On the occasion of the 92nd Anniversary of our movement, the African National Congress, we extend our best wishes to all our people for a successful year 2004. We are convinced that our country will continue to make new advances as we continue to work for its reconstruction and development and the building of a people centred society.
We also extend our congratulations to the young people who, because of their attention to their studies, successfully accomplished their Matriculation. We also salute the parents and teachers who have continued to apply themselves to the task of educating these young people, resulting in the constantly improving pass and exemption rates.
Three important events will mark this year.
One of these will be the holding of our third democratic general elections to elect our national and provincial legislatures.
The second will be the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Democracy, the First Decade of Freedom.
The third will be the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the ANC Youth League, which will also hold its 22nd Congress this year.
Our activities as we engage these seminal events must help to consolidate the advances we have made since our liberation in 1994. They must further strengthen the basis for us to move forward faster towards the achievement of the goal of a better life for all.
When we celebrated our 90th anniversary in 2002, we pledged that in the decade during which we will advance to the Centenary of the ANC, the struggle against poverty would be the centrepiece of our strategy further to consolidate and deepen the national democratic revolution.
We also called on our people to join in a popular movement for reconstruction and development, rallying around the traditional African practices of letsema and vuk`uzenzele, characterised by both mutually beneficial collective work and individual self-reliance. The people responded to this call in an inspiring manner.
As we advance towards the next elections and the celebration of our First Decade of Liberation, we must work harder to draw more of our people into the letsema and vuk`uzenzele campaigns. We must strengthen the people`s contract to push back the frontiers of poverty and expand access to jobs and a better life for all.
Victories in the struggle against poverty
During the past year, the 91st year of the fighting existence of our movement, we continued to score new victories in the struggle to improve the lives of our people. We made new advances as we pursued the goals we had set ourselves when we adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme, ten years ago.
More houses were built to accommodate the poor of our country, whom our oppressors had treated as disposable commodities. We built more classrooms so that none of our children should study under trees. We constructed new clinics and supplied them with health workers and medicines so that our people could have easy and free access to health facilities, so that they could improve their health and the quality of their lives.
We expanded the infrastructure to provide the goods and services denied to the masses of our people by those who had ruled our country as our racist masters. This includes water, sanitation, electricity, telephones and roads.
We increased social grants to the elderly, the children and people with disabilities and worked to ensure that those entitled to these grants received them. We made food available to those who are indigent and destitute. We increased the numbers of the poor with access to basic social services, such as water and electricity.
This means that we were able to reach and improve the lives of more people confronted by the scourge of poverty. This progress with regard to poverty alleviation was consistent with the undertaking we made during our 90th anniversary that the fight against poverty would take centre stage in the sustained advance of the national democratic revolution.
We continued to expand access to education as well as improve the quality of this education. During the past year we have therefore seen an increase in the number of students from poor families gaining access to government finance to help them pay their way through our institutions of higher learning. We have seen continued improvement in our matriculation results.
We returned more land to those who had been dispossessed through the barrel of the gun. We extended assistance to larger numbers of our people so that they could use their land productively, to improve their standard of living.
More jobs were created as our economy continued to expand. We expanded assistance to small and medium business people so that they could contribute to the growth of the economy, improve their standards of living and create new jobs.
Through our Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) programmes, the technical colleges and other initiatives, we accelerated access to training opportunities for our working people so that they could pull themselves out of the pool of the poor, the unskilled, and the unemployed.
Through such important initiatives as the Umsobomvu Fund, the Integrated and Sustainable Rural Development and Urban Renewal Programmes, especially in the rural and urban nodes we identified, and the implementation of our procurement policies, we have succeeded to empower and advance more of our people, including women and the youth.
Through such institutions as the National Development Agency and the National Lottery, we have continued to increase the funds available to the voluntary development organisations of our country, so that these non-governmental and community based organisations can join the common effort to ensure a better life for all our people.
