Ramaphosa: what we do next is critical

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Karabo Ngoepe
JOHANNESBURG- The African National Congress is going to be judged by what it does going forward following the 54th elective conference held at Nasrec.
That is the view of party president Cyril Ramaphosa who says despite the past five days having been a watershed moment for the organisation, actions to be taken going forward will be of critical importance.
“Our people will judge this Conference not only by what we have done here over these five days but – perhaps more importantly – by what we do next. The people of South Africa want action. They do not want words,” he said.
“Our people want an ANC that lives up to its promise and is true to its mission. They want an ANC that lives the values that it espouses and holds fast to the principles that have long defined it. They want an ANC that uses public office not to serve vested interests, but to build a truly developmental state and a vibrant, inclusive economy that creates jobs and improves lives.”
Ramaphosa who delivered his maiden speech as party leader during the closing of the conference called on members to lead by examples in their communities. He challenged them to regain the respect of their communities and give it in return.
“As we leave this Conference, we are resolved to humble ourselves before the people. We are resolved to respect our people and earn their respect. We are resolved to cast aside those attitudes and practices that have seen a gulf grow between those in public office and those they were elected to serve. The African National Congress wishes to send a clear message to all South Africans that we are resolved to be a more responsive and more accountable leadership and movement. We will continue to be rooted in communities through our branches and always seek to champion the interests of the people,” he said.
Ramaphosa further called for introspection and commitment to gender equality. He said they need to be conscious of the practices and attitudes that reinforce patriarchy within the organisation and society – and they must work together to end them.
He also spoke of the need to inject youthfulness into the organisation and listen to the different voices that exist with the different structures of the party.
“We need to become a more youthful organisation, more representative of the age profile of our population. This Conference has resolved that we engage and pay heed to the views and insights of the veterans of our movement, organisations that have always worked with us, and many others. We will reach out to community organisations and other organs of civil society, understanding that they are critical for the exercise of people’s power and are valuable partners for development. We shall do so because we have a historic responsibility as the ANC to lead society,” he said.