Tue. Jan 21st, 2020




It is a singular honour for us as members of the Veterans League to be given an opportunity to pay tribute to these gallant fighters of the struggle for the liberation of South Africa.

November 6th marks the day on which Vuyisile Mini, Wilson Khayingo and Zinakile Mkaba were executed by the apartheid regime in 1964 and the next year in February Nolali Mpentse, Daniel Ndongeni and Samuel Jonas were hanged. These were leading members of ANC, SACTU [South African Congress of Trade Unions] and the Eastern Cape High Command of MK. On this day we always honour their sacrifices and join their families to celebrate their lives and selfless contribution to our struggle. The comrades cardinal sin was that they fought fearlessly for political and workers’ rights.

In particular, we made mention of Comrade Mini, who was known as the ‘organizer of the unorganized’. It is largely because of his tireless efforts to organize workers across the Eastern Cape in the1950’s. He was tasked by the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) to organize the metal workers. Subsequently he became the Metal Workers’ Union secretary.

It is generally acknowledged that there is no nobler cause in the life of revolutionaries than the fight for the liberation of mankind. May I add to these prophetic words, that there is no loftier goal in the life of revolutionaries than to pay the

supreme sacrifice for the liberation of one’s people, of one’s country. Comrade Mini and his fellow comrades distinguished themselves as some of the most illustrious and courageous sons of Africa.

Please allow me to address our fallen heroes with the humility but directness that they would understand. Cdes Mini, Khayingo, Mkaba, Mpentse, Ndongeni and Jonas, we stand before you on this day in your memory. We are not perfect, we are human and have made serious mistakes. We have disappointed society which has given us an opportunity to govern on their behalf.

Cdes Mini, Khanyingo, Mkaba, Mpentse, Ndongeni and Jonas, it is befitting to report that our glorious movement is also commemorating the 50 th anniversary of the ANC ‘s National Consultative Conference which was held in Morogoro in Tanzania in 1969.

“This is an event that we will forever standout as a turning point in our struggle for liberation.,” said Oliver Tambo.

The Morogoro conference happened after a period of organizational malaise, dissent and disunity, however the ANC emerged from Morogoro into a new era of unity, revitalisation and intensified struggle against the apartheid regime.

The Morogoro conference produced the first ANC strategy and tactics document, which outlined the objectives, key tasks and methods of struggle .

It became a landmark and a turning point in our organization.

Now 50 years later the ANC finds itself at another such moment.

We must all admit that the 54 th National Conference which was held in December 2017,was also a turning point in our glorious movement.

The diagnostic report described that there was a growing deficit of trust between the people and the movement and the movement was no longer united.

We all admitted that factionalism and patronage was entrenched in the organization as our leaders contested not only for positions but for access to resources.

Cadres of the movement were no longer guided by the values of honesty, humility, hard work, commitment, sacrifice and selflessness. Our glorious movement was weak, divide and floundering.

ANC branches no longer engaged with the issues that affected communities.

There was no effective governance as public representatives were fighting over spoils of office.

Corruption became widespread, state capture emerged and all our state institutes were compromised.

Like it was 50 years ago when the movement was in serious crisis, delegates at the 54 th conference resolved that the movement must renew itself, must unite society, must deal severely with corruption, must build strong and credible branches and must bring back the integrity of our glorious movement.

The Veterans League as the custodian of ANC values, traditions and policies of the movement ,should play a critical role of rebuilding and uniting our glorious movement.

As ANC veterans we have the authority to intervene on all issues that affect the integrity and dignity of our glorious movement.

Comrades are we really equal to the task???

All nine provincial structures of the Veterans League are due to conferences.

Our Constitution says that 95% of delegates to a provincial conferences must be from well established and credible (my emphasis) branches.

At our provincial conferences, delegates must elect ethical, credible leaders with impeccable credentials. Leaders who will unite, renew and rebuild our glorious movement.

We must lead by example, fix the organization and walk in the footsteps of Oliver Tambo.

As veterans of the movement we have nothing to lose but our glorious movement and our country.

We must no longer accept mediocrity, defend the indefensible. We must not close ranks and protect comrades who have done wrong.

As veterans we must not look away when wrong things are done but must demand accountability and consequence management.

We must hold our leadership accountable and ensure that they implement our manifesto.

We dare not disappoint our heroes and heroines – those comrades who went to the gallows singing with pride our revolutionary songs. We will do it for the sake of our country, our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.

As we dip our revolutionary banner in memory of our fallen comrades, we promise to double our efforts to ensure that the unity that our people yearn for is realized in our lifetime.

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