Johannesburg – There is no greater task for the newly elected ANC leadership than the renewal of the 106-year-old liberation movement, says ANC stalwart and struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The ANC’s top officials, led by party president Cyril Ramaphosa, minus its deputy president David Mabuza, paid her a courtesy call this week.
This was their first stop since the ANC’s birthday celebrations in East London last week.
Ramaphosa said the visit formed part of their pilgrimage to honour the party’s former leaders. This also included visiting the families of deceased ANC leaders.
Madikizela-Mandela, known as the mother of the nation, welcomed the leaders to her home and joined them in an impromptu media briefing in which she told journalists she was proud of the current crop of leaders.
"It's time that we had a renewal of the ANC," she said, gushing over how excited many in the party were with its new leadership.
"I am really short of words to explain my pleasure at what my president has done. I’ve been watching him giving speeches - he promised the renewal of the ANC and I am deeply honoured by his visit.
"It's quite clear we are on a new route to revive the ANC," she said.
"We had this leadership at the right time, when we needed the ANC - not only to be inspired by us but [also] this new energy."
She added that she could feel the vibrancy of the energy brought to the party by Ramaphosa's leadership.
It was like 1994 again
Johannesburg ANC chairperson Parks Tau and Gauteng acting chairperson David Makhura also joined their national leaders in the visit.
Both leaders said it was important for their leaders to make a pitstop at the struggle icon's Soweto home.
"She continues to be rooted among the community, continues to be the conscience of the ANC among the stalwarts - when there’s something wrong she speaks up about that," Makhura said.
He said excitement over the new leadership started when Ramaphosa was declared the winner in a bruising race to lead the ANC that was held in December.
"We have a leadership that we can trust, that this leadership will do the right thing," said Makhura.
Makhura, who is also the Gauteng premier, said police officers in the province told him they had their hands full with people celebrating the win.
"People had that feeling they had in 1994, that we are back on our two feet," he said.
Makhura did however admit that the ANC had a tough task moving forward in order to make sure basic needs were met.
— Matshidiso Madia (@tshidi_lee) January 15, 2018