Because of better policing and other improvements in our criminal justice system, including better cooperation between the masses of our people and the Police Service, as well as increased popular consciousness of the importance of the challenge for us to fight against crime together, we have moved further forward towards the goal of safety and security for all.
We ensured that the government and the state acted in a manner that would create even better conditions for our economy to grow, develop and withstand the pressure of international competition.
The rates of inflation reached low levels, which our country had not achieved for many years, thus reducing the erosion of the value of the earnings of our working masses. This was accompanied by a decisive strengthening of the Rand enabling us to buy more for the same amount of money.
Interest rates also dropped to their lowest levels in many years. This improved the possibility for our people to gain access to affordable credit to expand their economic activities. It helped to reduce the debt burden of individuals and families so that they could spend more of their income on improving their lives rather than paying the moneylenders.
Government, business, labour and civil society also came together at the Growth and Development Summit to bind themselves together in a voluntary people`s contract to build our economy together and confront our economic challenges as one nation.
We brought new investors from the rest of the world to help our economy grow modernise itself, further penetrate the international markets and create new jobs. We created the conditions so that our Reserve Bank could reduce the public debt, so that more resources are available for the promotion of the objective of a better life for all.
We recorded new advances in the effort to deracialise our economy through black economic empowerment. The national budget set aside substantial funds to help finance the process of black economic empowerment, while other government programmes including procurement policies, continued to bring more black people into the economic mainstream.
Moved by the vision we share, of consolidating a people`s contract together to change our country for the better, various sectors of our economy negotiated Black Economic Empowerment Charters. They have committed themselves to be part of the national effort to ensure that we eradicate racism in our economy as speedily as possible.
Today we can say, without fear of contradiction, there are more people who enjoy an improved quality of life as we meet here in KwaZulu-Natal to celebrate the 92nd Anniversary of our movement, than there were when we convened in the North West Province to celebrate our 91st anniversary. Thus we have continued to honour the pledge we made to the nation, which is central to our character as a people`s movement, to free our people from poverty and underdevelopment.
Our country continued to increase its contribution to the African continental struggle for peace, democracy and prosperity. As part of this important process, we enlarged the contingents of the South African National Defence Force deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi that are playing a significant role in these sister countries as peacekeepers.
Our country continued to improve its image internationally as a home of hope for both our people and all humanity, a place of progress and peace and a welcoming destination for all our visitors. The steady increase of foreign visitors, and the successful hosting of the Cricket World Cup and the Golf President`s Cup confirmed this. Ever more of our people stood up to say - We are Proudly South African!
"A People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty"
However, even as we continue to score new victories in the struggle to build a humane society, we must constantly remind ourselves of our past of many centuries of colonialism and racism. We must focus on the reality that our urgent and immediate task is to eradicate the legacy we inherited from that past.
That legacy means we face many challenges which require a sustained effort over an extended period of time. The racial, gender and geographic imbalances and inequalities we inherited cannot be eradicated in a short period of time. The endemic poverty deliberately and systematically entrenched by the system of white minority rule cannot be totally eliminated overnight.
The social ills spawned by racist misrule over an extended period of time will neither disappear on their own, nor will we overcome them in a day. These include unemployment, disease, hunger, ignorance, crime including violence against persons, alcohol and drug abuse.
Accordingly, even as we celebrate the advances we have made to push back the frontiers of poverty and ensure that more people gain access to a better life, we must openly confront the challenge of a poor quality of life that continues to affect millions of our people.
This means that we must continue to intensify the fight against unemployment We must raise the struggle against poverty and all its manifestations to even higher levels. We must ensure that we move forward as fast as possible to end hunger, homelessness, death from preventable diseases, illiteracy and absence of skills.
During this year of the 92nd Anniversary of our movement, we will mark the end of the First Decade of Freedom and the beginning of the Second. This gives us the opportunity to set our agenda for the Second Decade of Liberation, to set our country on the road to meet the national goals our people have set themselves, as well as those set by the international community, to which we have committed ourselves.
These include the Millennium Development Goals decided by the 2000 UN Millennium Summit and those contained in the Johannesburg Programme of Action approved at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development.
