ANC must restore discipline - Zuma
Hlengiwe Nhlabathi, Ahmed Areff and Andre Grobler
Bloemfontein - The ANC in 2012 would take urgent and practical steps to restore core values and political discipline in the party, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.
Delivering the ANC’s centenary January 8 statement, Zuma said the party would take various steps to renew and structure it for the future.
“We will take urgent and practical steps to restore the core values, stamp out factionalism and promote political discipline,” he said to applause.
Other aspects the party would look at was to revitalise its grass roots structures.
He urged South Africans to start a dialogue on the future of the country as the party prepared for its policy conference in June and its 53rd National Conference in December 2012. The debate should be based on a commitment to build a caring society that was truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and united in its diversity.
Zuma said the country needed urgent answers to aspects of unemployment, poverty and inequality. “Over the next decade, both the ANC and all organs of state, shall pay single-minded and undivided attention in order to overcome... challenges.”
He said the party would renew its internal systems and processes in order to prepare and produce new generations of leadership, whose integrity was unquestionable.
In the party statement, the ANC said it would also review its leadership election system to enhance internal democracy and credibility.
Thousands of ANC supporters from around the country made their way to Bloemfontein for the opportunity to participate in the party's 100th birthday bash at the Free State Stadium.
Thousands turned away
The 48 000 capacity stadium was filled within an hour of opening, and several thousand people had to be turned away and referred to overflow areas at cricket stadiums next door, as well as a stage area at the Kings Park garden at Loch Logan.
Invited guests and VIPs, including members of the ANC leadership, and foreign heads of state joined the celebrations after 14:00. Notable guests included ANC stalwarts Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was also seated on the stage wearing his trademark beret and gold trimmed sunglasses. Former president Thabo Mbeki and Kathrada presented the centenary flame to Zuma and deputy-president Kgalema Motlanthe to be placed on the stage for the day and night.
The majority of ANC supporters had travelled from other provinces and had either been bused in or arrived by train. Some were angered after being denied entry.
"We didn't come all this way to be standing outside the stadium or in overflow areas," said an angry woman clutching a gate. Mehmood Hansa, 44, said he drove all the way from Vereeniging in Gauteng with his two children, Adnaan, 11, Joseph, 13, and his 23-year-old nephew Sulaiman.
They were wearing black ANC T-shirts with a picture of his late father Dawood "Daddy" Hansa.
"He was the first Indian councillor in the Free State. He served in Parys," he said proudly. Zaphalala George Kenke, from Sharpeville, the site of the 1960 massacre, said he had arrived in Bloemfontein on Saturday night, but was still ready to party on Sunday.
“The organisation is being killed by individuals inside it. It is these people who are not informed of ANC policies, and are using it for their own personal issues.”
Meanwhile, a 45-year-old man, his 14-year-old son, and their 22-year-old friend were arrested on Saturday night for pointing a green laser light at helicopters taking off from Bloemfontein Airport and Bloemspruit Air Force base.
The arrests followed an instruction by acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi on Thursday that a no-fly zone had been declared above Bloemfontein during the celebrations.
Police said the trio will be charged in terms of Section 133 of the Civil Aviation Act.
In another Free State incident three people were arrested near Clarens following an ongoing service delivery protest on Sunday.
The unrest started on Friday when about a hundred community members from the Kgubetswana township started blockading roads with rocks and burning tyres, police spokesperson Mmako Mophiring said. Police managed to assist a kombi and a bus carrying passengers to the celebrations in Bloemfontein.