WHITE YOUTH YEARN TO BE PART OF AFRICAN NATIONALISM    

ELIA ROUSSOS

Strictly speaking I live in the diaspora. Even though I was born in Johannesburg, my homeland is many miles away on the sandy shores of the Mediterranean. And difficult as it may be to fathom, especially here in South Africa, given the painful political past, I am an African, pale-skinned as I am.

I personify the consequences of colonialism and privilege.

However, these opportunities and advantages I would like to put into parenthesis if not surrender. They make me prone to cynicism and they stand in the way of my ambitions and aspirations. You see, no matter my birthright, I wish for nothing more than to be an African and to play a part in the growth of this fragile continent of Africa. And, the African National Congress (ANC) has provided me with this platform to engage with my dreams.

How true the words of the great comrade Nelson Mandela, “there is no easy walk to freedom, anywhere”. As I sit scripting this personal account of my yearning to join the artery of African Nationalism in South Africa, it is my history that precludes me from becoming what I want to be.

How much harder, I wonder, did Joe Slovo, Ruth First and Rob Davies have to work to become influences in the party of the African National Congress?

My freedom to support the political party of my choice seems to be challenged at every junction. After 22 years of a democratic and free South Africa can we honestly say that we live in an equal country, if a white man cannot be a member a historically black political party?

As a young man growing up and in search of a moral framework upon which to base these difficult years of my life, it is the Freedom Charter of the ANC that guides my way.

In my own community and indeed amongst my peers, my political affiliations make me an object of ridicule and I find myself in the absurd position of not been taken seriously by both my friends in the Greek community and within the youth structures of the very political home of my choice, the ANC. These distractions have never dissuaded me otherwise. Passionately, however, I support the ANC because I believe that the philosophical traditions of Africa offer an important contribution to the theory and practice of leadership in the world today.
Today, 3 August 2016, is momentous in my life as I exercise my hard earned right and vote for the first time! I can openly state that a vote for the ANC is a vote for equality. A vote for the ANC is a vote for freedom. A Vote for uKhongolose is a vote for better services and a brighter future for all!

Central to African philosophy is the Zulu proverb: ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.’ A person is a person because of other people. In South African politics, it is only within the structures of the ANC that the reciprocal relationship with the individual and the mother body is central to the political party itself. This is the essential difference between the ANC and the main opposition and it is for this reason that I choose to be a fish out of water.

By no means is the ruling party excluded from making mistakes. However, these mistakes can only build us as an organization and allow for greater growth as a whole.

Ngifuna ukuthatha leli thuba ukubonga ubaba wethu UJacob Zuma.This revolutionary has provided South Africa with a clear path towards economic emancipation of all our people through the NDP.
Unlike the majority of my peers who elected to do Afrikaans as their second additional language, I chose Zulu, a far more difficult option. But, at the end of my high school career, I am very grateful that I made this decision. In studying the dynamics of this language, I have come to appreciate the beauty of its culture. Being part of the collective is the very essence of the Zulu way of life.

And as Thabo Mbeki once said, “I should concede equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito…I know that none dare challenge me when I say – I am an African!”

Asinavalo Maqabane!
Siyanqoba!

CDE. ELIA ROUSSOS IS A STUDENT AT WITS UNIVERSITY AND A MEMBER OF THE ANCYL

 

 

baleka

COUNCILLORS MUST ESPOUSE THE FOUNDING VALUES OF THE ANC

balekaBALEKA MBETE

As we prepare to hold local government elections on 3rd of August, we call upon our councillors, as elected representatives of the people, to draw on and emulate the values not just of the great leaders of the organization like Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe Comrade Madiba but the founding values of the organization itself. These values include selflessness, humility, and discipline, and above all, an unwavering commitment to the communities they have been elected to serve.

In reflecting on the attributes of an exemplary concillor, we should not confine ourselves to the signing of a Code of Conduct. At the heart of the guiding values of a councilor is guiding and safeguarding the National Democratic Revolution: selflessly performing one’s tasks without failure, and prioritizing our people’s needs above all.

We remember the words of the country’s founding father: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Our Councilors must be agents of transformation.

Theirs is a role of partnering with communities to ease the burden of the marginalized in our country. They serve as the interface between the citizens they represent and the municipal officials who design and implement development policies.

The job of the councilor is not just to serve the needs of their communities; they are also tasked with the role of watchdog; to ensure municipalities implement the policies of the ANC.

The governing party has identified long-term key service delivery priorities for all our communities, as articulated in the ANC’s 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto.

Incoming councilors are expected to work tirelessly to meet the expectations of our people. We know that unless these are adequately addressed, the result is frustration and anger.

As we crisscrossed the country, during our door-to-door campaign, it was evident that people love the ANC and despite our challenges, still view it as their political home.

The ANC government’s track record speaks for itself, particularly in areas like housing, health, access to water and electricity, and social security amongst others.

Despite our numerous successes, we know that more needs to be done to correct a massive legacy of under-development, and to rectify the systemic imbalances created and sustained by apartheid.

During our campaigning, our people openly expressed their views on the necessary areas of improvement as we continue with the tasks at hand.

It was affirmed during our engagements with communities that where there is effective and transparent oversight by councilors of municipal progress with service delivery, combined with feedback to residents on progress, residents appear to be more satisfied with service delivery, because they are aware of the challenges facing the municipality and what is being done to address the situation.

Speaking at an ANC meeting during the first local government elections back in 1996, Madiba said “The councilor is a social reformer. His or her duty is to change the bad conditions under which the people live. He or she does not use promises and slogans to change the situation. He or she tells the truth all the time- and builds partnerships on the basis of the truth as it shows itself in the situation at hand”.

Democracy is based on an active citizenry.

Let us promote the advancement of our organs of civil society for purposes of creating effective partnerships at local community level.

Where there are shortcomings, it is critical for us to self introspect and self correct to ensure accelerated delivery in critical areas like schools, clinics, libraries, and the provision of social amenities, particularly in our townships.

The Freedom Charter is clear: “The people shall govern”.

Translating this foundational value into practice means that every step the councilor takes in the direction of governance, they cannot do so in isolation from the people who will be most impacted by these same initiatives.

For example, when developing programmes like youth development, broad partnerships with professionals, the youth themselves, the parents and the community at large must be forged.

People’s Power resides at community level and our councilors are the link in unifying the first and second phases of our National Democratic Revolution.

The first phase of our struggle involved the struggle for national liberation and democracy. It included various forms of engagement, including the obliteration of all manifestations of white supremacy, the unification of all progressive formations, the conceptualization of the post-apartheid society, the recognition of the centrality of the Tripartite Alliance.

