Call repeated in high-profile appearances
Just hours after Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made their first high-profile public appearance together in KwaZulu-Natal post the elective conference, the newly elected ANC president vowed in East London to deal with those stealing public money.
This, as Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa said in Port Elizabeth that those who claimed the government had done nothing for its people should look at ATMs on the first day of every month to see the scores of people withdrawing grants they had not worked for.
Xasa was speaking at one of the meetings held by ANC national leaders across the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in the run-up to the party’s January 8 statement to be delivered by Ramaphosa in East London on Saturday.
Former ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete was meant to address the meeting in Port Elizabeth but could not attend due to a death in the family.
Meanwhile, if you thought radical socioeconomic transformation and expropriation of land without compensation died with Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential dreams at Nasrec last month‚ think again.
Ramaphosa did not mince his words on the urgent implementation of those policies. “We are not mad when we speak about radical socioeconomic transformation – the black majority should be recognised for their role in the economy,” he said in KwaZulu-Natal earlier in the day.
“If they work in the mines and work the fields they are also entitled to share in the economy.”
Ramaphosa said it was prudent to implement the policy in practical ways so that it did not benefit a chosen few.
On land issues‚ he said expropriating land should not be smash-and-grab but more about restoration and redressing the imbalances of the past.
“Restoring land to the rightful and original owners – this should be done in a manner that maintains and secures food security and does not affect agricultural production.”
As the governing party celebrated 106 years of its existence with a cake-cutting ceremony at a packed East London City Hall last night, Ramaphosa preached unity in the party, saying it was not an option.
He had also called for unity in KwaZulu-Natal earlier, saying the province was far too important to the ANC to be left divided.
According to Ramaphosa, the revival of the ANC is in motion and he urged all members to rally behind the “top-class leadership armed with the best policies the country has ever seen”.
He said in East London that the time for factions and preferences was long gone and it was time for all to throw their weight behind the new NEC as it forged ahead to implement the Nasrec resolutions.
“We have a unified leadership and out of this we are going to forge unity and make sure this leadership speaks in one voice,” he said, to applause.
“Infighting among the leadership must come to an end now.
“These skirmishes and fights we used to see should have been buried at Nasrec – we are all ANC and we owe no allegiance to an individual leader.”
Ramaphosa also confirmed earlier that he had met and held talks with President Jacob Zuma on Sunday at Dube House in Durban, but did not divulge anything about the meeting.
In Port Elizabeth, Xasa said it was important to give the ANC some time to deliver services because it had a new leadership.
She said EFF leader Julius Malema was attempting to derail the party’s progress with free education by being disruptive and going to universities to cause chaos.
“If they go bombard and overcrowd universities the next thing on their agenda will be to burn these institutions – and where will our children learn then, because the free education policy is for students who come from low-income families,” Xasa said.
The rally was supported by the party’s alliance partners, the SACP and South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
Sanco’s provincial secretary Tony Duba said the ANC in the metro was not dead but had simply fallen.
“It’s now up to us to pick it up and return it to City Hall, and not as an opposition but as the ruling party,” Duba said.
The Top Six will lay wreaths at the graves of former ANC presidents AB Xuma and Nelson Mandela in the Eastern Cape today.
The party’s traditional January 8 statement will take place at the Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday.