Speech by the ANC Secretary-General during the during the occasion cadres forum
On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, we bring warm and fraternal revolutionary greetings to all of you gathered here today. We take the opportunity of this occasion to convey our gratitude to the people of the great region of Dullah Omar and the whole of the Province of the Western Cape.
The Province of the Western Cape is the home of the ANC and the ANC is the home of the people of the Province of the Western Cape. Indeed the Province of the Western Cape is a true home of the struggle of our people.
The history of the struggle of the people of the Western Cape is synonymous to the history of the struggle of the people of our country. It is a history of the common struggle of our people against the legacy of imperialism and colonial conquest and dispossession.
The province of the Western Cape remains to be a powerhouse of the rich history of the unbroken struggle by our people against Apartheid colonial oppression and exploitation. It represents a theatre of the centuries of the struggle of our people for freedom and equality.
Over centuries the people of the province of the Western Cape has been at the epicentre of the struggle for our liberation. They have waged heroic and inseparable struggles for the freedom and the dignity of the entire people of our country.
It is here at the heartland of our motherland that the indigenous people of our country had the first encounter with the forces of colonialism, and therefore the first ground of a battlecry of resistance against land
conquest and dispossession.
It is here where the voyagers of discovery established the first colonial outpost in a form of a refreshment station to supply themselves with fresh produce on their way to their
colonies in the East Indies.
The province of the Western Cape is the land of the heroic men and women, the land of Chief Aushumato, Gogosa, Doman, David Stuurman, Jantjie Piet, Tuan
Guru, Massavana, Abel Gallant.
The land of Ben Nyombolo, Thomas Zini, James Thaele, Elliot Tonjeni, Harold Cressey, James La Guma, Wennie Singwani, Annie Silinga, Dora Damana, Oscar Mpheta, Wliton Mkwayi, General Njose, Andrew Mlangeni, and many other of the unsung heroes and
heroines of our struggle, whose contribution has
become a landmark in the history of the struggle of our
We, therefore, take the opportunity of this great moment to salute the leadership and the membership of the region of Dullah Omar and the Province of the Western Cape for organizing such a magnificent gathering of this cadres forum today. This is a testimony that our structures are committed towards the fundamental task of the unity and cohesion of our movement and our people.
This beautiful occasion of the cadres forum signifies a milestone achievement in the determination of our common effort to build on the unity and the renewal of our glorious movement. We, therefore, take inspiration for your endless work and all the endeavours of our common purpose for the achievement of the victories of our national democratic revolution.
A cadres forum is an embodiment of the true culture and traditions of our national liberation movement. It is a platform for the membership and the people of our
country to appreciate the concrete realities of the material conditions they find themselves in from time to time.
As per the resolution of the 54th National Conference,
the National Executive Committee of the ANC has
place the important question of political education high
on its agenda. Political education is a nucleus, life and
backbone, of any revolutionary movement.
The leadership of the ANC is putting more resources to ensure that we develop comprehensive syllabus and modules and also to train more commissars, who will focus on rolling out political education to all our structures throughout the country.
There are also plans underway to construct the Malume Julius Nyerere school of excellence in the United Republic of Tanzania, which will cater the interests of the cadres of the former Southern African liberation movements. The school will accommodate cadres from the ANC, SWAPO, ZANU-PF, MPLA, FRELIMO and CHAMA CHAMA CHA MAPINDUZI.
The construction of the school will be completed in the coming two years and students will be receiving accredited courses in party building and organisation, political economy and other essential disciplines relevant to prepare our youth as the future leaders of
society. We are also looking at the possibility of building our own political school here in our country.
There are also exchange programmes taking place with some of the ANC cadres given opportunities to attend short-term political education school classes in the Peoples Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba. This is part of our greater efforts to build the kind
of a calibre cadreship capable of leading the struggle of our people for a better life.
This cadres forum is taking place during an important calendar year of the centenary anniversary celebrations of the lives of two of our most outstanding revolutionaries of the century, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. The year of the
centenary of the living memories of the towering giants whose contribution to the struggle for our emancipation remains unparalleled.
We take inspiration to continue with their spear to lead our struggle for the radical socio-economic transformation of our society. We take inspiration from their incalculable contribution to our struggle to consolidate the resolutions of our 54th National Conference held during the month of December at the NASREC Conference centre.
The historic resolutions of our 54th National Conference resonates with the document of our people, the Freedom Charter, when it says: “THE PEOPLE SHALL SHARE THE WEALTH OF OUR COUNTRY The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people. The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and
monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.
All other industries and trade shall be controlled to assist the well being of the people. All people shall have equal rights to trade where they chose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and profession.”
Writing in the Liberation in 1956 Nelson Mandela expounds the significance of this clause in the following profound way:
“It is true that demanding the nationalization of the banks, the gold mines and the land, the charter strikes a blow at the financial and gold mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country. But such a step is absolutely important and
necessary because the realization of the charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until the wealth of the country is in the hands of the people”.
This is the task the delegates of the 54th National Conference bestowed themselves with to accelerate this noble goal of our struggle for the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. This is a task they have set for themselves in order to
achieve this strategic objective of our national democratic revolution.
Our struggle for radical socio-economic transformation can only be achieved if there is unity of purpose and unity of action. It can only be achieved if there is discipline and ideological coherence and understanding of our programme of action.
The National Conference of the ANC is the highest decision-making body which determines the policy thrust out of the analysis of the balance of forces and how they impact on the pace and the direction of our struggle. It therefore important that from this point of
view, we are all obliged to respect and implement the resolutions of Conference.
Therefore the leadership and the membership of ANC in government, the private sector and all levels of civil society, must work together to ensure that we accelerate the implementation of the historic resolutions of our National Conference. This is a common task we all have to strive to achieve during our life-time.
However, it is important that no-one undermines the policy positions of the ANC adopted by the presidium of the Conference. Our role is not to interpret the Resolutions taken during the conference, but to find the best possible ways of ensuring their speedy implementation.
We need to guard against those who want to undermine the decisions of the ANC. We need to guard against any tendencies from anyone, irrespective of the position he or she holds, both from within and outside the ranks of our movement, who seek to reverse back the Resolutions adopted during our historic conference.
Addressing the 18th plenary of the Communist party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China and the President of the peoples Republic of China Cde Xi Jinping said the following about such
“The greater power and higher position they hold, the less they take the Party political discipline and rules seriously. Some of their conduct is outrageous.
Driven by their overinflated political ambitions and eagerness to personal gain, or the benefit of their inner circle, some resort to political conspiracies against the Party and plot to undermine and divide it. Some place themselves above the organization and consider
themselves to be the ultimate authority.
In an attempt to form factions, cliques and coteries, they treat the places that the Party entrust them to administrate as their own independent fiefdoms, they search for others to support them, some take egoism and insolence to extremes, ignoring decisions and
plans of the CC in a roundabout way and even wantonly attack the theories, guidelines, principles and policies of the Party and spread malicious slander against Party leaders.
They also suppress or crack down on those who disagree with them. They persist in their belief that their great chance is coming, and try to eliminate anyone in their way”
The tendency among anyone of us to undermine the decisions of the conference or any decisions taken by the collective of the majority of the members of the ANC is counter-revolutionary. It has the preponderance to bring divisions and therefore undermining our
collective efforts for unity within our ranks.
Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo, the longest serving President of the ANC, expressed the following profound words about such tendencies during the historic conference of Morogoro during the year 1969 when he said:
“Delegates must wage a relentless war against disrupters and defend the ANC against the
provocateurs and enemy agents. Defend the revolution against enemy propaganda, whatever form it takes.
