Closing Address To The Provincial General Council Delivered By The Provincial Chaiperson Comrade Sihle Zikalala


1. We have come to the end of a very successful Provincial General Council. We want to thank the President of our movement and all other NEC members for attending this important meeting of our movement in the province. We also want to extend words of gratitude to all branch delegates, the ANC Leagues, the Alliance and invited guests for making this PGC a resounding success. It will be remiss of us if we do not thank the Musa Dladla region for hosting us and make it visible to all that the ANC was gathering here.

2. I have no doubt in my mind that as we rise from this PGC, we can all agree that we are more wiser than we were when we met two days ago and therefore ready to advance our policy positions as we go to the National Policy Conference.

3. Emerging from this Provincial General Council is a contingent of cadres and activists prepared to confront perennial challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. As was asserted by the President, the enemy continues to live and fighting irrespective of whether or not we recognized its permanent presence.

4. We want to state without any hesitation that, today in our country there is a convergence of forces who share a common short goal which is to remove President Jacob Zuma and ANC, but do not share a common objective on what happens in the aftermath.

5. That’s what makes these forces to be even more dangerous, illogical and unreliable. Placing any trust on them is very serious risk for future of the people and that of generations to come. Therefore, being a member and a cadre of the movement requires people who are constantly engaged in a study of the revolution, factors that influence it and the role of revolutionaries to shape it in the best interests of our revolutionary cause.

6. Therefore, the journey does not end here as we rise from this PGC. We need to pay sufficient attention to the state of the organisation and avoid temptation of allowing our individual conduct and desire to tarnish the image and standing of the ANC.

7. As we said when started in this PGC, the ANC is a movement and the parliament of the people. It exists solely to serve and service the people. It continued existence is dependent on the trust that people continue to bestow on it. As Moses Kotane once said, “the revolution is about the people and the people can be stolen”. Therefore, we must at all times refuse to project the people’s movement, through our conduct and articulations, as a movement that is self-serving.

8. We should also never fall prey into a fallacy of thinking that the ANC is immune from natural processes that characterizes any society. All societies do not consist of things, but of processes that brings things into and out of being. This is a dialectical relationship between the cause and effects in society.

9. The ANC came into being as a result of struggles of the people. If, because of our conduct, people come to the determination, wittingly or unwittingly, that their struggles can best be pursued outside the ANC, the ANC will become irrelevant and eventually cease to exist. When the ANC ceases to exist, the gains of the revolution will be reversed and future generations will, correctly, put the entire blame on our shoulders. At that point people will be stolen.

10. The motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution remains the working class, rural poor, middle strata who stands to benefit from the continuing struggle to build a National Democratic Society. These forces are characterized as Africans in particular and Blacks in general. As a consequence, all our actions must be directed to the liberation of this important segment of society.

11. As we continue to navigate through the difficult times facing our movement and the revolution, we must never lose hope even in the face complex circumstances and difficult moments. The ANC President, on the first day of the PGC, took us into the memory lane about what it means to be a cadre of the movement.

12. The articulation by the President is in line with the teachings of Chairman Mao Zendong that “what is correct inevitably develops in the course of struggle with what is wrong. The true, the good and the beautiful always exists by contrast with the false, the evil and the ugly, and grow in struggle with them. As soon as something erroneous is rejected and a particular truth accepted by mankind, new truths begin to struggle with the new errors. Such struggle will never end.”

13. As we prosecute the people’s struggle under the ever-changing conditions, we must continue to sharpen our tools of analyses so that we are able to distinguish the trees from woods, weed from flagrant flowers and avoid accrediting the relative with the features of the absolute. This we will do and succeed in doing, if we keep the African National Congress deeply rooted among the masses of our people. There must be no difference between the ANC and the masses of our people, both in thinking and articulation of our aspirations.

14. As we surge forward with a struggle for radical economic transformation, we must fully appreciate the fact that we pursue a struggle under the conditions characterized by antagonistic contradictions at play.

15. As observed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the communist manifesto “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles…the oppressor and oppressed stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

16. While appreciating this fundamental reality, in South African the national question became the primary contradiction to be resolved to attain a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous society. This has always been understood not as the postponement of the class struggle but interconnectedness of the class struggle and the resolution of the national question.

