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Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 94th Anniversary of the ANC

8 January 2006

Compatriots:

On the occasion of the 94th anniversary of the formation of the African National Congress, our movement salutes the people of South Africa and the world. Once again, January 8th provides us with an opportunity to assess the advance of our national democratic revolution, and outline our priorities for the year ahead.

During 2006 we will commemorate a number of important historic milestones born of struggle, during our long journey towards the victory of the national democratic revolution, and the subsequent creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa.

We will do this not because of an irrational attachment to anniversaries. We celebrate these historic moments to re-emphasise the continuity of our struggle and underline the founding principles of our movement that must continue to inform our strategy and tactics during the current phase of the national democratic revolution.

Above all, on the occasion of the celebration of the 94th anniversary of the ANC, we draw attention to the various important struggles that are embedded within this anniversary, to highlight three outstanding features of our struggle and movement, which must continue to guide us as we pursue our revolutionary struggle. These are that:

  • the conscious and organised masses are, and must continue to be, the makers of history;
  • historical reality demands that these masses should unite across race, class, gender and age divides to wage a united struggle on the basis of a common programme to achieve specified national democratic objectives; and,
  • our movement for national liberation must continue to play its role as a leader of these masses, continuing to inspire their confidence because of the quality and commitment of its cadres and leaders and its loyalty to the people.

The historic milestones to which we have referred are:

  • the Centenary of the Bambata Rebellion, the last armed uprising of traditional peasant African society before the formation of the ANC, which marked an end of the military struggles waged by the indigenous traditional communities as they resisted the cess of colonisation;
  • the 60th anniversary of the African Mine Workers’ Strike of 1946 which inspired the adoption of the ANC 1949 Programme of Action and the subsequent release of the energy of the workers and the oppressed and dispossessed masses as a whole to act as theincipal motive force for the victory of the national democratic revolution;
  • the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March on Pretoria, which consolidated the role of women as one of the central players for our liberation, which also helped finally to place the task of the emancipation of women as one of the central tasks of national democratic revolution;
  • the 50th anniversary of the formal adoption by the ANC of the Freedom Charter, which took place at its 1956 National Conference, finalising the process of providing a truly mass base for the popular acceptance of the Charter;
  • the 30th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, through which our youth entrenched their role as one of the motive forces of the national democratic revolution, and made it inevitable that this revolution should define youth empowerment and development ane of its fundamental tasks;
  • the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Joe Gqabi by agents of the apartheid regime in Zimbabwe in 1981, as this regime tried to extinguish the fire of revolution by eliminating the most outstanding, tried and tested representatives of our moveme who were ready to serve our people with no expectation of personal benefit;
  • the 25th anniversary of the Matola Massacre, on January 30th, 1981, during which the apartheid forces invaded Mozambique and attacked unarmed cadres of the ANC and MK, killing 16 of them and a Portuguese passer-by;
  • the 20th anniversary on October 19th, 1986, of the death of President Samora Machel and 24 others in a still mysterious plane crash at Mbuzini in Mpumalanga; and,
  • the 10th anniversary of the adoption by an elected Constitutional Assembly of our National Constitution, a text nevertheless informed among others, by an unprecedented process of public consultation intended to ensure that our fundamental law is truly expression of the voice of the people as a whole, across all social divides.

The history encapsulated in these anniversaries communicates the clear message that during its 94th year of fighting existence, the ANC has a continuing responsibility to mobilise all classes and strata of our people into united struggle for progressive change. It must continue to organise and inspire each and every one of these classes and strata to ensure their involvement in this struggle.

It must continuously educate these masses, classes and strata to understand and unite around the programme, strategy and tactics of the national democratic movement, for the victory of the national democratic revolution.

It must ensure that its cadres, organised structures and leaders earn and enjoy the confidence of the people because of the way they conduct themselves as patriots, revolutionaries and servants of the people. In this way it must continue to earn its place as the vanguard movement at the head of our country’s process of fundamental social transformation.

TASKS OF THE NEW PHASE OF THE NDR

We must carry out all these tasks within the context and bearing in mind the determination made by our 2005 2nd National General Council that “we have now entered a new phase of our national democratic revolution... (which has) created a new set of opportunities and challenges for the cause of social transformation.”

Strategically, and of direct relevance to our movement, this new phase of the national democratic revolution consists in the imperative that we should use our political power to accelerate the advance towards achieving the goal of a better life for all. The realisation of this objective is coterminous with the “cause of social transformation” to which the NGC referred.