This broad tactical alliance succeeded in speeding up the demise of the apartheid regime.

The second phase of our Revolution is arguably the more laborious of the two – and involves a totally different type of engagement.

This engagement is generally termed transformation and its key theme is satisfying the expectations of the oppressed.

Like in the previous phase, the success of this second phase relies primarily on partnerships.

Councilors have to realize and act on the urgencies of social transformation. Partnerships are a prerequisite to the success of our socio-economic transformational agenda.

It is incumbent on bodies such as ward committees (who have the statutory mandate to ensure regular development, training and capacitation) to ensure that their operations are not ad-hoc and voluntary, in pursuance of their functions.

In this regard, legislation ought to be subjected to regular review to ensure relevance to changing socio-political dynamics.

Having learnt from some of the challenges of the past, incoming councilors must embrace the broad vision of the ANC for communities.

They must reshape the nature of the relationship between citizens and government through the promotion of citizens’ participation in decision- and policy-making.

The communities must reflect vibrancy of social developmental programs in the facilities that are provided by the government.

As espoused in the NDP, our government must continue to encourage the formation and funding of organs of civil society for assisting in building the required capacity for community development and social transformation.

Inter-departmental cooperation must be encouraged between departments that have a stake or whose mandates are relevant to the area of need.

Consultative workshops must be convened with social workers to advise on how best the government, community and civil society organs could cooperate.

Ward Committees must be elevated to statutory organs and capacity-building programs should be developed. There is a clear need to equip councilors with the technical skills needed for developing budgets as well as their implementation, as well as to ensure that they are able to manage finances pertaining to ward level development.

Learning networks should be developed between elected local leaders and officials in municipal administrations. This would enable lessons to be learned between municipalities that are struggling with service delivery challenges and those that are performing well, facilitated by effective political leaderships.

Effective coordination of service delivery between the widely distanced administrative units must be achieved through proper ICT structures. These could include functioning emails and teleconferencing facilities etc. In this way councilors are be able to access information about all service units centrally, without the need to physically travel to these departments located in other towns.

The ANC as the governing party has emphasized that in order for councilors to be effective, they must be capacitated on an ongoing basis to enable them to deliver on their mandate.

The conduct of a councilor, good or bad, impacts on our glorious movement – the ANC.

To quote Tata Mandela again, “A good head and a heart are always a formidable combination and consequently, the councilor’s work must reflect the communities aspirations”.

The ANC in the course of delivering on its revolutionary mandate has faced challenges; but we have internalized the feedback we have received from our communities, and as the saying goes:” if you know better, you do better”.

In this spirit, we expect that our councilors will remain loyal, disciplined to carry out their revolutionary responsibilities as the true servants of the people.

Councilors must convene regular community meetings. With strong and meaningful partnerships and engagements, we can expect accelerated service delivery not only for some but also for all our people in this lifetime.

Forward to Advancing People’s Power in Every Community!

CDE BALEKA MBETE IS ANC NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON

HARD WON RIGHT TO VOTE SHOULD BE USED BY ALL

NOMVULA MOKONYANE

On August 3rd we will hold the fifth municipal government elections since democracy; a change for all South Africans to have their say in how their country is managed.

Over the last few elections however, both General and Local Government elections have seen a notable and steady decline in the proportions of people participating in elections.

In the 2014 general elections, the turn-out of registered voters was 73% as compared to 77% in the last two preceding elections. This accounts for a decline of 4% of registered voters actually participating in the election.

To further assess the general participation by our people in the electoral process, it is important not only to look at the participation of registered voters in the election but to also assess the participation of those eligible to vote when taking into consideration the voting age population in our country.

In 1994, 86% of the voting-age population participated in the general elections as compared to 57% in 2014.

This is a reflection that more South Africans are neither registering nor participating in the electoral process.

A number of factors could account for this trend in declining electoral participation, some personal, some political, some socio-economic. Regardless, it remains a worrying trend.

Since its establishment in 1912, the ANC’s policies have been were premised on the creation of a South Africa where the principle of ‘one man, one vote’ would apply and all South Africans of voting age would be given the opportunity to participate in a free and fair democratic process to elect their own government and representatives.

As we celebrated 40 years of Youth Day we paid tribute to the heroes of June 16, 1976 as their efforts had helped us realize the right to vote and freedom for all.

Equally, the women who marched on the Union Buildings on the 9th of August 1956 and whose 60th anniversary we will celebrate soon after our local government election, did so not only to advance the struggle for the recognition of the rights of women but also to place on record their demand for the extension of the right to vote to the African majority and women.

The historic strength of the ANC and by extension our democracy has been its ability to mobilize society behind a common mission and vision.

As a result, our democracy is a participatory democracy where as the ANC we have created and legislated various means for people participation in governance outside elections.

The establishment of ward committees, hospital boards, community policing forums and the occasional ‘taking parliament to the people’ programmes are all intended to improve and promote public and community participation in governance.

These fora and platforms are bases of people’s power and it is their efficient functioning that reflects our commitment to such to be guided by such power.

However, the strength of any democracy lies in its people actively participating in the primary activity of democracy – elections.

Over the last few months the ANC has criss-crossed our country engaging in campaigns encouraging our people firstly to register to vote and of late, to go out and vote on 03 August 2016.

Local government is an important sphere of government. It is here that municipalities oversee the delivery of water, sanitation, electricity, primary health care, public transport and housing.

It is in these areas that many of our people continue to express demands on a day to day basis. Since the advent of democracy there has been considerable progress made in the delivery of basic services.

Over 80% of our population currently has access to water. To date, we have provided decent sanitation to over 80% of our population and electrified over 77% of households.

However, the reliability of services is key amongst issues raised by communities currently. Our people want efficient municipal services that are reliable with operations and maintenance of existing infrastructure and investment in the new.

Local government has also enjoyed increasing support from the national government in an effort to strengthen municipalities that have shown to have inherent weaknesses in governance, financial management and the delivery of basic services.

The government has through the Back-2-Basics programme sought to provide the requisite support to again ensure that this important sphere of governance serves communities with efficiency through sound administrative processes and effective leadership.

These interventions are designed to raise citizen confidence in local authorities and to enhance citizen participation in development planning and processes, specifically the compiling of the Integrated Development Plans of municipalities. Again this is another reflection of how our system of governance lends itself to community and mass participation in decision making.

With the above in mind, it thus become critical that we pay specific attention to the participation of the voting-age population the electoral process.

Politically, it is in the interests of all citizens to become active participants in determining the political and policy future of any nation in order to safe guard their interests and to make an expression on their aspirations and the future they would want to see for our communities and country.

South Africa is a changing society and as more young people begin to graduate into the voting population, define their political interests and socio-economic priorities, the more the demand on leaders within society to consistently reaffirm the importance of the vote in determining our collective future.

Whilst our rights allow for citizens to engage and even protest on matters of their dissatisfaction within our system of governance, citizens must be encouraged to utilize the vote as the first point of engagement as it assures one the ability of engaging a government for which you would have voted in determining.

Over the years the Independent Electoral Commission(IEC) has developed systems and put in place virtual processes to make the exercise of the right to vote as simple and hassle-free as possible.

Currently, our people have the ability to verify registration details online and also to access information on the wards within which they reside and candidates of the various political parties in such wards.

The ANC has also gone a step further in the current election and taken the unusual step of introducing mayoral candidates in the metropolitan municipalities and other strategic municipalities as a means to provide citizens with an assurance that the ANC is fielding the best candidates to take forward the good work that our municipal councils have done in the past terms.

This follows our own processes that have provided communities, beyond ANC branches and structures, the opportunity to have a say in the ward candidates that the ANC has affirmed to contest on behalf of the party.

These are all efforts by the movement to promote the voice of citizens and indeed advance people’s power. However, the most critical expression of this power and the processes already concluded is the mass participation of voters on election day.

As we move beyond the election before us, we will surely begin to engage various sections of society and to promote civic education as a means to reverse the worrying trend of few sections of our population participating in the elections.

Efforts and particular attention must be directed to the youth to ensure that we educate and empower them to appreciate the importance of voting and being part of determining the government of your choice in elections.

This we will do not only to promote the fortunes of the ANC but to promote and safe guard this democracy that those who came before us fought and died for.

On 03 August 2016, we must encourage all registered voters to indeed go out and cast their votes to again give a mandate to the incoming term of local government in our various communities.

 

CDE. NOMVULA MOKONYANE IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC, NWC AND ANC HEAD OF ELECTIONS.

 

YOUTH REAWAKENS POLITICAL GLORY DAYS IN LENASIA

IRFAAN MANGERA

Lenasia, a suburban town, 35km on the outskirts of Johannesburg South, and a product of Apartheid, has always been my home. From the very beginning, settlement in Lenasia was a contentious issue, driven with debates about race, class, collaboration with and resistance to apartheid.

While it may not be a topical subject in our democratic dispensation, many Indian communities resisted the apartheid regime, and Lenasia took centre stage in the fight against the inhumane oppressive system of segregation by the Nationalist Party.

This dry and loving area that is Lenasia has produced giants in the struggle against the Apartheid regime. From its days of occupancy, the youth were mobilised to challenge the harsh oppressive system. Under the guidance of Senior Activists like Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi, many young comrades were recruited to become members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK). The Lenasia branch became one of the most successful in the country. One of these young members, and among those that continue to serve the community, is Mr Neeshan Bolton, now the director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

In the last few years I have been challenged in both critical thought, political education and to a large extent my willingness to serve. Through organisations such as the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Crescents Cricket Club and the PYA at Wits University, I strive to continuously grow as a young leader.

The ANC Lenasia branch was voted the best in the country some years back. This serves as testament of the great leadership this suburb continues to produce. However, over the last few years residents in the area have been swayed to other parties. Many are lobbied by the reports of alleged corruption within the party’s structure. It should also be noted that an exceeding number of residents in the area have become frustrated with the aging infrastructure, lack of development and access to broader services.

While the above is not without reason, the average couch critic will continuously undermine the work that goes unseen. It takes an active citizenry to mobilise and create change from within. Notable academics such as AbdouMalek Simone, make these observations in illustrating the nature of the African Continent, and the dynamic changes and progressive results that ordinary citizens can achieve through mobilisation and actively working as a Community. It saddens me to see that many blatantly cuss the efforts of the ANC, yet, how many of us have actually attempted involving ourselves and standing up to make that difference.

A typical example comes to mind when asked about what the ANC has done for us. My eldest brother and his friends were recipients of complete bursaries paid for by the state, to complete their university studies. Now many might say that they were exceptions. The truth is, they made the effort to educate themselves about the systems and opportunities available to them, and acted on it. The ANC has given us freedom of religious expression, and this speaks to our primary human rights.

I wonder who among us have questioned why so many immigrants continue to arrive onto our doorstep. Where others see opportunity we sit back and expect things to happen. Not only has councillors Shaida Kazie and Zarina Motala served this community tirelessly, they availed themselves at late hours to see that the needs of the community took precedents over their needs.

This, I have witnessed in my personal capacity many a time. It speaks to an accessible political party that has and shall continue to be available to hear the needs of those they serve, and God willing, cater to the outcries.

In these decades since democracy, there is a notable disjuncture and generation gap between activists that served through Apartheid and the younger generations. Call it oversight on the side of the community, but this gap has no doubt left bleeding scars within Lenasia. Perhaps, with the newfound commitment of the CPF, and the youth foundations such as Crescents Cricket, the Ahmed Kathrada Youth Foundation, Atlantis swimming club and more close-knit extensions, I see a glimmer of hope. There is a beating heart in this community that seems to have been awoken.

Mayor Parks Tau, who was recently in Lenasia, highlighted the City of Johannesburg as being the best rated in the entire country. He drew on the fact that our financial and investment rating as a metropolitan is of the same level as the entire Republic. He also noted that Jo’burg is the largest spender on infrastructure after National government.

Under his leadership we have seen the implementation of many programmes that range from youth empowerment, job creation and a plan towards undoing the systematic apartheid planning, which was designed to cripple society for generations after its demise. On his visits to Lenasia, Mayor Tau illustrated true leadership skills, he actively engaged the community’s needs and took heed of the issues we face.

While I acknowledge that under the ANC much has been done, from the quality of services we receive, to the plans and programmes in place, I still believe much more can be accomplished. Systems of management and control, accessibility to services and the rate of development are a few issues that need immediate attention. We have it upon ourselves to aid in the decolonisation of our systems and assist the government in creating the necessary change.

That being said, I will continue to support the ANC and aspire to follow in the footsteps of the many great leaders that have come before me. ALUTA CONTINUA.

 

CHANGING THE SPACES WHERE OUR PEOPLE LIVE AND WORK

 

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

The African National Congress has a vision for local government that extends far beyond the effective delivery of services. For it is in local government where the demand of the Freedom Charter that the people shall govern finds its greatest resonance.

It is through effective, democratic local government that people are able to take decisions that directly affect their lives and shape their communities.

It is through capable, participatory local government that we can remake our country and achieve the better life that our people so richly deserve.

