ANC Deputy Secretary-Genera Jlessie Duarte. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ African News Agency(ANA)
Durban - ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte on Tuesday told hundreds of the party’s members that the ANC’s main task this year was renewal.

She warned party members that this was not about who was elected to lead at branch level or the trappings of government jobs; it was about serving the people.

Duarte was addressing members of the ANC’s General Gizenga Mpanza region in KwaDukuza on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast as the party celebrated its 107th birthday on Tuesday.

“The only thing that matters is how I am serving the people, and when I go home at night I must be able to say this is what I did for the people today, not for myself,” she said.

Duarte said that ANC members should forget research that suggested that the party would get 61% of the votes during the general elections in May.

“What we need from you, comrades, is to go door to door and ensure you know exactly how many people in every street will vote for the ANC.

“We are not going to wait for somebody who sits in an air-conditioned room somewhere to tell us we’re going to get 61% and then fold our arms because somebody said 61%. We must go out and make sure that the 61% is a real 61%,” Duarte said.

She warned against complacency and not working hard enough on the campaign trail because that would lead to them not getting the votes that they wanted.

“That (suggestion of 61%) is a tactic of the enemy and you must be careful of the tactics of the people who write the stories out there,” Duarte said.

She said that as they celebrated the party’s 107th birthday they should reflect on the past year, which had been difficult for the ANC.

“There were very dark moments in 2018, but you never waste a crisis and when a crisis faces you, that is when the ANC is at its best,” Duarte said.

Meanwhile, the family of the ANC’s founding president, John Langalibalele Dube, on Tuesday expressed optimism that under President Cyril Ramaphosa the party was on the right path to resolve years of internal squabbles.

Family spokesperson Langa Dube was speaking at an event where Ramaphosa, who was accompanied by former president Jacob Zuma, lay a wreath at his grandfather’s grave at Ohlange Institute, north of Durban. Dube said that despite a power struggle and turmoil, the ANC had not forgotten its past.

He said the party needed to continue pursuing its founding idea of ensuring that people’s lives were improved.

Political Bureau