PERESTROIKA, PARTY RENEWAL & REVOLUTIONARY MORALITY

Of the epoch-making events in our country’s history, President Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock in the 1964 Rivonia trial is widely accepted to be amongst the finest examples of political oratory of the 20th century. 
 
Although its powerful denouement, “it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” is most widely cited, it is at the very beginning that he outlines his motivation for becoming involved in the struggle for his country’s liberation. 
 
Paying homage to South Africa’s illustrious ancestors, he called on the names of Bambata, of Hintsa, of Sekhukhuni, and proclaimed: “I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people – and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle… this is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me..”
 
Serving his people with humility was a hallmark of the revolutionary morality exhibited by one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time; a man who despite his immense stature, was guided not by a quest for recognition, nor for material gain – but by wanting to do his small part.  
 
As we mark the centenary of the birth of this great leader, the African National Congress and indeed the country, is at another epoch in our history. 
 
Africa’s oldest liberation movement has embarked upon a new path of unity, organizational renewal and accelerated socio-economic transformation. 
 
It has at its core a recommitment to the founding values of our glorious movement; to being a party rooted among the people, representing their interests, concerns and aspirations, transforming society and developing every community. 
 
This necessitates, as we said at the 54th National Conference, ‘a readiness and willingness of our members to serve, and make sacrifices in pursuit of the cause of the people as a whole.’
 
This moral ideal – that sublimates self-interest to the pursuit of the greater good, does not apply only to the leadership of our movement, but to each and every member in each and every community. 
 
It is a powerful and transformative impetus that sees every member of our movement as an active force for change. It is the driving force in our struggle to transform society. 
 
Without embracing a revolutionary morality, we cannot rightfully claim our place as the leader of society. In a 1963 interview with L’Express magazine, Cuban leader Che Guevara said: “I’m not interested in economic socialism without communist morality; we are struggling against poverty, but we are also struggling against alienation…if communism is dissociated from consciousness, it may be a method of distribution, but it is no longer a revolutionary morality.” 
 
The ANC is at a crossroads. We must painfully acknowledge that the decline in the ethics, values and traditions of the movement have led to a growing alienation between us and South African society. 
 
The social compact formed with our people in 1994 has come to be severely tested by the emergence of a host of ills that have beset our movement. Many of these have been manifest in a very public manner, leading to what the then Secretary-General of the ANC Comrade Gwede Mantashe described in his 2017 Organizational Diagnostic report to the National Conference as ‘a growing trust deficit’ between the ANC and the people. 
 
The pernicious influences of corruption, of factionalism, of arrogant leadership and of collapse of party discipline have contributed to the ANC being perceived as a vehicle for self-enrichment. This can no longer and will no longer continue.
 
Contemporary events in South Africa have thrust into the spotlight the pervasive influence of greed and self-accumulation at the expense of our people. The VBS Bank scandal is but one instance of the withering away of our society’s moral fiber, as a small minority enriched themselves with utterly no regard for the destitution and destruction they created in the lives of honest, hardworking South Africans. 
 
Similarly, testimonies at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry paint a bleak picture of hidden handspurportedly manipulating key institutions and offices of State, abusing political patronage in a web of deceipt.
 
History bears witness to the fate that has befallen revolutionary movements who fail to heed the signs of decline. 
 
Endemic corruption and the abuse of state and party resources for private gain precipitated a spectacular loss of fortunes for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1970’s during the Brezhnev years. It was ironically a scenario Lenin himself predicted decades earlier when he spoke of a scenario where institutions were ‘captured’ by ‘unscrupulous and malevolent men’, who ‘manipulated them to cover-up or condone their own abuses of power.’ Failure to stem the tide of corruption led to the unravelling of not just the Party but the entire Soviet system, as it fed into a general disillusionment that became impossible to contain. 
 
If the ANC is to reassert its position as leader of society in the face of a growing disillusionment by our people, we need, indeed we have to exhibit – not with words, but with actions, that we are committed to addressing and correcting our weaknesses, and to stamping out the vices that have divided our movement. 
 
The contemporary renewal of the ANC is the perestroika of our time; and must be led from the front.
 
It requires leaders of principle, of revolutionary morality, and of humility. 
 
We owe our position to an overwhelming public mandate given to us in successive polls since the dawn of democracy – but is not something we should take for granted. 
 
Maintaining and securing our compact with society calls for leaders and cadres who are both ethical and altruistic, and who make no distinction between how they conduct themselves in private, and as members of the ANC. 
 
For ultimately if they falter, they are not judged as individuals, but as members and leaders of the ANC. 
 
Assuming the mantle of leadership of society confers with it great responsibility, and this is inextricably tied to accountability. 
 
Where there has been abuse of political office for personal gain; where there have been acts of illegality and criminality; and where public office bearers, ANC leaders or members are found to have otherwise conducted themselves contra bonos mores – there must be consequences. 
 
In as much as our law-enforcement authorities must act in this regard without fear or favour, so too we as the ANC must strengthen our internal accountability mechanisms, such as the Integrity Commission. For such structures to have credibility, consequence management must be both swift and tangible.
 
The task before us is a momentous one. 
 
At the same time, we have within our means the opportunity to chart a new course for our movement, while we still retain a large measure of public goodwill. 
 
The ANC has an established track-record for service delivery and for advancing programmes and policies that benefit our society’s most disadvantaged. 
 
It is up to us to draw on our strengths, to correct our weaknesses, and above all, to remain united. The ideals for which the likes of Tata Madiba stood, and for which he was prepared to die, should serve as inspiration to each of us as we move together, with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism, into the future.
 
Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa is the President of the African National Congress

PLACING SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION AT THE CENTRE OF OUR DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

It is now more than twenty years since the adoption of the 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology. Though the country has shown good progress in the implementation of the 1996 White Paper, however, South Africa has yet to fully realise the potential of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to advance the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP). The gains realised in the period since 1996 include the expansion of the STI, a three-fold increase in publications, significant growth in the participation of black people and women in the research and development workforce, and a rise in doctoral graduation rates. However, challenges remain. The National System of Innovation (NSI) is still not fully inclusive, and since 1996 South Africa’s innovation performance (measured in patents and products) has been relatively flat.