17. Twenty three years into democracy the uninterrupted battle between the contending classes in South Africa is now an open fight. The oppressor is uncomfortable with the project of radical economic transformation which is an immediate agenda and plight for the oppressed class – as represented by the ANC. This is a permanent war which President Jacob Zuma aptly referred to during his address to this Provincial General Council.

18. Because of this unending and uninterrupted battle, an economic warfare has been unleashed against the ANC and its government – hence our economy has been put into junk status by the rating agencies. We understand this to be an economic warfare because the decisions to downgrade the economy of our country were taken not on the basis of soundness of our economic policies but on political considerations after the President exercised his constitutional prerogative to re-constitute the cabinet.

19. We are raising these points so that as revolutionaries we are able to distinguish the challenges of our own making and those brought to us by the objective environment, even if they coincide with our own internal subjective dynamics negatively impacting upon the pace of change.

20. How are we then expected to understand the sudden desire by some in the congress movement to cooperate with the counter-revolution? As revolution teaches us, a conscious of a person is not determined by a function of a mind but by his/her surrounding objective conditions.

21. Indeed because of the successes of our revolution, there are some in the movement who have recorded rapid growth in life either as a result of policies of the democratic government or were deliberately and purposely co-opted by the White Monopoly Capital so that it appears to be concerned with African people, while the intention is to serve its agenda. It is these comrades who today have sponsored bravery to tell us that there is no white monopoly capital and that the agenda for radical economic transformation is a reckless agenda that will upset the private capital.

22. The crippling danger of conformism need to be confronted. Clearly, they are those who see nothing wrong with the current economic status quo and they have pick-bagged on subjective challenges to further their own ambitions. For them any change in the structure of the economy represents adventurism or recklessness. In this context, the pursuit of radical economic transformation should simultaneously include fighting corruption. Both resisting Radical Economic Transformation need to be confronted and uprooted from the movement and all spheres of government.

23. We have decided to labour on this point so that we all have common understanding of the real challenge we are facing and not fall prey to the agenda sold to us by the enemy.

24. As we move to the policy conference, we must buttress the project of radical economic transformation with decisiveness and policy positions that will wrestle the economy from the hands of the few white males. We need to move with speed to economically empower the majority of our country – the Africans in particular.

25. In the Political Overview we lifted up some key policy proposals that we need to advance and some those have become the resolutions of this Provincial General Council. Among others, the PGC has agreed on the followings:
 We are unanimous in our view that there can be no progress without a strong and united African National Congress,
 We are firm and unanimous on the importance of land redistribution without compensation,
 We are firm and unanimous on the necessity to advance the Radical Economic Transformation,
 We are firm on our view that free and quality education up to the first degree is the correct way to lead the skill revolution and build human capital needed for a developmental state,
 We are firm on our position that the renewal of the National Liberation Movement is not an option, but a revolutionary imperative for continued survival of the movement,
 We are firm and unanimous that as part of strengthening the Head Quarters, the we will advocate, in addition to other NEC members to be fulltime, for an amendment of the constitution to accommodate the existence of two Deputy Secretary General, one responsible for Monitoring, Evaluation and Research and another one for Organization Building and Campaigns,
 We are committing ourselves to rise about parochial provincial interests if any of them compromises the unity of the ANC,

26. As the PGC, we are unanimous on the principles that should inform the selection and election of leadership. Revolutionaries are not born but constructed by the struggles of our people, not by positions they hold in the revolution. As KwaZulu-Natal we do not subscribe to the notion the election of a Deputy President implies that that comrade is automatically ordained to be a successor to the incumbent. If it was so they would be no need for elections.

27. In addition to such an unwritten tradition, the leadership election should be driven by the strategic tasks of that moment and the quality of the available pool of leadership, rather than a supposedly natural selection due to the current leadership position. The assertion that a deputy is an inherent successor to the incumbent is devoid of scientific analysis of the tasks of the current phase of NDR and suitability of leadership quality and character to lead the movement in that phase of the struggle.

28. If this must be a principle position in the movement then it has to be universally applicable rather self-serving and convenience because of conferences. The leadership must be chosen on the strength of its quality and not the position they hold.

29. I would like to express our revolutionary gratitude to the ANC Branch delegates, RECs, Leagues and Alliance partners for making this Provincial General Council a resounding success. All of us made a profound statement that the unity of the African National Congress is sacrosanct. I know that all of us are committed to ensure that this undertaking does not become an empty statement.