But during this year, we will also hold our third general elections to choose the national and provincial governments that will lead our country to its 15th year of democracy. We therefore take the opportunity of the celebration of our 92nd Anniversary to launch our 2004 Election Manifesto. Quite appropriately, the Manifesto is entitled "A People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty".
For the first 82 years of its existence, the ANC identified the enemy of all our people as racism and white minority domination. It fought for an end to these evil practices, to set all our people free, both black and white.
Even at our founding conference in 1912, Pixley ka Isaka Seme had said: "We have called you.to this conference so that we can together devise ways and means of forming our national union for the purpose of creating national unity and defending our rights and privileges."
To achieve this goal, our movement always worked to mobilise as many of our people as possible to join the struggle for the construction of a non-racial democracy. This gave concrete expression to the perspective of a people`s contract for liberation, to ensure that our people moved forward as speedily as possible towards their emancipation.
It was out of this conviction and practice that the 1935 All-African Convention came into being, and after it, the Congress Movement. It gave birth to and sustains the Tripartite Alliance.
When we observed the 70th Anniversary of our movement in 1982, during the period of intensified conflict between the forces of freedom and those of apartheid and oppression, our movement put forward the historic call - act in unity and unite in action!
This led to the formation of the United Democratic Front, the strengthening of the mass democratic movement and the emergence of the Patriotic Front that acted together to bring about a negotiated end to the system of apartheid.
It also gave birth to the powerful world anti-apartheid movement that united the peoples of the world from all corners of the globe to join us in confronting the common enemy, the apartheid crime against humanity.
In the aftermath of the political victory of the national democratic revolution, our movement has identified the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, of poverty and underdevelopment as the common enemy that confronts all our people.
All of us know the meaning of this. Everyday we see its impact on the lives of millions of our people. We also know that we cannot say that we have constructed a people centred society until we have eradicated this legacy.
We also know that until we have made decisive advances against this legacy, including the terrible inheritance of racism and sexism, we will remain with the seeds of instability that can put the survival of our non-racial democracy at risk.
Poverty and underdevelopment are therefore not only a challenge for the poor The legacy of apartheid and racism imposes suffering on those who were the victims of discrimination and oppression, and the pain of uncertainty about the future among those who, willingly or otherwise, benefited from this system. Unemployment is a problem both for the jobless and those who lead comfortable lives.
Deprivation and marginalisation has serious social implications not only for the alienated but also those who occupy secure positions within our society. Our history has made it unavoidable that all our people, black and white, cannot but share not only one country, but also a common destiny.
It is to unite our people, together to determine this common destiny that our movement 2004 Election Manifesto is boldly entitled "A People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty". It contains the national programme of action we have to implement together, united in a people`s contract to push back the frontiers of poverty and expand access to a better life for all.
It says that we must work to ensure that our economy grows, to generate the resources we need to reduce the levels of unemployment, intensify the offensive against poverty, and improve the national infrastructure to ensure that we achieve higher, sustained rates of growth and development.
It directs that we should ensure sustainable livelihoods by training those who cannot find work because they have no skills. At the same time we should expand opportunities for all our people, including the youth and those in the rural areas so that they are also able to create new business and economic opportunities.
Manifesto 2004 says that we should ensure that all our people have access to affordable services, including water and sanitation, health facilities and housing, nutritious and adequate food, decent education for our children and youth, and improved government services by ensuring that all public sector workers work according to the principles of Batho Pele.
It informs us that we must provide comprehensive social security to ensure that none of our people falls into a situation of destitution, hopelessness and despair, abandoned by the new South Africa as an outcast.
Manifesto 2004 instructs us to fight against crime and corruption, strengthen the law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system as a whole, to improve the safety and security of all our people without discrimination.
It says that we must improve our system of governance, ensuring that all spheres of government, including the system of traditional leadership, as well as all other institutions work together further to deepen democracy and ensure that all our people actually exercise the rights guaranteed in our Constitution.
