ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the governing party is going through a very challenging time, and if late ANC struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were alive, she would have called for unity and the renewal of the organisation.
“Politically we are going through a very challenging time as the ANC and she would have been at the forefront arguing that we should continue the project of uniting the African National Congress because when you unite the ANC, you also unite the South African nation,” Ramaphosa said.
“And she would have been saying that is the task that we need to be seized with on an ongoing basis, finding ways at a practical level to continue to unite this great glorious movement of our people that has led them since 1912 through the 82 years of struggle and until we won our freedom in 1994,” he added.
Ramaphosa was speaking on Good Friday at a wreath-laying ceremony organised by the ANC at the grave site of Madikizela-Mandela at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.
Friday marks the third anniversary of the passing of the ANC veteran who passed away in 2018.
Renewing the ANC
The president said Madikizela-Mandela never promoted her own personal interests and made “sure that we always put the ANC ahead of our own personal interests”.
“And it is this that we remember about Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a person who always put the interests of the African National Congress ahead of her own interests,” he said.
“She would also have been saying we need to focus on the whole process of renewal. Renewing the ANC in the way that it functions, and it should be principled renewal.”
The ANC this week took a decision on its 2017 Nasrec elective conference resolutions that members facing criminal charges should voluntarily step down from their positions within 30 days or face suspension.
This has resulted in the party being at loggerheads over the implementation of the resolution, with some members in support of corruption-accused secretary-general Ace Magashule against the rule.
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Ramaphosa said the ANC went to Madikizela-Mandela’s grave site not only to honour her but to also draw inspiration from her and the values she stood for.
“And to respect her and to make sure that her name does remain prominent in the annals of our movement. In spiration in regard to promoting the interests of the ANC and making sure that we always put the ANC ahead of our own personal interests.
“But also focusing on what needs to be done to improve the lives of our people, which is what she was most concerned about at any given time,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that South Africans were also going through a difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the pandemic had caused a of great difficulties in the lives of citizens, and if Madikizela-Mandela were still alive, she would have been concerned about the socio-economic struggles.
“So today we are here to remember her fondly and with great love. We are here to draw inspiration from her. She could not be silenced by the apartheid evil ruler of our country and we will not allow her to be silenced.
“Her words and what she stood for is what we will always remember,” he said.
ANC leaders including the Mandela family were expected to attend Easter church service at Methodist Church in Meadowlands, Soweto, after the wreath-laying ceremony.
We are going through a difficult time economically & politically; cde Winnie Madikizela Mandela would have been at the forefront, arguing that we need to continue with the project of uniting the ANC; because when you unite the ANC, ipso facto, you unite the South African nation. pic.twitter.com/wGrULCOkzh
— Cyril Ramaphosa ???????? #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) April 2, 2021