ANC bosses use 108th birthday celebrations to call for unity
Eastern Cape ANC boss Oscar Mabuyane used the party’s 108th birthday celebrations on Wednesday to call for unity, saying a divided party would negatively affect SA.
Mabuyane was addressing about 250 party members at the ANC provincial headquarters, Calata House, in King William’s Town.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the annual January 8 statement in Kimberley on Saturday — a speech which will give an indication of what the government’s priorities for 2020 will be.
Mabuyane stressed that Ramaphosa’s address would be meaningless if he did not address how SA would grow the stagnant economy and overcome unemployment, which was sitting at 29.1%.
He called on civil servants to work tirelessly so that people’s lives would change for the better.
“We are [sitting] on a time bomb.
“The anger and emotions out there are boiling up.”
The ANC provincial chair said the annual speech had in a way lost the meaning of what it used to be.
“The January 8 statement paves the way for us.
“It must stop being made into a celebration of filling up stadiums.
“I think OR Tambo’s January 8 was more effective because it was given directly given to the people [in pamphlets], who were instructed to go and work.
“Unfortunately this democracy has resulted in us talking more than acting.
“We have to fix our psyche and the way of doing things, because we have a huge responsibility to our people,” he said.
Mabuyane called for unity, and condemned corruption and civil servants who did not give their all at work.
“Without the unity of the ANC it’s going to be difficult to have unity and social cohesion in this country.
“The influence of the ANC is continental if it’s not global, so the unity of the ANC becomes quite paramount.
“That’s why we say unity of the ANC is sacrosanct,” he said.
Turning his attention to the fight between the US and Iran which has claimed scores of lives since US President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week, Mabuyane condemned the move.
“We have Trump who is trumping the world,” he said to laughter.
“Sitting here we don’t know what situation we will wake up to tomorrow.
“But we know there was a World War 1 and World War 2 and if we had those two wars, there can be World War 3.
“Unfortunately wars affect mostly on the poorest of the poor, because those with means can run away from where there is war.
“This is why we are against war,” he said.
Iran retaliated on Wednesday by firing missiles at two US military bases in Iraq while at least 50 people were killed in a stampede at what was supposed to be Soleimani’s funeral, before it was postponed.
Mabuyane then led a cake cutting ceremony with other leaders including ANC provincial treasurer Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, Contralesa provincial boss Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana and SACP provincial deputy chair Mpumelelo Saziwa.
There were also other birthday celebrations in areas like Port Alfred, Ngcobo and Libode, among others.
Delivering a message of support, Saziwa, who spoke for both the SACP and Cosatu, called for ANC structures to be functional throughout the year instead of leading to elective conferences.
“Let’s not only unite to go to elections then be divided again if we want this party to get another 100 years.”
Ramaphosa paid tribute to the first secretary-general of the ANC, Sol Plaatje, on Wednesday when he visited Plaatje’s gravesite at the West End cemetery in Kimberley, where he and other party leaders laid wreaths.
“We are also here to draw inspiration from his life because he was a servant leader.
“We want to pledge to you that we will continue on the path you crafted,” Ramaphosa pledged to Plaatje.
He further committed that the ANC would have disciplined membership and leadership with integrity.
Ramaphosa repeated a phrase he had said a day before, that the ANC would continue to exist for another 108 years.
“The dreams and aspirations that Sol Plaatje and his ilk felt will be realised when we act much faster on the land reform process,” Ramaphosa said, after invoking the writings of Plaatje on the 1913 land act that left black South Africans as pariahs in their own land.