According to recent reviews, the main factors constraining NSI performance are the inadequate and non-collaborative means of STI agenda setting for the country, insufficient policy coherence and coordination, weak partnerships between NSI actors (particularly the insufficient involvement of business and civil society), inadequate monitoring and evaluation, inadequate high-level science, engineering and technical skills for the economy, a too small research system, a poor environment for innovation, and significant levels of underfunding.

As the department of science and technology, we are responsible for ensuring that the NSI improves its performance. This means that together with all the stakeholders we have to confound all the constraints that are limiting our NSI performance. It is against this background that we are finalising a new White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, and have commissioned the National Advisory Council on Innovation to work on a framework for a new decadal plan. The premise of our new White Paper is that science, technology and innovation are central to inclusive and sustainable development for shaping a different South Africa. But most importantly, the White Paper recognises that inclusivity is central to the national system of innovation, in terms of promoting social justice, sparking economic growth and fostering a system in which creativity and learning can flourish.

The world, driven by science, technology and innovation, is changing rapidly and fundamentally. The main drivers of this global change include socio-economic and geopolitical (demographic shifts, urbanisation, rising inequality and youth unemployment, and the rise of China and India as economic powers), scientific and technological (for instance the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) revolution and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) blurring the lines between the physical and digital spheres), and environmental (with climate change having serious consequences for the world’s most vulnerable people). This is the world that South Africans must strive to make sense of.

The technologies associated with the 4IR will revolutionize all the spheres of our lives. In this new era, the World Economic Forum estimated that by the year 2020, more than 7.1 million jobs will be displaced, and by 2050 half of the jobs that currently exist will have disappeared. It is also estimated that 65% of the children that are entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that do not currently exist.
The report further estimated that 90 per cent of future jobs will require ICT skills, and millions of new jobs will be created in the computer, mathematical, architecture and engineering fields. In the era of the fourth Industrial revolution, technical and ICT-related skills across industries also need to be supplemented by broader, stronger collaborative and social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and the ability to learn and teach others.

Evidently, these changes will require a skills revolution, not only in South Africa but across the globe. With a burgeoning youth population, South Africa is either sitting in a ticking time bomb or a demographic dividend. How well South Africa responds to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, not leaving people behind through technological progress, will depend on our success in exploiting the pivotal role of ICT and harnessing the potential of big data. Among other things, these developments mean that our country must step up efforts to develop mathematics and science education at the foundational level of basic education in order to maximise the role of science and technology in the promotion of growth and development to improve the quality of the lives of South Africans.

The fourth industrial revolution will consist in technological advancement that will lead to increased productivity however, with greatly reduced human labour absorption in repetitive mechanical tasks and some of the cognitive tasks. These machines will spawn new industries. Humans will be left with performing complex and innovative tasks. This means that the introduction of machines for the time being may not be to eliminate jobs, but redefine them, changing the tasks and the skills needed to perform them. “The argument isn’t that automation always increases jobs”, argues economist James Bessen, “but that it can and often does” citing the example of the introduction ATMs which led to fewer tellers but more bank branches. Could the same thing be said about the introduction of autonomous machines?

The White Paper has also proposed the intensification of inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge production which is increasingly becoming important, as research is becoming increasingly data-driven, requiring an Open Science approach to allow greater access to the benefits of science. The new White Paper is a proposal for a shift to a new paradigm for Science, Technology and Innovation in South Africa.

As part of the white paper process we will be convening a summit on 09 November 2018 that will bring together, government, business, academia and labour. The purpose of the summit will be to share ideas on how to ensure that there is coordination across the various stakeholders on how we carry forward our national system of innovation.

By Comrade Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. ANC NEC member and the Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa

OUR REVAMPED WEBSITE – www.anc1912.org.za IS INNOVATIVE AND FRESH WITH A NEW LOOK

While addressing the first conference the of the African National Congress Department of Information and Publicity on the 5th of July 1983 in Lusaka,  the longest serving President of the African National Congress, comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo observed that:

“Given that our movement is a uniting force, an organiser, a mobiliser, an educator and leader of the widest sections of our people, the Department of Information and Publicity (DIP) must of necessity be a finely tuned specialist instrument that clearly and comprehensively grasps the overall task of the ANC and its role and place in the struggle of our people for their national rights in particular, and the general struggle of humanity for a just, peaceful and prosperous world”.

The relaunch of the revamped and innovative website brought to live yet again the words of President Tambo.

Our movements ability to disseminate information to the widest and broadest section of society is consistent with our role as true leader of society.

The revamped web platform promises to make interactions more exciting for both the young and old alike.

It is interactive in many aspects and allows communities both here at home and abroad to pick up our organizations “current affairs”.
A new public info portal has been added, this is work in progress and will give members of the public the benefit to search for jobs, know about new skills and enterprise development initiatives deepening citizen empowerment.

Our dynamic and trendy animation platform – Batsumy’ will give visitors to the site an easy way to emancipation and to continuously engage with our political programs.

This web platform aims to address knowledge deficit about the programmes of the movement, create an ANC popular culture and make the ANC way of life.
Through Batsumy loosely translated to mean the Hunters of solution to societal challenges – the conversation has begun.

The platform will also provide easy access to the progressive Online Broadcast Platform – Radio 1912 – which will henceforth become a consistent audio feeder on current affairs and press statements in a podcast format.

The online-podcast feeder will spare the media the logistical headache of that one big demand: “Soundbite – creating ease and comfort for the download of voice clips.
Furthermore, we have created a self-help portal allowing media outlets and individuals alike to be able to enroll their details on our ANC media mailing  list to receive statements and news feed at the click of a button.
Registration on our online platform will include automatic addition on the ANC WhatsApp media group for ongoing media updates.

The new web platform aims to display our pride and for all to see that the ANC is our life, our heritage and our Future.

