ANC Today sat with the Chairperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape Comrade Phumulo Masualle, who is also the Premier of the Province, on the sidelines of the National Policy Conference to speak about among other things, Eastern Cape’s key priorities at the Conference, deepening unity in the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, and the kind of comrade the ANC must seek to build.
The Eastern Cape held its own Provincial Policy Conference in the week leading to the Conference, with close to 900 delegates in attendance, and prioritised first and foremost the issue of economic transformation, Masualle said. ‘We are coming from an era of accelerated economic transformation, the challenge now is to radicalise it and that is logically drawing attention’, he added.
The Eastern Cape is one of the country’s poorest provinces. Radical economic transformation will contribute to the province’s vision to turn around the situation to grow and transform the economy for a greater contribution to the GDP. ‘We need to also ensure that our factories affirm employability to avoid making Eastern Cape only the sender of employees elsewhere but to grow its local base and ensure rural economy triumph’, he said. He also believes that taking the radical steps in the economy is not really just rhetoric but an intention and vision we need to drive.
The province also took it as its priority to fight the factionalism problem. ‘The issue of gate keeping, membership manipulation, is killing the whole essence of the relevance of a member, Masualle said. ‘ANC must be an organisation that is open to members of society, must be an organization where they can work freely, join it, serve it, If we say we need a branch that is functional, we must be able to see that this branch is sitting, there are officials of the branch, there are monthly reports, not only based on the audit that we only receive when conferences are coming, so the whole life of an organisation, the filing system, membership follow-ups, the renewal of membership, must always be there’, Masualle said.
He reiterated that it can’t always be the matter of figures that determines the presence of an organization, it must be the life, the energy, the zeal, and enthusiasm of the membership of the ANC to be politically trained, and to be developmentally astute, to understand the task at hand.
Masualle welcomed the frankness of the President’s opening speech at the conference. ‘President was very frank. Starting from the genesis of the movement, problems of this old movement, how those problems will be resolved internally by the ANC, Masualle said. ‘The single issue that stood out for me is the issue of discipline. The organisation cannot be ill disciplined when it has problems. ANC is still a torch bearer for the future of this country’, Masualle said.
On the question of how the organization can deepen unity, Masualle revoked Oliver Tambo as indeed the embodiment of what ANC would like to see. The humility, the humbleness, the astuteness, the correct politics, we need to development more Oliver Tambo’s of today. ‘But we must appreciate that Oliver Tambo of the 60s will be different from Oliver Tambo of 2017. We would like to see members of the ANC, those that are joining the ANC, who may be coming to the organisation singing, that this is not an organisation to sing only, we need to balance content, theory, revolution, understanding what is NDR and what NDS is all about, what are the pertinent challenges’, Masualle said.
He then concluded that we need a well oiled army of comrades, who are able at a younger age, gender struggles, taking the movement forward as a professionally runned organisation, which must be delivering new hope to our people, but we cannot then wish away the foundation of our veterans. ANC is an intergenerational organisation, which is supposed to live longer, and the issues raised by the President in his input is what we need to attend to, Masualle concluded.