Independent Media photographers Matthews Baloyi and Bhekikaya Mabaso were at Orlando stadium for the ANC's 105th birthday celebrations.

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma hit the right notes with some aspects of his January 8 speech at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Zuma was giving his very last statement as the ruling party's President before the elective conference in December.

The the leader who was not much involved in door-to-door campaigns for the ANC's 105th birthday bash this time around was stern in his address.

He spoke of the challenges that hamper the organisation's progress and its efforts for unity. Zuma said the party, among other things, had to listen and be a humble organisation.

"We must learn from comrade OR Tambo and keep in mind that people must always have a saying in shaping policy and decisions."

Zuma declared this year as the 'year of Oliver Tambo.

He said the address was dedicated to the centenary of the late leader.

During his address Zuma didn't mince his words and reiterated most of his points much to the delight of the packed stadium.

He said the tasks of the movement were clear and that every member branch and structure had to focus on building the ANC.

He also stressed the importance of ending social-ills that crippled the party such as factionalism and corruption.

Read: #ANC105: Supporters declare their love for ANC

Also read: Zuma to address land reform at #ANC105

"In this regard, we call on all ANC members to be decisive and stem out gatekeeping, ill-discipline, factionalism, buying of members and the manipulation of internal processes. All of us must fight against these evils. They are undermining our organisation. We cannot continue with these practices. We must stem them out," he said.

Zuma called upon all members to be exemplary in their conduct and lead humble lifestyles as this is what Tambo would have wanted.

He reminded the almost 60 000 supporters – who braved the wet weather – that unity was vital in building the party.

"Our people have told us that we come across as too busy fighting one another. We must give our people hope against unemployment, inequality and not fight against each other."

Zuma said as the party moved towards the elective conference, branches and structures had to prepare themselves thoroughly, adding the leadership elected has to have a proven track record and put the ideals of people first.

While the ANC Women's League has endorsed African Union chairperson and its national executive committee member Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the party's next leader, Zuma said OR Tambo recognised that the struggle for national liberation was linked to the emancipation of women.

"The ANC commits that we will improve womens' access to economic opportunities, business finances and credit so that women can pursue business opportunities."

Noting the work that remains to be done by the ANC-led government, Zuma touched on land reform, small businesses, state-owned enterprises and the proposed minimum wage of R 3500.

"There is a need to broaden the industrial base through training the manufacturing sector which has a great job creation potential.

"The manufacturing sector recorded more than 7000 new jobs within the first six months of 2016. We call on South Africans, particularly young black female entrepreneurs to take advantage of all programmes including black industrial programmes. Continual support must be provided to state-owned enterprises."

Zuma continued: "We commend Eskom for stabilisation on the electricity grid which has a good impact on the economy. There has been no load-shedding since last year. Importantly, the SOEs much actively encouraged the entrance of new players, especially black-owned SMEs as part of economic transformation. Training of young people is critical as we develop skills for the economy and empower our youth."

He said the party was encouraged by the recent increase in commodity prices and is relatively confident that the country's mining sector will begin to show an improvement in the near future.

"The mining charter is being improved. We expect all mining companies to abide by their licences in improving living conditions of all workers."

To a loud applause, he also said the party congratulated the class of 2016 saying the ANC is especially proud of the Free State which achieved a 93.2 percent pass rate.

"This is a phenomenal achievement. Well done Free State."

He said it was equally commendable that an increase in the number of top learners were from government schools.

Check out our ANC turns 105 page here

"Our pro-poor policies are working and are successful," he said, adding this was seen through an increase in the number of free-fee schools and free meals provided at schools to improve the concentration and performance of learners.

In an attempt to remind the masses that the ANC has not forgotten about university students, who in the last two years showed their dissatisfaction with the exorbitant university fees through the #FeesMustFall movement, Zuma said: "Our success in Basic Education adds to the legitimate demands for affordable school education. We agree at a fundermental level that we must achieve our goal of free education for the poor and working class as per the prescription of the Freedom Charter and in line with the call of freedom charter that says higher education and technical training shall be open to all."

Zuma announced that the Presidential Commission into higher education and training will make its final recommendations on long-term funding of higher education and training. He reiterated that "as we await for the Commission to conclude its work the next few months we expect all higher education stakeholders and government to speak in one voice."

He commended strides made by the government in service delivery saying the ANC was proud that there was an increase in life expectancy from 60 years in 2012 to 62 years in 2014.

"South Africans are living longer due to improved healthcare," he said.

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