This means that one of the central tasks of the national democratic revolution during our Second Decade of Liberation must be the achievement of high rates of economic growth and development. We require this to create the wealth we need to provide the resources that will enable us to address the fundamental objective of our movement during the current phase of the national democratic revolution.

Here we refer to the goal to eradicate the terrible legacy of colonialism and apartheid that has condemned the black masses of our country to the material life of misery which remains a central national challenge to this day, almost twelve years after the victory of the democratic revolution.

For us to achieve the critically important high rates of economic growth and development means that we have to undertake various initiatives, which are themselves part of the process of the remaking of our society.

As an example, we should mention the need for us especially to train as many black people as possible to become the modern professionals and skilled workers without whom the development we need will be impossible to realise.

This means that we have to correct a long legacy of discriminatory economic and social development based on the maintenance of a large reservoir of cheap unskilled black labour, which necessitated the exclusion of the black masses from the educational and vocational opportunities required by modern societies and economies.

We should also mention the imperative for our country, as part of the effort to build the growing economy that the national democratic revolution must create, to add value to the mineral resources our country has supplied to the rest of the world for a century-and-a-half.

Of course, the transformation of the raw materials we export, into processed higher value products, is fundamental to ending the historic colonial relationship between our country and the developed North, which made us an exporter of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods.

Both these examples illustrate the critical and challenging transformation tasks that attach to the strategic goals of the national democratic revolution during our Second Decade of Liberation. They give a clear indication of the serious challenge our movement faces of developing the necessary capacity to lead the masses of our people further to advance the national democratic revolution in the aftermath of the victory of the democratic revolution.

Already five years ago, our 1st National General Council, held in 2000, recognised the need for us to create the new cadre required by “the new phase of our national democratic revolution” identified by the 2nd NGC. Among its resolutions, the 2000 NGC said:

“(We must) implement and expand our political school and a human resource programme, (to ensure) the continual reproduction of cadres in terms of political, ideological, cultural and moral training, academic and skills development to take on the diverse tasks of transformation (including expanding economic literacy) in a range of spheres of society, and adapt the methodology and content of our political education to meet the challenges of the current phase...

“Our Human Resources Development strategy must actively focus on the development of those skills needed to speed up social transformation, strengthen the state institutions and grow our economy by setting reasonable targets. ANC branches must do an internal skills audit to document the skills profile available within our ranks.”

Our 1st NGC made the clear statement that we must continue to position ourselves as an agent for change in the aftermath of the victory of the democratic revolution.

This means that our movement must acquire the knowledge and skills and provide the strategic framework for the realisation of the socio-economic goals that would define the current phase of the national democratic revolution.

Our last January 8th Statement, issued as we marked the 93rd anniversary of our movement, addressed a number of issues that are an important part of our response to the “new phase of the national democratic revolution” to which the 2nd NGC drew attention.

Last year, we marked the 93rd anniversary of our movement as the “Year of Popular Mobilisation to Advance the Vision of the Freedom Charter”. We did this both to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic document of our struggle and further to popularise the perspective of fundamental social transformation it spelled out for the national democratic movement.

There is no doubt that through this campaign we succeeded to familiarise more people with the Freedom Charter and further entrench the vision it contains as the broad framework that must continue to guide us as we wage struggle to promote the national democratic revolution.

In this context we must pay tribute to our National Parliament and other legislatures at the provincial and local levels for the outstanding work they did to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, especially as they took the Charter to the people.

What they did served to confirm the correctness of the statement made by our late President, O.R.Tambo, in 1980 when, as we reiterated last year, he said:

“The Freedom Charter contains the fundamental perspective of the vast majority of the people of South Africa of the kind of liberation that all of us are fighting for. Hence it is not merely the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress and its allies. Rather it is the Charter of the people of South Africa for liberation ... Because it came from the people, it remains still a people's Charter, the one basic political statement of our goals to which all genuinely democratic and patriotic forces of South Africa adhere."

The task that faces us now is further to accelerate the process of bringing to fruition the vision of the Freedom Charter, strengthened by the knowledge that the “Year of Popular Mobilisation to Advance the Vision of the Freedom Charter” succeeded in its purpose, to entrench the popularity of the Charter as “the one basic political statement of our goals to which all genuinely democratic and patriotic forces of South Africa adhere”, as Oliver Tambo said.