Be vigilant comrades, the enemy is vigilant. Beware of the wedge driver, a man who creeps from ear to ear carrying a bag full of wedges, driving them between you and the next man, between a group and another. A man who goes around creating splits and divisions.
Beware of wedge drivers, comrades, watch his poisonous tongue. And now, wedge drivers who have been working behind close-doors against the whole liberation movement and its policies have come out in the open.
They are of an impure load which every revolutionary carries, and when that load is thrown aside the journey to victory is always a swifter one. The enemy hidden in the same colour is the most dangerous one”.
These profound revolutionary words by President OR Tambo are still more relevant than ever before. It is indeed true that the enemy hidden in the same colour, wearing the same regalia, singing our own songs, and appearing to more be revolutionary than the revolution
itself is the most dangerous one.
Our revolutionary theory has always taught us that the most dangerous enemy is the enemy from within. Of importance is the theoretical formulation that where there is a revolution, there is always a counter revolution.
The most important question we need to ask ourselves is whether we have the required capacity to grapple with the growing momentum by the forces of reaction to undermine the unity and cohesion of our movement. Whether we have the necessary capacity to halt the
offensive onslaught against our liberation movement and its elected leadership.
We need to inculcate our membership to appreciate the importance of accepting the outcomes of any democratic process. With the understanding that those who have been entrusted by the majority to take over the leadership responsibility will rise to the occasion
and unite the whole of the organisation.
Our revered leader and one of the longest serving General Secretaries of the South African Communist party Malume Moses Kotane talks about the need of an iron discipline to adhere to the democratic process of the organisation. He was of a firm view that those
perceived to have lost during a democratic process have the responsibility to accept the outcomes and those perceived to have won have the ultimate responsibility to embrace and unite the movement.
Organizational building and discipline are the cornerstone of the unity and cohesion of any
revolutionary movement. The best are those who respect the fundamental principles of democratic centralism and party building.
It is important that at all times, our leaders and our membership appreciate the importance of the views of the majority. This is the only way that we can uphold our revolutionary momentum to ensure the victory of our struggle for the total liberation of our people.
During the historical era of the Ancient Greeks, there was a celebrated hero who was called Antaneus, the son of Poseidon, god of the seas and Gaea the goddess of the earth. Antanaeus was very much attached to his mother, who has given birth to him,
suckled him and reared him.
There was not a hero whom this Antaeus did not defeat in a battle. He was regarded as an invincible warrior.
The question that arises is where was he getting his everlasting powers of a legend. What was the source of his superpower?.
His power was derived from the fact that every time when he was engaged in an encounter with his adversary, he would touch the earth, the mother who had given birth to him and suckled him, and that gave him new strength.
Yet he had a vulnerable spot, the danger of being detached from the earth in some way or other. His enemies were aware of this weakness and watched for
One day an enemy appeared who took advantage of this vulnerable spot and vanquished Antaeus. He lifted him from the earth, kept him suspended in the air, prevented him from touching the earth, and throttled him.
The fundamental point here is that all members and leaders of the ANC must behave like the Greek legend Antaeus, they must understand that they can only be strong if they keep contact with the mother, who in this instance the masses of our people, who gave birth to
our movement the ANC suckled it and reared it over the years.
As long as we can master the art of keeping in close
contact with the masses of our people, who is the
mother of our liberation movement, we will continue to
advance the aspirations and wishes of our people. This
is the only way we can preserve our movement as the
genuine leader of the struggle of our people.
This is a firm foundation a revolutionary movement has
to build in order to develop the common bonds
between its members based on mutual confidence,
experience and loyalty to the cause of the struggle of
our people. From this firm foundation flows the
discipline and commitment to build on the unity and
renewal of our movement and the people.
The theory of our movement teaches us that a
revolutionary movement cannot execute its leadership
role if it becomes overwhelmed by success and ceases
to acknowledge its own weaknesses. A revolutionary
movement ceases to play its leadership role if it fears
to acknowledge its own mistakes and to frankly and
honestly work to rectify them.