To truly understand local government in South Africa, its challenges and its development, there is probably no better point of reference than the report of the Stallard Commission of 1922.

This Commission, which was set up the Smuts government to investigate the presence of Africans in cities and towns, said: “The native should only be allowed to enter urban areas, which are essentially the white man’s creation, when he is willing to enter and to administer to the needs of the white man, and should depart therefrom when he ceases so to minister.”

That one statement explains so much of our country. It explains why there are huge impoverished settlements far from any economic activity and which – until the advent of democracy – were without any decent social infrastructure or services.

It explains why, in 1994, nearly half of all South African households didn’t have access to sanitation, 40% of households didn’t have access to potable water, and only half of all households had electricity.

It explains why even today the poor spend so much of their income on transport and why so many people are essentially still migrant workers. The cities and towns of this country were not designed and were never intended to be home to the majority of our people.

With the advent of apartheid, the Department of Native Affairs under Verwoerd undertook the task of implementing apartheid social engineering and spatial geography with a special fanaticism.

The Group Areas Act, the Population Registration Act, the Bantu Authorities Act were among the crucial pieces of legislation that not only deepened racial segregation, but also entrenched tribal identities.

Urban space became racialised and ethnicised. Rural areas became dumping grounds for surplus labour. Local authorities became instruments of control and repression.

As a consequence, the process of transformation at a local level has been both most difficult and most essential.

In 1994, we inherited a fragmented and unaccountable governance system consisting of Bantustan administrations, national and provincial administrations, local councils, as well as separate administrations for different racial groups.

The Bantustan administrations were poorly organised and resourced, largely without local government, and the services they provided were determined by the requirements of the apartheid state. Those municipalities that were well capacitated were mostly in the urban areas and served the needs of the white minority.

It is therefore a great achievement that we succeeded in amalgamating these discordant apartheid-era institutions into a single, non-racial, democratic system that serves all South Africans.

In doing so, we introduced a new vision of capable, efficient, developmental local government. It was a vision of a local government that works with communities to meet their social and economic needs; of councillors working to improve the lives of the poor and marginalised.

After 16 years of truly democratic local government, we can say without any doubt that we have improved the lives of our people. We have made remarkable strides in meeting the basic needs of the residents of our cities and towns and rural areas.

There are few other countries in the world that, in the course of just two decades, could have built – as we have – 3.7 million housing opportunities for the poor, providing homes for around 12.5 million people. Few other countries in the world have managed such a dramatic expansion of electricity provision.

Shortly after the advent of democratic local government in 2000, the proportion of households that used electricity for cooking was 51 percent. The 2016 Community Survey shows that this has increased to 83 percent.

At the time of the 2001 census, 3.6 million South African homes had piped water in the house. Today, that number has increased to 7.5 million.

Municipalities have prioritised the needs of the poor. There are now over 11.8 million households that receive free basic water. Nearly 200 municipalities now have community works programmes, with a total of 200,000 participants.

There are many other statistics that illustrate the socio-economic progress that has been made since the advent of democracy in 1994, and more particularly since the advent of democratic local government in 2000.

In each of these instances, progress has depended not only on effective local government, but on the ability of municipalities to work with other spheres of government, parastatals and other state institutions.

But these statistics only tell part of the story.

Our vision for local government extends far beyond the efficient delivery of basic services. It extends beyond building houses, connecting lights and water, and collecting refuse.

Our vision for local government requires the fundamental transformation of the spaces where our people live and work. It requires determined action to rapidly grow sustainable, inclusive local economies.

We seek municipalities – in metros, cities, towns and rural areas – whose central purpose is to enable job creation, sustainable livelihoods and successful human settlements.

That work with each other and with other spheres of government as dynamic implementing agents of the National Development Plan (NDP). We seek municipalities that understand the shifting social and economic landscape of our country and plan accordingly.

Over the last 16 years of democratic local government, for example, we have witnessed significant movements of people into cities and metros, and even into some rural towns. We know that 60% of South Africans live in urban areas, and that this is expected to rise to about 70% by 2030.

This poses challenges and opportunities. It is easier and cheaper to deliver better services in urban settings.

Greater concentrations of knowledge, skills, ideas and labour encourage economic growth and social development. At the same time, a significant influx of people – most of whom are poor and unskilled – can place a significant strain on infrastructure, services and social cohesion.

Throughout history, the growth and development of cities has been crucial to economic and social development. But we must make sure that we do not neglect rural areas.

It is for this reason that the ANC’s 2016 local government election manifesto focuses specifically on the role of municipalities in forging successful local economies.

It pays particular attention to the creation of jobs and training opportunities for young people. As a consequence, all municipalities will be expected to develop special programmes targeting youth cooperatives and enterprises, and work with local companies to promote youth employment.

There is also significant scope for municipalities to use their procurement spend to increase local production and encourage the growth of SMMEs and cooperatives.

It is necessary for cities and towns to look beyond their municipal boundaries to opportunities for regional economic integration. We are encouraging the development of city-regions, particularly where there is a significant flow of labour and goods between adjacent municipalities.

Transport networks are an important area of focus, complimenting more integrated residential, industrial and commercial development. Through the provision of safe, reliable and affordable public transport, we are hoping to encourage a move away from private cars, which carry a far higher economic and environmental cost.

We have significantly improved the alignment of housing provision with other public investments and service provision, including schools and health facilities. There is a major push to develop township economies and support informal businesses as these present important opportunities for absorbing new arrivals into the urban economy.

Beyond that, municipalities need to be making use of advances in information and technology to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Through better data collection and management, municipalities will be better able to design, plan and manage development.

The transformation of local government is critically dependent on improving the skills base of local government. Municipalities struggle to attract and retain a high calibre of appropriately skilled people.

The NDP suggests the introduction of mechanisms to improve the recruitment of graduates, including through a nationally coordinated programme, and the standardisation of remuneration levels to help municipalities with fewer resources to retain vital skills.

As we fundamentally transform the spaces where people live and work, we need to ensure local government is a real instrument for people’s power. Residents need to be actively involved in decisions about their ward, zone, town or city. They need to be part of the planning and design of interventions. This may be particularly challenging in a municipality of a million or more people, but it should not serve as an excuse for not using every means at our disposal to ensure greater citizen participation and accountability.

Over the last few weeks, we have visited communities across the length and breadth of this country. We have listened to people as they have described how their lives have changed for the better over these last 16 years, what challenges they face, what disappointments they have experienced. They have told us about their needs and their hopes, and about what still needs to be done to build successful cities and towns and rural communities.

Having listened to a multitude of voices, we are confident that our vision of local government as articulated in our 2016 Manifesto speaks to the aspirations of the people of this country.