In our January 8th Statement marking the 93rd anniversary of our movement, we also looked forward to the holding of our 2nd National General Council (NGC). In that Statement we said:

“The NGC will...have to assess the progress we have made in implementing the decisions we took at our 51st National Conference in 2002. It will also have to assess the progress we have made towards the achievement of the goals contained in the Reconstruction and Development Programme particularly as they relate to the accomplishment of the tasks of our Second Decade of Liberation.

“Of particular importance, it will have to make a proper evaluation of the means and resources we have to enable us to meet these goals. In this regard, it will have to indicate the steps we have to take to ensure that we deploy the adequate human and material resources without which it will not be possible for us to make the advances we must make towards the achievement of the goal of the eradication of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid...

“In this regard we must draw attention to the fact that the NGC will be the first major decision-making representative conference our movement will hold as we begin our Second Decade of Liberation. Its decisions will therefore make an important impact on the progress we achieve during this important stage of our national democratic revolution.”

And indeed the NGC attended to all these tasks. Having discussed all the major opportunities and challenges facing our movement, including the need to strengthen local government as a critical part of our developmental state, it took the sort of decisions visualised in our January 8th Statement. In this regard, the Declaration adopted by the NGC said:

“We came together to assess the progress we have made as a movement and as a country. We have discussed how to accelerate the national democratic revolution guided by the Freedom Charter vision, a vision whose 50th anniversary we have commemorated in the past week.

“This NGC believes that we have now entered a new phase of our national democratic revolution. The consolidation of political democracy, the growing electoral strength of and support for our movement, and the relative stabilisation of the economy have created a new set of opportunities and challenges for the cause of social transformation.

“At the heart of this new phase is the challenge of promoting and accelerating sustained development and shared growth, spearheaded by a democratic developmental state, guided and buttressed by an ANC-led popular movement and working in partnership with the people of our country. The consolidation of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa requires, in particular, the marshalling of our resources and energies to overcome the challenge of persisting underdevelopment, of a deeply polarised society and economy.

“In the course of this NGC, we have discussed a wide range of policies and programmatic measures. We have made decisions and we have mandated the NEC of the ANC to carry forward programmes to address the challenges of development, job creation and rolling back poverty. And we are of the firm view that implementation of these programmes depends on the realisation of our commitment to build a strong ANC working in a people's contract with all South Africans.

“The spirit of disciplined and vibrant engagement that has characterised this NGC must be carried forward into our branches and communities.”

In our 93rd anniversary January 8th Statement we foresaw the holding of our third local government elections by the end of 2005. To prepare for this, that Statement said:

“The NGC will have to pay particular attention to the further strengthening of our system of local government, which is critical to the success of our reconstruction and development efforts.

“This relates not only to the state structures but also to the functioning of our councillors and our local branches, both of which have to maintain the closest contact with the masses of the people in their localities and respond expeditiously to their demands. This is a critical element in ensuring that our local government system discharges its responsibilities to assist in the process of the speedy eradication of the legacy of the past...

“As we approach the local government election campaign we will face the critical task of mobilising communities to become active in the selection of their local government candidates and in setting the priorities and programme for the local governance structures where they live. We must also give serious attention to the objective of achieving gender parity with regard to the ANC local government councillors.”

During our 93rd year, our movement made strenuous efforts to respond to many of the tasks contained in last year’s January 8th Statement as well as the decisions adopted by the 2nd NGC. In this regard we must mention in particular the three strategic goals of:

  • achieving accelerated and shared economic growth and development to address the challenge of poverty and underdevelopment;
  • strengthening the system of local government; and,
  • ensuring that our movement works in a manner that is inspired by the view expressed by the NGC that “the spirit of disciplined and vibrant engagement that has characterised this NGC must be carried forward into our branches and communities”.

With regard to the first of these objectives, our movement has been involved in intensive and extensive detailed work to elaborate what has become known as ASGISA – the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa. This work, which builds on the 2003 Growth and Development Summit, is continuing and should be concluded early during this year when we celebrate our 94th anniversary.

As the name of this Initiative indicates, it aims to ensure that our economy achieves higher rates of growth and therefore produces the larger volumes of the wealth we need to confront the challenges of growth and development. Its success is therefore also predicated on ensuring that this greater wealth is shared more equitably, consistent with the provision in the Freedom Charter that – The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth!

Good management of the economy since we took power in 1994 has laid the basis for us to meet the ASGISA goal of accelerated and shared growth. Our achievement in this regard is one of the outstanding successes scored by our movement since the political victory of the national democratic revolution.