It directs that we should work further for the success of the African Renaissance, contributing whatever we can to the renewal of our continent, as well as working to improve the system of international governance to help create the conditions for the building of a world of peace and freedom, prosperity for all and equality and friendship among the peoples.
Manifesto 2004 says that we must strengthen the partnership among all our people, the people`s contract, to ensure that they act together with the government they will elect, to implement this programme of action and progress rapidly towards the achievement of the goal of a better life for all.
Renew the Democratic Mandate
This is the message we must take to all our people, throughout the length and breadth of our country, as we engage the election campaign so that, indeed, they join together once more to renew the mandate of the tried and tested representative of all our people, the African National Congress.
The election campaign and its outcome must help to reinforce the unity of the nation around the perspective spelt out by Manifesto 2004. Inevitably, there are those who will oppose us. These are people who will have chosen to exclude themselves from the people`s contract, to set themselves in opposition to the common and united national effort to build a winning and caring nation.
Our first Decade of Freedom and Democracy has demonstrated the capacity and willingness of our people drawn from all sectors and all races, to act together to confront the national challenges we face. They have practically demonstrated their commitment to respond to the calls to all of us to join together in a national letsema and to uphold the practice of vuk`uzenzele.
Unlike some who will visit them during the election campaign, asking for support, these masses cannot be opposed to their own advancement and the successful reconstruction and development of our country in the interest of all our people, black and white. They cannot and will not define themselves as an opposition to the goals of the movement united in a people`s contract to create work and fight poverty.
Our task is to ensure that we rally the largest numbers of our people democratically to renew the mandate of the people`s movement, the African National Congress, to continue governing our country as we achieve new advances during our Second Decade of Liberation.
Towards the Second Decade of Freedom
During the First Decade of Freedom, we worked hard and successfully to consolidate and entrench the democratic system created by the victory of the national democratic revolution. We have defeated all the forces of reaction that sought to deny our people these advances.
We have therefore laid the basis for us further to improve our system of governance to ensure that it serves the people of South Africa even more effectively and efficiently. Through a system of participatory governance, it must also reflect the translation into reality of the perspective that the people shall govern.
During this First Decade, we paid close attention to the task of ensuring that we transform a declining economy, encumbered by wrong policies and practices of the apartheid years. We have transformed it to one that is growing, developing and restructuring to respond to the needs of the people and the reality of international competition.
At the same time, we also made certain that we transform the public finances to facilitate the further growth of the economy and its capacity to generate the resources we need to fight poverty and work to meet the needs of the people.
It is on this basis that we have been able to take such initiatives as working steadily to close the wage gap within the public sector, in favour of the lowest paid workers. We have also steadily reduced the tax burden especially on those at the lower income levels, and put more money and other resources in the hands of the most vulnerable.
We have also been able to take the first steps to ensure that the economically marginalised in both urban and rural areas are empowered to join the economic mainstream. This has included support for small and medium business and black economic empowerment, vocational training and education, as well as such processes as the Programmes for Integrated and Sustainable Rural Development, Urban Renewal and the new Expanded Public Works Programme
As part of the process of the development of the necessary policies for the fundamental transformation of our society, on which we have focused during our First Decade of Democracy, during the year of the 91st anniversary of our movement, we advanced the proposition that we had inherited a country of two economies. The First is developed and part of the global economy, and the Second is characterised by poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation
We explained that these two economies do not necessarily respond to the same economic stimuli. It was therefore necessary to elaborate and implement the initiatives appropriate to each of these economies.
During the First Decade, we had carried out this work focusing on the First Economy. This is because without a strong First Economy, it would not have been possible for us to find the resources to develop the Second, except by borrowing these resources and thus building an unsustainable national debt.
Without reducing our focus on the First Economy, during the Second Decade we must pay special attention to the transformation of the Second Economy. The decision to carry out the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) constitutes an essential and important part of our response to the challenges of the Second Economy.
