Durban – ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the ruling party to go back to its roots and emulate the leadership of previous "legends" who led the liberation movement.
"With humility, I am in awe and humbled to be here, where the remains of one of the greatest sons of SA, John Dube, who I can draw lessons from, rests. We in the ANC top six need to learn from them, humble ourselves in the service of our people. He served with humility, modesty and commitment. We must do the same."
He made the statement during a wreath-laying ceremony for founder of the ANC John Dube at the Ohlange High School in Inanda on Monday.
Surrounded by a large contingent of top ANC national leaders, Ramaphosa appeared confident and strong.
According to Ramaphosa, the newly elected leadership of the ANC would focus strongly on rooting out corruption.
"We will adopt a value system to root out corruption within our ranks. Corruption undermines the interest of our people as a whole. As we do this we will be strengthening the ANC."
He added that the party would aim to strengthen its core constituency through branches.
"We want to strengthen our branches, make sure they are alive."
KZN and drawing from past leaders
Because of its size and influence, Ramaphosa implored the ANC eThekwini region to "show good leadership and lead by example for all our regions in our country".
"Our ANC's first president lies in this region. You are fortunate to have the spirit of our people here. We hope the influence of the great leaders that come from KZN are taught in schools in our country."
He made a strong call for the newly elected leadership to learn from past members of the ANC.
"I hope we can draw lessons from their lives. How they adhered to truthfulness and honesty. Promote the interest of our people. We say President Dube, this new leadership will not fail or soil the reputation of the movement you led."
Staying focused on KZN, Ramaphosa mentioned that, through King Goodwill Zwelithini, he had seen progress in unity.
"Yesterday we met with the king and we saw two groups, Sihle Zikalala and Senzo Mchunu, come together. They shook hands. It was a joy to see them shaking hands and agreeing to forge unity."
He emphasised that KZN had an integral role to play in South Africa's democracy.
"In KZN, our programme is singular and one. That programme is to forge unity. We will do this. KZN has made a contribution to our struggle. We want you to unite and be one. KZN is far too important to the life and existence of ANC."
He also said the ANC would focus on bringing traditional leaders to the fore to lead.
"We will go to all our traditional leaders and give them a report back of the ANC 54th elective conference.
"Traditional leaders play a great role. The ANC used to have a house of traditional leaders."
Ramaphosa stuck to his guns with the land reparations matter, saying that the new leadership of the ANC was focused on the task.
"We will move with speed to return the land to our people. We want to advance the interests of our people and develop the economy of our country. We have NEC members here today. We have got to advance the interests of our people through the economy. John Dube would have wanted us to push radical economic transformation for the interest of all our people."