The positive performance of the economy over the last few years showed itself strongly during the past year when figures after nine months of 2005 indicated that the growth rate for the year would be just over 5 percent, the highest for 21 years.

This is expressive of a sustained upswing in the business cycle that has persisted since September 1999, which is unprecedented in its longevity in our country’s economic history. After a long period during which it shed workers, the economy has begun to create new jobs. At the same time our country is enjoying low levels in terms of inflation and interest rates, which our country last experienced in the late 1970s. Business confidence is at its highest level in 23 years.

Accordingly we have every reason to be confident that we will achieve the objectives that ASGISA will set for our country, which will represent new strategic advances of the national democratic revolution towards the realisation of the goal of the all-round liberation of the poor of our country.

During our “Year of Popular Mobilisation to Advance the Vision of the Freedom Charter”, we also acted to respond to implement the directives on local government contained both in the January 8th Statement and the decisions of the NGC. Of particular importance in this regard were the implementation of Project Consolidate, the assessment of the capacity constraints in the municipalities, and the holding of municipal izimbizo, which focused on interactions between the national and provincial governments and the municipal executive authorities and the Ward Committees.

These processes have put us in a better position to achieve new advances with regard to the strengthening of our system of local government, ensuring that it plays an important role as a vital component part of our developmental state. This is because we now have a more precise understanding of the capacity requirements of our municipalities and have drawn the necessary lessons about the functioning of the local government system we introduced in 2000.

CONFIRMING THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE MOVEMENT

As we have indicated, the NGC said “the spirit of disciplined and vibrant engagement that has characterised this NGC must be carried forward into our branches and communities.” As an essential part of that process, our National Executive Committee (NEC) held two important meetings, in September and November, to address what the NEC described as “current developments in the ANC and the rest of the Alliance regarding the Deputy President of the ANC”.

Steps were then taken to communicate the outcomes of these meetings to the membership by convening Regional General Councils (RGCs). The RGCs accepted the decisions of the NEC, confirming the unity and cohesion of our movement around the fundamental principles that bind our members and organs as fighters for the victory of the national democratic revolution.

It is important that here we include some of the decisions taken at the two NEC meetings to which we have referred, bearing in mind the constitutional position of the NEC as the highest decision-making organ of our movement between our National Conferences and NGCs and the continuing relevance of the NEC decisions to the work of our movement in the period ahead of us.

Among other things, the September 2005 NEC meeting said:

  • It is in the profound interest of revolutionary democrats, the motive forces of the revolution and the left in general to respect the rule of law. This includes respect for institutions of state mandated to carry out law enforcement and judicial functs. The ANC and its allies should mobilise society to respect this principle.
  • We should prevent the abuse of state institutions for personal material gain or personal agendas. This implies that these institutions should themselves respect the rule of law. It is also necessary to pursue the continuing transformation of these insutions within the framework set out in the Constitution.
  • The ANC and its allies should be at the forefront of the struggle against corruption. This is in the profound interest of the motive forces of the revolution and the masses of our people.
  • The strength of the ANC over the years has derived, among others, from its principled stand against factionalism as well as ethnic and racial chauvinism, and education of its members to act as the revolutionary glue that binds South Africans in pursuif a better life.
  • It is critical that we assert the principle of freedom of speech within the ranks of the movement: for members to feel free in constitutional structures to raise issues that concern them and contribute to the evolution of ideas. This applies also to hleaders relate to members from branch to national level, and how members themselves avoid self-censorship particularly in the context that some may abuse governmental office to dispense patronage.
  • The ANC should continue its battle against careerism: conduct that has as its starting point the "rewards" of political office, deployment that brings material gain and unhealthy competition for positions. At the same time, our deployment policy shoulake into account, and encourage acquisition of skills as well as drive and initiative among cadres.
  • Collective leadership is a central pillar of our organisational principles. This requires a culture of openness among leaders, solidarity and comradeship towards one another, respect for, and acceptance of decisions of the collective, while each indival member of the collective retains the right to raise and re-raise any matter, within constitutional structures, which she/he believes requires review.
  • In carrying out their tasks, individuals deployed in positions of authority in structures of the movement and in government should be guided by the mandate of the movement's constitutional structures. These structures should themselves in turn appreci the prerogatives they allocate to individuals they deploy, arising out of the confidence they have in such individuals. While constitutional structures guide, they are not expected to micro-manage the activities of their deployees.
  • Leaders should always lead by example, as custodians of the values and best practices of the movement. This should apply in good times and bad - ensuring that the interests of the movement come first in everything we do. Especially in difficult times,aders should be the best examples of principled and disciplined conduct.

