Political Input by the Secretary General of the ANC Cde Ace Magashule During the Occasion of the 09th Plenary Session of the Provincial Conference Of Limpopo, Held on the 22nd to 24th Of June 2018 at the Ranch Hotel
Comrade Programme Directors
The leadership of the National Executive Committee of the ANC present
The leadership of the Provincial Executive Committee
The leadership of the Veterans League present
The leadership of the ANC Women's League present
The leadership of the Youth League present
The leadership of the South African Communist Party present
The leadership of the Congress of the South African Trade Union present
The leadership of the South African Civic Organisation present
The leadership of the institution of Traditional Leaders present
The leadership of the Progressive Youth Movement
The leadership of the Church community present
The leadership of the Business Community present
Members of the media
Comrades and compatriots.
OUR STRUGGLES IS ABOUT THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE UNITY OF PURPOSE AND UNITY OF ACTION
On Wednesday the South African nation and the world community were devastated by the sad news of the passing on of one of the outstanding daughters of the soil, Cde Joyce Mashamba. On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, we convey our heartfelt condolences to the family, relatives, friends and the people of the province of Limpopo and our country.
We convey our condolences to the people of the African continent and the whole progressive world of humanity. Mama Joyce Mashamba was an embodiment of the struggle of human solidarity and internationalism. She was a flame of fire of the progressive movement of humanity to make the world a better place.
Even if we appreciate that death by its nature is an inevitable necessity, it has robbed us of a monument, of which its image is this distinguished daughter of our revolution. As a movement and the people, we are confident that the soul of this heroine of our people, will defeat the myth of death itself.
Although her beautiful image has departed the land of the living, her indomitable footprints to the cause of the struggle for the emancipation of humanity, will continue to decorate the bowels of our mother earth. Her insurmountable acts of heroism and greatest feats to our struggle for freedom and equality, far surpasses the shadow of death.
From the deep bottom of our hearts, we again convey our sincere condolences to the family of the veteran of our movement Cde George Mashamba and his children. Without any doubt, the family of the Mashambas is synonymous to the history of the struggle of the people of our country against oppression and exploitation by the apartheid racist regime.
We also take the opportunity to convey our warm words of condolences to the families of the late Ambassador Billy Modise and Sibusiso Gadebe who passed during the course of this week. Our movement has suffered a great loss by the passing on of these giants of our national democratic revolution.
MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE
We again take the opportunity of this historic occasion of the 09th plenary session of the provincial conference of the ANC in Limpopo, and on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, to convey our revolutionary greetings to all the delegates and guests gathered here today. We extend our warm greetings to the general membership of the ANC and the whole of the people of this great province.
Over the years of our struggle for national liberation, Limpopo has become a reservoir of amongst the best and most outstanding sons and daughters our movement has ever produced. The province of Limpopo has over the years become the base of the best values and traditions of our national liberation movement.
Humanity shall forever be humbled by the episodes of outstanding feats of leadership and heroism by the people of this province - the province of warrior King Sekhukhune, Sekoati, Makhado, Ngungunyane, Malebogo, Mokopane, Makgoba, and Mampuru.
Indeed Limpopo is the home of the ANC, the home of our revolutionary Alliance, the province of Sefako Makgatho, the second President of the ANC, the province of Flack Boshielo, the first political commissar of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the province of Ephraim Mogale, the first President of the Congress of the South African Students.
The province of Alpheus Malivha, Kgosigadi Madinoge, John Kgwane Nkadimeng, Charlotte Maxeke, Mark Shope, Elias Motswaledi, Lilian Ngoyi, Lawrence Phokanoka, Peter Nchabeleng, Mahudu Phala, Ntate Cholo, Segowe Awolo Rapolai, Nelson Diale, Ike Maphoto, Pharepare Mothupi, Tito Manthatha, Cassius Maake, Zondi Maphanga, Peter Mokaba, Stella Mabittje Segwale, Sophie Mogotlana, Pandelani Ramagoma, Collins Chabane, Fellow Fighter Norman Mashabane, Teenage Monama, Joy Matshoge,Thembisile Nwendamutsu many of our unsung heroes and heroines of our struggle.
