Speaking notes for the provincial secretary of the ANC at uniondale youth day


Comrade Programme Director

Comrades of the NEC, PEC, REC of the ANC present

The leadership comrades from the Leagues: the Veteran’s League, Women’s League and Youth League

Comrades from the leadership of the Alliance: the SACP, COSATU and SANCO

Comrades, especially the leadership of the ANC here in Uniondale

Importance of the 1976 generation

Today is an important day in the lives of our people but also our young people. Today, 43 years ago, young people took up the baton and decided to lead the struggle against apartheid.

Like today, the ANC was going through a difficult period at the time. The banning of the ANC, SACP and PAC, and other liberation organizations, in the early 60’s, in the wake of the Sharpeville Massacre, was the beginning of a difficult period during the struggle.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the ANC had a low profile, with its most skilled and prominent leaders in jail, while there were hardly any structures in South Africa.

It was also a time for setting up the organization in various parts of the world, as well as for building camps in exile, even though before 1976 these camps didn’t have many fighters in them.

What was happening in the camps and the organization generally was factionalism, patronage and nepotism. By the end of the 1960’s: 1969 in fact, exactly 50 years ago, the ANC’s leadership received the Hani Memorandum. The Hani document identified some of the challenges that the ANC faced then and even today…

It was the youth in 1976, who started off the next wave of anti-apartheid struggle campaign. Our generation of young people can testify to the struggles and how we pursued the struggle during those days of the late 70’s and 80’s. We organized around community issues, we organized around building political education structures and we organized around ensuring that the issues of young people were championed. 

This was our response to the challenges in the ANC and the struggle against apartheid at the time. This was our generation of young people’s response to the challenges faced by our communities. As a result, we pursued a struggle so strong against apartheid that in 1983 the UDF was formed.

1976 was the start to a period where many of our generation had their spells in detention. Those uprisings in our schools and in our communities started the period of mass action. We were able to make the “Free Mandela and all our political prisoners” campaign alive. We organized and had street committees, block committees, and were organized around the issues of our communities such as rates, water, electricity, basic bread and butter issues. 

This was our response to the malaise that the ANC had found itself in by 1976. 


What can we learn from the 1976 generation today?

Today, the ANC is a party in governance nationally but not provincially and not locally in our municipality, our question must become: how do we mobilize our communities as we did in 1976? How do we address the issues faced by the ANC today as we did in 1976?

How do we:

  •  Mobilise like we did in 1976, the 1980’s?
  • Organize around communities issues like we did in that period?
  • Deal with the organizational issues that faced in the organization at that time?
  • Ensure that the ANC enjoys legitimacy and hegemony, in our communities, as it did during the 80’s?
  • Organize on a street level, community level?

Sometimes we think that the ANC has never been weaker or had the amount of challenges that it has today. Yet we forget that the ANC was once a banned organization, yet we were able to win the fight against apartheid. Our leaders were imprisoned and yet we were able to form organization and mobilize. Things were worst than they are today…

Comrades, organising around our community issues:

The leadership of the ANC in Uniondale has forwarded a document “Small Town Regeneration Strategy” where some of the issues, challenges and solutions have been identified. 

We have forwarded this document to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office and to Comrade Ebrahim Patel’s office as well. Comrade Patel is the new Minister of Trade and Industry and Economic Development. We will have to forward the document to Comrade Blade Nzimande – the new Minister of Higher Education, Training, Science and Technology as well. It will also be good to get the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development involved as well. 

That document from Uniondale identifies the following issues as needing to be addressed and with possible solutions:

  •  Agro-processing
  • Cultivation and processing of honey bush tea
  • Production of essential oils for export
  • Building pesticide production plants and fertilizer plant
  • Producing of bio diesel
  • Motor vehicle, truck services, tyre replacement and auto-electrician stations
  • Large grocery cloths, food outlets and the starting of a clothing factory
  • Education  – training for our young people in robotics and coding
  • Local university or a college
  • Eco tourism and expansion in the hospitality industry

We must commend the leadership of Uniondale, who in leading the community, identified these issues – we can must mobilise and organise around making these a reality….