Together with the Rural and Urban Development Programmes, the Umsobomvu Fund provision of micro-credit by the public sector, properly tailored education and training programmes, and so on, the EPWP will give us the possibility further to intensify our offensive against poverty and underdevelopment, producing sustainable results.
During the First Decade of Freedom, we saw big and sustained increases in our expenditures on social grants. We did this to respond to the urgent need to support millions of our people who had been deliberately impoverished by the system of apartheid and trapped inside the Second Economy.
This ensured that these millions were not relegated to a situation of hopeless destitution, as had happened during the years of white minority rule. However, we are also determined that we should assist as many of our people as possible to move away from dependence on social grants.
It is obviously better and necessary that as many of our people as possible should be engaged in paid work, and thus earn their incomes through their own productive efforts.
As a people`s movement, we are determined that we should not undermine the dignity and self-esteem of our people and destroy their capacity to participate in the process of changing our country for the better, by permanently condemning them to dependence on welfare.
In any case, in the long run this would become unaffordable, as the economy would not be able to sustain a process of redistribution of wealth, not matched by increased participation in the production of that wealth.
For all these reasons, we have decided that during our Second Decade of Liberation, we have to pay the closest attention to increasing the economic opportunities available to those who can work, but have been unemployed and unemployable, marginalised and forced to depend on social grants or support by others. It is only in this way, by ensuring the transformation of the Second Economy, that we will move beyond the goal of poverty alleviation and make serious progress towards poverty eradication.
Everything we will do in this regard has become possible because of our success in ensuring the growth and development of the First Economy. Without this success, it would have been impossible to generate the resources needed to meet the challenges of the Second Economy.
This is the reason that, as the Chinese say, we should adopt a policy of walking on two legs. As we work to transform the Second Economy, we must ensure that the First Economy grows and develops to produce the resources, which, in part, will be directed to the accomplishment of the tasks posed by the Second Economy.
The challenges we face caused by the division of our country into two parts, one developed and the other underdeveloped, is a universal problem not confined to our country. Obviously to a lesser extent than us, all developed countries also experience this divide. And much worse is the enormous gulf between the developed North and the underdeveloped South.
We have the possibility to succeed in the struggle to bridge this divide in our country, essentially relying on our resources. This success would inevitably contribute important lessons to the rest of humanity about what we should do to reverse the negative outcomes of past and present global social and economic development, reinforced by the process of globalisation, resulting in skewed development according to which the rich get richer, and the poor, poorer.
This underlines both the enormity of the challenge we face, and the exciting possibility we have to help turn the page in terms of the development of modern human society.
During our First Decade of Liberation, we also made great progress in inspiring many of our people to share a common patriotism. The understanding has therefore grown that rather than spending their time criticising the government and others about the legacy of the apartheid system, they should see themselves as agents of change. Thus they would become part of the movement to ensure the development of a people driven process of progressive change to eradicate the centuries-old legacy of racism.
This important achievement, attained despite the reality of a historically deeply divided population, with each dedicated to the pursuit of its own unique interests, has provided us with the possibility to mobilise the majority to join the people`s contract to create work, fight poverty and ensure access to a better life for all.
As we begin our Second Decade of Liberation, we commit ourselves to do everything possible to push back the frontiers of poverty and expand access to a better life for all, to realise the people centred progress we have to achieve. In this regard, we must base ourselves firmly on the three strategic platforms we built during our First Decade of Liberation. These are:
an efficient system of government empowered to serve the people;
a strong and growing First Economy and a transformed Second Economy; and,
an inclusive people`s contract that transforms as many of our people as possible into conscious agents of change for the construction of a winning and humane society, based on the principles and practice of letsema and vuk`uzenzele, acting in unity anniting in action.
This confronts the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement with particular challenges. We have to organise ourselves and act in a manner that will help our country to achieve its national objectives. First among these is the struggle to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment.
In two elections, in 1994 and 1999, our people have demonstrated their confidence in the ANC by voting it into power. In the ten years of its mandate, it has not disappointed the people`s expectations, despite the severe constraints inherited from the apartheid system.