At the outset, the ANC apologise to the entire membership and the South African public at large for any inconvenience caused by the closure of the website, which lasted for about two weeks.

However, we have now fulfilled the promise with the unveiling of our newly revamped website which is definitely ground breaking and an improved interactive digital platform promising to be exciting.

It is friendly and easy to use, even on mobile devices, allowing for easy navigation through a wide range of content including upcoming events, speeches, archives, our constitution and all other important organisational documents.

ANC is now available online everyday 24/7 on www.ANC1912.org.za – connect now.
This is work in progress and that over the next few months we will be introducing new features to increase the security of the site and further make the site more dynamic and exciting.

Comrade Pule Mabe is the National Spokesperson of the African National Congress

BUILDING A SOCIAL COMPACT FOR JOBS

A historic milestone in the partnership between government, labour, business and community has yielded a broad range of measures to create and protect jobs – and bring hope and opportunity to South Africans who need it the most.

This past week’s Presidential Jobs Summit, convened under the auspices of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), was the platform from which our nation’s social partners answered the call of the people of South Africa for decent work.

Our response took the form of a framework agreement that will confront the greatest challenge facing our country at this moment in its history: unemployment.

We should therefore all take heart from the estimate that the initiatives agreed by the social partners will create approximately 275,000 jobs a year – over and above the jobs that would have been created without these interventions, which was on average about 300,000 a year over the past four years.

The extreme unemployment in this country is the product of an economy that for several decades has been starved of any meaningful investment in its human capital, where most people have been denied the opportunity to own assets or develop skills.

The structure of the economy, which was built on the extraction of minerals, where ownership and control are highly concentrated, remains largely untransformed.

Low levels of growth in recent years has further undermined our efforts to overcome the economic legacy of apartheid.

Our economic performance has also been undermined by state capture and corruption in both public institutions and private companies.

Since the announcement of the Jobs Summit in the State of the Nation Address in February, all social partners have been engaged in intensive discussions to craft an ambitious and realisable agreement to begin to address this crisis.

As a critical starting point, our focus is on both creating new jobs and retaining existing ones.

There is agreement that all possible alternatives and opportunities need to be explored before retrenchment is considered, including executive salary sacrifices and the foregoing of dividends.

For the economy to grow and for jobs to be created, it is essential that there is a substantial increase in domestic demand.

This means that South African companies, government and consumers must buy local.

The most direct way for South Africans and South African companies to create jobs is to buy only South African products.

Government has undertaken to simplify and speed up the process for the designation of products for local procurement, and organised labour, in partnership with Proudly SA, will proactively identify opportunities for new designations.

While promoting local demand, social partners have also identified the need to more aggressively promote South African exports.

We will embark on an export drive that prioritises manufactured and processed goods, ensuring that we derive the full employment benefit of our mineral and agricultural resources.

We will seize the opportunities presented by regional integration and the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area to produce more goods for other African markets.

Through this framework agreement, we will be mobilising finance on a far greater scale, ensuring that it is focused on building our manufacturing capacity.

The financial sector, as part of its transformation code, will invest R100 billion over five years in black-owned industrial enterprises.

The social partners have agreed on strategic interventions in economic sectors that have great potential for growth and even more potential for employment creation.

The agriculture and agro-processing value chain, as set out in the NDP and the nine-point plan, is one area that has significant potential.

It is estimated that global demand for fresh produce could increase South Africa’s horticultural trade from R54 billion to R90 billion by 2030.

Through our programme of accelerated land reform, we will expand the area of land under cultivation, substantially increase the number of people productively working the land and provide rural dwellers with the ownership and tenure rights needed to unlock the economic potential of their land.

In the metals, mining and machinery sector, government has agreed to expeditiously finalise an export tax on scrap metal and ensure better access to incentives like the Downstream Steel Industry Competitiveness Fund.

Other value chains that are receiving focused attention include sub sectors of the manufacturing industry in clothing, textiles, leather and footwear, furniture and the automotive industry.

One of the most exciting prospects to emerge from the deliberations that led up to the Jobs Summit is that organised labour, through one of its member unions, plans to open a union-owned clothing factory in the Eastern Cape within the next two years.

This innovative and welcome initiative will create around 100 jobs initially and aims to contribute to the re-industrialisation of a province which suffers from widespread poverty and unemployment.

One of the country’s greatest potential strengths is our young population, whose capabilities and talents the social partners are committed to develop as a matter of priority.

A specific area of focus is the development of the technical skills that are required in the industrial economy.

Mechanisms are being put in place to enable companies to form partnerships with nearby TVET colleges, where the colleges offer the theoretical component of the programme and companies offer the practical and workplace components.

The outcomes of the Jobs Summit and the actions set out recently in our stimulus and recovery plan for the economy give us renewed hope in our ability, as South Africans working together, to develop solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

The Jobs Summit was the beginning of a process that brings all South Africans together to cooperate and to work together for a common vision – a growing economy in which the benefits are shared by everyone.

 

By President Cyril Ramaphosa

THE SOUTH AFRICA RAIL TRANSPORTATION IS ENTERING ITS CRITICAL GROWTH, INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE PATH

The government identified the need to develop a transport master plan for South Africa that is comprehensive, multi modal, integrated, and dynamic, and provides a sustainable framework not only for implementing transport but also for providing infrastructure and service.

Most importantly, such a plan must seek to develop continuously and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a multimodal transport system – a transport system that is well regulated and well managed within a multisectoral sphere of effective coordination within and cooperation between various government spheres, relevant private sectors, civil society partners and stakeholders up to 2050.

The Department of Transport through the implementation of its anchor strategy the National Transport Master Plan 2050 (NATMAP 2050), seeks to achieve the vision the vision of the National Development Plan 2030.

Investments in the transport sector will ensure that it serves as a key driver in empowering South Africa and its people by creating an enabling environment for:

  • Improved access to economic opportunities, social spaces and services by bridging geographic distances affordably, reliably and safely.
  • Economic development, by supporting the movement of goods from points of production to where they are consumed, facilitating regional and international trade.
  • Mobility broadens social & economic access, alleviating poverty (NDP).