30. On our collective shoulders lies a heavy obligation to ensure that future generations do not pass a judgement on us as a contingent of activists who betrayed the undertaking we signed upon joining the ANC. Once again, history and reality impose duty on all of us a revolutionary duty to maintain a dynamic contact with the masses of our people. In this, the Year of Oliver Tambo, let us as KwaZulu-Natal deepen the unity of the movement.
The struggle continues!!!

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    1. I dont go out to source this kind of information. I have no resources. Those who send I post. Simple as that

  1. I Will Never Forget What a White Man Told Me in #Zimbabwe in 1980 I have no idea whether the white man I am writing about is still alive or not. He gave me an understanding of what actually happened to us Africans, and how sinister it was, when we were colonized. His name was Ronald Stanley Peters, Homicide Chief, Matabeleland, in what was at the time Rhodesia. He was the man in charge of the case they had against us, murder.

    I was one of a group of ANC/ZAPU guerillas that had infiltrated into the Wankie Game Reserve in 1967, and had been in action against elements of the Rhodesian African rifles (RAR), and the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI). We were now in the custody of the British South AfricaPolice (BSAP), the Rhodesian Police. I was the last to be captured in the group that was going to appear at the Salisbury (Harare) High Court on a charge of murder, 4 counts.

    ‘I have completed my investigation of this case, Mr. Bopela, and I will be sending the case to the Attorney-General’s Office, Mr. Bosman, who will the take up the prosecution of your case on a date to be decided,’ Ron Peters told me. ‘I will hang all of you, but I must tell you that you are good fighters but you cannot win.’ ‘Tell me, Inspector,’ I shot back, ‘are you not contradicting yourself when you say we are good fighters but will not win? Good fighters always

    ‘Mr. Bopela, even the best fighters on the ground, cannot win if information is sent to their enemy by high-ranking officials of their organizations, even before the fighters begin their operations. Even though we had information that you were on your way, we were not prepared for the fight that you put up,’ the Englishman said quietly. ‘We give due where it is to be given after having met you in battle. That is why I am saying you are good fighters, but will not win.’
    Thirteen years later, in 1980, I went to Police Headquarters in Harare and asked where I could find Detective-Inspector Ronald Stanley Peters, retired maybe.

    President Robert Mugabe had become Prime Minster and had released all of us….common criminal and freedom-fighter. I was told by the white officer behind the counter that Inspector Peters had retired and now lived in Bulawayo. I asked to speak to him on the telephone. The officer dialed his number and explained why he was calling. I was given the phone, and spoke to the Superintendent, the rank he had retired on. We agreed to meet in two days time at his house at Matshe-amhlophe, a very up-market suburb in Bulawayo. I travelled to Bulawayo by train, and took a taxi from town to his home.

    I had last seen him at the Salisbury High Court after we had been sentenced to death by Justice L Lewis in 1967. His hair had greyed but he was still the tall policeman I had last seen in 1967. He smiled quietly at me and introduced me to his family, two grown up chaps and a daughter. Lastly came his wife, Doreen, a regal-looking Englishwoman. ‘He is one of the chaps I bagged during my time in the Service. We sent him to the gallows but he is back and wants to see me, Doreen.’ He smiled again and ushered me into his study. He offered me a drink, a scotch whisky I had not asked for, but enjoyed very much I must say. We spent some time on the small talk about the weather and the current news.

    ‘So,’ Ron began, ‘they did not hang you are after all, old chap! Congratulations, and may you live many more!’ We toasted and I sat across him in a comfortable sofa. ‘A man does not die before his time, Ron’ I replied rather gloomily, ‘never mind the power the judge has or what the executioner intends to do to one.’
    ‘I am happy you got a reprieve Thula,’, Ron said, ‘but what was it based on? I am just curious about what might have prompted His Excellency Clifford Du Pont, to grant you a pardon. You were a bunch of unrepentant terrorists.’ ‘I do not know Superintendent,’ I replied truthfully. ‘Like I have said, a man does not die before his time.’ He poured me another drink and I became less tense.

    ‘So, Mr. Bopela, what brings such a lucky fellow all the way from happy Harare to a dull place like our Bulawayo down here?’ ‘Superintendent, you said to me after you had finished your investigations that you were going to hang all of us. You were wrong; we did not all hang. You said also that though we were good fighters we would not win. You were wrong again Superintendent; we have won! We are in power now. I told you that good fighters do win.’ The Superintendent put his drink on the side table and stood up. He walked slowly to the window that overlooked his well-manicured garden and stood there facing me.

