- Following unexplained attacks on National Key Points, the ANC has vowed to prioritise defending the country’s democratic gains.
- This pledge was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the ANC’s 110th-anniversary celebrations on Saturday.
- The ANC also announced five other key priority area of focus as it tries to create a better life for all citizens.
In light of recent events where some parts of Parliament burnt down and the Constitutional Court was vandalised, President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed that going forward, the ANC will work tooth and nail to defend South Africa’s democratic gains against attempts to undermine the country’s constitutional order.
Ramaphosa was addressing party members at the ANC’s 110th anniversary celebration held at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, on Saturday.
“On this occasion of the 110th anniversary of the formation of the ANC, we need to engage in a frank assessment of how far we have gone during the past year in meeting the core mandate defined by the 54th National Conference,” said Ramaphosa.
“In doing so, we need to understand the domestic and global environment in which we operate. There are many developments that characterise this environment and which inform our programme for the year ahead.”
He also added that in light of the many attacks on National Key Points such as Parliament and the Constitutional Court, the ANC would prioritise defending the country’s democratic gains against attempts to undermine constitutional order and to destabilise democracy.
Also, speaking on the back of the State Capture Inquiry report that revealed that the ANC was idle while state capture was being entrenched, Ramaphosa vowed to also fundamentally accelerate the renewal and rebuilding of the ANC.
The president said that while the Parliament building was burnt, the structure of Parliament was still intact.
Before Ramaphosa took the podium, SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande said he believed the July unrest and the fire at Parliament was linked.
He said they “smelled a fish” in relation to the burning of Parliament.
He added that the ANC was trying to deliver on the core mandate defined by the 54th National Conference faced by challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and at a time when the party was trying to rebuild the democratic state after years of state capture.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is unlike any other the world has seen in more than a century. The world, our country, and our organisation continue to traverse an extremely complex and challenging period, which has brought into stark relief many of the fundamental social, economic, political, and psycho-social challenges and fault lines in our society.
“In South Africa, more than 92 000 lives have been lost to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Combined with the rigours and deprivation arising from four waves of the pandemic and the intermittent periods of restrictions, this has been a profoundly painful and traumatic period in our national life, challenging us to give reassurance, leadership, inspiration, and hope for the future.”
He added that due to the pandemic and the subsequent regulations implemented to try and combat the virus, the country’s economy had been severely damaged.
Millions are without work and rely on social support for survival. The rate of economic recovery, while better than anticipated, has not been optimal, and the resources needed to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality have been inadequate. Women and young people, in particular, have borne the brunt of this adversity.
He added that the second element characterising the current situation under which the ANC operated, was that “the pandemic struck as we were launching concerted efforts to rebuild the democratic state after years of state capture”.
“Not only was state capture a systematic attempt at siphoning off public resources; it also had the effect of undermining our democratic state and threatening our programme of social and economic transformation.”
“As expected, the renewal that we have embarked on is being assailed at various levels by acts of institutional and social disruption. Let us, from the outset, make it clear that these desperate efforts will fail in the face of a united people resolved to protect South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.
Given the challenges encountered in implementing the core resolutions from the 54th conference, Ramaphosa on Saturday vowed that the ANC had recognised the foregoing challenges, but would push on with its attempts to create a better life for all.
“This January 8th Statement sets out priorities for all ANC members and cadres that must underpin our work during 2022,” said the ANC president.
Part of the ANC’s strategy for creating a better life for all, according to Ramaphosa, included building a social compact to decisively address unemployment and poverty.
“Working with all social partners, we must accelerate economic recovery and reconstruction and ensure that social services are provided to all citizens,” said Ramaphosa.
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