Yes, government can come in and assist but government cannot make this happen…you must, the community must make this happen…we as the leadership in the province and region can bring in President Ramaphosa, we can instruct the Minister to give Uniondale attention but we can’t make it happen – that is for the ANC on the ground – you, comrades – need to make it happen…

This community economic development plan works well in our time – where the ANC has identified radical economic transformation as our aim in this time of our freedom. We must ensure that while we may have achieved political freedom, we also achieve economic freedom as well…

Just like the theme for this year’s elections was: Let’s make SA grow together – so too our theme for Uniondale must be: let’s make Uniondale grow together…together – government, labour in Uniondale, community organizations – churches, mosques, sports clubs, cultural organizations – and businesses, especially small businesses – make Uniondale grow together…

One of the key pillars of the Elections Manifesto was to Transform the economy – in your document you identify which sectors and industries need to be given attention to transform the economy of Uniondale – agro processing, honey bush tea, essential oils for export, pesticide and fertilizer plants, and bio diesel.

You give attention to vehicle and truck repairs tyre replacements and auto electricians, all are important services given the strategic positioning of Uniondale on the N9 – between George or Oudtshoorn and Willowmore and Colesburg

Key is also the establishment of the local commercial hub of grocery stores, clothing and food outlets and clothing factory…eco tourism and hospitality are also identified for expansion…

Another key pillar in the Elections Manifesto was to ensure the Social Transformation of our country – in Uniondale, comrades, we are proposing the establishment of tertiary institution, especially for robotics and coding – especially in the light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In other words, the ANC must welcome that the community of Uniondale has identified these important issues – especially education – as a key to transformation. 

On this Youth Day, we must encourage our young people to take school and learning seriously. We must encourage them to improve their skills development. We must encourage our young people to become competitive and plough their skills back into their community. There is no need for them to go to Oudthsoorn or George to get work. They must be able to build the economy of Uniondale. Only our young people can do that – if they are skilled and take schooling seriously…

Another key pillar of our elections is re-building and renewing a capable and developmental state. 

When former deputy minister Andries Nel came to Uniondale – the community raised some issues regarding the neglect of the DA run George municipality of Uniondale. 

We know that the DA has no time for the people outside of Cape Town. They have hardly any time for places like George and Oudtshoorn and even less time for places like Uniondale. 

We saw in 2016 – that both Ward 24 and 25 – were won by the ANC. Not with an overwhelming majority but with a majority. 

In 2016, the ANC in Ward 24 received 751 votes whereas the DA received 612 votes. In ward 25, the ANC received 1300 votes and DA received 1175 votes. So close to each other but the ANC won.

In 2019, the ANC received 706 votes in Ward 24 whereas the DA received 477 votes. In other words, both the ANC and the DA came down. In Ward 25, the ANC received 1232 and DA 919 votes. Again, both ANC and DA came down but DA came down more than the ANC.

In other words, our people across the province are not pleased with the DA. Our answer cannot be simple to this challenge – we must choose the road less travelled and that is to win George municipality outright. 

We cannot just think about the people in Uniondale – we must think of all our people in George municipality. We must increase our votes substantially in Uniondale so that we can convince comrades in George to win the municipality. 

The fight for the municipality starts today! Our road towards victory in 2021 starts today! We must unite the ANC especially in George so that we can consolidate the base – which is our African and Coloured areas and move to victory in 2021. 

You have identified the issues, you have laid a solid groundwork for a good elections campaign – around these issues and the ANC national government will assist in this respect. Now it is for comrades in Uniondale, in George to unite and claim victory.

The statistics suggest that an ANC victory in George is possible if the ANC comrades are resolved to work together. 


Uniting towards 2021

2021 is what we must have in mind as we move towards our provincial conference. The ANC must use the next three months – till when the provincial conference is to be held at the end of September – to unite and to resolve to win in 2021. 

We must use this upcoming conference to reflect on what is key: our community and its issues must be key. 

We can’t be looking inwards all the time as the ANC. We cannot be looking only at personalities, positions and people in the ANC.

Yes, even during the elections – when we were supposed to be defeating the real enemy: the DA – we were fighting each other. We saw these fights spill over into the media immediately after the elections when people refused to take responsibility for the elections result. We take responsibility – we take collective responsibility for the elections result but we must work collectively towards 2021.

Let us learn the lessons of these past elections. Let us learn the lessons of the generation of 1976. 

Let us unite and mobilize around these issues that comrades have identified and let us work to ensuring that the time to the provincial conference is used as a time to unite and putting the issues of our people first.



Share Button