Quo Vadis Post-Limpopo

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					                                                  Vol 3 No 39
                                          30 November-13 December 2007

                          Quo Vadis  
                       “The truth is that, as an organisation, we are sharply 
  divided on who should become the next President of the ANC. The truth is 
also that after the Conference there will be one ANC President. Another truth 
   is that between December 2007 and some point in 2009 after the general 
  elections, we may end up temporarily with “two centres of power”. There 
      will be a President for the ANC and the President for the country.” 
AS WE GET CLOSER to the         opinions about its policies        the country are treated as
ANC National Conference         and leadership. Everyone           those party-political
in Polokwane, Limpopo,          is interested that the             Conferences, but the
many voices can be heard        outcome of the                     ANC’s Conference
commenting on both              Conference should reflect          belongs to all the people
policy and leadership           their own aspirations.             of our country. This
issues. This cross-sectional    People understand that             vindicates the vision of the
interest in the ANC             the outcomes of the                founders of our movement
Conference is testimony to      Conference will have a             who conceived of the
the greatness of our            deep-rooted bearing on             ANC as the Parliament of
movement and should be          their own lives and on the         the People of South Africa
received and treated by         future of our country.             and underscores the
all our delegates,                    There are very few           character of the ANC as a
members and structures          organisations whose                revolutionary people’s
with great humility.            activities incite such             movement, not merely an
     Many people,               enthusiastic and                   organisation representing
regardless of their political   passionate responses from          the parochial interest of its
allegiances and beliefs,        the broadest sections of           members only. The ANC
feel that the Conference is     the people, regardless of          carries on its shoulders
important not only to us as     their political allegiances        immense responsibilities
the ANC, but to them as         and beliefs. It is rare to find    and all South Africans,
individuals and the rest of     similar examples anywhere          including those who may
society as a whole and          in the world. All other            not like and/or are
cannot proceed without          Conferences of other               opposed to it, see it
them as well adding their       political organisations in
nonetheless as their de         on what to do to re-             lessons. At the height of
facto leader.                   invigorate the ANC and           racial bigotry and brutality,
     We go to Polokwane         present it to 2012 alive and     it taught them to embrace
emboldened by this reality.     still spitting fire,             non-racialism and to be
We are the successors of        representing all our             prepared to struggle and
the visionary founders of       people, especially the           even die for this objective.
our movement 95 years           poor and working people.         It taught them that “South
ago. Ours is a 95-year old             The ANC did not get       Africa belonged to all who
organisation that grew          this far by chance. It has       lived in it, black and
from humble beginnings to       taken 95 years to build it       white”. It rejected the
represent and lead the          into this effective and          slogan that emanated
people of South Africa as       efficient fighting machine.      from certain nationalist
a whole. We enjoy the trust     It earned its accolades in       organisations that the
and confidence of the           the struggle against             white people must be
people who expect that          apartheid colonialism and        chased to the sea.
we will not betray their        grew to become the                    The ANC has taught
yearning and hope for a         eminent leader of the            the people to be against
better life. Nothing we         South African people             all forms of bigotry and
have done so far has            because of how bravely it        discrimination, and to
caused them to expect           fought, and because of           embrace the humane
any less from their heroic,     the firmness of its principles   principles of unity, non-
fighting, revolutionary         and because it was               sexism and democracy. It
movement.                       viewed by all our people         has taught them to
     When our 4000              as their greater teacher         embrace the spirit of
delegates gather in             and unifier.                     international and human
Polokwane at the                       There are many who        solidarity. It has also taught
University of Limpopo, they     wish that this be the last       them to struggle for their
will be aware of this           Conference of a united           rights, no matter how
enormous responsibility         ANC. This is nothing new.        supreme the sacrifice they
that they will be carrying      During the 95 years of its       may have to pay for
on their shoulders. They will   existence, there are many        victory. It taught them
be aware that they meet         people who have wanted           many lessons at the same
to represent the people as      to see the ANC die or get        time as it also learned
a whole and to provide          weakened through                 many lessons from the
visionary and principled        division. They have used all     masses of the people,
leadership to the masses.       sorts of tricks to achieve       growing and maturing at
They will be meeting at the     these goals. But, they           the same time as they did.
Great Site of the struggle,     failed during the difficult           This is a huge legacy
Turfloop, where many a          period of exile, bannings        that the 4000 delegates
battle against the system       and the underground.             meeting in Polokwane will
of racial oppression were       They will still try and we are   be representing. They will
fought and won; where           sure they fail again during      be representing not just
many a cadre of the great       this new, challenging and        their branches and the
revolution were sharpened       complex time of                  other hundreds of
and unleashed. There will       governance, openness             thousands of ANC
be no illusion about what       and freedom.                     members, but the
they must do so that the               The ANC is the great      aspirations of the
ANC could live 95 years,        teacher of the people.           aspirations of the people
nay, another 100 years.         Over the 95 years that it        of South Africa as a whole.
Only 5 years before the         has lived and led them in        Even if they tried it, these
heroic Centenary of our         the fight against racial         4000 delegates will not
movement, all the               oppression, it has taught        succeed to destroy the
delegates will be focused       them many important              ANC. Anyway, it is not part

