Press release Dated: Thursday 4th January 2018 Subject:
The ANC and the January 8th Statement RECLAIMING OUR HISTORY, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FUTURE
This press release has been prepared by the ANC stalwarts and veterans (the stalwarts) who are signatories to the document “For the Sake of our Future” https://sakeofourfuture.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Sake-of-Our-FutureFounding-Document.pdf in October 2016.
The signatories also facilitated the recent National Consultative Conference on the ANC in November 2017. The declaration of that conference can be found at https://sakeofourfuture.co.za/wpcontent/uploads/2017/12/Declaration-of-the-NCC-on-the-ANC-2017-1.pdf
The ANC and the January 8th Statement
The history of the January 8th Statement stretches back to Bloemfontein on January 8th, 1912, a full 106 years ago.
Last year’s statement was made by the then African National Congress (ANC) President, Comrade Zuma on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC and 2017 was declared “the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Let us deepen unity”.
The January 8th statement of 2017 was encouraging; “The ANC must be a listening and humble organisation”; the message of the electorate in the local government elections had been heard; the promotion of ethics in the public services; the rooting out of corruption within the public and private sectors of the economy and ANC; a commitment to learning from the mistakes of the recent past; stamping out gatekeeping, ill-discipline, factionalism, the buying of members and the manipulation of internal democratic processes. Members of the ANC were called upon “to be exemplary in their conduct and lifestyle.
We expect our cadres to emulate comrade OR Tambo and live a life of humility, integrity and selfless service to the people”. On the 13th of January 2018, a new President of the ANC, Comrade Ramaphosa will make the January 8th Statement on behalf of the NEC. As stalwarts, we believe that we cannot have another year of paralysis within the ANC, government and the economy, where commitments are not met. As always it will be the historically disadvantaged, the poor and marginalised that will suffer the most. It will also mean the ANC will be punished in the elections of 2019, especially, although not exclusively in urban areas.
As stalwarts, we believe 2018’s January 8th Statement will be well crafted and the majority of our people will be able to identify with this statement of intent.
Our concern is simple, our people cannot eat words.
The incoming NEC must deliver and be seen to deliver on every aspect of the statement, something the outgoing NEC failed to do. At December’s ANC National Conference, there was wide ranging and positive discussions on priorities within the ANC.
As stalwarts we were pleased to note that these included the need for a real scrutiny of the suitability of the present elected leadership, at all levels of our movement. It is hoped that the NEC, at their meeting on the 10th January ensure that the integrity committee of the ANC, whose decisions were sadly ignored in 2017, are given new powers. This should ensure the original intentions of the NEC’s 2013 decision to hold leadership accountable and that the integrity of the ANC is not compromised, finally become a reality.
As stalwarts we have long called for the ANC to become a professional and modern party.
We support the call for the NEC to set up an effective committee to fast track this. We wish to see serious consideration of one member, one vote, for ANC elections at a provincial and national level and the urgent introduction of an effective membership system.
This should go a long way towards overcoming the manipulation of voting, as described in the 2017 January 8th Statement.
Since October 2016 we have called for a National Consultative Conference (NCC) of the ANC, sadly the NEC was unable to reach a consensus and accept this proposal. In November 2017 we initiated a conference and were joined by many senior comrades from past and present NEC’s, Provinces, the Alliance and on the first day civil society, to discuss the challenges the ANC faces and possible solutions. We are pleased that the ANC Veterans League has taken up the call for the incoming NEC to formally initiate an all inclusive NCC in early 2018. If our leadership pretends that principled unity can be built without honestly confronting the challenges within the ANC, the electorate will continue to do what was done in 2016, until it is too late for the ANC to restore the trust our communities have historically given us.
The NEC’s meeting on the 10th January and the January 8th Statement on the 13th, should be an important turning point within our movement. END
For the Sake of our Future: Background
The late Comrade Kathrada was the first signatory of the document “For the Sake of our Future” and we remain honoured by the continued presence and support of Comrades Denis Goldberg and Andrew Mlangeni. As stalwarts, we count amongst us those who knew and worked with OR Tambo; were part of those who led the struggle against apartheid, spent their time at the “schools” on Robben Island and other prisons throughout the country; were the class of ’76; in the leadership, or loyal solders of Umkhonto we Sizwe; part of the internal underground; leaders and members of the UDF; members of the Alliance and progressive organisations.
During the fight against apartheid we worked in secrecy to avoid arrest, imprisonment, torture or death. That secrecy is no longer necessary and we must now create an open democratic party, fit for purpose.
Today, secrecy only feeds unacceptable behaviours, factions, slates and deals that have no place in a democratic party of the future. As stalwarts, we have been and remain loyal members of the ANC for many decades.
Our objective is to continue to serve all the people of South Africa and ensure the historical values and principles of the ANC are restored. As stalwarts, we feel a profound responsibility to the movement and the country, to ensure that the principles and values of the ANC are not destroyed.
We believe that the overwhelming majority of our citizens embrace the values of the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of our country.
We would like to believe that we speak on behalf of all members of the ANC who reject state capture and any form of corruption; want to see the realization of our potential as a nation and who are committed to the elimination of poverty and the unacceptably high levels of inequality.