In his State of the Nation Address (February 2018), His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, acknowledged the need for job creation. “Infrastructure investment is key to our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to our people. 

In my input today, I will focus my attention on the rail mode of transport and it’s important to the economy.

The Department is embarking on the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme (RSFR) as a catalyst for transformation of Metrorail services and public transport.

 It is about the rollout of the Government’s Comprehensive Rail Programme over the next two decades.

Whilst the urgent challenge to improve passenger services remains primary, the RSFR Programme has been designed to achieve a number of key Government objectives such as delivery of quality services to citizens, revitalization of rail engineering industry through local manufacturing and ensuring local content (65 % minimum local content is set) as part of the Government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2), employment creation and skills development as well as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.

The RSFR Programme is at its most exciting phase, with introduction of off-peak rail services in 2017.

The acceptance process has been accelerated with fifteen (15) new train sets being accepted and delivered at the Wolmerton Depot.

 

Job Creation

The Programme is expected to create approximately about 65 000 direct and indirect jobs over a 20-year period, with 33 000 direct and indirect jobs expected to be created in the first 10 years of the Programme.

This is based on a target to achieve a minimum of 65% local content on the new trains. As part of the first phase of the Programme, the Local Factory will directly employ about 1 500 employees of which 99% of the labour force will be South Africans, with a target of employing 85% historically disadvantaged South Africans and 25% females.

Progress to date, Gibela has created the following jobs:

  • Overall 162 Jobs for Citizens;
  • Of which, 145 Jobs for Black Citizens;
  • Of which 144 Jobs for Skilled Black Citizens;
  • Of which 82 Jobs for Women; and
  • Of which 113 Jobs for Youth.

 

Skills Development

Skills Development is critical to enable the creation of meaningful sustainable jobs and as such the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme has a strong focus on Skills Development. Overall, Gibela is contracted to up-skilling 19 527 individuals during the implementation of the Programme.

There is a strong focus on skilling artisans and engineers as a result of the train manufacturing process. In early October 2016, Gibela launched the Maths, Science and English classes in the Duduza Community.

Gibela, through a three (3) year partnership with the Maths Centre and with the assistance of the Department of Basic Education, is assisting 450 learners from seventeen (17) schools in Nigel, Duduza and Kwa-Thema with maths, science and English classes on Saturdays. The classes are intended to provide extra support to learners in Grade 10, 11 and 12.

There are 50 learners in each class, with one educator per class. Gibela has committed to fully cover the cost of teaching aids for the educators and learning aids for the students at an estimated cost of R6.7 million over the three-year programme.

By the end of the Programme, Gibela would have, at minimum, achieved the training of 6 766 Artisans, 1 957 Engineering Technicians and 596 Professional Engineers. To enable this, Gibela is expected to spend 1.75% of the Contract Value (approximately R928 million) towards Skills Development.

This will include the development of training centres as well as providing bursaries across the different disciplines. Gibela has started with the process of training and up-skilling newly appointed employees focussing mainly on women and youth.

 

Youth Development

The Rail Safety Regulator (RSR)’s comprehensive development programme for the 2017/18 financial year was effectively implemented and continues to provide valuable learning and training in line with the youth development agenda of the country.

During the period under review a total of eighteen (18) interns participated in the RSR’s internal training programme.

Pursuant to the completion of the internship programme, two (2) interns progressed to the Trainee Inspector programme, fifteen (15) were absorbed into the RSR structure and one (1) intern resigned.

In support of the national agenda of youth development, the RSR has provided financial support to youth pursuing academic excellence in various academic institutions around the country.

The support accorded to the youth is providing significant assistance in developing qualified capacity for the South African labour market.

To date a total of fifty-two (52) youth have been provided with the financial support as part the youth development initiative.

 

Woman Empowerment and Persons with Disabilities

This financial year has been a progressive one with respect to the RSR’s continued effort in the empowerment of woman and persons with disabilities.

The RSR has made significant strides in line with the national agenda on woman empowerment – women constitute 51% of the total staff complement. During this period, RSR also appointed persons with disabilities in line with the set employment equity target. To date, 1% of staff complement is made up of persons with disabilities.

The RSR is committed to advancing the empowerment of woman and persons with disabilities through reasonable accommodation and creating a conducive and favorable environment.

 

By Blade Nzimande, Minister of Transport (SA)

100 YEARS IN A 1000 WORDS. A BLESSING TO THE NATION

“As difficult as it is to talk about the past, as agonising as it is to rake up painful memories of imprisonment, torture and separation from family and friends, I will give my testimony today. I do so in the belief that it is necessary to keep alive the memories of the past, in order to ensure that its horrors will never ever be part of the present and the future.” So began Albertina Sisulu’s testimony in March 2001.

Awakening political consciousness

Albertina Sisulu was a matriarch of fortitude! Born Nontsikelelo Thethiwe, a rural girl with 3 siblings left in her care at the age of 11. She not only raised them, but breathed her last breath only after the last amongst them had breathed their last. She grew up in a seemingly racially sheltered upbringing in the Transkei, which could not have prepared her for the harsh reality of political oppression she faced in Johannesburg as a trainee nurse. However, she was fully aware of the unfairness of her uncles taking over her mothers and her siblings inheritance. She experienced the gender imbalance very early in her life.

Her awakening to political consciousness was as a result of the discrimination she and other black nurses encountered. She became a willing student, one who had the lived experience of injustice and discrimination when Walter Sisulu introduced her to African National Congress (ANC) politics soon after they met in 1941. 

At Walter Sisulu’s invitation, she attended political meetings, including the inaugural meeting of the ANC Youth League in April 1944, at which she was the only woman present. However, attending a meeting and being the only women did not in itself make her a women of fortitude. It was her own consciousness and discomfort with injustice that made her see politics as a mechanism to end discrimination and injustice in the wider society.

