Address by ANC President Jacob Zuma to the ANC January 8 2016 Anniversary Celebration with Traditional Leaders
8 January 2016, Rustenburg
The Provincial Chairperson, Comrade Supra Mahumapelo,
Members of the National Executive Committee of the ANC,
Chairperson of Contralesa,
Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother, Queen Molotlegi,
Comrades and friends,
Good day to you all.
Comrades let me start by conveying our deepest condolences on the tragic passing of Kgosi Keobusitse Moiloa III.
His untimely and tragic passing has robbed his people and the North West province of his contribution in the building of a better society.
May his soul rest in peace.
We meet on a very important day in our history, on the 104th anniversary of our glorious movement, the African National Congress (ANC).
We are celebrating that which brings us together as South Africans - the ANC and its undying commitment to this country and its people since 1912.
The ANC has worked hard to earn its special place in the hearts of South Africans.
Since 1912, this organisation has worked consistently to rid South Africa of colonialism, oppression, apartheid, racism, tribalism and sexism.
It has endeavoured to remain true to its nation-building task.
Pixley ka Isaka Seme aptly emphasised unity as the essence of the ANC in October 1911 when he spoke out about the need to eradicate the demon of racism and tribalism. The ANC stands for the unity of the South African people and the respect of the human rights and dignity of every South African, regardless of race, culture, or creed.
The ANC stands for humility, service to the people, hard work, selflessness and dedication to building a better life for all our people.
The ANC stands for non-racialism and totally rejects racism, racial discrimination and prejudice.
We owe these traditions, values and customs of this movement to its founding leaders whom we recall today as we celebrate the anniversary of the movement.
We salute the first executive committee, which consisted of Rev. John Langalibalele Dube, as President; Solomon T. Plaatje as Secretary; Pixley ka Isaka Seme as Treasurer; Thomas Mapikela of the then Orange Free State as Speaker and Kgosi Montsioa as the Recording Secretary.
The Rev. Mqoboli of the Wesleyan Church became Chaplain-in-Chief, assisted by the Rev. H.R. Ngcayiya. Walter Rubusana, Meshack Pelem, Sam Makgatho and Alfred Mangena were elected Vice-Presidents.
Today we also acknowledge the critical role played by Traditional Leaders in the founding of the ANC. Traditional Leaders who became Honorary Presidents in 1912 were: Dalindyebo of the abaThembu, Montsioa of the Barolong, Lewanika of Barotseland (a part of Zambia), Letsie 11 of Basutoland (Lesotho), Khama of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and King Dinizulu of the amaZulu.
When we pay our respects to traditional leaders as the ANC, we are staying true to the history and traditions of our movement. When we visit places of worship, we are also remaining true to tradition, as this movement had a Chaplain in Chief at its inception in 1912.
You will also notice, if you visit ANC archives on our website and read our historical documents, that our policymaking also began in 1912. At the inaugural conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein, eleven papers were read and the topics ranged from schools and churches, African labour, segregation and the land question, amongst others.
We are therefore celebrating an organization that has always thought about the best policies and programmes to build a better life for the people of our country, since 1912.
This celebration of the ANC legacy since 1912 also provides an opportunity for us to acknowledge the contribution of women to the history of the ANC and our country.
While we correctly mark the 1956 Women's March on the Union Buildings, it should also be noted that women had started much earlier than that to make their presence felt in the struggle for liberation.
Our archives indicate that about 600 women marched to the Municipal offices in Bloemfontein in July 1913, and handed over their passes to the Deputy Mayor. We celebrate the pioneers from Charlotte Maxeke to Lillian Ngoyi and many other fearless and courageous women who stood for freedom, justice and equality for all.
We also celebrate the formation of the ANC Youth League, the preparatory school of our movement, which must rise and take its rightful place as the leader of all young people in South Africa.
We are also celebrating the fact that this organisation has since 1912 produced leaders who were always equal to the challenges and tasks of the time. We are also celebrating the generations of illustrious leaders produced by this movement over the years.
We remain true to the vision and mission of the ANC in 1912, to build a better life for our people.
We love our country. We love its people.
We will continue to work tirelessly to build a better South Africa.
The ANC is preparing for local government elections. We have done a lot to change the face of local government and to improve services.
We will be going to our people to hear what else they want us to do to further improve the performance of local government.
I thank you.