“One of the things that we must not do, and we cannot do, is to surrender our revolution to greed and to corruption and to patronage,” he told the KwaZulu-Natal South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) gala dinner in Durban.
“At the same time, we must not hand over the institutions of our democratic state to those who want to seize them for their own enrichment. These are democratic institutions for which the workers of our country fought and for which many lost their lives. These are institutions that we are bound to defend because these are the institutions that are bound to deliver transformation,” he said.
“Our task now is to see how best we can renew and unite the African National Congress and unite the alliance; strengthen Cosatu [Congress of SA Trade Unions], strengthen the South African Communist Party, and make sure that the ANC is strong, ready for the elections in 2019, so that we win those elections decisively,” he said.
Although some denied it, the alliance and the country were going through challenging times, he said. There were those who wanted to hide their heads in the sand but this was not the time to “cower and run”.
“We must build an alliance that has the strength and resilience and the commitment to advance the revolution that our alliance exists for. Even now, as our country and our movement encounters and is going through many challenges and difficulties, we must remain determined that we will not compromise the revolution.”
Alliance partners could not and should not give up on rebuilding the ANC, because giving up the struggle meant giving up on the revolution, which meant surrendering to the ANC’s opponents.
“We cannot surrender our revolution to the Democratic Alliance. We cannot surrender our revolution to the small parties. The African National Congress must be strengthened. The alliance must be strengthened, because it is through this alliance that we have been able to transform this country and we must continue to transform this country,” he said.
The revolution would not be surrendered to those who looked to subvert democratic practices either, or those that manipulated procurement processes or influenced appointments to appropriate resources that belonged to citizens.
“We must build the alliance as an effective instrument of workers’ struggles. We must continue to build Cosatu as the spear and the ANC as the shield, and Sadtu as the foot soldiers that are going to make sure that our revolution does succeed,” he said.
Sadtu was expected to return the ANC to its founding values of service and selflessness. “We expect you are going to safeguard the African National Congress and make sure it upholds the highest ethical standards,” he said.
Teachers, too, had to ensure they maintained high ethical standards in all situations and high professional skills as they “moulded patriots” into citizens that would contribute to the nation.“We are reliant on teachers as dispensers of education to ensure highly skilled youngsters who can be active participants. You are the true nation builders,” Ramaphosa said.