Address by the Secretary General of the ANC, Cde Elias Sekgobelo Magashule, during the occasion of a memorial lecture dedicated to the life and times of the late stalwart and former Secretary General of our national liberation movement, Cde Walter Sisulu
18 May 2019
The family of the late Stalwart of our National Liberation Movement, Cde Walter Sisulu, led by Cde Lindiwe Sisulu, member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, and the
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation,
Members of the National Executive Committee of the ANC present,
The provincial Chairperson of the ANC, Cde Sam Mashinini, and the entourage of the Provincial Executive Committee of the Free Stare,
The Premier of the Province of the Free State, comrade Sisi Ntombela,
The Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Council comrade Olly Mlamleli,
The President of the ANC Women's League, Cde Bathabile Dlamini, and the entourage of the members of the National Executive Committee of the ANC women's League accompanying her,
The leadership of the ANC Youth League,
The leadership of the ANC Veterans League present,
The leadership of the South African Communist Party,
The leadership of the Congress of the South African Trade Union,
The leadership of the South African Civic Movement,
The leadership of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association,
All Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislators,
people against pass and liquor raids, permits and influx control.
ANC Cde Walter Sisulu attended the first National Conference of the ANC in 1942 as a delegate from his Orlando branch. He and his co- delegate from the branch, Cde Leslie Gama, sponsored a motion at plenary for the formation of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). This, he became instrumental in the formation of the ANCYL, and the processes that led up to its founding conference in 1943, where comrade Anton Lembede became the first President, comrade O.R. Tambo became the Secretary General and comrade Walter Sisulu himself became the Treasurer.
He was amongst the young generation of the time to participate in the plenary session of the historic National Conference of the ANC of 1943. It was during this National Conference that the new constitution defining the ANC not as a federal, but a unitary movement, was adopted. It was during the Conference that the House of Chiefs was abolished, and the branches of the ANC were adopted as the basic units of the Movement.
It was in 1949 here in the town of Bloemfontein (Mangaung) when history was made. It was here where the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC gathered to seek to find solutions to the plight of the oppressed African people. That critical, painful and heart-felt search led them to this place of Bloemfontein, the Mecca of politics.
It was also in 1912, after the Boers and the British had signed the treacherous treaty of Vereeniging which excluded the African people, that the leading lights of the day came here in Bloemfontein to find a solution. When the inevitable outcomes of the objective realities of time gave birth to our glorious Movement, the ANC, in this sacred church where we are gathered now.
In 1948 The Nationalist Party took over government in a hotly contested whites only election that saw the humiliating defeat of the United Party led by Jan Smuts. Dr D.F. Malan won a land slide victory, and wasted little time when he passed a litany of oppressive laws such as the Group Areas Act, Bantu Education Act, Population Registration Act, Immorality Act, and also initiated the Homelands System and the Suppression of Communism Act. All these heinous laws were codified under one philosophy and the racist doctrine of Apartheid.
Bloemfontein became a place of refuge when the Africans were hunted, denuded of their dignity, treated like a dogs and spat upon in broad day light. They came here to ease their burden of grief, and to re-energize the movement of Langalibalele Dube, of Solomon Plaatjie, of Pixey ka Isaka Seme in order to face the their mortal enemy, age, and are willing to take charge of our affairs.
Nelson Mandela once warned us that:
"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." So it must not be argued that we are motivated by hate. We are motivated by the quest for justice. It is an irrefutable truth that for long as the poor are poor, the rich cannot sleep at night.
As we remember comrade Walter Sisilu we dare not betray our true struggle for cheap media headlines, nor for the crumbs that come from the well laden table of White Monopoly Capital. We dare not betray our people with a view to gain favours from those who owe us our very wealth.
Comrades, we must be resolute and steadfast! We are heading for troubled times, and we are surely coming for what is ours!
In memory of our late Secretary General of the ANC, and son of our soil, comrade Walter Sisulu, our unwavering determination is to implement the Resolutions of our historic 54th National Conference. Our determination is to foster a new momentum for the fundamental Radical Economic Transformation (RET) of our socio-economic landscape.
Our mandate is to expropriate land without compensation, our mandate is to nationalize the Reserve Bank, our mandate is transform the financial institutions and banks in order to serve the needs of our people, our mandate is to implement national health insurance, our mandate is to implement the minimum wage, our mandate is to stop retrenchment of the working class, our mandate is to stop privatization of state own enterprises (SOE's), our mandate to achieve free and universal education, our mandate is the transfer of the political and socio-economic power into the hands of the overwhelming majority of our people, Africans in particular, and the black people in general.
In memory of this outstanding heroic son of our people, we shall remain organizational and defend the resolutions of our national conference. We will work for PRINCIPLED UNIITY in order to carry out our sacred mandate. Brick by brick we shall work with determination, and give no-one a quarter to undermine the will of the branches of the ANC. which are - and must always be - the basic units of our organization.
We again take the opportunity thank the people of our country and the province of the Free State for the confidence they have bestowed upon the ANC during the recent national general elections and we are indeed humbled by your continuing support to our glorious National Liberation Movement, the African National Congress.
Issued by ANC, 18 May 2019