Johannesburg - It’s important to put South Africa ahead of self-interest and party politics says President Jacob Zuma.
"Leaders, from all sections and parties, must put South Africa first, at times before party political interests," said Zuma said in a short keynote address at the ANC's fundraising gala dinner, held in Sandton a day before the party marked its 105th birthday.
The president, who has previously been criticised for declaring that his political party came before the country, said it was important to put South Africa first, particularly because it is a developing country.
Zuma said current leaders owed it to future generations to drive a change in the status quo, which he said included speeding up land reforms, tackling the issue of racism as well as the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment which have been plaguing the country.
"Let's not go down the history books as a leadership that spent months or even years fighting in Parliament and in society and was unable to move South Africa forward," he told stakeholders at the dinner.
Jobs a priority
Some members of the business community attended the event, joined by leaders in the ANC including deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Derek Hanekom, Nomvula Mokonyane, Jeff Radebe, Nathi Mthethwa and Pravin Gordhan.
Several pieces, including paintings of the ANC’s flag and its leaders along with a signed copy of the Freedom Charter, were placed on auction during the dinner.
2017 must be a decisive year for South Africa, said the president.
Zuma said jobs remained a key priority for government and called for the promotion of unity in action in order to reignite economic growth.
The president is expected to further elaborate on some of the plans the ANC has to take South Africa forward, as well as to highlight some of the liberation movement's successes, as it marks 105 years on Sunday.
Earlier ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete delivered an opening address where she told guests that the party was ready to embrace 2017 along with all the challenges it presented.