Zuma appeals for unity in the ANC at 105th birthday

Zuma appeals for unity in the ANC at 105th birthday

Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa at Orlando Stadium. Picture: ANA

Delivering his final January 8 Statement in Orlando, the president said it was time for the ruling party to pull together.

ANC President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday appealed for unity in the organisation. He said ANC branches had told the party that its leaders were “busy fighting each other” instead of attending to their needs.

“Our own research and interactions with members of the ANC demonstrate clearly that the people abhor the apparent preoccupation with personal gain. People are clear… their main priorities are jobs, fighting crime, and corruption. Our task is therefore to grow the economy, create jobs, and rigorously fight crime and corruption,” Zuma said.

The governing party went to its branches following the bruising August 3 local government elections, which saw it lose control of the Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Nelson Mandela Bay metros.

The leadership’s meetings with branches, which the party referred to as “an introspection”, was conducted throughout the provinces after the elections. The ANC said the public meetings were meant to get a sense of what went wrong at the local polls.

Zuma said the party should take lessons from its past leaders such as Oliver Tambo and do away with factionalism and gatekeeping.

“We must learn from president OR Tambo and continue to demonstrate to the people, in word and in deed, that the ANC remains the organisation most capable of leading South Africa. The ANC must unite so that we are able to unite the people against our common enemies – unemployment, poverty, and inequality,” he said.

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) should mobilise young people and prepare their “political education into the mother body”.

“The youth league must emulate the spirit of comrades who launched the South African Youth Congress (Sayco) 30 years ago. They must mobilise and unite young people … the youth of today are more connected to each other and the world with the advance of communications and information technology,” he told ANC supporters at the party’s 105th anniversary celebrations at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.

“The youth are more informed about local and global events, and the ANCYL must attract young activists from all sectors to strengthen our movement.”

He also said the ANC government had made great progress in advancing the emancipation of women. South Africa had shown considerable improvement in fighting patriarchy and gender oppression, he told ANC supporters during the party’s 105th anniversary celebrations at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.

“Tambo recognised that the struggle for national liberation is intrinsically linked to the emancipation of women and advocated that women take up their roles ‘among the fighting ranks of our movement and its command posts’. Equally, we must be sensitive to the reality that we must engender a sense of equality between men and women,” Zuma said.

The ANC Women’s League on Saturday formally came out in support of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed her ex-husband as ANC president as well as South African president.

Zuma said it was incumbent upon all South Africans to remember that patriarchy disadvantaged both women and men.

“We must be consistent in challenging societal norms that engender sexist stereotypes. We have implemented many successful programmes to advance the economic and social status of women, but much still remains to be done. Women have made more strides over the last two decades than ever before.”

Zuma said the ANC would actively work to improve women’s access to economic opportunities and, in particular, business financing and credit, so that women could pursue business opportunities in all areas.

“We urge government to utilise institutions such as the recently launched Women’s Co-operative Bank and all other development finance institutions to further the economic emancipation of women,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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