Chief Whip address at the Inaugoral Lekghotla of the Emfuleni Local Municipality activist caucus, 27-29 November 2011

Cllr DE TshabalalaRegional Secretary Cde Bheki Ngobese, Chief Whip of the Gauteng Provincial legislature and the Provincial Political Commissar Cde Brian Hlongwa, District Mayor and Regional Chair of the ANC Cde Mahole Mofokeng, Former Chief Whip and the sitting Regional Deputy Secretary Cde Thulani Kunene, Former Chief Whip and the sitting Regional Chair of SANCO Cde Thembile Nquba, The ANC Caucus Whippery, The ANC Caucus, Officials - Good morning.

This inaugural lekgotla of the Emfuleni Local municipality caucus could not have come at a better time as we are soldiering towards the celebration of the 100 years since the formation of the African National Congress which was established under the leadership of John Langalibalele Dube who led at the age of 41 with precision a clarion call for blacks to unite beyond the tribal differences and fought fiercely against the land grab by the whites especially the 1913 Land Act as he led a delegation in 1914 to London objecting against it.

 

It must be said though that the struggle against racism, sexism, ecological challenges and pursuing economic freedom and land redistribution is not over. It can only be the same valor that engulfed Ruth First, Solomon Mahlangu and many other unsung heroes and heroines that we can conquer all this ills that are as a result of the imperialist agenda.

 

I wish to echo what has been said by our fore leaders that Africa shall know no peace until Africa herself is free; this signifies the unity in Africa especially of our African leaders under the auspices of the African Union. We have witnessed in the past with disdain how the international world has sought to undermine this might and sovereignty.

One cannot stop lamenting on what happened in Ivory Coast 2010 national election which were contested by Oatara and Gbagbo who have been opponents from since 2002 and Ivoirians could not hold on to the international pressure and went to the elections amidst all controversies that went unresolved, At the wish and will of the IEC and the international community  Oatara emerged but the problems remained as there was not political tranquility as Gbagbo was captured in the pretense of protecting civilians. It must be noted that the African Union did advice but the International community under the leadership of Ban ki Moon felt it is more supreme.

The same thing happened in Lybia wherein the African Union sought to solve the Lybian situation amicably by just facilitating dialogue in between Gadaffi and the US sponsored rebels but instead NATO was brought into being which resulted to many civilian deaths out of the air strikes in Lybia. This is a living proof that indeed AU is disregarded if not undermined by the international community hence the continued prosecution of its sitting presidents. The time is now that as African we take a united stand on socio-political issues which affect us as African.

I wish to congratulate South Africa for having taken a stand in support of the Palestine application for membership to the UN as we saw on the 23rd of September president Abbas making a presentation for such to the UN. I also wish to commend progress thus far on the peace talks as we even witness the prison swops in between Israel and Palestine and we wish those released a productive and fruitful life in an endeavor to rebuilding Palestine.

Comrades allow me to come back home, The ANC went to its General council last year held in Durban wherein the president Jacob Zuma spoke clearly on the ills that want to govern our glorious movement :

  • Money laundering as part of lobbying for ANC positions
  • Labeling in the movement as Anti-communists and Anti-nationalists
  • Members of members in the organization
  • Use of media on internal organizational issues

These are but just of the few maladies raised by the president in his political report at the NGC of the African National Congress. The president further noted that ‘The ANC Constitution clearly describes this relationship of the ANC with its own Leagues. The Leagues are established to function as autonomous bodies which are an integral part of the ANC. Politically and organizationally, the Leagues are structures of the ANC, and are subject to ANC discipline. The ANC is not in alliance with its own Leagues, nor are the Leagues alliance partners of the African National Congress. They are structures of the organization’
With his precision he closes this matter by saying that ‘We must do everything we can as the ANC, to help the Leagues to carry out their organisational responsibilities and mandate, because if they succeed as they should, the ANC will be stronger’. It was after the robust and thorough engagement by council that the council noted that

