Ramaphosa: Normal people are not interested in factional battles

"Unity and discipline combined constitute the cornerstone on which our movement was founded and sustained," the party's deputy president told delegates at the rerun of the conference on Saturday.

"The conference must lead to unity in the ANC."

Ramaphosa urged delegates to strive for values supported by the African National Congress's leaders in the past.

He said members should understand that divisions within the party would inevitably undermine the effective functioning of the organisation to the benefit of its enemies.

Ramaphosa said the lack of unity and discipline in the province was evident by the court order that declared the Free State leadership illegal in 2012.

"Taking the ANC to court must be discourage and must end."

The ANC leader said even the courts themselves had indicated that they did not want to get involved in how the ANC was run.

Allow the views of the majority
Ramaphosa said members had to allow the views of the majority and the decisions of higher structures to prevail at all times.

He told delegates the ANC wanted to run its own organisation and invited those members who felt to be outside it, back so that problems could be resolved.

Referring to leadership elections, Ramaphosa said leadership in the ANC must not be seen as a vehicle to self-enrichment.

He said the ANC, due to it popularity, had attracted people who did not share its vision of creating a better life for all.

He said those members were only interested in self-enrichment programmes which came about through corruption, patronage, political killings, careerism, factionalism and ill discipline.

"We must take bold action to reverse these negative trends."

Ramaphosa told the Free State members that normal people were not interested in factional battles or who their leaders would be.

"They are only looking for answers on how service delivery could be accelerated [for] water [and] electricity and how their schools could work better."

'Deliver what the community wants'
Ramaphosa said normal people pinned their hopes on delegates to elect people who were servants of the people, not their bosses.

"Today, go into that booth, choose people you know would deliver what the community wants," he said.

A provincial task team was appointed by the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) in December to rerun the conference after the Constitutional Court held that the province's 2012 conference was illegal.

A group of six local ANC members successfully challenged the legality of the previous Free State leadership after the last conference.

The group succeeded in getting the Constitutional Court to declare the provincial executive committee's (PEC) decisions and resolutions unlawful and invalid, because the ANC had not addressed certain irregularities about the conference.

As a result, the PEC was dissolved.

Earlier this week, the provincial task team and NEC members deployed to the province announced that they were ready to rerun the conference.

Unions pledge support for ANC
Early on Saturday hundreds of party delegates and provincial and national leaders of the party gathered at the Phakisa Raceway near Welkom for the new conference.

Various speakers from organisations gave messages of support and called on party members to put their differences aside and work for a united African National Congress.

Youth leaders commended Free State premier Ace Magashule for what he had done for the youth.

A South African Students' Congress representative commended the ANC leadership for helping youth to get access into higher education. He was referring to some 7 000 student bursaries the Free State government had given young people.

Speakers from South African National Civic Organisation, the Congress of South African Students, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions also pledged their support for the ANC. – Sapa

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