ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa addresses his supporters during the ANC's 106th-anniversary celebrations in East London. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

East London - The African National Congress, in electing the new national leadership of the organisation at its 54th national conference in December, gave the new leadership a clear and unequivocal mandate to unite the movement, the tripartite alliance, and the people of South Africa, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

Delivering the ANC's annual January 8 statement at the party's 106th-anniversary celebrations at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London, he said that at the centre of all ANC efforts this year should be the fundamental renewal and revitalisation of the party.

"The ANC’s 54th national conference, which met in Johannesburg in December 2017, recognised that the movement has become deeply divided through factionalism, patronage, corruption, and competition for resources," he said.

Structures of the movement had been weakened and the confidence of the people in the ANC had been eroded. This, and the development of social distance between elected leaders and the electorate had damaged the bond between the ANC and the masses of the people.

The conference decided that the ANC should embark with immediate effect on a far-reaching programme of organisation-building and renewal aimed at making it a more effective instrument of social and economic change. This would also involve "extensive engagement with formations with which we used to work in the mass democratic movement and with organised civil society".

"We will reach out to our people as a whole through the various structures in which they are organised, from sports bodies to chambers of commerce to community-based organisations and faith-based groups.

"We will reach out to the veterans of the movement to ensure that they play a meaningful role in rebuilding the ANC and restoring its values. In doing this, we will build unity of purpose, ensuring that the ANC is strengthened as a vanguard of the process of social transformation.

"In electing the new national leadership of the organisation, delegates at the 54th National Conference gave the new leadership a clear and unequivocal mandate to unite the movement, the alliance and the people of South Africa," Ramaphosa said.

African News Agency/ANA