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Political report by Limpopo ANC Chairperson, Cde Cassel Mathale, during the Limpopo ANC Provincial General Council

31 July 2011, University of Limpopo, Capricorn District

THE TREASURER GENERAL CDE DR MATHEWS PHOSA
THE CONVENOR OF NEC DEPLOYEES CDE DR MATHOLE MOTSHEKGA
NEC members
Deputy Chairperson DICKSON MASEMOLA
OFFICIALS
PEC members
The leadership of the Alliance partners
The Veterans League
The ANC Youth League and the Women`s League

Comrades and Compatriots

Good Morning

We are greeting this important Provincial General Council our political school this morning in the name of our glorious movement, the African National Congress. We are meeting here almost fresh from the Local Government Elections which have left us stronger and more determined than ever before. We have seen masses of our people reaffirming the African National Congress as the only organisation of choice by entrusting us with the responsibility to continue with the work of improving their living conditions and the continued transformation of the South African society.

The elections have exposed us to new challenges that we must do everything possible to overcome as we forge ahead in building a strong Movement which responds to the ever changing situations on the ground. We must appreciate more than ever before that municipal elections are not like General Elections. Some of our comrades who could not secure nominations opted to stand as independent candidates and tell people to vote for them and in some cases to spoil other ballot papers; a move that had an impact on their outcome.

We must intensify political education in this regard and put more emphasis on the fact that any form of political deployment must not be treated as employment. We should continue educating our members and supporters that the African National Congress is not an employment agency, but a formation whose primary mandate is to build a non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society whereby people`s lives are continuously improved, through amongst others, the provision of quality essential services on time and the creation of employment opportunities.

The problem of comrades contesting against the Movement has been there even in the previous elections, but this time, the challenge included communities protesting against the candidates who have been finally assigned the responsibility to represent the Movement and the people. We should acknowledge that these communities did not mobilise themselves, but they were mobilised by other comrades to protest about the political management of the list process. However it is important that as the leadership we must take collective responsibilities for this and not blame specific individuals.

We are more than convinced that the Task Team that has been established to diagnose the root cause of the problem will also make recommendations on how we should approach the issue of the list in the future. But generally, contrary to the claims of the media and other analysts, we have performed far much better given the material conditions within which we had to contest the elections, and we must consolidate on the gains made whilst at the same time making inroads in other areas especially in white dominated areas.

Standing together with our Alliance partners, we have reached many communities and delivered a resounding victory for the Movement. We are still counting on our Alliance partners to stand side by side with us as we deliver on the pledges made. We have no reason to doubt the ability of our Alliance partners and other structures within the Mass Democratic Formation to approach us on any issue that concerns service delivery and other related issues. From the branch level, we expect all of our structures to work closely with our Alliance partners and initiate joined programmes.

The Local Government Elections have come and passed, now is the time to deliver services to our people. One of the main contributors to the challenges of service delivery and weakening of municipalities is our failure to handle political differences within the relevant structures of the organisation. We must not take our political differences into government especially municipalities because this paralyses the capacity of municipalities to deliver on their mandates.

As branches of the Movement, we have a political obligation to support our councillors and Mayors in order to meet the expectations and anticipations of our people for their failure will not be attributed to them as individuals, but it will be imputed to the entire Organisation.

Comrades

Our Council is also taking place at the time when the people of Sudan have just emerged from an historic process that was Africa initiated and Africa led. On the 09th of July multitudes of the people of Sudan converged in Juba to witness the birth of the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign State representing southern Sudanese people. The people of Sudan will continue to depend on each other for they share many things including natural assets.

The people of Sudan have taught us the power of perseverance to achieve a particular desired outcome. We have learned valuable lessons from the long and hard journey they have travelled, which was dominated by civil war that left many people killed and many others displaced.

We must also acknowledge the role that our country and in particular President Thabo Mbeki with the support of President Zuma together with other African States played in leading Sudan to this present destination. We must continue to offer support to the people of Sudan especially the South Sudanese in the process of building their country and delivering on the expectation of many people whose desire is to see immediate positive changes.

Comrades

It is important to remember that as the people of South Sudan celebrate their independence as nationals of a full sovereign country, the people of Palestine on the other side are still struggling to be accorded full sovereign right and independence. The people of Palestine are pushing very hard to ensure that the next sitting of United Nations General Assembly takes a firm decision that declares them the State of Palestine with full statehood.

As the African National Congress, it is our seasoned position that Palestine must be given the status of a full State that must exist side by side and in peace with Israel. The statehood of Palestine must be based on the 1967 border lines and we must dispute any claim that suggests the contrary. As much as we condemn violence that is being launched against Israel, we must also condemn in strongest terms possible the violence which is being perpetrated by Israel forces against unarmed Palestinians who are just making genuine demands.

The international community must not postpone the declaration of the State of Palestine. We must mobilise all our progressive allies in the world to support Palestinians in their quest to attain full independence and sovereign right. We must not expect anything positive from those who are claiming to be paragons and defenders of the oppressed people.

