factional battles. They are not interested in personalities or who is best at rendering revolutionary slogans.
As Amilcar Cabral once said:
"Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone`s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children."
Comrades and friends,
This 12th Provincial Conference of Gauteng is convened under the theme: "United in action to advance a radical social and economic transformation."
Nothing is more important at this moment in the history of our country and in the life of our movement.
South African has now entered the second phase of its transition from apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society.
It is in this second phase of the transition that we will see a radical shift in economic relations to ensure socio-economic freedom for all our people.
We look to this conference to deepen our efforts to achieve this radical shift.
I wish this conference every success. I am confident that all of us here will discharge our responsibilities in a manner that makes us worthy of being the custodians of the ANC of President Oliver Reginald Tambo.
Thank you very much for your attention.