It is true that our achievements over the last 16 years have been remarkable.

Yet more remarkable still will be our achievements in the next 16 years.

CDE. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA IS THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS  

 

A LETTER TO MADIBA – FROM THE 13TH PRESIDENT OF THE ANCYL CDE. COLLEN MAINE

COLLEN MAINE

Dear Madiba, Dalibunga, Sithwalandwe

Delakufa

The fourth President of our ANCYL: Uvukayibambe

The Volunteer-in-Chief of the Defiance Campaign

The first Commander-in-Chief of the people’s army: uMkhonto weSizwe

Accused Number One at the Rivonia Trial

The 10th President of the ANC

Together with the world, we marked your 98th birthday on the 18th of July 2016. It was a joyous occasion, but not without a tinge of sadness – for you were not with us.

It has been three years since you left the land of living to join your defiant generation of Martin Luther King, Mxolisi Majambozi, Haile Selassie, Albert Luthuli, Julius Nyerere, Oliver Tambo, Charlotte Maxeke and many other heroes and heroines of the world.

We recalled the words of your contemporary and first President of the ANCYL, Cde. Anton Lembede when he said:

“No man outside asylum can shamelessly maintain that present leaders are immortal. They must, when the hour strikes, inexorably bow down to fate and pass away, for: There is no armour against fate, death lays his icy hands on Kings”

I felt the need to write to you because you are our moral compass; and though you are no longer with us, your spirit lives amongst us, guiding us.

The immeasurable gap left by your departure is still resonates today.

On behalf of many young people, I can say that you were our inspiration.

We, the youth, saw in you Delakufa their liberator and a General who would lead them to victory.

It is due to the sacrifices and actions of you and your generation that South Africa today is a land of opportunity: where we can dream of a land not crippled by poverty, discrimination and disease. It is because of your generation’s actions that young people today enjoy equal opportunity, irrespective of race, gender and other conditions brought about by the unequal socio-economic positions.

You epitomised the best amongst the living; and continue to be an inspiration not only for the people of our country but by many others across the world, who came to appreciate your role and immense contribution in one of the most dramatic events of the 20th century – the fall of apartheid.

Delakufa, we remember the heroism you displayed when you led the Defiance Campaign from the front and when you stood bravely as accused Number One in an illegitimate court of law and said:

“South Africa is the richest country in Africa, and could be one of the richest countries in the world. But it is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery.”

Mandela Day is the most opportune moment to recount our successes, but also reflect on our mistakes. It is a time to start engaging in a national conversation of correcting these mistakes.

I am of the firm view that at the end of this process of honestly reflecting on our mistakes we will come out stronger and strengthened to face head-on the socio-economic challenges confronting South Africa in general and young people in particular.

To begin with Madiba, I must confess: it sometimes seems that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Increasing numbers of South Africans in general and young people in particular are asking the question: What does freedom mean, if anything?

They ask because their expectations of a better life for all are not met and instead they see the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer.

This feeling of discontent amongst your people Madiba, has turned your motherland South Africa into a country with protests almost daily.

Many of these protests are directed towards our government, not because our government is failing, but because it is seen buttressing the economic system that excludes the majority and we have a few that are directed to the main culprits – white monopoly capital.

Delakufa, I have no doubt in my mind and heart, that you would be impressed by the good work that the ANC led government has made in transforming the lives of many South Africans.

Your motherland South Africa has one of the world`s most democratic and revered constitution, a bill of rights, and a constitutional court which checks that the laws and courts comply with that Constitution and the just interpretation thereof.

I am also pleased to report to you that recently we passed the test of democracy with distinction, when our president subjected himself to a court of law and adhered to the finding of the courts, without any resistance.

I am certain you pride yourself with these developments, because you have seen that in many states, Presidents elevate themselves to be above the constitution, but this is not the case in your country and lastly because your were part of setting up these systems and frameworks that continue to safeguard our democracy and act as a watchdog where necessary.

Over 3.5 million houses have been built for the poor, giving shelter to over ten million people. 6 million households have gained access to clean water since 1994 and electricity has been connected to nearly 5 million homes. In 1994, only 62% of households had access to clean drinking water – today 93% do.

Today 77% of the households have access to decent sanitation and 84% have access to electricity. By 2010, 14.5 million people were receiving social grants.

Delakufa, I know you would be very impressed by this progress registered in 22 short years and extremely proud that the work you started.

Despite these great achievements however the struggle for economic transformation, which is in the main about changing the colour and gender of capital in South Africa and ensuring the majority of your people benefit in their rich country’s wealth, remains a difficult task.

Many young black South Africans still live in abject poverty, with no prospects of acquiring a job, a home or land. Now, 22 years into democracy, the majority of black people remain the producers of wealth, but they produce this wealth for the consumption and enjoyment by a few white men and their families.

Many congresses of your organisation, the ANC and forums of government have extensively discussed the matter of private capital, its agenda and the role of the state in the economy, but these discussions have not yet yielded the desired results.

A historic congress of the organisation you were part of forming and had the privilege of becoming its fourth president, the ANCYL in 2011 made sound and practical resolutions to resolve on this matter and these resolutions were affirmed by the 25th National Congress, which bestowed in me the honour to be called upon to serve, joining the distinguished my forbearers, among them Anton Lembede, Ashby Mda, Godfrey Pietjie, Joe Mathews, Robert Resha, Patrick Molao and all other presidents of our ANCYL after its unbanning.

Delakufa, the demands of young people are not new, but a continuation the struggles you dedicated 67 years of your life to. For the purpose of this letter, I will discuss the following:

While standing in the dock in 1964 you boldly stated that without nationalization of mines and other industries, racial domination will continue. It is for this reason that the ANCYL resolved that the democratic government must nationalise mines which are in the hands of a few foreign owned multinationals and have recently co-opted a few blacks in their daylight robbery of the South African community.

Our conviction is that, once the mines are nationalised the state will be able to control the distribution and beneficiation of our natural resources.

Delakufa, the ANC 52nd and 53rd Congresses resolved on the creation of a state owned bank to finance development, but very little has happened in implementing this resolution. Because of in-access to capital young people cannot start businesses and other black people have been emerging business people for 22 years.

While young people are frustrated by looking for capital to start their businesses, the IDC AND PIC continue to give established white businesses money. They invest in malls which upon their arrival in townships wipe away local business people, in favour of food monopolies like Shoprite and Pick n Pay.

The ANCYL you formed and led has been consistently calling for the establishment of a state owned bank by the beginning of the next financial year, so that we expedite the process of funding young entrepreneurs and to support emerging black industrialists.

