Durban - The ANC needs to be unified to bring about socio-economic freedom and eliminate the racist legacies of apartheid, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“As we enter the second phase of the transition - we commit ourselves to a program of action to speed up the elimination of these legacies and bring about socio-economic freedom,” he told thousands of African National Congress members at the Kings Park stadium in Durban.
He said much of South Africa's problems resulted from the 1913 Land Act, which allowed 87 percent of the land to be distributed to whites.
The act regulated the acquisition of land by black people and was the first major piece of segregation legislation passed by the Union Parliament. The act decreed that only certain areas of the country could be owned by black people. In the 1990s it was replaced by the current policy of land restitution.
Cadres heard that government was unlikely to meet its land reform target of transferring 30 percent of farming land back to blacks.
Zuma said the “willing buyer; willing seller” principle would be replaced by the “just and equitable” principle of land expropriation.
It was at the party's 52nd elective conference in Polokwane in 2007 where the target of 30 percent was set.
Zuma said the country continued to face “skewed patterns of ownership”.
“Decisive action is required to change economic patterns and realise our vision,” he said.
The patterns in the economy were characterised by the marginalisation of “our people”, he said, adding that “monopoly capital” remained an obstacle.
The ANC had opted for a mixed economy.
“It must be a State that has the capacity to intervene in the economy to lead development,” said Zuma.
This goal was contained in the National Development Plan (NDP), which has been punted as a strategic document to build South Africa.
Zuma said the NDP set out various methods to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality, and urged citizens to unite behind the plan.
Key programmes of the plan were already being implemented.
“We call on government to hasten the implementation of all 18 strategic infrastructure projects, especially those directed at the 23 poorest districts in the country.”
The party resolved that the State must have an equitable share of mining resource rents through the tax system and deploy them in the interest of long term economic growth, development and transformation, he said.
Zuma warned that formal bargaining structures could not be replaced by “informal arrangements” by workers.
“We call on workers not to undermine the right to strike or to protest by engaging in violent action which undermines their cause.”
Zuma also spoke of the party's relationship with its leagues.
“We shall work with the ANC Youth League to address its challenges.”.
He did not elaborate what this would entail.
The party would attempt to ensure that the league would continue to “live up to its proud legacy of being a preparatory school for ANC cadreship”.
He said the organisation needed to render more support to the ANC Veterans League and the uMkhonto weSizwe Veterans Association.
The ANC would promote discipline in the party in an effort to eliminate “alien tendencies”, said Zuma.
“The movement will continue prioritising organisational discipline and eradicate the alien tendencies that have crept into our movement over the years,” Zuma said.
“These include factionalism, the violent disruption of our meetings and attacking other members, public spats and unauthorised public utterances, the use of money to buy members... and the manipulation of ANC processes for pre-determined outcomes.”
The ANC drew a line against ill-discipline in 2010, and anyone who crosses it would face consequences.
“We call on all ANC members to subject themselves to the discipline of the ANC. The ANC is the leader of society and our behaviour must always be beyond reproach.”
He said citizens must remember that the ANC was the only organisation capable of uniting South Africa.
“We delivered freedom, and we shall deliver prosperity and socio-economic freedom in our lifetime.”
Zuma announced the winners of ANC achievement awards and read out the names of members who had died in 2012.
At the end of Zuma's address, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa gave a toast, behind a large ANC cake on-stage.
The first toast was to former president Nelson Mandela. The second was to Zuma.
Toasts were also made to the national executive committee, the party's members, the KwaZulu-Natal province and its leaders.
“This year, we are not going to cut the cake,” Ramaphosa said.
The cake would be distributed to an orphanage and an old-age home. - Sapa