As we gathered at the ANC’s National Policy Conference last month, we reflected on the state of our movement – its challenges and successes. This established a firm platform for the ANC to correct its mistakes, renew itself and build unity grounded on key principles.
Key to this is ensuring that we embark on a journey of renewal, and elect leaders who are equal to the challenge, as outlined in the guideline booklet Through the Eye of a Needle.
We also need to engage meaningfully so that we can empower members to lead the process of renewal. This is where ‘Umrhabulo’ comes in. Umrhabulo is a term deep-rooted in culture to gather and engage people when debating important issues. Within the movement, it orginated on Robben Island when our struggle icons engaged in rigorous political discussion and debate on the ANC and how to provide leadership.
In trying times such as these we need to go back to the basics and reintroduce Umrhabulo, and encourage political debates that will identify the challenges and tasks of the present and set out a shared vision of the future. As Cyril Ramaphosa says: “We have to build a cadre with the analytical tools needed to understand the prevailing environment and the political consciousness to effect fundamental change.”
Through Umrhabulo we need to reflect and recommit ourselves to dialogue and conversations and focus our efforts on our ultimate objectives – the unity of our movement and our country, the restoration of our values and service for a better life for our people.
Umrhabulo is about revisiting the true values and principles of the ANC, so that the cadres we elect are well versed politically. This will ensure that our movement elects leaders who have proved themselves and been through the eye of the needle – aba rhabulileyo.
So let’s revive the soul of the movement through rigorous political discussions and debate, with the renewal of the values, principles and character of the ANC: “We will not be able to decisively end state capture, or to comprehensively root out corruption, unless we are united and focused. It is time to revive the soul of the movement and restore the moral compass of the ANC” – Cyril Ramaphosa.
Going back to basics means coming back to the primary role of the ANC as a progressive agent of change and champion of the South African people. We need to build a united and strong ANC and Alliance, and restore the dignity of the movement.
“We have been set upon this journey by the rank and file of our movement, by our members and supporters, who seek a renewal of the values, organisational integrity and revolutionary programme of the ANC and Alliance.” – Cyril Ramaphosa