Delakufa, one of the reasons we admire you so much is your courage in demanding access for black people to land.

Sadly, 22 years after democracy the youth of South Africa both in urban and rural areas are struggling to access land which was forcefully taken from us through the barrel of a gun and an unjust act of 1913.

The youth justifiably say they have waited for too long and the implications of unavailability of land are cutting deeper by the day. Rural youth want to be in agriculture but are struggling, because the land they live in doesn’t belong to them, but those who stole it.

Madiba, it is with greatness to report to you that politicians have reduced the importance you placed on education to slogans used to appeal to the masses with no intention of making education accessible to the masses of our people, which cannot afford it.

In late 2015 the youth had to take it upon themselves to coerce politicians to implement your vision of making education accessible to the poor under the banner of #Feesmustfall. The demand for fees to fall and free education to be provided up until the first degree is genuine and legitimate today as it was when you were still president.

Sadly our government accepts the absurd neoliberal logic led by national treasury that basic education should free and even provide meals to pupils before passing their grade 12 exams, but refuses to make higher education free.

This neoliberal thinking has its base on the idea that education benefits the individual acquiring it as opposed to how your generation and the liberation movement understood it as a tool for the development of society.

Delakufa, kindly pardon me for burdening you with such a verbose letter on your birthday and at a time wherein you should be sitting with your peers like Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Mxolisi Majombozi, Robert Resha, Alfred Nzo, Robert Sobukwe and many others, concluding debates you could not conclude while on this side of the universe.

I wish I had more space, time and ink to seek your wisdom on other political developments in the country, which include the DA, an organisation you stood against till your last breath, using your voice as a tool to mobilise votes for a racist neoliberal agenda, but for the purpose of this conversation, I will stop here before my ink runs dry.

Happy birthday Delakufa!

Yours in struggle,

Collen Maine, 13th President of the ANCYL.

CDE. COLLEN MAINE IS PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS YOUTH LEAGUE (ANCYL)

 

 

 

 

WHITE SUPREMACY & ARROGANCE AT THE CORE OF DA’S APPROPRIATION OF MADIBA

 

CDE. ZIZI KODWA

The African National Congress (ANC) views the continued attempts by the DA to appropriate the persona of Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe late ANC President Comrade Nelson Mandela as cheap politicking bordering on desperation.

It is a glaring sign that the DA’s attempts to woo the black electorate are floundering and they will stop at nothing to “blackwash’ their chequered history as a whites-only party by thrusting a few token blacks into positions of leadership and appropriating even symbols that have always shunned them.

Comrade Nelson Mandela himself said as much, telling a COSATU rally in December 2000 that the DA was a party of ‘white bosses and black stooges’. He said, “no matter how they cover up by getting a few black stooges, they (the whites) remain the bosses. They remain a white party.”

Throughout this election campaign the DA has offended the memory and integrity of Comrade Madiba, using him and his legacy callously for their narrow political gains.

In a manner typical of the white supremacist party that the DA is, they are dismissive and irreverent of the feelings of Madiba’s family and even his own words in the latter years of his life that: “I will join the nearest branch of the ANC in heaven. If I do not find one, I will launch my own ANC branch.”

Because Madiba was black, the white supremacy at the core of the DA holds no regard for his words, his wishes and the historical record that lays bare Madiba’s unwavering commitment to the ANC.

The DA displays a shocking form of arrogance and presumptuousness in claiming that Nelson Mandela would endorse its organization, were he still alive.

Because he was black, they can think for him and show utter disregard for that which he committed himself to. What is most sinful is that all this is done after Comrade Madiba has departed and no longer able to speak for himself as he did all those times before saying “they know they have not produced any credible policies with which they can challenge the vision of the renewal of our country… their success lies in projecting themselves as tireless fighters for the defeat of the ANC.”

The DA continues what their forebears could not finish – continued attempts to strip Madiba and his family of their sense of dignity and abusing them to further their own agenda.

It is insensitive to Madiba’s memory, his family, his organization, the ANC, and the millions of South Africans who suffered at the hands of the white apartheid regime for Comrade Madiba’s image to today be used as a tool to advance those who represent all that which he fought against – the protection of white privilege and racism.

Throughout his presidency, the DA (then Democratic Party) opposed President Mandela and the ANC, going to the extent of launching a “Fight Back” campaign in 1999 in response to his term of President of the Republic.

The DA has been at pains to remind black voters that it is a party founded on the principles of non-racialism, when in fact it is a reconstitution of the National Party, which found refuge in the DA to carry forward the baton of racist oppression under a new guise.

The ANC reiterates its long-held position that the DA is a haven for racists, and its upper echelons dominated by individuals who hark back to the days of apartheid.

The party proudly counts amongst its members known apartheid collaborators such as Haniff Hoosen, who is the DA EThekwini Mayoral Candidate and murderers of our people such as Sam Pienaar, a Cape Town City Councillor, who took part in the orchestration of the Trojan Horse mass killing of our people in Athlone and Crossroads. Hoosen and Pienaar join the ranks of other leading DA personages who claim a commitment to the values of the new South Africa, but whose utterances and histories indicate otherwise.

If the DA were committed to the realization to Madiba’s vision, Cape Town, where they govern, would not be a tale of two cities, one rich and white, and another poor and black.

It would not be the only city in which the number of informal settlements has increased in the last five years. White representation at senior management level of the City, would not be sitting at 70%, compared to a white population of just over 15% in the province.

If the DA wanted to realize Madiba’s vision, they would never have opposed the Expropriation Bill intended to redress the injustices of apartheid through fair redistribution of land; a lifelong commitment of Madiba’s of which he said, “would foster national reconciliation and stability”.

The DA would not continue blocking transformation through opposition to affirmative action and Black Economic Empowerment.

As the skeletons continue to tumble out of the DA’s closet, we are confident that the public will ultimately see the DA for what it is, the Trojan Horse of apartheid, draped in the deceptive colours of non-racism.

 

CDE ZIZI KODWA IS ANC SPOKESPERSON

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EMULATING MADIBA’S VALUES THIS MANDELA MONTH

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CDE. JESSIE DUARTE

The life of the late Cde. Nelson Mandela was a life steeped in the green, gold and black of the African National Congress (ANC). His love for and completely unwavering commitment to the ANC is well-documented in the annals of this country’s history.

Until his dying day he said he would be a member of the ANC, and that once he died, he would form an ANC branch in the afterlife!

The late Madiba had many, many virtues. Among them was being an extremely tolerant politician.

We saw this political tolerance demonstrated soon after he came out of prison, when despite a brutal and heartless incarceration that robbed him of his freedom, his youth, and a family life, he evidenced a remarkable capacity for tolerance even of his former captors.