For its part, among other things, the November 2005 NEC meeting said:

  • In 1994, the masses of our people elected the ANC to constitute our country's first ever democratically elected government. Among other challenges, this meant that the ANC had to learn how it should function both as a mass movement for national liberan and a ruling party of government, representing the people as a whole, in a manner defined in the National Constitution. The ANC thus has to build itself as a mass-based movement for national liberation and at the same time direct institutions of state on the basis of the National Constitution and electoral mandate.
  • The NEC noted that among the new challenges we face, subjective weaknesses related to the fact that we are in power have crept into our organisational systems and practices. Some of these were identified at the recent National General Council (NGC). S of these have contributed to the manner in which the movement has handled the issues relating to the controversy affecting the Deputy President. These include a weak political consciousness, infighting and factionalism (mostly related to competition for positions and resources), and ill discipline. This challenge highlights the key responsibility of building and strengthening the ANC, and reinforcing, in practice, the values and principles of the ANC.
  • It highlights the challenge of ensuring that the decisions of the constitutional structures of the movement are respected and implemented in accordance with the time-honoured traditions of the movement. This includes the decision of the NEC, taken in ch 2005, with respect to the process of the election of the ANC leadership...
  • In this regard, the NEC accepted the reaffirmation conveyed by the President and Deputy President that while carrying out his duties in the ANC and government, the Deputy President has never sought to be elected to any position and has never engaged inor sought to encourage, any campaign on his behalf.
  • While recognising that members of the movement may have views on the suitability of various leaders with respect to the Presidency of the ANC, the NEC counsels caution, patience and discipline. This applies especially in relation to how the matter is dled in the media and public manifestations.
  • The NEC therefore resolved to:

    • Strengthen branches and encourage comprehensive reflection on strategic political issues as part of branch programmes.
    • Strengthen political education institutions and ensure they are well resourced to carry out their functions.
    • Conduct an assessment of the extent to which pursuit of material resources impacts on content of interaction in branches and other structures and on the functioning of organisation.
    • Undertake a more comprehensive clarification on the management of the ANC’s processes with respect to the election of national leadership.
    • Call on all members, in line with the organisation's approach to this matter, to desist from any campaigning in relation to the election of the national leadership, consistent with its March 2005 decision.
  • In this respect, the NEC reaffirmed the status and role of the ANC Youth League and Women's League in respect of the policies, structures and culture of movement. The NEC recognised the historical role of the Youth League as a vocal and radical voice,ting within the broad policies and under the political discipline of the ANC. It recognised the role of the Women's League in mobilising women and pursuing the advancement and emancipation of women. The performance by the leagues of their respective roles and functions is integral to the political programme of the movement. It is expected that, in their day-to-day conduct, the Leagues will always adhere to the culture and traditions of the movement, bearing in mind that they are an integral part of the ANC.

We have reproduced some of the decisions of the September and November 2005 NEC meetings in this January 8th Statement because they must continue to inform our work during the year of our 94th anniversary. They constitute important directives that our movement must honour as we continue to advance the national democratic revolution during this important year of struggle.

A POPULAR MANDATE FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

To achieve that advance, we must take all necessary measures to ensure that we secure an unequivocal mandate from the masses of our people during the forthcoming local government elections that will be held on March 1st, 2006. This means that the entirety of our movement, and especially our branches, should go all-out to talk to all voters, to popularise our Plan for Local Government (PLG) contained in our Election Manifesto, our candidates and our movement.

During the election campaign and after, we must succeed to reassure the people, regardless of colour, race, class, gender, age and geographic location, that our movement remains their best guarantor for success in the continuing struggle to build a peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

We must expose the people to our detailed plans further to strengthen our system of local government, which will be implemented by the ANC municipal councils they will elect, and which will be supported on a daily basis by our national and provincial governments.

Through our candidate selection processes, we have sought to create the situation such that we achieve the objective of gender parity in the composition of the municipal legislatures, as decided by the 2nd National General Council. We must explain to the people that ours is the only political formation in the country that has taken this giant step forward to advance the cause of genuine equality among our citizens, and call on the masses to endorse this decision that is critically important to the entrenchment of democracy in our country by:

  • voting for women’s emancipation and gender equality;
  • voting for a genuinely inclusive democracy; and,
  • therefore voting for the ANC.