We shall only be on the right path of our history if we dedicate the 09th plenary session of this historic provincial conference to the living memories of these great sons and daughters of our soil. They were indeed the best exemplary and selfless servants of our people.
They dedicated and volunteered their own lifes for the noble cause of the freedom and dignity of our people. Ours is to continue following their giant footprints and ensure that we emulate their distinguished revolutionary discipline.
It is our hope, that in memory of these gallant revolutionaries of our movement, you shall translate this beautiful parliament of our people, into an intense political school, to produce the best amongst us. The ANC remains to be the only genuine parliament whose interest is the wishes and the aspirations of our people.
We also take the opportunity to thank the membership of the ANC in the province for the good work done. We thank your resilience and commitment, our thanks go to all of you who have been entrusted with the task of guiding our branches towards the preparations of this conference.
We thank all the leadership of our branches, sub-regions, regions and the province for the sterling work done. We thank our revolutionary alliance partners and the whole of our mass democratic movement.
We thank all the deployees of the National Executive Committee of the ANC for the industrious work. The determination of your collective work has contributed positively towards the unity and renewal of the ANC in this province.
We hope this conference is not just about the election of leaders, but about outlining a programme of action which will steer our movement into the greater strength of unity and renewal. We are hopeful that the leadership to be elected out of this conference will rise to the occasion and ensure that they are equal to the tasks of our national democratic revolution.
We are living during interesting moments in the history of the development of our struggle for liberation. The new improved conditions of our democracy have brought new challenges which we have to confront.
Our movement is confronted by the growing counter revolutionary and self-serving tendencies of opportunism, craft materialism, triumphalism, and right wing and left wing populism and demagogy. These are the worrisome tendencies that if not attended to, have the preponderance to erode the moral fibre of our revolution.
It is the responsibility of our generation, to build the capacity of our movement to confront its own challenges. The strength of any revolution is its capacity to resolve its own challenges.
It is therefore of great importance for all members of the ANC to have a clear ideological and theoretical understanding of the true meaning of the concept of unity and renewal. Unity and renewal is at the heart of the organizational building and development.
The fundamental revolutionary principle of unity and renewal is essentially about democratic centralism and inner party democracy. We will not be able to achieve this strategic objective if we do not comprehend the overall thrust of the true political connotation of this concept.
Unity is not about give and take. Unity is not about Ka mina ka wena.
There are those amongst us who think that unity and renewal is about marginalizing those who are seen not to have not made it to the elected positions of responsibility within the ranks of our movement. This is becoming a dangerous tendency that we have to give our utmost political attention.
What we need to inculcate amongst our rank and file, especially within the ranks of our young generation, is to embed the correct theoretical view that leadership is about a responsibility given by the people to learn. Leadership was never about tendencies of self aggrandizement.
What is of importance is for all of us to appreciate the principle of the views of the majority. There are those who think that in as long as their names are not amongst those elected by the views of the majority of our branches, they will continue to undermine the elected constitutional structures of the movement.
As long as they cannot be elected into positions of leadership, they will have all the courage to take the internal matters of our organization to the court of law. What is surprising is that they have the audacity to take the movement to court even before they can exhaust our internal process.
The teaching we must give to those who cannot understand this, is to assist them in appreciating the importance of respecting the democratic outcomes of our internal processes. We cannot all be elected into positions of responsibility.
It is in the nature of democracy, but also affirming the democratic character of our revolutionary movement, that there will be those who will make it and others will not. It is therefore impossible that you can all be elected into the Provincial Executive Committee.
A provincial executive committee is comprised of only thirty-five members and the national executive committee is only eighty six members. It is therefore absolutely impossible for all of of us to find our way into the elected positions of our movement.
We need to guard the movement against the growing phenomenon of those who think that as long as their names are not included into the elected positions of responsibility, than the ANC is incomplete. Their self-image and self-interest have become the barometer of determining the success of our conferences.
Every member of the ANC has a role to play we all have the responsibility to serve the movement in different capacities at a given time.
We also need to guard against those who use their elected positions to abuse their power to sideline and marginalize other members of the ANC. It is the task of those who are elected to ensure that they embrace others.