To this day, our movement remains the only political force in our country with a clear vision and programme on how to move forward to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous country. It is the only political force in our country with a proven and established record of what needs to be done successfully to give birth to such a society. It has an indelible and unquestionable history of struggle on the side of the people, refusing ever to betray their interests.
Accordingly, our first and immediate task is to unite in action to mobilise all sections of our population to register as voters, exercise their right to vote, and ensure a decisive renewal of the mandate of the ANC to govern and lead our country as it advances the national programme for development and reconstruction.
As agreed at our National General Council in 2000, and confirmed by the 51st National Conference of our movement in 2002, we must continue to pay particular attention to the development of the new cadres we require to help us accomplish our tasks.
Contrary to the perspectives advanced by the neo-liberal forces about small government and absolute reliance on market forces, it is perfectly obvious that the tasks of our developmental state are growing in extent and complexity.
Accordingly, we have to develop and nurture the cadres required to carry out these tasks, adding to the significant pool that has emerged during our First Decade of Democracy.
All our structures, including the branches and our members elected as local government councillors, must acquire sufficient knowledge of the transformation programmes we have spoken of.
They must do this so that all our members join in the campaign to mobilise our people to respond in even greater numbers to the call to participate in the letsema and vuk`uzenzele initiatives and become part of the people`s contract for the reconstruction and development of our country.
Since the year of our 90th anniversary, in 2002, we have demonstrated our capacity to mobilise these masses to join these initiatives. In the period ahead of us, as we meet the challenges of the Second Decade of Freedom, we must build on this experience further to encourage our people to participate in a people driven process of change.
We also call on the rest of the democratic movement to join the sustained campaign to mobilise all our people to become part of the people`s contract for progressive change.
A particular challenge also faces our country`s progressive trade union movement. This relates especially to those of the unions with members in public service. They must carry out the critically important task of educating and mobilising their members to understand and implement the principles of Batho Pele.
We have to ensure that greater numbers of our teachers are sensitised and empowered to provide adequate education for our children and youth. We must inspire nurses and other medical workers to treat all patients with the necessary compassion, care and dignity, dedicated to the important goal of health for all.
Similarly, workers within the criminal justice system, including the police and correctional service officials, must work in a manner that is sensitive to the national task to increase the level of safety and security for all our people. This is also true of those involved in social development, who have to help the most marginalised sectors of our society.
Those involved in development programmes, such as public works, infrastructure construction and maintenance, agriculture and so on, must also fully understand the need for them to work in a manner that helps the democratic state to meet its development challenges, to contribute to the eradication of the scourge of poverty and underdevelopment.
The trade unions should also work harder to ensure that both employed and unemployed workers benefit from the opportunities offered through our system of Sector Education and Training Authorities. This training and raising of skills levels is vital to the pursuit of our goals of ensuring that our economy grows and develops and reducing the levels of unemployment.
Needless to say, we also expect that our progressive trade unions will act to ensure that the agreements reached at last year`s Growth and Development Summit are honoured. Thus these unions would contribute to the further strengthening of the people`s contract that found expression through the convening of this Summit, which brought together government, business, the trade unions and civil society.
The progressive trade union movement has the possibility to make an important contribution with regard to meeting all these goals so that it becomes the progressive force for change expected by both our movement and the masses of our people.
We also call on those within the people focused development sector of civil society, the religious organisations, the community based and non-governmental organisations, to see themselves as part of, and organise themselves to participate in the multiple processes to push back the frontiers of poverty.
We will also have to intensify our work among those sections of our population, both black and white, who occupy more privileged positions in our society. We must encourage these also to lend a hand in the common national effort to defeat poverty and underdevelopment. These are compatriots who have the skills and resources that are desperately needed among those of our people who remain poor and marginalised.
Already, many people who fall within these sectors have joined this national effort. These include business people who have adopted Black Economic Empowerment Charters and sustained their social responsibility programmes, as well as our foreign corporate citizens. It also encompasses commercial farmers, practitioners in various professions, and religious organisations.
