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ANC making a positive difference: Zuma

076 Delegates carrying the ANC flag sing on the last day of the NGC at Durbnan's exhibition centre. 240910. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

076 Delegates carrying the ANC flag sing on the last day of the NGC at Durbnan's exhibition centre. 240910. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Oct 9, 2015

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Midrand - The lives of millions of South Africans have been turned around thanks to the African National Congress, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

Delivering his political report at the ANC National General Council (NGC) in Midrand, Zuma said government had achieved several milestones since 1994.

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“Comrades, during the 2014 general election our people agreed with us when we said we had a good story to tell and that South Africa was a much better place to live in than before 1994. Indeed, a lot has been achieved,” Zuma said to applause by delegates.

“More of our people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. More than 16 million people, especially older persons, vulnerable children and persons with disability receive much-needed social grants to alleviate poverty. The public works programme has created six million work opportunities for unemployed people – 40 percent of them (being) young people by 2014.”

He said over 3 million free houses had been built, benefiting more than 16 million people.

“That’s a good story to tell. Nearly 500 informal settlements have been replaced with quality housing and basic services. About 12 million households have access to electricity – that is seven million more than in 1994.”

He said around 92 percent of South Africans had access to portable water by 2014. The figure was at 60 percent in 1996.

“Over seven million learners from poor households do not pay school fees. Over seven million (pupils) receive free meals at school. A key new achievement is the fact that every province in our country now has a university.”

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Earlier, Zuma urged the NGC to diagnose the party’s problems, and reflect on issues hampering its support base growth.

Zuma said despite the positive contribution the ANC made to the country, negative perceptions had formed against the party.

“We thank the millions of our people who voted ANC in the last elections. It was a difficult election as will be explained in the organisational report. While celebrating the 2014 electoral victory, we also acknowledge the fact that our majority has not been growing during each election,” said Zuma.

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“Some of our traditional voters have, in recent years, become dissatisfied … We must not take this support and loyalty for granted nor think it will be there forever. The NGC needs to undertake a frank assessment of the state of the organisation and identify those issues that make our traditional support base unhappy.”

Zuma said ANC membership numbers had declined to less than a million people since 2012.

He blamed the decline on “manipulation of members”, particularly at branch level.

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“The ANC had more than one million members during the centenary in 2012, the number has decreased to 769,000…we now have less than one million members,” he said.

“Tendencies such as gate-keeping, bulk buying of members and manipulation are problems facing the branches. A new kind of gate-keeping has emerged, where a branch is kept at a certain number, so that it could be controlled, and thus stopping those who love the ANC from joining the party.”

Keeping numbers to a certain level at branches, has resulted in members being used as voting fodder, Zuma said.

“They rubber stamp decisions, [and] such will not be tolerated.”

The branches were taking decisions on party matters, and not the leadership, he said.

For this to change, branches should be strengthened.

“We need to empower the branches, some are not functioning as well as others, others are facing difficulties, and need to be freed from the tendencies that have crept into the party.”

Some 4 000 delegates are attending the conference which ends on Sunday.

ANA

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