  • ‘there are forces bend on weakening the ANC and discrediting its leadership and hope in doing so, to make the RDP fail.
  • the growing perception of disunity within the ANC leadership as reflected by the recent media reports

It is against this assertion that the council arrived at the safest resolution on resolution 2 that

  • That the membership of the ANC respect and are subjected to the ANC constitution
  • That all members adhere to a Code of Discipline as embraced in the ANC constitution

Even though the council spoke and resolved on these issues 14 months ago somehow in some ways other quarters of the movement chose not to heed the clarion call for discipline in the organization. The organization based on the NGC resolution acted accordingly and established the NDC to properly deal with the issues of discipline which has concluded its work and made necessary promulgations in respect to their terms of references as NDC.

I call on all disciplined cadres of the movement to respect the organizational processes and desist from insinuating that, it is due to 2012 succession debate the decision is taken but to note that the organization could not remain dormant because of the 2012 phobia in any way the matter is subjudice until all disciplinary processes have been exhausted in this regard.
Caucus

I wish this lekgotla to note that the character of the caucus has changed from being an ordinary caucus to an activist caucus that has the following elements:

  • Bringing unity and cohesion amongst ANC cadres in the council
  • That its decisions bind unless vetoed by the ANC upper structure
  • That it should keep constant communication with the masses of our people where they live, work,  and can be found
  • Prioritize regular door-door work
  • Work with structures of the ANC to mobilize social forces around the ANC program
  • That everything goes through caucus
  • Provide an administrative support to programs of the ANC

It is pivotal that we note all these elements mentioned as we must live them as the Activist caucus by ensuring that we are able to attend to all ANC programs. This means attending to the BEC meetings of the ANC where you belong without failure, this means attending to all recruitment campaigns of the region irrespective of who is leading it, this means attending to Parliamentary constituency work at all material times and this means attending to issues raised by electorates in your ward whether you are the ward councillor or the PR.

Study groups

What makes the study group to be a strong study group is its level information it wields, this propels us to read our conference resolutions from national, provincial and regional conference. Our annual makgotla resolutions, all these documents should be like a bible to us as activists of the movement so that we ensure that all the institutional documents such as the IDP’s and SDBIP’s are informed by these organizational documents.

We cannot be merely attendees to the study groups but our activism in these study groups can change the shape and character of our beloved municipality under the stewardship of the glorious movement of the people African National Congress.  We indeed need to be the supporting arm of the executives through structures such as the sections 80’s through active participation and leading the discussions, the practice of winning the debates through the numbers cannot be the order of the day but it must be through debates so as to indicate that we understand our course.

Unity and Cohesion in caucus

Our unity in the caucus is of paramount and cannot be compromised by anything or anyone, as caucus we should strive to be as democratic as possible but it is important that councilors should tow the line, not from anyone else but ANC as we all derive our existence as councilors from ANC itself. This in essence means ANC first and ourselves after and this should be the sense moving into the centenary and after ‘ha  Poho Pedi sakeng’, it is after we have mastered this notion that we can  truly say that ANC will rule until Jesus comes as ANC resembles people and people constitute ANC.

I call on all of us to desist from factional tendencies emanating from our wells and build a strong caucus as opposed to the external politics engulfing and arresting caucus from making necessary progress in building better communities.  There is only one school of thought in the ANC that of Pixley Seme school of thought that of bringing every person under the shield of the African National Congress irrespective of creed, race or sex.

Corruption

This address would be incomplete if we were to go without addressing issues of corruption in our municipality; these are some of the ills that as the activist caucus have to root out without fear or favor. This means going beyond borders of councillorship, if you are found to be surrounded by corruption tendencies as an ANC councilor ANC shall not defend you rather it will use you as its representative to set an example in society of dealing with corruption tendencies.

It must be noted there are unholy relations that exist between strategically placed officials with politicians in driving this hideous agenda of self enrichment. Like Nelson Mandela once said ‘We need the RDP of the soul’ I concur with him. The former president Thabo Mbeki makes the following assertion and observation during his Nelson Mandela memorial lecture in 2010 February that

‘I am arguing that the new order, born of the victory in 1994, inherited a well-entrenched value system that placed individual acquisition of wealth at the very centre of the value system of our society as a whole.