    ‘So you think you have won Thula? What have you won, tell me. I need toknow.’

    ‘We have won everything Superintendent, in case you have not noticed. Every thing! We will have a black president, prime minister, black cabinet, black members of Parliament, judges, Chiefs of Police and the Army. Every thing Superintendent. I came all the way to come and ask you to apologize to me for telling me that good fighters do not win. You were wrong Superintendent, were you not?’ He went back to his seat and picked up his glass, and emptied it. He poured himself another shot and put it on the side table and was quiet for a while.

    ‘So, you think you have won everything Mr. Bopela, huh? I am sorry to spoil your happiness sir, but you have not won anything. You have political power, yes, but that is all. We control the economy of this country, on whose stability depends everybody’s livelihood, including the lives of those who boast that they have political power, you and your victorious friends. Maybe I should tell you something about us white people Mr. Bopela. I think you deserve it too, seeing how you kept this nonsense warm in your head for thirteen hard years in prison.

    ‘When I get out I am going to find Ron Peters and tell him to apologize for saying we wouldn’t win,’ you promised yourself. Now listen to me carefully my friend, I am going to help you understand us white people a bit better, and the kind of problem you and your friends have to deal with.’ ‘When we planted our flag in the place where we built the city of Salisbury, in 1877, we planned for this time. We planned for the time when the African would rise up against us, and perhaps defeat us by sheer numbers and insurrection. When that time came, we decided, the African should not be in a position to rule his newly-found country
    without taking his cue from us. We should continue to rule, even political power has been snatched from us, Mr. Bopela.’ ‘How did you plan to do that my dear Superintendent,’ I mocked.

    ‘Very simple, Mr. Bopela, very simple,’ Peters told me. ‘We started by changing the country we took from you to a country that you will find, many centuries later, when you gain political power. It would be totally unlike the country your ancestors lived in; it would be a new country. Let us start with agriculture. We introduced methods of farming that were not known I Africa, where people dug a hole in the ground, covered it up with soil and went to sleep under a tree in the shade. We made agriculture a science. To farm our way, an African needed to understand soil types, the fertilizers that type of soil required, and which crops to plant on what type of soil. We kept this knowledge from the African, how to farm scientifically and on a scale big enough to contribute strongly to the national economy. We did this so that when the African demands and gets his land back, he should not be able to farm it like we do. He would then be obliged to beg us to teach him how. Is that not power, Mr. Bopela?’ ‘We industrialized the country, factories, mines, together with agricultural output, became the mainstay of the new economy, but controlled and understood only by us. We kept the knowledge of all this from you people, the skills required to run such a country successfully.

    It is not because Africans are stupid because they do not know what to do with an industrialized country. We just excluded the African from this knowledge and kept him in the dark. This exercise can be compared to that of a man whose house was taken away from him by a stronger person. The stronger person would then change all the locks so that when the real owner returned, he would not know how to enter his own house.’ We then introduced a financial system – money (currency), banks, the stock market and linked it with other stock markets in the world. We are aware that your country may have valuable minerals, which you may be able to extract….but where would you sell them? We would push their value to next-to-nothing in our stock markets. You may have diamonds or oil in your country Mr. Bopela, but we are in possession of the formulas how they may be refined and made into a product ready for sale on the stock markets, which we control. You cannot eat diamonds and drink oil even if you have these valuable commodities. You have to bring them to our stock markets.’

    ‘We control technology and communications. You fellows cannot even fly an aeroplane, let alone make one. This is the knowledge we kept from you, deliberately. Now that you have won, as you claim Mr. Bopela, how do you plan to run all these things you were prevented from learning? You will be His Excellency this, and the Honorable this and wear gold chains on your necks as mayors, but you will have no power. Parliament after all is just a talking house; it does not run the economy; we do. We do not need to be in parliament to rule your Zimbabwe. We have the power of knowledge and vital skills, needed to run the economy and
    create jobs. Without us, your Zimbabwe will collapse. You see now what I mean when I say you have won nothing? I know what I am talking about. We could even sabotage your economy and you would not know what had happened.’ We were both silent for some time, I trying not to show how devastating this information was to me; Ron Peters maybe gloating. It was so true, yet so painful.

