There are no resources, positions and offices anywhere in the country that are worth killing or dying for, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates attending the South African Democratic Teachers' Union's national general council on Thursday.
Condemning the recent spate of political killings around the country, Ramaphosa said, “At times it is about how we can grab certain positions and resources… There is no position, resource or office in the whole country that is worth killing for or dying for. If you want a position, it is just not worth dying for it.”
Ramaphosa said if the killings continued, they would blemish the African National Congress (ANC).
South Africa was now a democratic country and people should not resort to violence to resolve their issues, he said.
Ramaphosa said practical actions must be taken to rid the ANC of factions and not just by making statements on public platforms.
“We must acknowledge that there are factions in our movements…We should not be telling lies to each other, we should tell the truth to each other with the view that there will be unity. You can never have unity if you want things to go your way.”
‘Rid our movement of flying chairs’
It was the level of disunity that had led to violence, Ramaphosa said.
“We should be able to say [that] if there is corruption of any sort, we must deal with it.”
He said it was everyone’s responsibility to be respectful, honest and constructive towards one another.
“If we are not honest, we are not going to be able to forge unity. We cannot disrupt meetings and be throwing chairs… we must rid our movement of flying chairs,” he said referring to the recent Eastern Cape provincial congress which was marred by violence when delegates threw chairs at one another, injuring some.
“As we move toward the ANC congress, we need to build a strong organisation. We need to make sure that the ANC branches are strong, that they can lead the communities we live in.”
Branch level was where the ANC engages more meaningfully with the people and listens to their concerns, said Ramaphosa.
“Organisations that are able to listen to their people are the ones that survive the longest,” he said.
Ramaphosa said as members prepared for the ANC's 54th elective congress, scheduled to be held in December, they should use the opportunity to strengthen the movement.
He said the political discussions at the conference were going to shape the country’s future trajectory.
“Everything that we do should be guided by the principles that our movement was founded upon. We are not a stokvel or beer hall.
“Whether you pray, burn incense, sprinkle water or blow out something, we are saying do everything that you need to make this a successful conference.”
He said the voices of the teachers should be heard during the conference.