A revolutionary movement becomes invincible if it does
not fear criticism and self-criticism, if it does not gloss
over its mistakes and shortcomings in this world. A
revolutionary movement becomes invincible if it
educates its own cadres by drawing the lessons from
their mistakes and how to correct them.
A revolutionary movement perishes if it hides its own
mistakes from the people, if it conceals its own
shortcomings and create a false perception that all is
well. If it is intolerant of criticism and self-criticism and
its cadres forget their revolutionary duty as agents for
transformation of society.
Vladimir Lenin said:
“That the attitude of a political party towards its own
mistakes, is one of the most important and surest way
of judging how earnest the party is and how in practice
fulfills its obligation towards the toiling masses.
Frankly admitting its mistakes, ascertaining the
reasons for it, analyzing the conditions which led to it,
and thoroughly discussing the means of correcting it.
This is the hallmark of a serious party, that is the way it
should perform its duties, that is how it should educate
and train the class and the masses.
He further said that:
“All revolutionary parties, which have hitherto perished,
did so because they grew conceited, failed to see
where their strength lay, and feared to speak of their
weaknesses. But we shall not perish, for we do not
fear to speak of our weaknesses and will learn to
He continued that:
“Unless a revolutionary movement has a wide
connection with the masses, unless it constantly
strengthen its connections with the masses, unless it
masters how to hearken to the voice of the masses
and understand their urgent needs, unless it is
prepared not only to teach the masses, but to learn
from the masses, a revolutionary movement cannot be
a real mass party capable of leading the masses of our
His understanding was that there is no phenomenon
which can turn into its opposite. His understanding was
that an imperialist war cannot be turned into a
If the forces of reaction continues with the falsehood
that its war is a revolutionary war, the people
themselves will raise their level of consciousness and
fight back. In other words there is no way that the
Democratic Alliance can declare itself to be the
authentic leader of the struggle for the liberation of our
The Democratic Alliance remains to be a party whose
mission it is to protect the interests of those who
benefited through the centuries of imperialism and
colonial domination. It is a party which seeks to protect
the interests of white monopoly capital.
What these forces of reaction can not understand is
that in human history, the forces of the new will always
defeat the forces of decay. The new emergent forces,
though seemingly weak at the beginning, always
prevail over the moribund forces which are still
What represents a decaying phenomenon will
inevitably be replaced by the new born. This is the law
of the development in nature and society.
In our lifetime, white monopoly will not continue ruling
our country from the deep grave. Our people shall
triumph and achieve the objectives of building a nonracial,
non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society,
a society which all its people shall have equal access
to and share in the wealth of our country.
By so saying we are not trying to overestimate the
strength of the forces of reaction and underestimate
the strength of the revolutionary forces. Our strength is
the power of the democracy of our people.
All what we need to do, is to be part of the masses and
win their sympathy, confidence and support, we need
not fear difficulties, we need not fear pin-pricks, insults
and persecutions of our leaders, but more importantly
work wherever the masses are to be found. This is the
only way we can push back the offensive onslaught by
the forces of reaction against our national liberation
Here is what the founder of the Chinese Communist
party Chairman Mao tse Tung said about the
importance of ideological struggle and the unity of the
“We stand for active ideological struggle because it is
the weapon for ensuring unity within the Party and the
revolutionary organizations in the interest of our fight.
Every Communist and revolutionary should take up
But liberalism rejects ideological struggle and stands
for unprincipled peace, thus giving rise to a decadent,
philistine attitude and bringing about political
degeneration in certain units and individuals in the
Party and the revolutionary organizations.