In practice this meant that, provided this did not threaten overt social disorder, society assumed a tolerant or permissive attitude towards such crimes as theft and corruption, especially if these related to public property.

The phenomenon we are describing, which we considered as particularly South African, was in fact symptomatic of the capitalist system in all countries. It had been analyzed by all serious commentators on the capitalist political-economy, including such early analysts as Adam Smith.

Specifically, in this regard, we are speaking of the observations made by the political-economists that, since the onset of capitalism in England, the values of the capitalist market, of individual profit maximization, had tended to displace the values of human solidarity’.

This cannot and under no circumstances shall it be the order of the day, this would mean we have to rework and restructure our Project Management Unit and Supply Chain units which continuously exploit the small resources meant to benefit our people. Interdentally we are supposed to be the vanguard of the people’s interests and sure if we assume this character then we must be able to heal these ills perpetrated by people who do not understand the plight of servicing the people of Sedibeng in general and Emfuleni in particular.

In his State Of the Nation Address of 2003 in February president Thabo Mbeki once said ‘We must be impatient with those in public service who see themselves as pen-pushers and guardians of rubber stamps, thieves intent on self enrichment, bureaucrats who think they have a right to ignore the vision of Batho Pele, who come to work as late as possible, work as little as possible and leave as  early as possible’ Hahona  kgomo ya boroko all hands must be on deck as it can never and will never be business as usual under the rule of the ANC.

The executive/ Caucus

It must be noted that the executive does not exist outside caucus as a result it cannot define itself outside caucus. Decisions that impact on this municipality must be work-shopped by this activist caucus before being agreed upon at all institutional forums e.g. MAYCO level. It cannot be correct for decisions to be taken at that level and be presented to caucus for noting without them being properly processed even through study groups. The activist caucus remains the strategic political centre of this council, indeed it is a nerve centre.

Equally as caucus we shall strive not to micro manage the executive in executing its executive responsibilities and obligations but strive for a balance in between the two and to give a clear understanding of coexistence without crossing the line. As it is I shall not attend to MAYCO meetings as it becomes difficult for me as the chair of caucus to then deal with issues coming from MAYCO having being part of them when decided on.

PMT

This is an administrative tool meant to solidify relations in between three political offices in council with each having its clear cut role. It must be clarified though that the three derive their mandate from caucus, at no point in time should we make a mistake of taking things meant for caucus to PMT and only bring them to caucus for rubber stamping. Equally I wish to put it to this lekgotla that at no point should we find the ANC being convened by council but ANC becomes the convener of such a structure.

Conclusion

As we go towards the process of the IDP lets ensure that the Manifesto finds expression so that it can be a living reality as it will be documented and budgeted for, Secondly as we continue with the process of membership recruitment lets ensure that we all partake as I have observed a tendency of not supporting the regional call for recruitment drive

The president of the ANC Jacob Zuma during his political report in the 2010 NGC held in Durban  makes this call once again as we deal with the issue of recruitment drive that ‘  The campaign is not just about recruitment and increasing numbers. It is about building an ANC cadre who is loyal to the organization and who understands the mission, principles, character and traditions of the movement as well as the responsibility of an ANC member, all of which are sometimes taken for granted’

I wish all of us to engage robustly in this lekgotla so that we can come up with living and achievable resolution that will work towards bettering the lives of our people.

I wish everyone of us a happy holidays during festive with our families, let us be merry but remember that this month has been declared the World AIDS month so as we enjoy,  let’s spread the message that abstinence is the answer and the use of a condom is an alternative. In the same breath I wish the delegation from our municipality that is going to the Cop 17 a safe trip and fruitful engagements as we are directly affected as a region from ecological issues as a result of Arcello Mittal and SASOL respectively.

We shall meet next year January in Mangaung when we will all be celebrating the 100 years existence of our glorious movement as we celebrated the 90 years of existence of the SACP two months ago.

Kgotso, Pula, Nala

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