of their mandate as they        we may end up                  will be learned and what
go to Polokwane to get          temporarily with “two          new legacy will develop.
there and destroy it. The       centres of power”. There            It was relatively easy to
ANC is the child of the         will be a President for the    manage the Madiba
people of Africa and they       ANC and the President for      transition because he had
would never allow anyone        the country.                   voluntarily stepped down.
to destroy it. It was built          We have as the Youth      We must realise that these
over many decades and           League previously              are people and by nature
no one has a right to           appealed to all ANC            human relations are
destroy it.                     members to respect the         complex. Failure to
     So, if this is the case,   decision that will be taken    manage this will create
and because we all know         by the Conference on who       tensions and instigate
that the ANC Conference         the President of the ANC       reaction. It is important to
will be successful, the         must be. We have also          attend to this because it is
question for us is, what is     called for a protocol for      a brand new experience
the way forward after the       former ANC Presidents. This    for the movement. We
Conference? The                 is important to guide how      have never faced it
Conference may be               former Presidents behave       before. The two Presidents
successful, but picking up      and relate with the            will have to know that both
the pieces after the            organisation as a whole,       are individually and
Conference may pose a           especially the elected         collectively subject to the
greater challenge. We           collectives, the NEC, in       collective interests of the
must not be naïve to think      cases where they may be        ANC as a movement. It is
that everything will be nice    ex-Presidents of the ANC       them who serve the ANC
after the Conference and        while they are still the       which, in turn, serves the
everyone will emerge from       President of the country.      people of South Africa. It is
it happy. The things that       There must be thought          not the people of South
are happening now               given to how the President     Africa who serve the ANC
before the Conference will      of the country who is an       which, in turn serves the
not simply come to an end       ex-President of the ANC        Presidents.
once the Conference             relates to the President of         The unity of the ANC is
elects the leadership of        the ANC who is not yet the     paramount and must be
the ANC. Bad feelings may       President of the country.      paramount in their
linger on after the             This becomes even more         agenda. A standoff
Conference or new               important when the             between them will be
problems and challenges         President of the country       fundamentally against the
will emerge. We cannot          had lost an election to the    interests of the ANC. But,
leave this to chance.           President of the ANC           we must not also naively
     The truth is that, as an   before the next general        expect that the two will
organisation, we are            elections. This reality may    automatically work
sharply divided on who          confront the ANC in the        together. We must not
should become the next          near future, and will stay     leave this question to
President of the ANC. The       with us for more than a        chance.
truth is also that after the    year. How things unfold
Conference there will be        during this period of more
one ANC President.              than a year will have a
Another truth is that           major bearing on how the
between December 2007           next five or more years will
                                                               Fikile Mbalula
and some point in 2009          be like, and what new
                                                               PRESIDENT: ANCYL
after the general elections,    experiences and lessons

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