Liberalism manifests itself in various ways:
• To let things slide for the sake of peace and
friendship when a person has clearly gone
wrong, and refrain from principled argument
because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow
townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one,
an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to
touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it
thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The
result is that both the organization and the
individual are harmed. This is one type of
• To indulge in irresponsible criticism in private
instead of actively putting forward one’s
suggestions to the organization. To say nothing
to people to their faces but to gossip behind their
backs, or to say nothing at a meeting but to
gossip afterwards. To show no regard at all for
the principles of collective life but to follow one’s
own inclination. This is a second type.
• To let things drift if they do not affect one
personally; to say as little as possible while
knowing perfectly well what is wrong, to be
worldly wise and play safe and seek only to
avoid blame. This is a third type.
• Not to obey orders but to give pride of place to
one’s own opinions. To demand special
consideration from the organization but to reject
its discipline. This is a fourth type.
• To indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels,
vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of
entering into an argument and struggling against
incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress
or getting the work done properly. This is a fifth
• To hear incorrect views without rebutting them
and even to hear counter-revolutionary remarks
without reporting them, but instead to take them
calmly as if nothing had happened. This is a
- To be among the masses and fail to conduct
propaganda and agitation or speak at meetings
or conduct investigations and inquiries among
them, and instead to be indifferent to them and
show no concern for their well-being, forgetting
that one is a Communist and behaving as if one
were an ordinary non-Communist. This is a
• To see someone harming the interests of the
masses and yet not feel indignant, or dissuade
or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him
to continue. This is an eighth type.
• To work half-heartedly without a definite plan or
direction; to work perfunctorily and muddle along
— “So long as one remains a monk, one goes on
tolling the bell.” This is a ninth type.
• To regard oneself as having rendered great
service to the revolution to pride oneself on
being a veteran, to disdain minor assignments
while being quite unequal to major tasks, to be
slipshod in work and slack in study. This is a
• To be aware of one’s own mistakes and yet
make no attempt to correct them, taking a liberal
attitude towards oneself. This is an eleventh
These are some of the lessons we must learn and
apply to our conditions today as we strive to achieve
the building of the unity and renewal of our movement.
What is important is our understanding of the important
theoretical concept of unity and renewal.
Others think that unity and renewal is about removing
and marginalizing those who are perceived to have lost
during preceding conferences. Those who think like
that think that unity is about factions sharing positions
equally for their own selfish interests.
We need a profound revolutionary understanding of
what unity and renewal entails, the kind of unity we
seek to build, unity based on principles, mutual trust
and discipline. Unity based on our understanding of
our scientific world outlook, unity about the objectives
of our revolution, unity of theory and practice, and unity
based on concrete realities and not wishful thinking.
Our unity must be dialectic process guided by our
common programme for the building of a non racial,
non sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
One of the greatest philosophers of the world
revolutionary movement, Frederick Engels, said the
following about the role of opportunism and unity:
“One must not allow oneself to be mislead by the cry
for ’unity’. Those who have this word most often on
their lips are the ones who sow the most dissension,
the biggest sectarians and the biggest brawlers and
rogues at times shout the loudest for unity”.
From here we need to work very hard and ensure that
the ANC gets the overwhelming majority in the coming
national general elections. It is clear that the DA seeks
to turn the province of the Western Cape into a typical
We are confident that we shall return the Province of
the Western Cape back into the hands of the people
during the coming national general elections. We need
to bring power back to the working class, to the farm
workers, to the domestic workers, to the black middle
class and therefore the overwhelming majority of our
We make a call to all the young people of our country
to register for the coming national general elections.
Our young people have a critical role to play in shaping
the future of our country.
Therefore it is important that we encourage all of them
to register so that they can be eligible voters. Let’s
ensure that we mobilize our people for a landslide
victory of the ANC in this province in the coming
We again bring our words of gratitude to the leadership
of the ANC from this region and the province, and hope
that we shall continue to do more in making our
structures more vibrant and responsive to the needs
and the living conditions of our people. We need to do
more and ensure that our Movement continues play its
role as the true representative of the wishes and the
aspirations of our people.
We thank you.