Vosloorus – The local government elections will be a critical platform that must be used in defence of the ANC, President Jacob Zuma said at the funeral service of nine party members on Saturday.
“All of us as volunteers of the ANC must honour our fallen comrades by marching together in unity. We must unite as we mobilise our communities to renew their contract with the ANC at the polling stations,” he said.
“ANC representatives must honour their part of the contract by resolving the challenges that are faced by our people.”
He addressed mourners who had arrived for the funeral of nine of the “Ekurhuleni 10” who died in a bus accident on their way home from the ANC manifesto launch last Sunday.
A joint funeral service was held in Vosloorus on Saturday.
The final victim will be buried on Sunday in Pietermaritzburg.
The 10 died when the bus carrying 65 ANC members to Ekurhuleni, in Gauteng, overturned on the N1 near Winburg.
Free State police said the two drivers were swapping seats when the accident occurred.
‘They were on duty for the movement’
Zuma said it is fitting to say that the ten “lost their lives while on duty for this movement”.
“The act of taking time out of their daily lives to attend the launch of the manifesto of our movement was a sign of their commitment to serving the people of South Africa.
"I want to say thank you to the families and friends of the deceased comrades … for having [lent] us exemplary human beings who chose to live their lives in service of their people.”
The ANC is kept alive by its members who dedicate themselves to serving the people that entrust it with their votes, the president said.
“We are now called upon to return to the homes of our people to remind them of the work that we have done. We must proudly tell the story of the good strides that the ANC government has made.
“We must also humbly accept that more needs to be done. As a result, we are called upon to return to the people to explain our manifesto of commitments as a pledge of our continued service to their demands.”
Victims equal to ANC ancestors
He said the ten victims’ lives were of equal worth to the lives of those regarded as ancestors of the ANC.
“These are all people who shared the valid belief that the ANC is a movement of the people and a true vehicle for meaningful social change.”
He said the high number of road deaths calls for introspection among drivers.
Something is not right and we all have to take responsibility to correct the attitudes on the road and the failure to respect the rules of the road at times.
“Improved policing by traffic officers alone will not solve the problem. It is every driver’s patriotic duty to use South Africa’s roads wisely and responsibly,” Zuma said.