Comrades

We would have committed a serious injustice, if we fail to reflect in this input about the situation in North African which is known as the Arab uprising with more focus on Libya. The situation in Libya has not only exposed once more the deliberate failure of Western forces to act in accordance with the dictates of international laws, but it has also exposed the shortcomings of the United Nations as a body to approach issues in a just manner in all nations.

The passing of Resolution 1973 which authorised the imposition of a `no fly zone over Libya` is a mistake that has put Africa back into the days and years of colonialism. The manner in which the Resolution is written has given a blank cheque to the Western led forces under NATO to bomb another African country without restrictions. But what must concern us the most is not how NATO is implementing Resolution 1973, but should be the manner in which Resolution 1973 was voted into being.

The United Nations voted in favour of the Resolution without understanding how it was going to be implemented, by whom and for how long. The United States and Europe initiated the resolution knowing very well that it is not possible to implement a no fly zone without bombing the military targets on the ground which will make the execution of the no fly zone difficult and dangerous.

Secondly, they knew that words "do everything necessary to protect civilians" in the Resolution were going to be abused and used to effect regime change. Another worrying fact is that at the time Resolution 1973 was passed, some of the Western countries had already indicated that the Regime of Colonel Gaddafi had lost legitimacy and therefore, must cede power.

We all now know that the Libyan oil has put the country in a more vulnerable position to be attacked coupled by the aim of effecting regime change. The events that led to the invasion of Iraq and the unfounded reasons advanced to justify the invasion should have taught us better that where oil is involved there is no international law, especially respect for human rights law and the sovereign integrity of States.

How can we forget the fact that when Resolution 1973 was passed on Libya, protestors in Yemen and Bahrain were killed with some of the hospitals in Bahrain taken over by the military which was refusing to admit any patient injured during protest action, yet the Western forces did not move in to protect the citizens.

It is presently difficult to implement the African Union peace plan because Resolution 1973 has been elevated to be above the African Union and it is executed by states which have made it clear that regime change is a precondition for any ceasefire.

NATO which has suspiciously volunteered its services to the implementation of Resolution 1973 is continuing to act as an air force of the rebels, not only targeting military targets but also civilians. In accordance with another Security Council Resolution, Resolution 1970, that imposed arms embargo on Libya and the freezing of government assets, other members of the international community are complying with directives of the Resolution; whereas those that are part of NATO are violating the very same Resolution they have been instrumental in its formation and further entrusted with the responsibility to execute.

The giving of arms and frozen assets to the rebels is a clear violation of international law and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible. The random air dropping of arms by France is a commission of international crime that must not just be denounced, but must be prosecuted, for it also has long term implications for human rights protection.

No State which is committed to achieve an ever lasting peace will in a chaotic manner, resort to arming civilians who did not even receive any basic military training. France cannot give account of who received the weapons and the ages of the recipients of such arms. These are the arms that might be used to undermine the security and peace of the entire region.

It is not surprising to see some of the Western states moving with speed to recognise the rebels in Libya as the sole legitimate representatives of the people of Libya, whilst having failed for decades to adopt the same attitude to recognise Palestine as an independent State with full sovereign status. These are the very same people who failed to recognise our African National Congress as the sole legitimate representative of the people of South Africa during the time when the apartheid government was killing and torturing us; even going to an extend of declaring President Nelson Mandela a terrorist who was banned from entering the US.

These are people who continued to recognise the apartheid regime and never made a single public call instructing the regime to cede power to us. Today, they claim to be the champions of human rights, whilst they are known to have planned and sponsored many civil wars in the world. It is very important for us never to forget this history. And the history of our struggle must always guide us when we articulate foreign policy.

We must never at all separate our foreign policy from our politics as the Movement and our struggle experience. We must always stand with our historic friends, those that we shared the same suffering and experience, and have a common understanding of the meaning of human rights and respect for sovereign rights of other nations. We must work very hard to move closer to those nations that truly supported us during our struggle for freedom. This is primarily the reason why we view BRICS as an important milestone in our socio-economic relations.

We must forever remember the role that Libya under Colonel Gaddafi played in our struggle for freedom and the fight against colonialism. This does not mean that we are condoning the violation of fundamental rights of the people of Libya. We are against any violation of human rights whether committed in Libya, the Middle East, against the people of Cuba, the Western Saharawi people or the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. We strongly believe that the people of Libya must be given space to determine their own future.

Comrades

The United Nations must refrain from acting on behalf of one component of the international community. The events in Libya have confirmed beyond any doubt that the United Nations as an organisation is serving more the interests of our former colonial masters and it is failing to treat nations equally.

We are left with no choice, but to build strong regional and continental structures which will accord nations the same respect and support. We must establish both economic and military relations with our historic allies to guard against any eventuality. We have strong evidence to attest that we cannot solely rely on what the international law stipulates. The West has proved on many occasions its capacity to disregard international law and other institutions of the Family of Nations. We must be combat ready more than ever before. We must never assume that we are safe and immune from any attack that our fellow third world nations have suffered and continue to suffer.

Comrades

In recent months the African National Congress Youth League strongly introduced the issue of economic freedom. Our young lions have declared that economic freedom can no longer be discussed from an abstract viewpoint, but is something that must happen in our lifetime.