Through her political activism she spread her wings to cross the raging seas of injustice and inequality; of racism and sexism. Despite being the longest banned activist, with 3 generations of Sisulu’s in prison at the same time, she continued as a midwife and nurse steeped in professionalism.  Through the dusty streets of Soweto, she helped women to give birth, teaching them how to care for their babies, never missing the opportunity to raise awareness of the political context in which their children were born into. A context that saw black children as fit only for inferior Bantu education, segregated living and always to become mere labourers.

It is the women who will free us from this oppression

In her quest for a non-racial, non-violent and a non-sexist South Africa, she spared neither life nor limb for the human rights of men and women, of blacks, coloureds, Indians and whites alike. Steadfast in courage for a just and equitable South Africa, she never tired in the struggle for women’s liberation; forming, organizing and leading a united collective of women, which she believed and I quote, that, “it is the women who will free us from this oppression.”

All the while risking losing her nursing license she continued to face the oppressor head on. She recalled that “Through the dark years of the Sixties, when the government appeared to have successfully crushed the liberation movement, I was one of a handful of political activists not in jail or exile, who managed somehow  to continue with clandestine ANC work. Under difficult and dangerous circumstances we maintained the link between the internal and external movements and provided some form of continuity in black resistance between the 1960s and 1970s“. 

Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves during her centenary year and beyond is what are we willing to risk in order to strengthen our freedom and democracy.

In 1983 Albertina Sisulu was arrested and held in solitary confinement on charges of furthering the aims of the ANC while attending the funeral of her friend and fellow-activist, Rose Mbele. In August 1983, while in jail, she was elected co-president of the United Democratic Front (UDF), a powerful umbrella body of anti-apartheid and civic organisations.

Today we move through the country freely, but what of the safety of women. Today we gather as we please with no fear of being arrested, but how we abuse this freedom through vandalism and violence. Today we attend funerals and speak without a thought of being detained for furthering our political aims, yet at times we see no good in our freedom and democracy, seldom providing solutions to create the South Africa we want. 

As an advocate for the rights of women Albertina Sisulu was elected deputy president of the ANC Women’s League in 1991. She was also elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee. Having experienced delays in her schooling to do household chores as some rural girls still do today; never forgetting her widowed mother being deprived of both land and livestock which were taken by her uncles; she advocated to defend the gains of the ANC and to advance women empowerment and gender equality towards a non-violent non-sexist South Africa, a struggle which is still upon us as we celebrate her centenary.

As women and men today though we stumble and falter, let us recommit our actions beyond this Centenary year, lead and serve with integrity and dignity, educating the youth to awaken to their greatness, protecting and nurturing children and become women of courage to stand as one but lead for the multitude as MaSisulu did.

As we celebrate her legacy let us actively protect, defend and strengthening our hard-won democracy and freedom. So that, when we take our last breath, we may do so with a clear conscious that South African’s remain free because like her, we were here for the greater good of humanity. 

Long may the spirit of Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu live and guide our ways.

Thole! Inzilenzikazi yeziziba zaseXolobe. 

Malibongwe!

By Ntsiki Sisulu-Singapi, Granddaughter

THE UNITED NATIONS MUST BECOME A REPRESENTATIVE AND TRULY DEMOCRATIC GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF THE PEOPLE

During the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace (2019-2028) the UN must become a representative and truly democratic global parliament of the people.

It is nearly a quarter of a century since the founding father of our democracy, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela stood at this podium to declare that:

The millions across our globe who stand expectant at the gates of hope look to this organisation [the United Nations], to bring them peace, to bring them life, to bring them a life worth living.”

As we mark the centenary of the birth of this great global leader, we are bound to ask whether the United Nations has met the needs and the expectations of the millions who stand at the gates of hope. We are bound to ask what contribution the United Nations has made to a more peaceful, more prosperous and more equal world. More importantly, we are called upon to ask – as we did yesterday during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit – what the United Nations and the assembled global leadership must do to secure lasting peace, reconciliation and stability across the globe.

Allow me to express the deep gratitude of the government and the people of South Africa to the international community for convening the Peace Summit… and applaud the Political Declaration of the Summit, which recognises 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace. This reflects a new and sincere commitment by the world’s leaders to comprehensively advance peace and security and resolve all conflicts and wars.

To succeed in giving effect to this commitment, the UN must become what billions of people across the world want it to be – a representative and truly democratic global parliament of the people.

Throughout its seven decades, the UN has been a source of hope for the oppressed, exploited and poor. During the dark days of colonialism and apartheid, we drew strength, inspiration and encouragement from the UN and its Charter in our quest for self-determination. With the support of the UN, we were able 24 years ago to bring an end to the nightmare of apartheid. Nelson Mandela led us to freedom and gave us the great opportunity to transform our country.

South Africa’s Journey of Transformation

We have embarked on a journey of transformation, and work is in progress to deal with the ugly legacy of apartheid. Madiba’s vision continues to guide us as we seek to improve the lives of our people in many respects, through improving the educational outcomes of our youth and transforming an economy that was constituted to serve the interests of a few.

We have started a comprehensive dialogue on the question of land reform, which is guided by our Constitution and the rule of law as we seek ways to ensure that the land is shared among all who work it, as set out in our Freedom Charter.

Even as our country is going through difficult economic challenges, we have made progress. We are reforming our economy and creating an environment that is conducive to investment, and have embarked on an investment drive to attract $100 billion dollars in the next five years.

An Instrument to Create a more Equal, Humane and Inclusive world

To the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised, the UN today is a beacon of promise in a landscape of doubt. To billions across the world, the UN is the most powerful instrument we possess to achieve a more equal, more humane and more inclusive world.

They are men and women with dreams and aspirations that transcend the hardships of the present, who want to contribute to a new global civilization defined by care, justice and solidarity. They want an end to the greed, ignorance and conceit that is driving the destruction of our only home, the earth.

It is within our hands, as the leaders assembled here today, to forge a more representative, equal and fair United Nations that is empowered and equipped to lead the struggle to end poverty, unemployment and inequality in the world.

