Title: SA: Address by Jacob Zuma, President of the African National Congress, at the Northern Cape ANC national conference, Upington
Comrade John Block;
Comrade Zamani Saul;
Members of the Provincial Executive Committee;
Members of the Tripartite Alliance;
IMPORTANCE OF UPINGTON IN THE HISTORY OF STRUGGLE
I am deeply honoured and feel proud and inspired to be part of this
Provincial Conference, being held here in the historic city of Upington
in the Northern Cape.
The inspiration comes from the fact this is an important city which
played a monumental role in the struggle of our people against the
tyranny of apartheid.
Upington played a historic and a significant role in shaping the national
thinking and perspective around issues of human rights, and in particular
in our resolve and determination to abolish the death penalty in our
The fact that our country has a constitution and Bill of Rights today
which guarantees the right to life and a provision that prohibits the
practice of death penalty owes much to the events which took place in
this city, with regards to the Upington 26 Trial.
We remember the pain, the hurt, the agony that our people went through as
those comrades were condemned to death, we remember the campaigns that
were waged in order to free them as they faced the gallows.
We must never forget the role that the heroes of the Upington 26 played
in the fight against apartheid.
We must always cherish their sacrifices and struggles that they waged so
that our country could be liberated.
YOUTH MONTH, ROLE OF THE YOUTH AND DR. A.B. XUMA:
We meet here today during one of the most important months in our
calendar, June, the National Youth Month.
Coincidentally, June is also the month when we as the ANC celebrate our
Centenary through giving lectures around ANC President’s and other
leaders who have made an important contribution in our struggle.
This month we will be honouring and remembering one of the ANC
President’s who was instrumental in ensuring that the youth were
propelled to the centre stage of our struggle, Comrade President Dr. A.B.
President Xuma, came into the leadership of the ANC when he won the ANC
leadership contest against President Zac Mahabane by 21 votes to 20 in
the ANC’s National Conference of 1940, and helped to transform the ANC.
Gail Gerhardt and Thomas Karis in their book “From Protest to Challenge”
“During Xuma’s nine years as president of the ANC, the organisation
underwent great changes and attracted a far wider following than it had
previously enjoyed. Independent and often competing provincial factions
were brought to heel, and authority at the centre was strengthened, in
part with the aid of a revised constitution.” (p. 165).
It was under Dr. Xuma’s capable leadership and tenure that the ANC
realised the critical importance of the role of the youth in the
It was under his leadership that the ANC in its 1942 national conference
took a resolution to establish its own ANC Youth League, a decision that
finally reached its fruition when the ANC Youth League was finally
launched in 1944.
We therefore have Dr. Xuma to thank for that insightful decision and for
providing leadership on the matter.
While the decision and ultimately the implementation of that resolution
ultimately lay with the youth, it is important to acknowledge the
progressive role played by the ANC President Dr. Xuma towards the
realisation of that decision.
Dr. Xuma allowed young people political space to work in the ANC and
around him, hence they became known as Xuma’s Young Turks.
He created a conducive environment for the formation of the ANC Youth
League as well as the ANC Women’s League, and thus put youth and women
matters in a different trajectory.
It was also under Xuma’s leadership that the ANC developed the African
Claims an important document on ANC’s goals.
Dr Xuma was also instrumental in encouraging and nurturing alliance
politics, by working closely with the South African Indian Congress and
the Communist Party of South Africa.
In 1947 he signed the Doctors Pact with the Dr. Dadoo and Dr. Naicker
thus laying foundations of a later full scale-alliance between the ANC
and the Indian Congresses.
On this Youth Month we honour and salute the entire ‘Class of the 1944
Youth Generation’ which was responsible for the birth of the significant
and vibrant organisation, the African National Congress Youth League,
which has been in the forefront and the cutting edge of our struggle
since its formation.
We salute all the young people who played an instrumental role in
ensuring that the ANC Youth League was formed. Amongst them Anton
Lembede (first President), Oliver Reginald Tambo, Dr. Diliza Mji, A.P.
Mda, Nelson Mandela, Congress Mbatha, Zami Chonco, and many others.
Many of those who were part of the 1944 Class and Generation of the Youth
went on to play an instrumental role in our struggle, at difficult and
critical moments, they helped to shape the direction of our struggle and
put in a new impetus in the path leading to our freedom.
The Class of 1944 was disciplined, selfless, heroic, brave, innovative,
visionary and led by example at all critical phases of our struggle.