As we have already indicated, the work we did last year confirmed the vital importance of our system of local government with regard to the achievement of the central goal of securing a better life for the people. We must therefore take the forthcoming local government elections as presenting us with an important challenge to ensure that this sphere of government performs optimally with regard to all our socio-economic programmes directed at the further improvement of the quality of life of all our people.

As is clear in our Plan for Local Government (PLG) contained in our Election Manifesto, this is one of the central tasks that we must set ourselves and perform during this year when we mark the 94th anniversary of our movement. In this regard, we will have to focus on a number of detailed interventions, as indicated below.

We have to work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our system of local government. Accordingly, we have to prepare the incoming councillors to understand their tasks to enable them properly to discharge their legislative and executive responsibilities. We must also ensure that each of the district and metropolitan municipalities have the necessary managerial, professional and technical staff to enable them to implement the required developmental programmes.

We will also have to ensure that our system of cooperative government also functions optimally and thus create the conditions for the provincial and national governments to work closely with our municipalities to improve their capacity to implement their programmes.

We have to ensure that each of the district and metropolitan municipalities we have mentioned has a meaningful Integrated Development Plan (IDP) which must include:

  • programmes for the maintenance of existing bulk infrastructure, including roads, water and sewerage;
  • programmes for the extension of this infrastructure to all areas which are still not properly serviced;
  • specific plans for the improvement and extension of service delivery in all areas including water, sewerage, electricity, refuse removal, roads, housing, free basic services, and so on; and,
  • realistic Local Economic Development Plans, which must include the improvement and provision of the required economic infrastructure and the encouragement of micro, small and medium business, as well as the use of labour intensive economic activity tolp reduce the unemployment levels.

As required by law and consistent with our own determination to ensure that the people participate in our system of government, the municipalities will have to work out these IDPs together with the communities they represent. This will also ensure that we avoid the situation where elements opposed to our movement intervene with the people to promise them unrealistic development outcomes, creating a basis for them to discredit the municipal authorities among the people.

Being the sphere of government closest to the people, our system of local government must play a monitoring role even with regard to those areas of activity that may not fall within their competences, such as health and education.

For instance the municipal authorities should continually assess what is happening in our schools, to enable them to advise the provincial governments about what should be done to improve the quality of teaching, learning and discipline in our schools.

This would include the adequate and timely provision of teaching aids and the creation of the necessary material conditions to assist both the teachers and the learners, ensuring the proper functioning of the School Governing Bodies and motivating the teachers to discharge their responsibilities to the learners.

We mention the issue of education here because it is quite obvious that we will not achieve our developmental objectives without the necessary and relevant education and training of the greatest numbers of our people possible. We must therefore continue to respond to this task with the necessary vigour, understanding that it is one of the central goals of the national democratic revolution.

It is also for this reason that our cadres deployed in local government should also take it as one of their responsibilities to ensure that especially the schools in their municipalities function properly.

This work, and the rest of our engagement of our educational system as a whole, will help us to observe the 30th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising in an appropriate manner. Our success in this regard will serve to pay proper tribute to the martyrs of 1976 and confirm our commitment to achieve the goals for which they perished.

We must also prepare our councillors to understand the importance of further deepening democracy at the local level. This means that our councillors should always meet their obligations to report back and interact with their communities at the ward level. This would give them an opportunity regularly to inform the communities about the work of the municipal government and listen to the views of the communities.

The new municipal councils will also have to ensure that they provide all the necessary resources to ensure that the Ward Committees work properly. The councils will also have to ensure that they interact properly with the Ward Committees, by processing and responding to their reports without undue delays.

Demonstrations in some local communities during the past year emphasised the importance of continuous contact between the municipalities and the people, to avoid opportunistic elements taking advantage of genuine grievances of the people to pursue their own goals at variance with those of the national democratic movement.

These opportunistic interventions have included unacceptable violent attacks against elected councillors and criminal destruction of private and public property. This has demonstrated lack of respect both for our democratic system and the property of the people, which can never characterise the views and thinking of genuine activists of our movement and the democratic movement as a whole.

The demonstrations we have mentioned have also emphasised the need for us to strengthen the ANC branches and improve their contact with the people and organisations of civil society in their areas. Where we fail to achieve these goals we create a vacuum that is then used by elements opposed to our movement to intervene, pretending that they represent the masses of our people.

The fact that this year we intend to focus on our system of local government, to improve service delivery and local economic development, means that we also have to improve the intervention of the ANC branches to assist us to achieve the goals we have set ourselves with regard to local government.

In particular we have to ensure that the ANC branches work to:

  • support our councillors and municipal governments;
  • encourage the participation of the people in government;
  • mobilise the people to participate in the local development initiatives, helping to identify development opportunities; and,
  • further expand the influence of the ANC among the masses of the people.

Our branches should also stand out as the most vigilant watchdog in the fight against corruption in our system of government. These branches must also ensure proper understanding among our members, our councillors and the people as a whole of our legal and Constitutional obligations at the local level, and the relationship between our movement, the ANC, and our democratic state.

Our branches must therefore act in a manner that assures our people that the ANC is the best defender of the democratic gains of the people, which include the legal and constitutional framework that we have put in place. This will assure the people that nobody in our movement will take advantage of the fact that we are in power to break the law with impunity, hoping to use our power to undermine the rule of law.

This work will also fit in with the national observance of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of our Constitution, which we will use further to familiarise the masses of the people with their democratic gains and their responsibility to defend these victories.

MOBILISE FOR ACCELERATED AND SHARED GROWTH

As we have already indicated, one of the principal tasks we have to carry out this year will be the implementation of ASGISA, the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa. Once the detailed plan is available, our movement will have to ensure that all relevant government and movement structures are properly mobilised to ensure the proper and speedy implementation of the Initiative.

As we have already indicated, this must include the structures of local government as well as our branches and other structures of the Alliance and the rest of the democratic movement.

All this means that in our work we should continue to highlight the fact that among our critical tasks during the current phase of the national democratic revolution are:

  • increasing the rate of economic growth and development;
  • the reduction of the levels of unemployment through job creation, the development of micro, small and medium enterprises and skills provision;
  • vigorously attending to the improvement of our system of education and training as a whole, including early childhood development, primary and high school education, further training and education, and the tertiary level of education;
  • improving the quality of life of all our people through improved and accelerated service delivery; and,
  • reducing the levels of poverty and racial, gender and spatial inequality which continue to characterise our country as part of our colonial and apartheid legacy.

With regard to the last of these objectives, the anniversaries we will observe this year, such as the 50th anniversary of the Women’s March on the Union Buildings, will help us to improve our engagement of such vital challenges of the national democratic revolution as the emancipation of women and the building of a non-sexist society.

All these objectives of the national democratic revolution stand at the heart of ASGISA as well as our Plan for Local Government. This is why our movement, the leader of the national democratic revolution, has to focus its attention on the success of ASGISA and the Plan for Local Government (PLG).

This means that during our 94th anniversary year we must pay particular attention to strengthening the unity of the ANC and ensuring that it is properly mobilised and focused to make its contribution to the success of ASGISA and the PLG. It also means that we must work with our Alliance partners and the rest of the democratic movement to unite in action to advance ASGISA and the PLG.

Among other things, this requires that we intensify our interaction with COSATU and its affiliates, as well as the rest of the trade union movement to see what we can do together to promote both these important programmes which are central to the further advance of the national democratic revolution.

This interaction should help us to ensure the conscious engagement of the organised workers of our country in the vanguard of the process of our country’s reconstruction and development as part of our observance of the 60th anniversary of the historic African Mine Workers Strike of 1946, which further strengthened the leading role of the working class in our struggle for national liberation.

Both our local government election campaign and our work to implement ASGISA and the PLG will demonstrate the reality of the unity of both the ANC and the progressive movement as a whole, contrary to suggestions by elements hostile to our movement, which have falsely suggested that we are divided, while doing everything possible to foment such division.

The observance of the various anniversaries we have mentioned also provides us with other opportunities to promote our work with regard to mass mobilisation and the activation of various sections of our people, including the women and the youth, raising the level of awareness among the people concerning the current tasks of the national democratic revolution, and further improving the quality of our cadres and members to discharge their responsibility as the leaders of the process of accelerated progressive change in our country.

The pursuit of this last objective will also help us properly to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Joe Gqabi and the martyrs of 1976. We must use the example they set to inspire all our cadres and members to dedicate themselves to the achievement of the goals of the national democratic revolution, in the same way that Joe Gqabi and the youth of 1976 dedicated their lives to the defeat of apartheid tyranny.