We must never forget that our struggle as the African National Congress has always been to realise the objectives of the Freedom Charter, which clearly calls for the sharing of the economic wealth of the country. So, the Youth League does not put on the table a discussion which is new, but what they are raising is that this issue is long overdue for our people cannot wait longer.

Although the mechanisms adopted to facilitate that process of economic freedom have always differed from country to country and from time to time, the principle and the purpose remains the same underpinned by one idea: sharing in the wealth of the country and building strong blocks for an inclusive economy which is people shared and people dominated.

We must be alive to the fact that economic freedom will not come free, or cheap. The worst case scenario we must not wish to reach is the one of assassinations in order to prevent or derail or defuse the struggle for economic freedom. Many of our freedom fighters were tortured and killed for demanding political freedom and democracy. Then what will make it difficult for people in particular those who are viewed to be champions of economic freedom not be killed or targeted by some of the media houses which are representing the interests of owners of the means of production.

And this is likely to be the case if the struggle for economic freedom is launched and waged by individuals whilst the rest of us are only participating passively in the process. We did not achieve political freedom and democracy because of certain individuals, but we are living in this democratic order precisely because of the collective determination by the entire Movement to fight the apartheid regime until its collapse.

It is important not to reduce the issue of economic freedom to individual leaders of the movement. This is a course that must be owned and championed by the movement. As the African National Congress, we must not waste time, but we should immediately begin to guide the debate and the implementation of the resolution.

We must also recall that when the African National Congress Youth League commenced the process of making the ANC a militant revolutionary force, some leaders did not agree. So, we must not be surprised today, when we have different perspectives on how we must begin the real struggle for economic freedom.

The fight against the apartheid regime produced askaris who collaborated with the enemy, betraying freedom fighters in a deceitful manner foreign to the spirit of comradeship. Therefore, we must appreciate the fact that the economic freedom struggle will also produce askaris amongst our ranks who will do everything possible to discredit the struggle for economic emancipation of our people.

Some of these askaris will question not just the people who are advocating for economic freedom but they will also ask questions about the reasons for economic freedom, in particular the indigenisation of the economy.

The fact is that economic freedom is inevitable and it will be achieved in our lifetime whether we are given names or not. We will be donated and betrayed in the process by some amongst our midst, but the masses of our people will lead this economic revolution to victory. Let`s mobilise the entire society behind this agenda which is their agenda.

Comrades

We are fast approaching our provincial conference, policy conference and national conference. These gatherings are very important not only in the life of the Movement, but also in shaping the direction of our country and further influencing the development of our Continent.

It is cardinal that we must reach these important meetings with strong structures, which are composed of finest comrades who understand our politics, the challenges we are faced with and the policy direction of the Movement.

We have a responsibility to ensure that the Movement emerges from these conferences more strong and committed more than ever before. We must never assume that conferences are only about leadership contest. Our structures should devote much attention to policy issues also focusing on the issue of economic freedom and the best possible methods that must be employed in bringing about the objectives of an inclusive economy.

We should also continue with our preparation for the centenary celebration of our Movement. We must ensure that our recruitment drive continues and also prioritise the issue of political education. We have long agreed that we must reach our centenary with more than a million members who understand the African National Congress.

As we continue with the efforts to build a united, coherent, responsive and effective Movement, we will always remember to the actions of those who are hard at work dividing the African National Congress. These are the comrades who are not good for our movement because this is a movement for people who work in unity with a common purpose. This is the organisation of our people by the people for the people.

Comrades

We are continuing to register progress in providing our people with water, sanitation, health facilities and shelter. We are working very hard in ensuring that every household has access to clean running water. Although, we are encountering challenges in certain areas, we remain more determined to ensure that our people have access to water. We have also devoted much energy to the course of improving our health care facilities and schooling infrastructure in the province.
The creation of employment opportunities for our people remains one of our central priorities and we cannot afford to fail in this regard. We should double our efforts of attracting foreign investors in order to stimulate our economy so that more job opportunities can be created. It is sad that some within the media fraternity have adopted a negative attitude towards our foreign missions. We wonder whether it is because we went to Europe. When the investors made a follow up visit to our province recently the same individuals within the fraternity asked our visitors whether they met a Malema in Rome. They were surprised about this company because they never met such a company.

We are always striving to deploy the resources of our government imaginatively, wisely, efficiently and equitably, to facilitate the reconstruction process in a manner that best brings relief and hope to the widest sections of our society. We want to assure this PGC and our people that your administration has policies including those on procurement and that we are solely guided by that and nothing else. We respect them as we respect our constitution. Every day we are told about how we disrespect our own laws be it at a national, provincial or local level. Our elected law making institutions are undermined and not respected by unelected experts while we stand by and look with folded arms. We must go back to the drawing board and map the way forward after properly analysing the balance of forces here at home and abroad as we used to do.

We must close ranks and build a strong African National Congress which meets the legitimate expectations of our people. When we say building a strong ANC we mean strengthening the Veterans, Women and the Youth Leagues and of course not forgetting to ensure that MKMVA is supported by all means possible. The road ahead is rough and difficult but we must travel it nonetheless.

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES.

Amandla!

I Thank you!