The greatest enemy of the ANC is the ANC itself and the only thing to save the ANC is the ANC itself. The ANC can only survive into the next generations if its members appreciate the historical necessity of the principal theory of unity and cohesion.
The only way to achieve unity is to tolerate each other, is to harness each other, is to accept different views, is to learn to be inclusive. The common feature of the tendencies of the winner-takes-all taking root within the ranks of our movement is counter-revolutionary.
We are therefore making a clarion call to this plenary session of the 09th Provincial Conference of the ANC in Limpopo, to put at the centre stage, the fundamental principle of unity and cohesion of our movement, This unity and cohesion is the cornerstone for the success of our national democratic revolution.
Without achieving this task, we will not be able to realise the revolutionary task for the radical socio-economic transformation of our society. Without achieving this task, we will not be able to fulfill the dream of achieving a better life for all our people.
We are elected into positions of responsibility for continuity and change. We are elected into positions of responsibility to embrace and unite all our people for the unity of purpose and unity of action.
The foundations upon which the African National Congress was founded in 1912, has always been based on the fundamental revolutionary principles of unity of purpose and unity of action. The question we need to pose to ourselves is why did the founding fathers and mothers of our glorious movement placed such a great price on the indispensability of the "Unity of purpose and unity of action"?
The message of unity of purpose and unity of action, developed and evolved over time as a response to the exclusion of more than eighty percent (80%) of the black population from the South African nationhood, which came into existence with the passing of the Union Act of 1909 after the end of the Anglo Boer War. Only twenty percent (20%) of the exclusively white population qualified to be the true citizens of our Republic in terms of the discriminatory laws passed with the formation of the Union of South Africa.
Throughout this period of decades of years of struggles, the ANC has been advancing a worldview which sought to achieve an inclusive nationhood based on the values of human freedom, dignity, equality, and opportunities to all our people. A worldview to be achieved by all the people of our country, irrespective of the colour of their skin, or their cultural and religious convictions.
The ANC sought to assert this rights in a country in which the majority of the people were deprived of the right of ownership of land following centuries of a systematic land dispossession and colonial conquest. An act which spearheaded the most protracted forms of struggles over the historical period.
It was the political process of the exclusion of the African people in particular and the black people in general from the citizenship of the newly formed nation of the Union of South Africa, which prompted our founding fathers and mothers, to assembly in Mangaung in 1912 to form this giant elephant, the African National Congress.
A revolutionary national liberation movement which has over the century of our struggles, strived for the attainment of unity of purpose and unity of action. This is the commitment we have carried over the period to unite our people into action, to overthrow the racist apartheid regime.
Throughout the years, the ANC has been transformed into a stewardship for the achievement of this noble objective. This is the most glorious path which has built our movement into the monument we see today.
Confronted by the realities of the total disregard of the interests of the majority of the black people by the union of South Africa, and in the absence of a National organisation to pursue these goals, they worked towards the founding of the South African Native National Congress. The award winning orator and intellectual Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, was entrusted with the task of formulating a theoretical concept on the subject of the South African Native National Congress.
In carrying out this important task, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, focused on the question of the native union, arguing that after all, that was what the Congress was going to be. He emphasized on unity which was to cut across ethnic divisions without downplaying diversity. On completion of his task, he urged leaders of provincial congresses to rise above petty personal differences, selfishness, ethnic divisions and be equal to the task of the formation of the National Native Congress.
In his keynote address to the first convention of the African leaders before the first conference of the ANC, he categorically stated that the Native Congress was not just going to represent the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa, but more importantly, the section of the population which had known nothing but violent legislations from the union government.
It was clear that the formation of the ANC in 1912 was not an accident of history, but the continuation of the anti-colonial struggles that had already began in the different parts of the Southern African region. It was a logical development of the realities of the marginalization of the majority of the black population throughout the region.
From its inception, the ANC was to serve as the parliament of the people of Southern Africa. It was the voice of the people which did not only demand the end to white minority domination and national oppression, but to explore and develop a framework for an all inclusive, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous Southern Africa.