Their first major intervention came when they spearheaded the adoption of
the militant 1949 Programme of Action, which revolutionised the ANC in
the fifties to make it a fighting mass movement.
They played a critical role in the Defiance Campaign of the ANC, and also
in the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the ANC in 1955.
They were also in the forefront of struggle when the ANC changed its
methods of struggle and adopted the armed struggle.
They led in the formation of uMkhonto we Sizwe, after the banning of the
ANC. They led the ANC in underground and all major campaigns during the
times of illegality.
What that generation did and achieved is incomparable to what all the
generations of the youth have done after that. They left a lasting legacy
that inspired all future youth generations.
Each generation of young people has always carved its own niche at
various stages of our national democratic revolution.
Following the 1944 Generation, the early 1960’s saw an emergence of
another youth generation which was prepared to take our struggle forward
which swelled the ranks of uMkhonto we Sizwe.
This generation played an instrumental role in the formation of uMkhonto
we Sizwe and made a mammoth contribution in executing the armed struggle,
and some of them lost their lives during the Wankie-Sipolilo Operation,
and those who survived later played an instrumental role in the national
democratic struggle, including the late Comrade Chris Hani.
This was followed by another group of dedicated and fearless youth – the
Class of June 1976 which changed the course of history by challenging the
myth about the might of apartheid by leading the struggle for a better
education system and an end to an oppressive apartheid regime.
They were followed by the Class of Peter Mokaba and his generation of
young lions which responded to the call of making South Africa
ungovernable and making the South Africa unworkable so that our country
could be free from the mid 1980s up until freedom was achieved had been
inspired by these previous generations.
The task of the Class of 1994 was different and was made easier by the
generations which preceded them.
This is the class which contributed to the demise of apartheid by voting
overwhelmingly for the ANC and thus led to the birth of a non-racial,
non-sexist and a democratic South Africa.
Today we have a present generation whose duty and responsibility is to
defend the democratic gains of our struggle, through voting in large
numbers during national and local government elections and in
strengthening the ANC.
This generation is also tasked with leading in the struggles for the
total transformation of our society including both at a social and
Its main responsibility is to ensure that during its lifetime the triple
challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality is addressed.
When we celebrate the ANC Centenary we are proud that the ANC since the
early 1950’s has always been a radical, militant mass movement of the
people which led the struggles for the total liberation of our people.
The Youth Month reminds us of the contributions that all youth
generations of our country have made in the struggle for liberation.
As we meet we are reminded about the challenges that still face the youth
of our country today.
NATIONAL POLICY CONFERENCE -
These challenges can be addressed by fully understanding the role of the
ANC as an agent for change.
It needs a better understanding of all ANC policies and our approach to
issues as the revolution unfolds.
At the end of the month the ANC will be holding its National Policy
Conference in Gallagher Estates where all delegates of the ANC from
across the country, will meet, debate and chart the Way Forward for the
ANC as to how we will address the challenges that face our country.
The 52nd Polokwane conference identified organisational renewal as a key
challenge and factionalism and ill-discipline, as key obstacles in
achieving organisational renewal.
It says Mangaung must help us to deal with internal organisational
challenges if we are to achieve organisational renewal.
To do this we are instructed to develop a 10 year programme 2012 – 2022
of organisational renewal.
Our document on Organisational Renewal asserts that, the primary mission
of the ANC is to serve the people.
It says as we mark 100 years we must take into cognisance the fact that
all organisations face challenges, they have their ups and downs, but
what has sustained the ANC over the years is its ability renew itself its
ability to adapt to changing conditions.
It has done so because the ANC is firmly rooted amongst the masses, it’s
primary concern are the people.
The ANC is guided by a viewpoint that in whatever it does it must
safeguard the interests of the majority of the people.
The ANC is committed to renewing its dynamic contact with the people so
that they will not be spectators in the process of their liberation, they
must be active participants.
The main thrust of organisational renewal is that the centenary presents
our organisation with an opportunity to reflect on our past in order to
draw strength and courage to usher our movement and the country onto a
We must overcome the constraints and limitations of the first two decades
of democratic transition by building capacity to effect change in the
state, the economy and society in general.
To do this we need to ensure that the ANC takes a new strategic posture
of being a transformative movement and a strategic centre of power in
This is a call for the rebirth of the ANC as it enters its second century
To do this we need to change from our current preoccupation with palace
politics and internal power struggles, and return to transformative
politics and a new activism that focuses the energies of the membership,
activists and cadres on serving the people and changing our society and
the world for the better.
