Zuma calls for more non-racial ANC
Johannesburg - The ANC's multi-racial character must be further entrenched as the party turns 100, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
"Together we must celebrate that non-racial character of the ANC and entrench it further in our country," he said at the launch of the African National Congress's centenary celebrations at Constitution Hill.
Zuma said unity had always characterised the ANC, but that this was not limited to the unity of Africans, but applied to people of all races in South Africa.
Quoting from the Freedom Charter, he said South Africa belonged to all who lived in it, black and white.
The ANC turns 100 in January.
Celebration a time to for reflection
Writing in his newsletter on the ANC website, Zuma said the centenary celebration in January should refocus everyone in the party and what it stands for, its culture, tradition, and its legacy.
Zuma said that now that the party was turning a hundred, it would have to be "more serious about protecting and projecting our image, history, traditions, culture, and character properly".
"It means that we must show to all that we are the oldest liberation movement in Africa, and therefore our conduct and behaviour must reflect the maturity of our organisation.
"When we celebrate 100 years we must ensure that we inculcate and instil the best values of our movement which have sustained us for such a long period.
"Part of those traditions and culture include the unity of the ANC, unity with its alliance, maintaining the multi-class character of the ANC, its democratic nature, internationalist as well as its non-racial and non-sexist character," Zuma said.
These were the values which had sustained the ANC for the past 99 years. "When we celebrate our 100 years next year, these must be stronger than ever.
"What is most important about the centenary celebrations is that it will give us an opportunity to articulate as a movement what is it that we think of ourselves and where we come from."
The campaign would focus on recruitment and political education.
"We want to achieve both the quantity and the quality of our membership," Zuma said.
The ANC experienced a drop in support among minority communities in the local government election earlier this year, losing former ANC minority strongholds such as Lenasia and Eldorado Park.
On Friday, Zuma said the ANC would celebrate all those who had contributed to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the run up to its centenary and during the rest of 2012.
Most important among these were the party's alliance partners, the SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions.