Jacob Zuma's address to ANC Siyanqoba rally

The ANC president says his party has always upheld and protected the constitution


The President of the Republic and Deputy President of the ANC, Cde Motlanthe, Deputy President of the Republic and ANC Chairperson Cde Mbethe,

ANC Officials and NEC members,
Alliance leadership,
Veterans and stalwarts of our movement,
Representatives of fraternal movements worldwide and other election observer missions,
Comrades and Friends,
Fellow South Africans,

Greetings to all of you in all nine provinces of our beautiful country!

On Wednesday, we will go to the polls for the fourth time to elect new public representatives nationally and provincially.

We pay tribute to the generations of courageous women and men who sacrificed so much, so that we could exercise this right to vote, and so that we could be free.

The 2009 election is a defining moment for the ANC and the country.

Only a few months ago, pessimistic predictions were made about the ANC, by many who claim to know best. Our exuberant campaign has proven that the ANC continues to capture the imagination of our people as it has always done since 1912.

We have seen excitement about the ANC that we have not witnessed since the release of Madiba and the 1994 elections. The movement has come alive. The ANC brand is more popular than ever with young and old!

This election is about the tasks that we need to undertake, together, to further improve the quality of life.

Since the dawn of our democracy, 15 years ago next week, we have worked together to forge a united, peaceful nation out of the ashes of bitter division and conflict, discrimination and oppression.

We have steadfastly worked for reconciliation and nation building, and will continue to do so.

We reaffirm that South Africa belongs to all of us black and white. Working together we will ensure that no South African ever feels they are less valued than others because of their race, culture or religion.

Fellow South Africans,

We have come to the conclusion of our election campaign.

ANC leaders, the Alliance partners and volunteers worked hard nationally sending the ANC message across to the population. We have told our people that we have achieved much in the past 15 years, but there is still much more to be done.

We communicated our five priorities as well as our plans on nation building, deepening our Constitutional democracy and promoting social cohesion - all with a purpose of building a better life for all.

On education, we call on our children, teachers, lecturers, parents, administrators and community members, to join us as we move towards the objective of free, compulsory and quality education for all.

Together we will expand the number of no-fee schools, to ensure that poverty is no longer a barrier to a decent education.

We will work to improve the quality of teaching, with particular emphasis on science, maths and technology.

We will ensure that learners and teachers are in class and that learning is taking place, that schools have the facilities they need, and learners the materials they require.

Working together we will increase financial support to those who want to enter higher education, particularly among the poor, and increase the number of graduates with the skills needed to develop our economy.

We call on all health workers, doctors, nurses, patients, medical students, administrators, health department officials, NGOs, hospitals, clinics, medical aid schemes and pharmaceutical companies, to join us in building a sustainable and affordable health care system.

Together we will begin the massive task of putting in place a national health insurance system that provides health care to all South Africans free at the point of service.

We will continue to upgrade public health facilities and build new ones in under-serviced areas. We will work to improve the management capacity in these facilities to reduce waiting times.

We will ensure that medicines and other resources are available when needed.

We call on all police officials, correctional services officials, judicial officers, public servants, residents associations, community policing forums, street committees, private security companies and citizens, to join us in the fight against crime.

We need to make sure that the police and courts work properly, that criminals remain behind bars, and that we tackle the causes of crime.

Together we will overhaul the criminal justice system, and ensure that it is modern, efficient, and responsive.

We will improve the training and conditions of service of the police and other law enforcement officials, and ensure that they have the resources they need to carry out their work.

Working together we will do more to fight corruption. We are determined that no individual in a position of responsibility should enrich themselves with resources that rightly belong to the people.

We will strengthen procurement measures within government and ensure that tendering processes are more transparent and less open to manipulation.

Working together, we will speed up the land reform process. We will ensure that those who receive land have the financial and technical support to work the land.

We call on the emerging and established farmers, farm workers, labour tenants, traditional leaders, local government representatives and officials, to join us in ensuring that the land indeed belongs to all who work it.

They must ensure that it is worked productively, and that it can feed the nation.

We will invest in rural infrastructure and services, and strive to ensure that rural people have access to decent schools, roads, electricity, water and health care facilities.

To support the vulnerable, especially in rural areas, we will continue to provide the old age pension, disability and children's grants, currently received by more than 12, 8 million South Africans.

The grants remain the most effective government poverty alleviation mechanism to date.

We call on workers, business people, professionals, entrepreneurs, informal traders and the unemployed, to join us in building an economy that continues to grow, and that creates decent work for more and more of our people.

Together we will provide support to key sectors of the economy and strengthen manufacturing, mining, tourism, agriculture and others.

Together we will work to reduce the impact of the global economic crisis on our economy and our people.

We will forge partnerships to reduce job losses, and ensure that our economy has a solid foundation for renewed growth once the recovery begins.

