Thousands of ANC members and supporters gathered at Vodacom Park Stadium, Mangaung, to celebrate 100 years of the movement, under the theme “2012 – the year of unity in diversity”.
We were celebrating the existence of the oldest liberation movement in Africa.
While celebrating, we are expected to look at the role which ANC has played in the lives of South Africans in general and blacks (Africans) in particular.
The movement was built for the strategic goal of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), which is to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
As comrades gathered, a few divisive songs were sung.
There were pro-Zuma and anti-Zuma songs. Some groups were behaving as if it was a conference to elect leaders and this kind of behaviour must be cautioned before it paralyses the movement.
Although there was a programme, concerns were raised by members about having to wait to hear the president speak at the end of the day when people were there as early as 6am and tired after travelling long distances.
“The speech was supposed to be earlier so that we could go home earlier.
We had to travel a long way to get back home and we were not able to go to work the following day,” said Benjamin Phahlahla, a Numsa shop steward.
The NEC address delivered by President Jacob Zuma focused on the road travelled by the movement from its birth in 1912 until today.
He spoke about the role played by the movement in liberating the people of South Africa and the challenges it was confronted with: people were arrested, tortured and even killed. Children became orphans, women became widows and parents lost their children.
The road ahead was not mentioned much.
What kind of ANC will be needed in the next century to achieve economic emancipation and also deal with the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality?
Surely, reading between the lines, it’s clear that leadership with integrity is needed so that drastic measures are taken to change the status quo.
Numsa News No 1, April 2012