All eyes on Ramaphosa as he delivers ANC’s January 8 statement
Johannesburg - All eyes will be on ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as he is today expected to deliver the governing party’s historic January 8 statement to mark 109 years since it was founded in 1912.
The annual statement is the party’s programme of action and marching line for the year.
Ramaphosa’s address is expected to focus on the state of the party, the on-going battle against coronavirus and ANC’s renewed stance on the revival of the ailing economy and worsening socio-economic conditions in the country.
The governing party would for the first time hold its birthday bash completely virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic which, to date, has infected more than 1 million South Africans and killed more than 30 000.
Over the years, the ANC’s lavish annual celebrations have drawn crowds in thousands from across the country as the party holds its January 8 events on rotational basis across the country’s nine provinces.
The ANC had already chosen Limpopo as the host province for this year’s celebrations.
Yesterday, ANC head of organising Nomvula Mokonyane said while the official hybrid event had been cancelled, the party had invited guests to its virtual anniversary, including alliance partners and fraternal organisations from other countries.
The ANC has been plagued by simmering political battles since 2017, as its two warring factions failed to reconcile two of the party’s punted resolutions, that of organisation renewal and unity.
Mokonyane said: “The ANC will use this occasion to reaffirm our collective commitment to the resolutions of the 54th National Conference. It is a platform to reassert the ANC as a movement rooted among the people and as leader of society.”
The leadership of Cosatu and the SACP are billed to also speak at the event in the evening, which Mokonyane said would be “a moment to draw on the legacy of the founding fathers and mothers of the ANC and to reorientate the current generation to the values and objectives that inspired our forebears”.
Mokonyane said the ANC’s national executive committee had however put its contentious issues at bay, including the discussion on the decision of the Integrity Commission’s recommendation that the party secretary-general Ace Magashule step down or be removed.
The commission’s call stemmed from the party’s resolution that all leaders who were criminally charged had to temporarily relinquish their party and government positions until they were cleared.
“There was no issue of the SG (Magashule) that was on the agenda. The ANC focused on the task at hand as a standing item,” she said.
She said the party had focused itself on the ANC’s anniversary celebrations, with Covid-19, the state of the economy and scourge of gender-based violence being the only added issues.
Mokonyane added that the party’s stalwarts would today also reflect on the party’s historical milestone ahead of Ramaphosa’s evening address.
She said the ANC NEC meeting, which was also attended by former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, was in support of interventions implemented by the government as part of combating the spread of the pandemic and reviving the economy.
“One of the things that were raised is that we all have to give the necessary support in creating an environment that does not lead to a total shutdown of the economy, meaning that we cannot drive the country into a total shutdown,” she said.
The ANC’s leagues held separate virtual events on Thursday as part of the build-up, including the Peter Mokaba memorial lecture by the ANC Youth League.