JOHANNESBURG- Newly elected African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa has praised party members for proving naysayers wrong by not sending the liberation movement to its grave.
He said many people believed that the outcomes of the 54th elective conference would result in the end of the party, but members emerged head above shoulders and instead united the movement.
“There is no doubt that this has been a Conference of enormous importance and great significance. In the months and weeks before this Conference, speculation was rife that this 54th National Conference would either not be held or that it would collapse. Your attendance at this Conference, representing your branches, is a victory over the doomsayers and those who do not wish our movement well,” he said in his closing remarks.
“We, therefore, congratulate you for having defied the negative speculative predictions by making this Conference happen and ensuring it is successful. There were some who even suggested that Nasrec would represent the end of the ANC as we would emerge from here divided. We are still here. Standing almost 106 years later. United. Nasrec 2017 has not only united us. It has strengthened us.”
The party went into the conference with tensions running high and slates dominating but the outcomes of the top six elections stunned many. The new leadership consists of three members from each slate, a move widely regarded as a sign of unity within the party. Ramaphosa said the move has galvanised and rejuvenated them.
“We continue to confound our critics. Over the course of the last five days, our movement has grappled with the challenges and tasks of this critical moment in the history and life of our people and our country. In electing the leadership, you, as the delegates to this Conference, have turned your back on the politics of the slate. You have insisted that the people who lead this movement should not be from one or another faction, but should serve our people in their own right as representatives of the membership as a whole,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that the ANC listened to the aspirations, hopes, wishes, cries and concerns of its people through the voices of the delegates representing people from the length and breadth of the country.
“As delegates representing branches of our movement you have given expression to our peoples hopes through the resolutions you have adopted here and the leadership you have chosen,” Ramaphosa said.
The new leadership which has Ramaphosa at the helm consists of David Mabuza as his deputy, Gwede Mantashe as National Chairperson, Ace Magashule as Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte as deputy SG and Paul Mashatile as the Treasurer General.
Ramaphosa said the conference has given them an opportunity to confront difficult truths.
“In recent times, we have seen the ANC at its worst. We have seen an organisation divided against itself. And yet, we have also seen glimpses of the ANC at its best. Over the last few days, we have seen the ANC that we know and love. As representatives of nearly a million members, you as delegates have demonstrated that the ANC is an organisation that is alive to the needs of the people