The 54th national conference of the ANC has come, elected new leadership and closed. But the work of our glorious movement continues as we resolved to increase both effort and commitment in improving the lives of our people.
With regards to the elections, the ANC membership has spoken – they told us to unite our movement first in order for us to be able to unite South Africa.
In line with these instructions from the members of the ANC, we resolved to implement proper radical socioeconomic transformation and expropriation of land without compensation in a manner that ensures inclusive growth that benefits all our people equally.
Results of proper radical socio-economic transformation that we must implement will be produced by proper resource allocation by the public sector to attract private sector investment and partnerships to benefit the communities of our beloved country.
At the centre of this, the ANC-led government must use public procurement to develop local enterprises, especially small businesses to benefit from such procurement.
This is not about tenderpreneurs. This is about creating a dynamic economy for the benefit of all South Africans. It is about drafting service providers into a supplier or enterprise development programme for them to be able to supply the goods and services we want.
Radical economic transformation must mean decent jobs for the unemployed, not just slogans.
It must mean practical commitment by all key sectors of society and the economy to providing business and job opportunities for fellow South Africans.
The young must get education, rural villagers must be serviced properly, corruption must end, state capture must be eradicated totally, unemployment must be eradicated, poverty and hunger must be banished forever, and there must be universal access to quality healthcare and sustainable livelihoods when we implement proper radical socioeconomic transformation.
All of us in the ANC must understand that our country will never prosper until we drastically reduce unemployment and eradicate poverty and inequality.
For this to happen, we need the private sector, government and our people to work together to create opportunities for all South Africans to have a better life.
When we went to the 54th conference there were seven candidates running for the position of president of the ANC with themed campaigns.
Now that conference has spoken, we must accept that there is now no more CR17, NDZ17, LS17, MP17, JR17, ZM17 or BM17. There is one African National Congress.
We went to the conference with different preferences and conference resolved things the way it has.
This is the outcome of the constitutional processes of the ANC and we must now work together regardless of the preferences we had before conference.
We are better united; we are stronger when we work as comrades than when we are divided.
We must get inspiration from the lifelong slogan of our liberation struggle that: United we stand, divided we fall.
We hope all the structures of the movement will unite behind the elected leadership and revive structures of the organisation.
Together with our alliance partners, we will work in strengthening the alliance and how it functions.
We must focus our energies and commitment on implementing unity of purpose in the ANC. This can no longer be merely a slogan. The purpose is uniting the ANC, uniting South Africa, bringing meaningful and material development to the lives of millions of sons and daughters of our country, a better life to the elderly, a brighter future for the young and a sustainable life for working people.
The ANC belongs to the people, not individuals.
The time of infighting has gone. The time for respecting organisational processes is here.
Unity of purpose is about safeguarding the ANC against any tendency that wants to rattle us and destroy the movement of Nelson Mandela, Joe Gqabi, John Dube, Canon James Calata, Albertina Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Kalushi Mahlangu, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni and Oliver Tambo. This is our organisation too. Let us protect it by doing the right things all the time.
We did not go to conference to learn new songs, to enjoy singing. Conference was a platform for renewing the ANC and restoring the integrity of our movement so that we will be able to lead society to a sustainable better life.
The purpose of the ANC is to ensure that all South Africans don’t lack food, don’t lack money to access healthcare, education, to opportunities to starting businesses or to having decent shelter.
What must elevate our discussions in social media groups, as well as in our branch meetings, is the objective of ensuring that each and every ANC member does something positive to improve the situation facing our people and communities.
The ANC must make sure, at every level of government where we lead, to implement social activism to bring development that will change people’s lives.
This is a priority for each one of us in the ANC and we must work together to change the lives of our people as a matter of urgency.
One of the priorities of the ANC is to ensure all our structures reflect the diversity of our country. We must do more work to mobilise Indian, coloured and white South Africans to be active members of the ANC and get more fellow South Africans to join the ANC because the ANC is a home for all South Africans.
As the current generation of the ANC, we are blessed and fortunate to live among the stalwart members of the ANC.
When they correct, teach and guide us when we stray, we must heed their counsel.
We must respect our elders and all those who came before us. We learn a good lesson from scripture that says: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
All of us must renew and refocus our commitment to the policy decisions we made at the 54th national conference.
We must organise ANC members who are no longer active in the branches for one reason or another, to get back to the ANC.
I wish all the people of our province, and especially ANC members, a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane is the chairman of the ANC in the Eastern Cape