The Age of Youth

We are a young world, where more than half the global population is under the age of 30 years.

This is even more pronounced on our continent, Africa, where two-thirds of its people were not yet born when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

We are living in the Age of Youth.

This places a responsibility on us, as leaders, not only to put the interests of young people at the centre of our efforts, but also to empower women and young people to be more prominent in directing the course of global affairs.

It is young people who are fighting the wars that we started.

It is women who are bearing the brunt and hardships of the wars that continue to destroy their families and lives.

As we speak, young lives are being lost and futures are being destroyed.

Ending Conflict and War

There is an urgency to the measures we must take to end conflict and war.

Not only must we stop the death, destruction and human suffering that is visited daily on millions of people, but we must act with purpose to prevent the loss of another entire generation to its aftermath.

We must accept our shared responsibility – and our shared interest – in ending conflict, and, using the outcomes of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, to empower the United Nations to be a more effective instrument for mediation, peace keeping and post-conflict reconstruction.

Our resolve to end ongoing conflicts and our determination to root out terrorism must be matched by action and by the appropriate deployment of resources. We must act with the same urgency to resolve some of the world’s most protracted and intractable disputes.

The fact that the people of Palestine have endured occupation and suffering for nearly as long as the United Nations has existed, makes their plight no less pressing, nor their suffering any less acceptable.

We must similarly intensify our efforts to secure the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and full national sovereignty.

Participation in the Global Economy

One of the greatest challenges to the achievement of global prosperity and development is the continued exclusion of millions of women and young people from meaningful economic participation.

It is therefore vital that we deploy every means at our disposal to address youth unemployment and ensure universal access to educational opportunities that are appropriate to the changing world of work.

We need a deliberate programme to ensure that the digital revolution – which carries such great potential for both disruption and empowerment – is effectively harnessed to promote social justice and human progress.

Reform of Institutions of Global Governance

The call to leave no one behind requires that we strengthen the institutions of global governance and make them more responsive to the needs of young people, particularly in the developing world.

Institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and the WTO need to be reshaped and enhanced so that they may more effectively meet the challenges of the contemporary world and better serve the interests of the poor and marginalised.

Reform of the United Nations, and particularly its Security Council, is a priority if we are to give full effect to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

We must resist any and all efforts to undermine the multilateral approach to international trade, which is essential to the promotion of stability and predictability in the global economy.

The history of the global economy informs us that no country can prosper at the expense of all others, and that no people can hope to live in comfort and security for as long as millions of others languish in poverty.

It is therefore essential that we take collective responsibility for the development of all nations and for the improvement of the lives of all people. This responsibility is manifest in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on the financing of development, among others.

Together, they represent our common commitment to tackle poverty, underdevelopment and environmental degradation. They represent our common commitment to tackle diseases like Aids, tuberculosis, malaria, diabetes and cancer.

Our task as global leaders is to pursue the policies that are required to turn intent into implementation and mobilise the resources needed to turn implementation into impact.

Africa’s Agenda 2063

As Africans, we have made significant strides in addressing the challenges that have confronted our continent over many decades.

We continue to vigorously implement our commitments contained in the African Union Agenda 2063, which is our collective plan to rid our continent of underdevelopment, poverty and conflict and improve democratic governance, the rule of law and the promotion of human rights.

We have reached agreement on the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area, which will fundamentally transform African economies, giving rise to a new industrial age on the continent.

We are working to silence the guns in Africa by 2020, to bring an end to conflicts that have cost the lives of millions of our people, displaced many more and stunted economic growth and human development.

As the continent with the youngest population in the world, Africa has the potential to be the next great frontier for global growth. With effective investment in education, improved health care, good governance and greater economic integration, Africa has the potential to develop its productive capacity on a scale and at a rate that will lift tens of millions out of poverty. The youth of Africa are poised to transform their continent.

As the people of South Africa, we are committed to be part of this transformation. From the ashes of a system that was described by the UN General Assembly as a crime against humanity, we are building a new democratic nation, united in its diversity. We are working to correct the injustices of our past and to build a society that is free, inclusive and sustainable.

We are pursuing an economic path that draws on the resources and capabilities of all our people to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality.

We are determined through our international relations to be a force for progress and peace and global equality, and will continue to advance the interests of the African continent and the Global South.

A Generational Mission

Allow me to conclude by once more drawing on the wisdom of Nelson Mandela, when he said: “Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great.”

This is not the generation that will stand expectant at the gates of hope. This is the generation that will change the world.

This is their time, and this is their age.

Let their greatness blossom.

Cde Cyril Ramaphosa is the President of the African National Congress

GIVING PEOPLE A VOICE OF THEIR OWN BECAME HER LIFE’S MISSION, PROFESSIONALLY AND POLITICALLY

Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela was a leader of our people and international icon whose impact and her reach is reflected in the diversity of humanity who celebrate her life and honour her contribution, reflective of a national movement that evolved over time into a global struggle.

As a young activist, Mam Winnie herself drew inspiration from women who had forced open doors and pathways that had been reserved for men – even within our own Movement in the early years of her life.

She therefore fought internal and societal patriarchy to champion the cause – not just of women – but of all oppressed South Africans and oppressed peoples around the world.

Comrade Winnie was the human face of globalisation even before we knew this word.

She was born in 1936 – a year that produced such notable comrades as the Cape Town artist Lionel Davis and Dr Neville Alexander.

But,1936 was also a year that produced FW de Klerk, against whom Mam Winnie would wage countless and fearless campaigns that helped to bring down the curtain on apartheid, while Madiba and our leadership remained incarcerated and later in negotiations.

Born into a large family of nine children, Mam Winnie benefited from the high value her rural Eastern Cape family attached to education. With her father, Columbus, as a history teacher and her mother, Nomathamsanqa, the young Winnie Madikizela was herself guided towards studying towards a profession.

She elected social work, not because of what it would do for her, but because of what it would for the poor South Africans among whom she lived and dwelt.

She saw social work as a medium to uplift poor people and give people a voice of her own.

Giving people a voice of their own became her life’s mission, professionally and politically.