Building on this experience that reflects the new patriotism we have worked to promote, we must further strengthen this solidarity movement. By this means, we should exploit all resources and capacities available in our country to move forward as speedily and effectively as possible to meet the national challenge to eradicate the legacy of the past.
Forward to African Renaissance
Manifesto 2004 also correctly reflects on our tasks over the next five years with regard to Southern Africa, Africa and the world. We will continue to work to contribute whatever we can so that, together with all the peoples of our region and continent, we address the political, stability, economic and social problems that confront all of us, leading to the victory of the African Renaissance.
As agreed by the African Union at its 2003 Summit Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, we will also intensify our engagement with the Africans in the Diaspora so that we act together to overcome the consequences of a painful past of slavery, colonialism and racial oppression.
At the same time, we will continue to pursue the goal of the development of the world community of nations so that we rid our common world of the scourges of poverty, underdevelopment and hunger, terrorism, war and the denial of human rights.
In the end, it is only as a member of such a global community that we will be able to accomplish the strategic goals we have set for our country. Consistent with our long-standing policy of human and international solidarity, we will continue to apply ourselves to the task of contributing to the building of such a global community.
We Salute Our Best Cadres
On this important day on our calendar, the celebration of the 92nd Anniversary of the ANC, we are happy to announce the winners of the Sol Plaatje, Charlotte Maxeke, Anton Lembede and Z.K. Matthews Awards.
The winner of the Sol Plaatje Award goes to Ivory Park North Branch of the ANC in the Johannesburg region. The runner-up is the Mzukisi Skweyiya Branch in the Amathole region of the Eastern Cape.
The winner of the Charlotte Maxeke Award is the Kabokweni Ward 21 Women`s League Branch in the Ehlanzeni region of Mpumalanga. The runner-up is the Samora Machel Branch in the Cape Town Metro region.
The winner of the Anton Lembede Award is the Thabo Mbeki Branch of the Youth League in the Lejweleputswa region of the Free State. The runner-up is the Thomas Sindane Branch in the Ekangala region of Mpumalanga.
The winner of the Z.K. Matthews award are our councillors at Buffalo City in the Amathole region of the Eastern Cape. The runner-up are the councillors at Ekurhuleni Metro in Gauteng.
Our National Executive Committee has also decided to confer the high title of Isithwalandwe on Ray Simons, an outstanding leader of our workers and people who spent her entire adult life fighting for the freedom of all our people.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the comrades who have deservedly been honoured. Let the example they have set serve as our lodestar as we work to achieve a decisive victory at the 2004 General Elections and thus begin the Second Decade of Liberation well set to continue serving the people of South Africa.
Tribute to the Deceased
On this important occasion, we are also honoured to lower our banners in memory of the heroes, heroines and patriots who passed away during the year of our 91st Anniversary. These include Walter Sisulu, Mannie Brown, Mildred Holo, Ntombi Shope, Willem Boyce, Zinjiva Nkondo, Banoo Ginwala, Ephraim Mogale, Reggie Oliphant, M. Cachalia, Sipho Dube, Smiso Nkwanyana, Musa Dladla, Senorita Ntlabatise, Lionel Ngakane, Linda Mbeki-Jiba, Kiddy Moroke and Lesley Manyatela.
May they and other patriots rest in peace, certain that we will always honour their memory and follow the example they have set.
Manifesto 2004 concludes with this important message:
"Our goal is to create a South Africa in which all can experience an improving quality of life, enjoying equal human rights, with access to opportunities that freedom has brought us, and bound together as a nation by our humanity.
"The ANC speaks with confidence because it has been at the head of the national effort to change our country for the better. We know that together with you we can do more, better. We commit ourselves to do everything that is necessary and possible to meet these objectives."
On this day, we declare this, the 92nd fighting year of the people`s movement, the African National Congress, the Year of the Renewal of the Democratic Mandate!
Amandla ngawethu! Matla ke a rona! Forward to a decisive election victory!