The first elected President General of the newly formed national movement, Cde John Libanglibalele Dube, took to the fore, the important question of unity, as the central feature for the organizational building and cohesion. He went around the country on a political pilgrimage of preaching unity amongst the oppressed people of our country.
During his campaign to recruit new members into the ANC at Eshowe in 1912, he said the following profound words about the importance of the unity of purpose and action:
"We have long been asking for representation, we commenced asking the government of Natal, before the union, and we asked because of our not having a voice in the making of laws affecting us, laws, even, which are against our feelings.
I say let unite not only amongst ourselves, but with the Tongas, Swazis, Sotho, Mpondos, and no longer refer them with contempt. We want the South African natives subjects of his majesty the King, both within the union and beyond it, to unite and ask' why is it that we native people living here, subjects of the King, should have no representative".
From its formative stage, the leadership of the ANC, believed strongly in the struggles for the just cause of the wishes and the aspirations of the oppressed people of our country. Though they understood fully well that Britain was behind the promulgation of the Act of the Union, which excluded the majority of our people from socio-economic power, they always understood that it was through dialogue to reach for a settlement, which would give rise to peace and justice for all our people.
One of the most fundamental grievances for the African people, was the issue of the ownership of land. This problem of centuries of systematic land dispossession of the African majority, culminated with the passing of the Native land Act of 1913.
The Act evicted African people from the "white owned land" which comprised of more than ninety percent (90%) of the land in the union. It forbade those Africans who remained on "white owned land" to move from one farm to the other, and forcing them to work for ninety (90) days for the white farmer on whose land they resides without compensation.
One of the untold acts of oppression and exploitation which prompted the first Secretary General of the ANC, Cde Sol Plaatjie, to make an observation that the natives were made a pariah on the land of their birth, African farm dwellers were not allowed to make sharecropping and as a result being forced to move to overcrowded reserves.
Numerous high powered deputations consisting of many leaders of the ANC, amongst others, John Dube, Rev Walter Rabusana, Alfred Mangena, Rev I. Dlephu, W.Z. Fenyang, Saul Msane, L.T. Mvabaza, D.Lentanka and Sol Plaatjie, went to London to object to the promulgation of the Land Act. The ANC Secretary-General, Sol Plaatjie, spent the years 1915-1917 in England campaigning for the restoration of the land to the black people of South Africa.
The election of Josiah Gumede as the President General of the ANC in 1927, brought a new momentum for the unity of the revolutionary alliance in our country. His friendship with one of the leaders of the South African Communist Party, James la Guma, led to the change of his materialistic views about the South African liberation struggles.
He took further the idea of unity of purpose and action with the solid foundation of the building of the alliance between the South African communist party and labour federation of our country. Through the influence of the communist party, the characterization of the black thesis republic was adopted, with the understanding that the struggles for the liberation of the people of our country has assumed a national and class character.
His thoughts about the character of the South African revolution, was confirmed by his speech during the first International Conference of the league against imperialism in Brussels in 1927 when he said:
"We would remind the whole of Europe that they are responsible for these conditions. Remember the alliance of Berlin, when Europe agreed to divide Africa into spheres of influence; remember the promises which were made. That is the imperialism which is governing Africa today.
I appeal to you, comrades. If it is your lot to save humanity, to take these things seriously; I am glad to say that in South Africa there are Communists. I am not a Communist, but we find that members of the Communist Party are the only people who are with us in spirit and we are watching them.
I appeal to you, comrades, to realise that the position before you in this Congress means great responsibility. There are two forces working today, imperialism and a workers' republic in Russia. We hear little of it. We hear much against it. I would point out that I wish to learn more and more of it. We shall have to put these two on a scale and see which would be the best to ally with".
At the same forum Gumede co-authored and jointly moved a resolution with James la Guma and D. Colraine of the South African Trade Union Federation (SATUF) which explicitly committed the ANC to a multi-class and multi-racial alliance. It read as follows:
"That in order to combat the present phase of world exploitation by capitalism and imperialism in colonies and semi-colonies and semi-colonial countries, which same imperialism is responsible for the lowering of the economic and social conditions of the workers in the home countries with their huge army of unemployed competing for an existence, we call upon all the workers of South Africa irrespective of colour to strive for closer unity and working class solidarity.
