Item 1324 - Speakers Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with Northern Cape ANC Branch Executives

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ZA COM MR-S-1324


Speakers Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with Northern Cape ANC Branch Executives


  • 1996-11-16 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Meeting with Northern Cape ANC Branch Executives

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  • English

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1. It is always a great pleasure to speak to comrades from the ANC. Every week, I give so many speeches, whether to business people, foreign visitors to our country, or our own parliament. But the times I most enjoy are those that I get to spend with the people whom I regard as the engine of the ANC.

2. You are the most important layer of the leadership of the ANC. You comrades who work in our branches are the driving force of the movement. It is through your efforts that we will see real transformation in South Africa.

A national democratic revolutionary transformation

1. If we are to complete the transition from an apartheid state to a national democratic state, then we must remain committed and dedicated to our program of transformation.

2. When we were elected to work for a Better Life for All, we were given the task of establishing a legitimate government that is democratic and can effectively address the needs of the majority; we were given the task of building a united nation; and we were charged with implementing a program of reconstruction and development.

3. Halfway through the ANC's first term in government we can be proud of our achievements.

4. Electoral democracy is established at every level. We have created a democratic and progressive constitution. Our elected representatives in the national assembly and provincial legislatures are vigorously protecting and promoting the people's interests.

Building our nation

1. For us, building a new society is not only just building a new sense of nationhood - as crucial as this is. It is also about building the material and social conditions for a single nation.

2. The huge inequalities between townships and suburbs; black and white; the poor and the rich; men and women; urban and rural areas - all these inequalities hamper the building of a common sense of nationhood.

3. This is why the RDP's vision of rural and urban development is so central to the historic nation-building mission of the ANC.

4. The lives of millions of people have begun to change through our initial programs bringing access to clean water; nutrition at school; free health care; electricity and so on.

5. Away from the national media limelight, communities throughout South Africa are beehives of activity. Streets are being tarred, refuse collection improved, schools are being renovated, clinics are being built and upgraded. Housing construction, inevitably slow to start, is coming on stream.

Branch organisation is a key to progress

1. We are not always moving as fast as we would like, but we are making progress. And where there has been the most progress, it is because of the active involvement of communities in development. Where the basic principle of the RDP as a people-driven development program is embraced, there we will find real development occurring. And that development must be led by the ANC and its allies.

2. If we are to change our society, then our branches and the branches of our alliance partners must lead in the development and upliftment of those they represent. The ANC must lead and be seen to be leading local development initiatives that change our peoples lives.

3. It is for this reason that ANC councillors must work closely with the branch leadership of the ANC and our alliance partners. Councillors, like MPL'S and MP' S, are deployed by the ANC and should account to the leaders and members of the ANC.

4. It is through solid and organised branches that communities can make a difference to their lives. The state of our branches in this province needs urgent attention if they going to fulfil that important function. The launching of new branches - such as in Upington recently - must be accompanied by the strengthening of existing ones.

5. Our activities must always reflect on the non racial character of the ANC. The ANC must be active and organising people in every community, without exception. Recruitment programmes must be tackled with equal vigour and commitment in every part of the province, whether it is in areas that were historically regarded as white, Coloured or African.

6. Only the ANC has the policies, the vision and the commitment to unite this country. As the majority party it has the capacity to make a reality of the vision a better life for all South Africans. We need as an organisation to make sure that any South African, from whatever background or community, feels at home in the ANC and can identify with the ANC as the organisation that cares for and protects their interests.

7. The ANC in the Northern Cape has proved itself capable of responding to the challenge of uniting a province like the Northern Cape which apartheid divided - but we do all know that there is much more to be done

Program for the future

1. In last week's NEC meeting, we endorsed important proposals for action plans for the coming year. In particular, we have decided that we must work to broaden the scope of Masakhane. Payment for services and of rents is indeed very important. But Masakhane is not simply a payment campaign. It is about the active participation of our people in the reconstruction and development of our country.

2. And so we are planning Masakhane weekends early next year. At the community level throughout the country, we shall mobilize people to become involved in development work - school renovations, community clean ups, anti-crime drives and so forth. We plan to deploy ANC MPs and MPLs in the process. We also plan, through our local councillors, to introduce the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level, involving communities in organising local budgets and setting priorities.

3. All of this will only be possible if we have functioning ANC branch structures on the ground. We also know, from our years of struggle, that is it is precisely around such concrete programs that organisation is renewed and sustained.

The fight against crime

1. The fight against crime must be high on the agenda of our branches, to ensure that everyone enjoys the safety and security which is their right, at home, in the streets, and at work. Branches have a duty to build co-operation between communities and police. In so doing they will contribute to a climate for growth and development that will promote the achievement of our fundamental aim of improving the lives of the majority.

Lessons from local government

1. One of the most important considerations that we need to grapple with regarding local elections, is the low turn-out at the polls. It is true that in the Northern Cape the ANC's position in relation to other parties showed improvement - and this province did a bit better than most in getting ANC voters out. But the reality is that we fell far short of getting all our supporters to the polls, even some of our strong supporters.

2. We have to question why the turnout was so low when our message was that local government is critical for democracy, delivery and community upliftment. The only way a sustained interest in elections will be forged is if communities are organised to be involved in development. The only people who are going to ensure that communities are actively participating in decision-making and development are you, our comrades in the ANC. It is through the strengthening of our own branches that people driven development can occur.

3. Unless we lead, through example, we will allow backward forces to hijack processes and set this province back in terms of uplifting our communities and not allow us to reach our stated objectives of transformation and redistribution.

4. The election also showed that our majority in this province is still too narrow - the challenge to extend our support in the Coloured and White communities must be given the highest priority.


1. The mission of the ANC and the broader movement remains that of transforming our country and giving concrete meaning to our election slogan - "A Better Life For All."

2. We have emerged from a great past, from important traditions. It is these traditions of strong grassroots organisation that will move us forward in this province. It is the tradition of organising collectively that will consolidate our National Democratic Revolution.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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