Together we will undertake the largest programme of public investment in infrastructure in this country's history.

We will expand and improve railways, public transport, ports, dams, housing, telecommunications and energy generation.

Together we will expand the public works programme to give millions work experience and skills.

Working together we will continue the transformation of our economy, and strengthen and improve the implementation of our policies on Affirmative Action and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.

You have told us what you want to be done differently in the new administration.

Together we must build a caring, responsive and efficient administration. We must create effective two-way interactive communication between the government and the people.

We will establish a toll free hotline and an interactive website in the Presidency so that you can tell the President of the Republic about all your concerns and suggestions.

In that way, citizens will be able to assist us to monitor government departments and ensure that public servants and elected public representatives do their work.

We will also ensure better planning, monitoring and evaluation of government business through the establishment of a planning commission in the Presidency.

Through careful planning and monitoring, we will be able to avoid overspending, under-spending and the misuse of government funds through fruitless expenditure and other untoward behaviour.

Compatriots, together we must put sport back into our national psyche as it was in 1995. We will speed up the revival of school sport and ensure that it forms part of the school curriculum. In addition, the ANC government will ensure that the provision of sport facilities in poorer communities receives priority.

We will create further opportunities for the training of sports administrators, referees and coaches so as to improve standards in sport.

Together we must demonstrate active support for international sports tournaments. Yesterday marked the beginning of the DLF Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket competition in Cape Town. Â On the 14th of June, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament will kick off at this very stadium.

Let us support these tournaments and show the world that we deserve to host the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup!

Fellow citizens, we worked hard to develop a Constitution that is the envy of many in the world.

We have worked hard to defend and protect the Constitution from Opposition parties and many others who, even as we speak, want to tamper with it in various ways.

Our track record speaks for itself. We use our majority responsibly and in an inclusive manner. In 15 years that it has been in power, the ANC has never used its electoral mandate to change the Constitution.

It has never tried to subvert or ignore the ruling of the Constitutional Court or any other court or constitutional structure.

We will always uphold, defend, promote and protect the Constitution of our country and all our democratic institutions.

Amongst the key principles in the Constitution is that of the separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary, with appropriate checks and balances.

We reaffirm our commitment to constitutional governance, the independence of the judiciary, respect for due process and the rule of law. We reiterate that like all institutions, the judiciary is also expected to undergo transformation. When we comment on the pace of transformation in the judiciary, it is not because we want to infringe on its independence, but seek faster action. Our Constitution enshrines freedom of expression and the independence of the media. Working together we must promote access to information.

We will continue to protect, defend and promote media freedom as we have always done. However, we reiterate that the media, like all other institutions, must be transformed.

Like all institutions in our country, it must strive to reflect South African society in terms of ownership, staffing, gender and content.

Together as a nation, we must work to build a media that is free, diverse, critical and independent ... a media that can inform, entertain and empower all our people.

Fellow South Africans, as we prepare for the election on Wednesday, we call on South Africans ... white, black, coloured, Indian, African ... to join us in building a nation that is a beacon of tolerance, equality, non-racialism, and unity in diversity.

We call on all South Africans "women and men" to join us in building a nation in which no person can be discriminated against because of their gender.

Join us in building a society where no woman is subjected to discrimination, fear, abuse or violence.

We call on all South Africans "of all faiths and convictions" to join us in building a nation founded on the principle and practice of ubuntu.

We must build a society in which each of us finds our humanity in the humanity of others; in which each of us bears responsibility for the dignity and well-being of each other.

As we end the campaign, we extend our sincerest gratitude to our Isithwalandwe and icon, President Nelson Mandela, who instructed the ANC President to organise an election rally in the Eastern Cape for him to attend. He came out of retirement at his age to boost the election effort.

Thank you Dalibhunga, for being a President, father and stalwart whose loyalty to the ANC we will never doubt.

We thank all comrades, the hard working volunteers, Women's League and Youth League, the SACP, Cosatu, SANCO as well as many patriotic musicians and actors who worked tirelessly on the campaign trail.

We worked as a united army of an advanced progressive force.

We applaud the youth of our country for adding spark, excitement and colour to our election campaign. We learnt from you that it is "cool" to be in the ANC and that the ANC "rock"! We wish the nation's 18 year olds well as they vote for the first time on Wednesday.

We have run a good race, we have fought a good fight. We are satisfied with the impact of our campaign. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the roadshow, so have the masses of our people.

All that is left, is for the young and old, go out and give the ANC the biggest majority it has ever received since 1994!

There is nothing in the Constitution that says a massive majority for the ruling party is bad for democracy, especially a party that has a track record of upholding the Constitution like the ANC!

We have achieved a lot over the last 15 years. There is still much more to be done.

Working together, we can do more to build a better life for all.

Vote ANC on the 22nd of April!


Issued by the African National Congress, April 19 2009

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