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Pretoria - ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Sunday called on the party’s international allies not to shy away from criticising the organisation when it faltered.
He was delivering the closing address of the ANC’s International Solidarity Conference that attracted hundreds of delegates from abroad.
Most of the delegates were from movements and organisations that supported the ANC’s liberation Struggle from countries including Palestine, Cuba, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Zimbabwe.
Motlanthe said there was a need for continued interaction between the ANC and its allies abroad .
Motlanthe spoke after the conference adopted its conference declaration, which clarified the party’s and its allies’ stance on various international issues.
“As friends who share so much with us both in our past and present, you have the responsibility to be candid with us as the ANC, especially where we are faltering.
“We need to tell each other home truths when there are reversals, deviation and other regressions, so that corrective action can be taken to restore our true character.”
Motlanthe said continuous communication between allies was important to deal with common challenges that might arise globally.
“It is important for this international solidarity conference to be convened from time to time to assess the global situation and compare notes, and to see what constitutes the next step.
“If we are dispersed and consumed by our own peculiar and isolated challenges there will be no time and space to deal with common issues such as the global economic crisis.
“If we fail in our historic duty to share perspectives, we are likely to be blinded to the re-emergence of some degenerate ideologies.”
The conference declaration had to be altered at the end as some international delegates called for tougher stances on some international issues.
The declaration did not include a stance on the political situation in Swaziland, where political parties are banned and political prisoners remain in jail.
One delegate told ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete that the declaration had to include a call for political parties in Swaziland to be unbanned and for the political prisoners there to be freed.
The call would also include that all stakeholders there sit around a table and find a solution that would restore human rights and dignity to the people of Swaziland.
Another delegate was adamant that Oliver Tambo, who was honoured and celebrated during the conference, would not agree to the tone of the conference’s stance on Western Sahara. Support was stated for a free and fair referendum, but it did not include anything about the nation’s self-determination.
However, the conference was almost unanimous, with the exception of one delegate from Germany, in comparing the situation in Palestine to apartheid in South Africa.
“I have been there, comrades, and I can tell you that the situation there is worse than apartheid,” said Mbete to cheers from delegates.
The conference condemned the continued occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government and called for its full membership of the UN.
It also urged activists to “examine more closely the lessons from the Arab uprisings and particularly the negative role of external players and reactionary forces”.
The conference also paid tribute to Nelson Mandela as a symbol of the Struggle for justice, human rights, peace and reconciliation.
Tributes were also paid to former Cuban president Fidel Castro as one of the revolutionary icons in the fight for freedom and equality.