He engaged in dialogue with most political entities in the country – drawing former foes and bitter adversaries alike to sit around the negotiating table.

During those difficult and turbulent years, it was Madiba who persuaded people from across the race divide that it was in their better interests, and in the better interests of a free, democratic South Africa, that they should all be part of the solution.

Despite many challenges and obstacles he forged ahead, drawing together all people who had come to believe in the ANC’s vision of a new South Africa.

In understanding and interpreting contemporary political events within the context of the ‘Mandela Years’; as always, contextualization becomes vital. It is an inevitability of politics that trends in leadership come and go, and could sometimes reappear.

Naked self-serving ambition masquerading as ‘aspiration to leadership’ is nothing new in politics, not least of all within the ranks of the ANC. In the time of Madiba, we also had individuals for whom ‘serving the people’ was a secondary consideration that took a backseat to self-interest.

In the time of Madiba we also had people who viewed the party as a means not to serve the electorate, but as vehicle for career advancement.

What we are experiencing today, where certain comrades are contesting for positions loudly and publicly, sometimes even in defiance of the party’s policies, is not a new phenomenon.

The above-mentioned is by no means unique to South Africa in 2014. But it should at the same time give pause for consideration of what example the late Cde. Mandela set with regards to leadership.

All of us who had the privilege of working with him will recount that he exemplified selfless leadership. He taught us that a leader is a servant of the people; and that a real leader devotes all their time to serving the people.

The other virtue for which we remember him is integrity. The late Madiba stood firmly for the integrity upon which our great movement was founded. He believed that when you made a promise you stand by that promise and keep it.

For Madiba, integrity also meant standing by your political convictions. You do not put yourself forward to lead in the organisation whilst you are actually gravitating towards a rival organisation. We recall he was highly critical of the so-called floor-crossing phenomenon at the time when it was allowed in Parliament.

According to Cde Mandela, people had to be true to themselves and the organisation that they belonged to.

Self-worth was also important to Madiba. He believed that in order to respect others you have to respect yourself first.

Honesty is inextricably linked to integrity, and Cde. Madiba was a man of extreme honesty.

At a time when stigma and silence surrounded the appearance of HIV, Madiba shared the story of his own son’s battle with HIV/Aids with the entire world; in the process helping to break down the barriers of stigma and misunderstanding around the virus.

When considering the challenges we face as a movement, we remember that Cde. Mandela firmly believed that unity within the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC) was paramount; and this included the alliance partners. A strong Alliance is a Strong South Africa: this was an ideal Cde, Madiba firmly believed in.

A strong, united Alliance was the only vehicle through which the ANC could advance its pro-poor, pro-development policies, and advance the interests of the working class in general.

Professional or ideological disagreement or digression was never grounds for allowing fractures to develop amongst the alliance partners. During the Madiba years, the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) found themselves in disagreement on a number of occasions. However they always found a way of coming together, unified by their common cause, which is the advancement of South Africa.

Always being connected to communities: Madiba was an ardent advocate for Advancing People’s Power. Upon his release from prison he actually went door-to-door recruiting the people of Orlando West to join the local ANC branch.

For a man of his stature – an internationally revered icon and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, to humble himself and interact with communities directly, is instructive of the type of leader he was; the type of leader we should strive to emulate.

The ANC has chosen as the theme of its 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto the theme ‘Advancing People’s Power’. This is our commitment to develop local communities in partnership with the people to make them better places for our people to live in.

The late Cde.Madiba has set an example of the attributes of the leadership that has defined the ANC throughout its history. Let us take up the baton in his memory this July.

CDE JESSIE DUARTE IS ANC DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

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ANC SUPPORTS LGBTI RIGHTS AND INTERNET FREEDOM

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CDE. EDNA MOLEWA

Media coverage of the position taken by the South African government on a number of key resolutions passed at the 32nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this month warrant clarification.

The African National Congress (ANC) affirms its support of the South African government’s position taken on these two key resolutions.

The first resolution was on Freedom of Opinion and Expression entitled “The promotion and protection of human rights on the Internet”

It has been incorrectly reported that South Africa voted against the Resolution on Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet – when in fact the resolution was adopted unanimously without a vote. South Africa voted in support of amendments.

South Africa’s primary concern with the draft resolution was that it did not take into account Permissible Limitations and the Prohibition of Hate Speech in accordance with international human rights law; specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Permissible limitations under this covenant include inter alia the prohibition of propagation of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia. It renders redundant the pertinent provisions contained in international human rights treaties that place obligations on States to enact legislation in order to criminalize and punish in law incitement to hatred.

The ANC believes in the primacy of international law and in particular the provisions of international human rights treaties in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, including the existence of the permissible limitations in the exercise of these rights.

As a number of high-profile incidents have shown, the Internet, and social media in particular, is increasingly being used as a platform for bigots, and even incitement to violence and the dissemination of racist views; views that threatens to undermine our fragile nation building and social cohesion project.

In the debate prior to the adoption of the resolution, the sponsors of the resolution requested the Council members to vote on the amendments and South Africa voted for the inclusion of the amendments in the resolution. These amendments were ultimately defeated.

This should not be confused with voting against the resolution.

The Council members were then afforded an opportunity to explain their position on the resolution before adoption. South Africa then delivered its explanation of vote (EOV) highlighting its concern on the resolution.

The ANC supports the concerns put forward by the South African government at HRC32.

The second resolution was on the ‘Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBTI).

The ANC supports the decision by South Africa to abstain from a vote calling for the establishment of an Independent Expert (IE) to report on issues relating to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, and specifically, on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

South Africa raised legitimate concerns regarding the terms of reference and the implementation of such a reporting mechanism, and its potential conflict with the national sovereignty of countries, without promoting constructive dialogue.

This is within a context of independent reporting mechanisms on human rights related issues historically singling out African countries for ‘naming and shaming.’

The resolution effectively empowers an external expert to audit South Africa’s compliance with its international human rights obligations and possibly enforce sanction – which is problematic.

It further empowers the Independent Expert to compile adverse reports on any country and present these in an international forum – without due regard to pre-existing and functional performance, monitoring and reporting instruments already existing inside that country.

The ANC notes that South Africa in fact voted in favour of the clauses on non-discrimination and non-violence against LGBTI persons.

Abstaining from voting on the Resolution for the establishment of an Independent Expert should not be conflated with government’s longstanding position on LGBT rights, which are Constitutionally-enshrined, and amongst the most progressive in the world.