Realizing that the unity of all workers irrespective of race, colour or creed is essential to the successful issue of the fight against exploitation and imperialism, this Congress calls upon the workers of South Africa, both white and black, to strive for that mutual understanding that will bring about working class unity and solidarity in their own interests and those of all other workers and oppressed peoples of the world".
On his return giving a report to the conference of the ANC, Josiah Gumede spoke eloquently of his appreciation of the alliance with the communist party, he said the following about the Soviet Union "I have seen the new world to come, where it has already began. I have been to the new Jerusalem".
The leadership of the ANC under President Chief Albert Luthuli continued to promote the unity of our people for the victories of our struggles for liberation. In his biography he says:
"From the beginning, our history has been one of ascending unities, the breaking down of tribal, racial and creedal barriers. The past cannot hope to have a life sustained by itself; wrenched from the whole.
There remains before us the building of a new land, a home for men who are black, white and brown from the ruins of the old narrow groups, a synthesis of the rich cultural strain which we have inherited. There remains to be achieved our integration with the rest of our continent.
Somewhere ahead there beckons a civilisation, a culture, which will take its place in the parade of God's history beside other great human syntheses, Chinese, Egyptian, Jewish, European. It will not necessarily be black, but it will be African".
He defined the South African national oppression and class exploitation in the following way:
"I do not find myself among those people who tend to reduce all human affairs to questions of economics and economic pressures. Nonetheless, the basic point at issue in South Africa is the question of ownership.
Because the races inhabiting the country disagree fundamentally on the answer to this question, the whole controversy is hopelessly tangled with racial factors, and on both sides these racial distinctions have become an unavoidable part of the struggle. One cannot separate the issue of race from the argument of about ownership at present, because one race insists on exclusive ownership".
For over a period of thirty years, President Oliver Reginald Tambo had to steer the leadership of our movement under the most difficult period of repression by the brutal apartheid regime. He had to unite a movement whose majority of leaders were scattered all over the world, some were in prison, some in the underground and also in exile.
Our message today resonates with his words of wisdom which he expressed during the plenary session of the historic conference at Morogoro when he said:
"Beware of wedge drivers, watch their poisonous tongue, wage relentless war against disrupters and enemy agents. Defend the revolution against enemy propaganda, whatever the form it takes.
Be vigilant comrades, the enemy is vigilant, beware of wedge drivers, men who creeps from ear to ear, driving wedges amongst us. Who go around creating no splits and divisions.
These are the orders to our people, to our youth, to our army, and to our every soldier. These are the orders to our leaders. The order that comes from these conference is to close ranks".
We have to take our struggles to higher heights to unite ourselves against wedge drivers, we need to unite against the enemies of our revolution, we need to unite against agents provocateurs, against disrupters and anarchists, we need to unite against populism, careerism, against recklessness and any forms of triumphalism.
We must ensure that the ANC and our revolutionary alliance continue to lead the struggles of our people for the creation of a new society. The ANC is the only political formation with the capacity to lead the revolutionary project of nation- building and formation.
Our primary task is to fulfill the historic mission of the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. Ours is to take forward the struggles of the second phase of our transition, for radical socio-economic transformation.
Let us strive to ensure that we protect these rich traditions and culture of our struggle. Let us ensure that we prevail over the forces of doom, over those who are hellbent to undermine our efforts for the radical economic transformation of our society.
Our struggle is about expropriation of land without compensation, our struggle is about the nationalization of the Reserve Bank and other key sectors of our economy, our struggle is about free education, our struggle is about ensuring that we attain national health insurance, our struggle is about fighting corruption and all forms of crass materialism.
We will always be inspired by the rich history of the struggle of the people of this great province of Limpopo and hope that you will continue to take the stewardship in ensuring that there is unity and renewal of our movement. We are indeed proud of the leadership role of the great people of this province.
Hoping that the newly elected Provincial Executive Committee will be equal to the task of uniting our movement and our people. Your task is to consolidate and ensure that the ANC receives an overwhelming majority in the forthcoming national general elections.
We thank you.
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