Cosatu must continue to be built “as the spear and the ANC as the shield”, says ANC presidential hopeful and party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
He was addressing a South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) gala dinner at the weekend.
Ramaphosa did not mince his words when he acknowledged that the tripartite alliance – comprising trade union federation Cosatu, the SA Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC – was going through challenging times.
“Even now, as our country and our movement encounters and is going through many challenges and difficulties, we must remain determined that we will not compromise the revolution.
“We all know – and some may want to deny it – that we are indeed going through very, very challenging times and some may want to hide their heads in the sand,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the fact that times were tough did not mean “that we must cower and run for cover …. it does not mean that we must now say we give up”.
He went on: “We cannot give up this struggle of rebuilding the African National Congress because giving up this struggle means that we are giving up on our revolution and surrendering our revolution to our opponents.”
Ramaphosa spoke to resounding applause from delegates. He stressed the revolution cannot be surrendered to the DA and the “small parties” in South Africa.
He said the tripartite alliance must be strengthened because it was the alliance that was able to transform the country and “we must continue to transform this country without fail”.
“At the same time, we must be truthful, straight forward and we must be honest. And one of the things that we must not do and cannot do is to surrender our revolution to greed and corruption and patronage.
“We must also not hand over the institutions of our democratic state to those who want to use them for their own enrichment because [the democratic institutions] are what many lost their lives for,” he said.
Ramaphosa stressed that “we are bound to defend these institutions that are meant to deliver transformation for our people”.
He vowed that the ANC would not surrender the revolution to those who subverted democratic practices, manipulated procurement processes, influenced appointments and wanted to appropriate the resources that rightly belonged to the people.
He said members of the ANC must not succumb to factionalism and division, but rather strive for unity. “Our task now is to see how best we can unite the alliance, strengthen the SACP and Cosatu, so that the ANC can be ready for the general elections in 2019.
“Only a united ANC, a united Cosatu and a united SACP can effectively lead the fundamental transformation our people so need and desire.”
Ramaphosa warned against those who were to party structures with the intention to divide members and who continue to make empty promises and reckless statements. He warned against those who stubbornly continued to oppose transformation through various means.
“We must stop those in their tracks because transformation has to be the order of the day in our country,” he said.
On radical transformation, Ramaphosa said ordinary people must also benefit and that transformation should not just benefit a few people and selected families.