    In South Africa they had not only kept this information from us, they had also destroyed our education, so that when we won, we would still not have the skills we needed because we had been forbidden to become scientists and engineers. I did not feel any anger towards the man sitting opposite me, sipping a whisky. He was right. ‘Even the Africans who had the skills we tried to prevent you from having would be too few to have an impact on our plan. The few who would
    perhaps have acquired the vital skills would earn very high salaries, and become a black elite grouping, a class apart from fellow suffering Africans,’ Ron Peters persisted. ‘If you understand this Thula, you will probably succeed in making your fellow blacks understand the difference between ‘being in office’ and ‘being in power’. Your leaders will be in office, but not in power. This means that your parliamentary majority will not enable you to run the country….without us, that is.’I asked Ron to call a taxi for me; I needed to leave. The taxi arrived, not quickly enough for me, who was aching to depart with my sorrow. Ron
    then delivered the coup de grace: ‘What we are waiting to watch happening, after your attainment of political power, is to see you fighting over it. Africans fight over power, which is why you have seen so many coups d’etat and civil wars in post-independent Africa. We whites consolidate power, which means we
    share it, to stay strong. We may have different political ideologies and parties, but we do not kill each other over political differences, not since Hitler was defeated in 1945. Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe will not stay friends for long. In your free South Africa, you will do the same.

    There will be so many African political parties opposing the ANC, parties that are too afraid to come into existence during apartheid, that we whites will not need to join in the fray. Inside whichever ruling party will come power, be it ZANU or the ANC, there will be power struggles even inside the parties themselves. You see Mr. Bopela, after the struggle against the white man, a new struggle will arise among yourselves, the struggle for power. Those who hold power in Africa come within grabbing distance of wealth. That is what the new struggle will be about….the struggle for power. Go well Mr. Bopela; I trust our
    meeting was a fruitful one, as they say in politics.’

    I shook hands with the Superintendent and boarded my taxi. I spent that night in Bulawayo at the YMCA, 9th Avenue. I slept deeply; I was mentally exhausted and spiritually devastated. I only had one consolation, a hope, however remote. I hoped that when the ANC came into power in South Africa, we would not do the things Ron Peters had said we would do. We would learn from the experiences of other African countries, maybe Ghana and Nigeria, and avoid coups d’etat and civil wars.

    In 2007 at Polokwane, we had full-blown power struggle between those who supported Thabo Mbeki and Zuma’s supporters. Mbeki lost the fight and his admirers broke away to form Cope. The politics of individuals had started in the ANC. The ANC will be going to Maungaung in December to choose new leaders. Again, it is not about which government policy will be best for South Africa; foreign policy, economic, educational, or social policy. It is about Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlhante; it is about Fikile Mbalula or Gwede Mantashe. Secret meetings are reported to be happening, to plot the downfall of this politician and the rise of the other one.

    Why is it not about which leaders will best implement the Freedom Charter, the pivotal document? Is the contest over who will implement the Charter better? If it was about that, the struggle then would be over who can sort out the poverty, landlessness, unemployment, crime and education for the impoverished black masses. How then do we choose who the best leader would be if we do not even know who will implement which policies, and which policies are better than others? We go to Mangaung to wage a power struggle, period. President Zuma himself has admitted that ‘in the broad church the ANC is,’ there are those who now seek only
    power, wealth and success as individuals, not the nation. In Zimbabwe the fight between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai has paralysed the country. The people of Zimbabwe, a highly-educated nation, are starving and work as garden and kitchen help in South Africa.

    What the white man told me in Bulawayo in 1980 is happening right infront of my eyes. We have political power and are fighting over it, instead of consolidating it. We have an economy that is owned and controlled by them, and we are fighting over the crumbs falling from the white man’s ‘dining table’. The power struggle that raged among ANC leaders in the Western Cape cost the ANC that province, and the opposition is winning other municipalities where the ANC is squabbling instead of delivering. Is it too much to understand that the more we fight among ourselves the weaker we become, and the stronger the opposition becomes?

    Thula Bopela writes in his personal capacity, and the story he has told is true; he experienced alone and thus is ultimately responsible for the ideas in the article.

    Source : Thula Bopela

    1. Thank you for bringing us this most moving piece. I will run it as a news piece. Realeboha.



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