The ANC government is guided by our Constitution that outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual identity and sexual orientation, and that we have a robust legal system not only to enforce respect for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all – but also to punish those found guilty of violence.

The ANC reaffirms the need for partnerships and close cooperation at a multilateral level to address issues of international concern. All decisions taken at this level should be in accordance with our existing laws, and not seek to supersede or replace them.

 

CDE. EDNA MOLEWA IS CHAIRPERSON OF THE ANC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE

 

 

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DRAWING ON THE MANDELA LEGACY TO REALIZE OUR PEOPLE’S ASPIRATIONS

DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

Nelson Mandela was a role model not just of ordinary people, but leaders as well

The occasion of Nelson Mandela Day on the 18th of July has become a focal point with which we don’t just remember the life of an extraordinary man who led his nation, and the world, to new heights – but also a time when all South Africans are called upon to do good works for the people of the country.

So great was his impact not only on South Africa, but the world, that the United Nations General Assembly in November 2009 declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom”

As one who had the privilege of working closely with uTata Mandela during the birthing years of the new South Africa, I am often asked to offer my reflections on the life of this great man, and the inspiration we may draw therefrom.

It is the words from one of his seminal speeches that come to mind, where he said: “With life it is not important whether you have lived, what is important is whether in leading your own life you have a made a difference to the lives of other people.” He added: “It is only then when you have made a difference to the lives of the other people that it can be said that your own life has been well lived.”

It is these words that epitomize who Nelson Mandela was and will continue to be for the people of this country. In him we had someone who lived his life in a way that made a difference to the lives of millions and millions of people.

The 18th of July is a special day to us in the African National Congress (ANC), the organization from which he came, and the organization to which he dedicated his life.

The fond and lasting memories I have of my time spent with Nelson Mandela are countless. He stands out as a good example and role model not just for ordinary people but also for the leaders of this country.

Looking back on the period of our political transition, a time fraught with challenges, his courage and fortitude stood out.

It was a difficult period, when to some, the problems seemed unsurmountable. But not to uTata Nelson Mandela. He met a challenge head on, leading from the front, but always taking us along with him.

At a time when the nascent democratic government was negotiating the political transition, we were faced with stiff resistance from the Afrikaner right-wing, which included the heavily-armed forces of the apartheid military who were not prepared to relinquish power. And yet we knew, as our leader Nelson Mandela told us, that they presented a real challenge for our revolution and for our transition, and that we had to bring them along to be part of the changes that needed to take place.

It was he who brought them to the negotiating table, sowing the seeds of change, bringing them around to the ANC’s vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

His example taught us that we are able to overcome even the most difficult moments, even at a time when other South Africans were not very keen to be part of the change processes taking place in the country. It was a challenge not many leaders could have confronted with great ease.

But Nelson Mandela was no ordinary leader. He was the one person who truly lived the values upon which the ANC was founded, and articulated the aspirations contained in the Freedom Charter.

He committed his life, his skills, his knowledge and his intellect towards building a nation.

Twenty-two years into democracy, when millions of South Africans enjoy a better life thanks to the policies and programmes of the ANC, we are wont to forget that from his very first day as President, Nelson Mandela’s biggest challenge as a leader was how to address the issues of: poverty, inequality and the many challenges that beset the oppressed masses of our country.

By large measure, it was Nelson Mandela who instituted the ‘disposition of care’ that the ANC government introduced to lift millions out of indigence.

I was privileged enough to sit near the ring side and see Nelson Mandela dealing with that challenge. It was he who inspired and drove the roll-out of grants to children as a means of alleviating poverty.

I was and remain deeply inspired by the way Madiba cared for children. He said we cannot and should not leave our children who were impoverished by apartheid without being cared for. But he went beyond loving children, to prioritizing the plight of children in the democratic government.

He believed that education was the main differentiator: and that it was imperative that the children of our country should be well educated. It is in tribute to Nelson Mandela that on top of a vast social security net that provides grants to impoverished children – that we today are rolling out an education system markedly different to the apartheid-era education system for black children.

It is further tribute to Nelson Mandela that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) notes that in South Africa today, ‘universal primary education is already effectively a reality’, in line with Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 2. Furthermore, enrollment rates for boys and girls are equally strong, and as the UNDP notes, “where small differences exist, they are in the girl child’s favour.”

This is precisely what Nelson Mandela wanted us to see and have: that all our young children should be in school, should get a decent education and should be cared for.

This is just one of the many examples of the ways in which the ANC government of Nelson Mandela has carried forth his legacy on achieving the expectations of our people.

Soon after he was elected, Nelson Mandela travelled to New York where he was asked: “Mr. Mandela, don’t you think your people will lose hope because they have so many expectations and apartheid has set them back so much?”

He answered: “Our people have a deep understanding of where we come from. They have a deep understanding of what apartheid did to them and they also have a forward looking understanding and expectation of what their government is going to do”.

Importantly, he also said: “Our people are going to see us meeting their expectations on an ongoing basis.. that is what is going to give them hope…”
We have not disappointed our people. Year-by-year, day by day, we are realizing Nelson Mandela’s vision.

It is only those who are hugely dishonest who will today say the ANC has not changed South Africa. This country is vastly different from the country that we inherited in 1994.

Nelson Mandela said at that press conference in New York that the ANC government would work on an ongoing basis as we seek to meet the expectations of our people. We have rolled out education, built millions of homes, electrified millions of households, and ensured that millions of people have access to water and sanitation, enabling them to live lives of dignity. Day by day we are eradicating informal settlements and getting people into formal housing, a programme that is ongoing. Our social welfare net, one of the most extensive in the world, is day by day helping to lift 17 million grantees out of poverty – giving them a step up in the world and enabling them to better their lives and the lives of their families. It is the ANC that has ensured that 9 million learners are being fed every school day – children who never used to eat before or after school. This is the disposition of care of Nelson Mandela, being carried out by the ANC.

I am confident that this ANC government is doing much to meet those basic needs Nelson Mandela spoke of many years ago at a press conference in New York. Yes, we may not be where we want to be, but we certainly have not been resting on our laurels.

Were Nelson Mandela here today, I am sure he most certainly would say: “They have not let the revolution down. What was started years ago with Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, they have taken steps to try to meet”. And we are still going to to do many more wonderful things than what we had ever envisaged 21 years ago.

The ANC’s message, and my message personally this Nelson Mandela Day is that as you lead your life every day, try to make a very positive and a meaningful impact on the lives of other people.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA IS THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

This article was first published in the Sunday Times, 17 July 2016. Watch the Deputy President’s full interview on Nelson Mandela Day which will premier exclusively on the ANC’s Facebook page on 18 July 2016 @ 19H00