- The ANC has a long history as a liberation movement even before it became the ruling party of South Africa
- Stalwarts offer insight from the past and hope to give guidance towards the future of the party
- Even in his speech at the ANC elective conference, Jacob Zuma expressed the need for the wisdom of elders to help lead the party
The old guard of the ANC, many of whom fought in the struggle to liberate the country from the shackles of the oppressive Apartheid regime are looking towards the future.
The shared reflections on the state of the party in what they called their “New Year’s resolutions” on Sunday.
At the top of their list of resolutions is the item: “President Jacob Zuma must resign!” The stalwarts in their media statements said that this was essential for the party to achieve unity.
Congratulating Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as the party’s new president, they expressed hope that his leadership would provide the party with a much needed breath of fresh air.
They also acknowledged that he would not walk an easy road in his new position due to the myriad challenges the party is facing.
In 2017, there had been much talk about unity and the group said the talk needed to be translated into action in 2018 and the party really becoming unified. "It cannot be that difficult to see what our country sees is wrong with our movement," they said.
They said while some things, such as “unacceptable behaviour” needed to be left behind in 2017 as the party moves forward, other things were needed in years ahead.
They said country needed to give the new leadership of the ANC the opportunity to prepare for the 2019 elections. "A starting point and a clear message to the country, would be for our country’s president to voluntarily step down in the interests of country and the African National Congress. If the president really loves the ANC and wants it to remain in power by 2019 he would assist it by handing over the leadership of the country to the newly elected president of the ANC to better prepare for the 2019 elections," they said.
The unacceptable behaviour and tolerance of corruption was something else they felt needed to be left in 2017. "In 2018 no one should ever again believe that they can avoid their day in court because of their position in society. Real action against corruption has to happen, with the urgent appointment of a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority and the politicsation of our law enforcement agencies."
Looking to the future they said there is a great need to encourage new members to join the party ranks, especially youth and women. "The recent elective conference was not only a sad articulation on divisions, slates, factions and deals, but an indictment of the present state of both these leagues [youth and women]; the failure to elect women and youth into our new leadership and an expression of the continued patriarchy within our movement and wider society."
Finally, they spoke out on the factional nature of the public face of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).
They said they wanted to see legitimate ex-members of MK unified under one organisation, as well as never again wanting to see youngsters in uniform on the street "playing at being soldiers".
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