Mam Winnie did not think of this as leadership. She thought of this as service. It was just something she did. But it proved to be something that could change an entire society.

Her commitment and charisma also shape a man who would go on to play a major role in our history and in the history of the world.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela found the perfect transformational and revolutionary soulmate in the young Winnie Madikizela when they met in a happy coincidence of circumstance and content.

Both were on a path to bring into being the South Africa in which all South Africans, black and white, enjoy a better life today.

This was a path of personal sacrifice and patriotic struggle; a path of pain, of conflict, of resistance, and of foregoing many of the joys and comforts that accompany family life.

It was a path Mam Winnie walked in the glare of news media in the days before social media. It was in this same blaze of publicity that the shameless and merciless apartheid state persecuted and prosecuted Mam Winnie and her comrades.

Following the Rivonia Trial and the incarceration of our leadership, Mam Winnie – through no design of her own – became the face of our Struggle.

She kept the home fires burning, both in terms of her maternal role and in terms of rendering the country ungovernable by the apartheid authorities.

She stood strong and kept singing, marching, mobilising and fighting in the face of banishment to Brandfort; in the face of more than a year of solitary confinement at The Fort (now home to our Constitutional Court) and in the face of torture and attempts at humiliation.

Together with countless generations, including the women of 1956, some of whom including Mme Sophie De Bruyn are still at our side, they pioneered and sustained the traditions of selfless service of our movement.

Working tirelessly alongside many other powerful and brave women and men in the trenches of our struggle in the 1960s and ‘70s, Mam Winnie nevertheless became the poster woman for our Congress, for courage, for consistency, for clarity and for commitment.

Her commitment spanned our struggle era and our democratic dispensation, in which she served as a vociferous Member of Parliament and d Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture.

Her championship of the cause of land restitution and reform is a championship that was interrupted only by her passing away last Monday.

Today, Mam Winnie, the ANC gives thanks to you for being unwavering in your activism and unbowed in the face of repression.

We say thanks for your years of patriotic service to the ANC, to the United Democratic Front, to the Women’s League and to so many other collectives that bear the imprint of your personality and ideology.

We thank the many fraternal organisations who are with us today and whose support of our struggle in their own countries concerntrated global attention on the plight of black South Africans under apartheid.

We say thank you to the Madikizela and Mandela families who were deprived of a constant presence during Mam Winnie’s decades of focus on the plight of others around her and the plight of downtrodden and oppressed communities all over South Africa.

We also remember and pay homage to other mothers such as Comrades Limpho Hani and the family of Solomon Mahlangu who felt brutally and bloodily the mercilessness of the apartheid state.

We say thank you to the millions of South Africans who are mourning with us across the spectrum of race, colour and class, to acknowledging the passing of a truly great South African.

As we mourn Mam Winnie’s passing, we cast our gaze ahead to the Winnie Madikizela-Mandelas – black and white – who must fight our Mother’s fight in years and generations to come.

South Africa’s transformation is not complete, and we therefore look to a new generation of young women – and young men – to advance the causes in which Mam Winnie led us so capably and forcefully.

The resolutions of the ANC’s 54th National Conference held in December 2017, are a fitting tribute to her especially the far reaching decisions on land redistribution and transformation of the economy. It is incumbent upon us to remember and mark her remarkable life by ensuring their full implementation to the benefit of all South Africans, the majority of whom are poor, African and female.

Mam Winnie’s life remains a blueprint for activism in the 21st Century, because no matter what technology we are able to employ today to realise the vision of our Freedom Charter, our Constitution and our National Development Plan, activism and struggle must come from the heart, not the hardware.

Our activism must be fundamentally rooted in our concern for humanity and community. It must be rooted in our understanding of the challenges that face our country, our region, our continent and the world. And it must be rooted in wanting to make a difference; not a difference in our personal circumstances, but a difference in our communities and the wider world.

We will miss that unique blend of fiery militancy and charming friendship that characterised Mam Winnie. We will also miss her inner beauty and outward attractiveness.

We will miss her inspiration; her sense of principle; her ability to innovate and adapt in the face of adversity; her ability to establish a community clinic in a place of banishment, as she did in Brandfort.

But for all the attributes we will miss, we will be comforted by her legacy of a better South Africa in a better world.

We will be comforted by the rights we have won and the transformation we have effected using these rights.

We will be comforted by knowing that Mam Winnie had not resisted, fought, struggled, embraced and reconciled in vain.

We will be comforted by knowing that while her voice has grown silent, the voice of the previously voiceless will ring out across our country as continue to move South Africa forward.

We look forward to 2019 as a year not just of contestation but a year of advancing the values and vision for which Mam Winnie stood.

Today, all of us will find ourselves moving back and forth between celebration and mourning; between reliving the pain and the inspiration that was a part of Mam Winnie’s life, and between reflecting on her life and reflecting on our own.

Most of all, I hope we will grasp this national period of mourning as a moment to rededicate ourselves to completing the many revolutionary tasks Mam Winnie began in her own lifetime and left for us to complete.

Cde Jessie Duarte is the Deputy Secretary General of the African National Congress

SOUTH AFRICA MOURNS THE PASSING OF CDE EDNA MOLEWA

The African National Congress has learnt with shock, sadness and sense of enormous loss, of the passing of Edna Edith Bomo Molewa, who was an NEC & NWC member as well as Cabinet Minister at the time of her passing.The sense of loss we feel, is beyond comprehension.

Her passing has left the ANC and the country poorer given her role in advancing the country’s agenda for fundamental social transformation.She has been and will always remain a symbol of a rare social and political activist, who rose through the ranks of the national democratic revolution that commenced with her involvement in trade unions before joining the North West Provincial government as an MEC in various departments, before her appointment as a Premier of the North West Province.