These also include the cadres who fell at Matola in Mozambique, as well as the outstanding African patriot, Samora Moises Machel, who, throughout his life in struggle, was a militant and loyal supporter of our movement and struggle.

These latter two anniversaries emphasise the continuing importance for our movement and government to discharge their internationalist responsibilities, especially with regard to the promotion of the African Renaissance and the building of a better world to serve the interests of the billions globally who suffer from poverty and underdevelopment.

We will ensure that we honour our responsibilities in this regard, and look forward to such important developments as the installation in Liberia of the first woman President in Africa, the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire, and further advances in the implementation of the NEPAD programmes.

We also take this opportunity to wish our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, success in the African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt. We also draw the attention of all our people to the fact that the eyes of FIFA and the rest of the global world of soccer will focus on our country as soon as the World Soccer Cup tournament in Germany is concluded, to ensure that we meet our obligations with regard to our preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

TASKS OF ANC CADRES AND STRUCTURES IN THE YEAR 2006

To guide our work in the coming year, the National Executive Committee has identified the central programme of the organisation to be the mobilisation for people’s power through democratic local government. To ensure the implementation of this programme, and without minimising the importance of the other tasks indicated in the January 8th Statement, we have identified the following themes for each quarter of 2006:

First Quarter: January – March: Popular mobilisation for democratic local government, with specific emphasis on the achievement of a decisive ANC victory in the local government elections.

Second Quarter: April – June: Youth mobilisation for transformation, in which ANC branches lead a sustained programme to mobilise youth in support of local development and transformation. During this period, an assessment should be undertaken to determine the extent to which issues affecting youth have successfully been integrated into the work of government.

Third Quarter: July – September: Women’s mobilisation for transformation, in which ANC branches similarly lead a sustained programme to mobilise women in support of local development and transformation. This programme should also involve an appraisal of the involvement of women in all structures of the ANC, local government and broader society, and an assessment of the extent to which the issues most affecting women have been successfully integrated into the work of government.

Fourth Quarter: October – December: Building the branches of the ANC, involving, among other things, focused recruitment, induction and membership renewal; cadre development programmes; and planning of branch programmes to support and sustain effective local government for the years ahead.

WE SALUTE OUR BEST CADRES

We now have pleasure to announce the recipients of the ANC Achievement Awards, representing those local leadership collectives that have excelled over the past year. These structures have been chosen for their contribution, during the course of 2005, to the implementation of the 2005 programme and the realisation of the overall objectives of the ANC.

  • The Sol Plaatje Award, conferred on the best performing ANC branch, goes to the Lenasia Branch, Johannesburg Region, Gauteng.
  • The Charlotte Maxeke Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Women's League branch, goes to the Sepere Ratau Branch, Sekhukhune Region, Limpopo.

    The runner-up in this category is the Joyce Ndinisa Branch, Dullah Omar Region, Western Cape.
  • The Anton Lembede Award, conferred upon the best performing ANC Youth League branch, goes to the Sobantu Branch, Greater Pietermaritzburg Region, KwaZulu Natal.

    The runner-up in this category is the Ben Tshipi Branch, Siyanda Region, Northern Cape.
  • The ZK Matthews Award, conferred upon the best performing group of ANC councillors, goes to the councillors of the Boland District Municipality, Western Cape.

    The runners-up in this category are the ANC councillors of the Capricorn District Municipality, Limpopo.

We also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the patriots who passed away during the past year. Among those who made an outstanding contribution to the struggle for freedom and dignity for all in South Africa who left us last year are Isithwalandwe Raymond Mhlaba, Makgatho Mandela, Allen Hendrickse, Noby Ngombane, Amin Kajee, Bavumile Vilakazi, Lawrence Phokanoka, Christmas Tinto, Solomon Morewa, Selebano Matlhape and Sophie Mgcina.

We take this opportunity to reiterate our condolences on the loss of Queen Modjadji, King Mayitja III, former Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and King Xolilizwe Sigcau.

We salute the above-mentioned and other leaders and cadres of the movement who dedicated their lives to the achievement of the objective of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

In honour of their contribution, and inspired by the rich legacy of principled and selfless struggle that they have left us, we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of the vision which has motivated the masses of our people since the Bambata Rebellion a century ago.

Mindful of the profound responsibility we bear to continue the struggle to transform our society, and in consideration of the critical tasks we must undertake this year, the National Executive Committee of the ANC declares 2006, “The Year of Mobilisation for People’s Power through Democratic Local Government”.