Both the Polokwane conference and the NGC of 2010, called for a focus on
organisational renewal, and resolved to take drastic steps to reverse
negative tendencies which were eroding the political integrity and moral
standing of our movement amongst our people.
In order to achieve organisational renewal the NGC felt that there was a
need for a resilient, courageous, principled and decisive leadership, a
committed and conscious cadreship and an active civil society and
THE SECOND TRANSITION
Our Policy document the Second Transition tackles the long term
challenges that face the ANC as well as the country.
It looks at where we come from as a movement as a hundred year
organisation, looks at all the historical landmarks that have shaped the
ANC, and takes a long-term view about our future.
It implores us to approach the upcoming Mangaung Conference, in a similar
fashion with other landmark conferences of the ANC like our founding 1912
conference, the 1949 conference which adopted the militant Programme of
Action, the 1969 Morogoro Conference and perhaps also the Kabwe
Conference of 1985, which were all watershed conferences in the history
of our movement.
Our Policy Documents focus on six critical areas, that is (i) Reflections
on the last 18 years, (ii) Characterisation of the National Democratic
Society, (iii) The Balance of Forces in 2012 and the Motive Forces, (iv)
The Global Balance of Forces, (v) Thoughts and Content and Form of the
Second Transition and (vi) The Pillars of National Democratic Revolution
in the current phase.
Comrades, there is a general consensus that the past 15 to 18 years has
seen our country has experienced a peaceful, political and democratic
However there is also general consensus that our society faces
fundamental challenges that prevents it from achieving its goal of an
inclusive, non-racial and non-sexist country, and that this centres
around the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
This means that we must build a new national consensus for the next fifty
years, which should lay the basis for a second transition of social and
economic transformation, building on the foundation of our political
We need a second transition (not continuation) because the first
transition was relevant to the political transition, but is not adequate
for a social as well as economic transformation phase.
Despite the liberalisation of our economy, it is clear that the structure
of the apartheid economy has remained intact, and does not allow for
higher or inclusive growth.
The document also notes that the economy has failed to create jobs at the
pace necessary to reduce extreme levels of unemployment, and the
education system has failed to ensure that equalised public spending on
schooling leads to improved education for poor black children.
We must therefore single-mindedly focus on overcoming the triple
challenges, of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The Policy Conference must include a discussion on these issues so that
it can provide the country with a vision and a long-term view that will
take South Africa forward.
It says that our economic transformation should focus on achieving a
rising per-capita income, full employment, and our targets must
demonstrate real and visible progress in reducing wealth and income
We also need an economic development model that will take into account
our natural resources in the form of minerals, coastline, and build on
the existing capacity in manufacturing and services.
It emphasises the fact that we remain committed to a mixed economy, with
state, cooperative, social ownership co-existing with a vibrant private
sector, and how we will achieve optimal mix in all the sectors of our
The document also highlights that the debate on the mining sector has
focussed on whether to nationalise or not.
It argues that this is a limiting approach because based on our plans of
industrialisation driven by mining, we will have to adopt a mixed
approach in this sector as well.
As we approach the Policy Conference we must engage with the National
Development Plan proposals, in order to answer questions raised in the
Second Transition document, and how we will address strategic sectors
within our economy including, mining, finance, telecommunications and
Besides the economic transformation, there is also the issue of social
transformation which must also be addressed with the same seriousness.
We must regard people as a fundamental resource that is central to the
development of the economy, society and the nation as a whole.
Our approach to social transformation must be people centred, they must
be involved in their own development.
We must ensure that people receive their basic rights to shelter, food
security, health services, education, water and sanitation.
A key aspect of social and economic transformation is the investment in
education and health of all our people.
This means that we must invest in education, health, ensuring a social
wage, providing basic services and building integrated and sustainable
We will also need to deal with corruption and crime, develop and preserve
our arts and culture, sports, heritage and language in order to promote
social cohesion and nation-building.
The pursuit of any revolution, and the NDR in South Africa, also means
that we should not only focus on the political, social and economic
transformation, but we must also be constantly engaged in the ideological
struggles, the battle of ideas. The struggle for the hearts and minds is
also very critical.
WHAT TYPE OF AN ANC DO WE WANT TO BUILD?
We want to build an ANC that is people centred, that responds to people,
cares about their plight and circumstances. In short the ANC that serves
We want to build an ANC that is creative, innovative, disciplined and
We want to build an ANC that is capable of analysing the national balance
of forces and also understands global developments and responds
adequately when it tackles challenges.