ANC WISHES SA WELL OVER FESTIVE SEASON, LOOKS FORWARD TO ACCELERATING IMPLEMENTATION OF NDP IN 2017
The African National Congress (ANC) extends its well wishes to all South Africans for a restful and reflective festive season. We wish all those celebrating a blessed Christmas and abundant opportunity for a happy and prosperous 2017 in the new year.
The year 2016 will forever go down in the annals of history as a momentous and significant year for South Africa. At the 104th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the ANC in January this year, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC declared 2016 as the Year of Advancing People’s Power: Local Government is in your hands. This clarion call sought to reaffirm the centrality of the people in their own liberation and emancipation; placing them at the center of their development.
Together, as the South African people, we commemorated the heroic struggles of our people marking, amongst others, the 40th Anniversary of the June 16, 1976 student uprisings and the 60th Anniversary of the Women’s March. These were definitive milestones in our country’s history that changed the course of our struggle and provided indisputable evidence of the strength of a people united. They continue today to inspire countless generations of South Africans to strive harder, and act in unity to realize the South African dream – a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
2016 also marked the 20th Anniversary of the signing into law of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. 10th December 1996 was that moment in our history when we consolidated and codified the institutional framework to undo the deep legacy of racist injustice, dispossession and dehumanisation of the African people. Throughout its engagement in the struggle for national liberation, the ANC has always been driven by the belief that constitutionalism is a critical feature of a system of human rights. In this regard, the signing into law of the Constitution affirmed our commitment to entrenching this progressive value system of human rights.
The South African constitution emerged as a crucial platform of progress in the centuries-long struggle by the oppressed and revolutionary people of this land to establish a humane system of social relations. It affirmed the Freedom Charter demand that “our people (would) live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities; that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;” It further served to institute a binding culture of human rights, the rule of law, accountability, responsiveness and an ethically sustainable system of administering justice.
With these selfless sacrifices and indicators of progress as inspiration, South Africans deepened our democracy by taking part in their large numbers in the 4th democratic Local Government Elections in August 2016. The peaceful, free and fair nature of the elections was testimony of the commitment of South Africans to a constitutional state, of our own making, underpinned by the rule of law, and governance of the people by the people. The electoral setback suffered by the ANC in certain centers during the Local Government elections served to strengthen the resolve of the movement to deal decisively with debilitating sins of incumbency including amongst them factionalism, corruption and accidental succession. It further amplified the call of the people to the movement to accelerate the pace of change with specific emphasis on creating jobs, fighting crime and corruption.
The ANC has committed itself to acting on the concerns of our people, placing unity of our movement and strict management of party discipline at the core of our programme for renewal of our movement. Factionalism, corruption and disunity are an affront to the people of South Africa; they divide the progressive forces and rob the people of opportunities for development and progress. They must and shall become exceptions in our movement as we begin to define our new normal – unity in action towards the realization of socio-economic freedom. The ANC, governing over 75% of municipalities in the country, remains the hope of the people of South Africa – a movement of the people to effect fundamental socio-economic transformation, creating a better life for all.
The African National Congress looks forward to 2017 with great anticipation of accelerating the implementation of our nation’s vision towards 2030. The National Development Plan (NDP) is our nation’s lodestar and most ambitious programme to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. In its implementation it requires the collaboration and determination of all sectors to work together in a social compact for the greater good. We must build on the successes of the last twenty years and see, as the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) affirms in the recently released report, Life in South Africa: Reasons for Hope, that South Africa is “the story of a young democracy that has made a vast amount of progress in fields ranging from the economy and employment to living standards, poverty, education, healthcare and crime. This is not captured by screaming newspaper headlines but by the substantive progress we have made as a country since the end of apartheid. It is a story of hope amid change… Most importantly, we should not lose sight of the gains the country has made, lest we become too pessimistic and cynical about our future and fail to build on the solid foundations that have been laid over the past two decades. There is definitely a lot of good achieved over the past twenty years”
In 2016 alone, evidence abounds of the impact we are able to make when government, business, labour and civil society work together towards a common purpose. Much was achieved through focused implementation of the 9-point plan, government’s plan to boost economic growth and create much-needed jobs and a starting point towards the fulfillment of the vision of the NDP and its clarion call – Its Our Future. Make it work.
During the course of this year, the ANC-led government commissioned Medupi Power Station’s unit 6 and the opened the R2billion Coega Wind Farm Project to contribute to the resolution of the energy challenge. The number of jobs in the Agricultural sector increased from 183 000 in 2014 to reach a total of 891 000 in 2016. To drive more effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Action Policy Action Plan (IPAP), rail and ship manufacturing were revitalized, with ships for the South African Navy and locomotives being built in the country. By October, South Africa had registered Foreign Direct Investment Flow of almost R45 billion in the period January to July 2016, creating 5037 jobs. These were but some of the many success of the ANC-led government over the current year, however much more still remains to be done. Social activism towards causes that rebuild our economy and strengthen the prospects of every South African to break down the frontiers of poverty, underdevelopment and inequality must be encouraged – tangibly advancing people’s power.
The ANC extends its gratitude to our structures, leaders and members at large for their tireless work for the people over the past year. Our branches remain the basic unit of our movement tasked with the responsibility of transforming society at a local level. Their strength and cohesion is imperative for sustaining the National Democratic Revolution. As we advance to 2017, an eventful year for the ANC, we will continue to rely upon them and all structures of the movement to remain reliable tools in the hands of the people to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.