‘Revive active citizenry’

2012-06-07 07:11

The ANC made a mistake by demobilising masses when South Africa attained democracy.

That is the view of national executive committee (NEC) member Ngoako Ramatlhodi who called for the return of active citizens needed to implement what the ANC calls “the second transition” of the country’s liberation.

Ramatlhodi delivered the Alfred Bitini “AB” Xuma memorial lecture in Upington last night, as part of the ANC’s centenary celebrations.

The lecture also kicked off activities that are lined up for the ANC Northern Cape provincial congress that opens today at Die Eiland resort in Upington.

“We demobilised the masses from participating in creating their livelihoods and then we became a tender state,” Ramatlhodi said.

“People don’t participate in their own regeneration (and) any society that doesn’t participate in its livelihood eventually dies.”

Ramatlhodi said the second transition “should suggest that we take the ANC back to the people and put people in the front. We must make sure that they are their own liberators”.

He said if South Africans were active enough to force the end of apartheid, they could do the same to change their lives for the better in a democratic state.

The second transition is one of the ANC’s policy discussion documents that will be debated at the party’s policy conference in Midrand, Johannesburg, later this month.

Ramatlhodi said the second transition should also come up with proposals on changing the economic situation in the country, where white people still enjoy better financial security than their black counterparts.

“1994 has changed nothing on that score. When the youth speaks economic freedom they reflect on that reality. We do disagree (with the youth league) on this and that but economic freedom has not been attained.”

The ANC Youth League has proposed radical steps to deliver economic freedom including the nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land without compensation.

Ramatlhodi said once the citizens have been sensitised to return to active participation in running the country “it’s not going to be business as usual”.

The masses might be used for among other things to build the roads or build their own RDP houses.

Meanwhile ANC Northern Cape provincial chairperson John Block is likely to retain his position at this week’s congress despite fraud and corruption charges still hanging over his head.

Provincial secretary Zamani Saul would not be drawn into giving names of leadership nominees at a press conference yesterday, but his repetition of “if there will be elections” when responding to journalists’ questions signalled the confidence with which the current leadership goes to this congress.

Delegates and ANC supporters were unified in songs praising Block such as “uJohn Block ungowethu” (John Block is ours) and “John Block my chairperson”.

Siyanda regional deputy chairperson Nokhaya Mjila made it clear the current top five officials should be re-elected.

Addressing supporters in Afrikaans at the centenary lecture Mjila said Block’s leadership found the Northern Cape “stukkend” (broken) and put the pieces back together.

About 800 delegates are attending the congress, with just over 500 of them voting. Elections are expected to take place tomorrow.

ANC president Jacob Zuma is scheduled to address the conference. Saul said the party expected a successful conference with no disruptions.

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