As we enter the month of the adoption of the Freedom Charter, we remember that the campaign to collect demands from all South Africans was given to amavolontiya (volunteers) by Chief Albert Luthuli.
Members of the ANC must be like the amavolontiya of the past – servants and organisers of the people, outstanding cadres able to explain our policies and programmes to the people.
The volunteers spoke with pride about their role. One volontiya described a volunteer as “a person who actually takes the initiative. A person responsible for talking to people, who knows how to speak, who understands how people feel. They are persons dedicated to do the work of the organisation, unsupervised.”
The ANC continues to carry the hopes and embody the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of South Africans. Our movement remains the most effective instrument for achieving a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous SA.
In order to transform SA the ANC needs to win elections. We do not seek office merely for its own sake: we seek it so that we may lead the process of fundamental economic and social transformation.
We are aware that delivery of essential services depends on the election of capable, humble, disciplined individuals with the interests of communities at heart. We are committed and determined to occupy the moral high ground and deal decisively with fraud and corruption.
The ANC cannot take for granted the support of the people – we must earn their confidence and win their support through exemplary work.
We now have nearly two decades’ experience of democratic local government. From the disarray of apartheid local government we forged
a coherent local government framework that is appropriate to SA’s conditions and developmental needs. We have made tremendous progress in delivering water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal to millions.
We have built roads, parks, community centres, clinics, public transport
nodes and many other forms of social infrastructure. However, there are still areas of great concern, which are challenges that ANC branches must understand, be able to explain, and show how the ANC is dealing with them.
We must treasure, preserve and deepen our proud traditions of close and consistent engagement with our people, who need to own the programme of social transformation. The ANC must continue to live among the people, and our branches and local leaders must attend to day-to- day issues that affect them.
We are still engaged in a political struggle between those who would reverse the gains of our democracy and those who seek fundamental transformation of our society. We are engaged in a struggle between those who seek power as an end in itself and those who seek power as a means to improving the lives of our people.
We have to work hard to ensure that the ANC connects with and remains attractive to the people, even in the face of hostile opinion from detractors. As long as the ANC lives and ANC branches thrive, we can guarantee our people a dignified life free from want.
Extract from address by Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC OR Tambo region election volunteer programme, 6 December 2015