Cde Edna was in her own right, a stalwart of our liberation struggle who rose through the ranks of the democratic movement. In Cde Edna, we will always remember the champion for workers’ rights and for equality between women and men. She knew that our freedom will be incomplete without us transforming the unequal power-relations that give rise to the economic and sexual exploitation of women as well as violence against women and children. She wanted the ANC to destroy patriarchy and social structures that continue to keep women of our country and the world in bondage. She fought to empower women so that they could take control of their lives and to own their bodies through her activism in the Women’s League and beyond.

“Wa’thinta abafazi, wa thinta imbokodo”.

Cde Edna fully embodied the struggle of our people for national liberation and social emancipation in a true and broader sense of the word. A committed revolutionary till the end.

Her role was noticeable and she was affirmed as a leader of the ANC NEC, NWC as well as a Cabinet Minister in various departments.

Our history as a country will not be complete without acknowledging the pivotal role that individuals like her played in enhancing the impact of the collective effort to make South Africa a better place.

To her family, we thank you for having made available to the country and our people, a true committed and selfless revolutionary who knew no other life than that of servitude and commitment to our people. The African National Congress shares in your profound loss and grief. May her soul rest deservedly in peace.

Cde Ace Magashule is the Secretary General of the African National Congress

RACISM A BLEMISH TO NATION’S PROGRESS

In recent years the demon of racism has reared its ugly head threatening our nation’s progress towards the realization of truly non-sexist society. The Vicky Momberg case laid bare the depths of the wounds of yesteryear that refuse to heal. The decision by the courts to sentence Momberg to a prison sentence not only affirms the nation’s resolve to obliterate racism in all its manifestations, but an affirmation that racism is the original crime that has no place in a democratic South Africa.

As the prospect of spending time in jail for Vicky Momberg for racism loomed large, so did the winds of change that finally heralded the dawn of an era where racism is finally recognised as the ‘original crime’. This was a blind spot none saw coming, yet Magistrate Pravina Rugoonandan made this as real as rain. Others chose to see this as retribution rather than justice that seeks to underpin the value system of the democratic South Africa. The Freedom Charter proclaims that “The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination or contempt shall be a punishable crime.” Indeed, our Constitution outlaws such conduct and various legal instruments are at the disposal of our criminal justice system to punish such conduct. The sentence handed down on the Vicki Momberg case demonstrates this in no uncertain terms. In order to strengthen the hand of our courts in curtailing the demon of racism and other similar hate crimes, Parliament is currently considering the “Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill” which will give courts power to impose stiffer penalties and sentences.

In the recent past we have seen the bravado of those who subscribe to the philosophy of racial segregation of yesteryear. Penny Sparrow made headlines in 2016, closely followed by a similar incident at Pretoria Girls High School, then the Sodwana Bay guesthouse that turned black people away. In no time two farmers assaulted and forced into a coffin a farm worker, closely followed by a black athlete attacked by white students to racist ramblings by a grade 11 learner at a prestigious KwaZulu-Natal school. We must not delude ourselves into thinking racial intolerance is limited to black and white, it is a cancer that permeates through all South Africa’s racial groupings. These are but a tip of the iceberg and expose the depth of the problem of racism in South Africa. Racism may no longer be institutionalised, but its presence in communities, workplaces and social settings cannot be denied.

Have we become blasé in our quest for a South Africa that is truly non-racial and at peace with itself? It does appear, by and large, that society has accepted at face value that as South Africans, we all embrace a common destiny, where all citizens co-exist as equals in a society that shuns any form of discrimination. Perhaps we were naïve, perhaps we were too hasty in believing that we had the capacity to dismantle the very foundation of apartheid in a mere two decades of our democracy. However, the fundamental question is whether we have the staying power to advance the strategic objectives of the national democratic revolution of the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society that is truly emancipated and at peace with itself. I have no doubt of the ANC’s resolve to stay the course through relentless opposition.

In contextualizing the ANC’s vision, Cde Pallo Jordan, in a discussion paper prepared in 1997 for the ANC’s 50th National Congress, ‘The National Question in Post 1994 South Africa,’ succinctly captures the trajectory of the nation in this regard when he says, “Racism is no longer institutionalized; all South Africans now have the franchise; racial restrictions on property rights and on access to the professions, trades, forms of work have been abolished; the instruments of labour coercion have been done away with; and a democratic constitution has put an end to legal repression.

Yet no one can pretend that South Africans share a common patriotism and a common vision of the future of their society. Ours is still a highly racialized society and, since the 1970s, racism has been amplified with a sharpening of ethnic attitudes.”

The racial incidents that continue to dog us daily are an indication of how hard and tortuous the road we have yet to traverse in realising a non-racial society. Ours was never a struggle about replacing the oppression of one race group by another. Our commitment to the ANC’s grounding policy document, the Freedom Charter, has never been greater. The ANC’s character as a non-racial movement has never wavered since its founding in 1912. Others have not resisted the temptation to peddle lies and suggest the ANC has abandoned its non-racial character, as encoded in the Freedom Charter, which proclaims that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”

The arguments advanced by Cde Pallo Jordan in his 1997 paper in dealing with the scourge of racism forces us to confront the contradictions of our struggle and the need to find a sustainable path in our nation-building project that grounds race issues within the broader ambit of the national question. Once all is said and done, we must answer the question: How do we build a nation-state where its citizens are South African first, before they are Black, White, Coloured or Indian. The divergent paths we have traversed to reach the democratic South Africa have a profound influence on the lens through which we view and perceive others around us. Whether such paths relate to privilege, poverty, subjugation, they represent the wealth of experience, good and bad, that must be blended in the melting pot in order to craft a path that leads us all to the same destination.

There can be no doubt that the ANC remains the ANC of yesteryear whose resilience and character was moulded by a value system that was epitomised by the giants of our revolution. These include include Pixley ka Iseme, Sol Plaatjie, Langalibalele Dube, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and many others who left an indelible mark on the character and values the ANC continues to espouse to this day. Ours is to advance the historic mission of the ANC by ensuring that its evolution in the face of the ever-changing political landscape keeps it grounded to its values and remains a political home to the vast majority of our people across the racial and cultural divide.

Cde Fikile Mbalula is the Head of Elections for the African National Congress