Dear Cde Ben Turok’s family our Veterans and stalwarts coming from our provinces, members of the ANC who came to celebrate the life of the late revolutionary and a committed and selfless cadre of our glorious movement Cde Ben Turok.
It is befitting that we celebrate the life of our visionary Cde Ben Turok on this day-30 years since our struggles resulted in victory of the unbanning of all liberation movements and the commencement of peace talks for a negotiated settlement to end the most atrocious sytem of aparthied.
The unbanning allowed all those in exile to return home and freely participate in building a united and a democratic South Africa.
The path we have traversed so far has been not that easy and yet Cde Ben Turok became more vigilant and actively participated all our democratic structures, raising his voice loudly and fearlessly where and when our democratic values that so many had died for were trampled upon by unscruplous elements who hijacked our revolutionary movement.
We owe Cde Ben Turok a great debt of gratitude for his contribution to the drafting of the Freedom Charter, introducing the clause: “The People shall share in the country’s wealth.”
It is an indictment on us as the Veterans League that we have not recorded personal contributions of dedicated and committed cadres of the movement who faught fearlessly for the liberation of South Africa. As Veterans of the movement we must urgently address this anomaly as wrong and the biased history must be corrected. The history of those who contributed immensely in our struggle for liberation must and will be written.
However, truth be told, when our glorious movement veered off track, when our democratic constitution was undermined, when lies were being peddled and unscrupulous individuals were protected, when matters relating to the Guptas, Nkandla and unnecessary dismissal of cabinet members were being defended, Cde Ben Turok was not afraid to break ranks and demanded accountabilty from those who were in power.
Cde Ben you reflected the ANC values of integrity, dignity, honesty and ethics. We first met in the late 1970’s and later taught together at Funda Center Soweto in 1991. I can attest to the fact that the values of the ANC, guided you throughout your long life and are still relevant today.
Cde Ben we all know that you were appalled by the state of our organisation and you publicly condemned State capture and the mass looting of state resouces by unscrupulous public representatives and civil servants. It was free for all. Nearly all our State Owned Enterprises responsible for wealth and job creation were hijacked and some are bankrupt.
Cde Ben, some individuals must be charged for committing treason as they were implicit and actively participated in mass looting.
We were all shaken when society punished us in 2016 by not going to the polls to vote for the ANC and this resulted in our glorious movement losing the three big Metros.
The ANC Veterans League which is the custodian of our values, policies and traditions and has the authority to intervene on all issues that affect the integrity and dignity of our glorious movement failed to speak authoritatively and challenge and oppose vociferously the wrongs that were happening.
Cde Ben, truth be told the 54th Nasrec National Conference saved our glorious movement and the country.
As the ANC we have duly humbled ourselves, we are no longer arrogant, we have learnt a bitter lesson that people come first and we are now committed to renew and unite the movement and the country.
Cde Ben we dare not disappoint you. As veterans of the movement we will work tirelessly to renew the ANC as the most effective force for social change. We will ensure that veterans participate and help the movement to build strong and credible branches. The ANC branches must become the centre for community development.
As veterans we will volunteer our services to the Oliver Tambo School of Leadership. This will help our movement to roll out the planned mass political education campaign which is part of the ANC’s national effort to train and develop ethical, committed and dedicated cadres who will not be lured by crass materialism, cadres who will uphold the ANC values of integrity, dignity and selflessness that Cde Ben was committed to.
We will not support the appointment of those that are implicated in corrupt activities and those that are found wanting and have lied under oath to be appointed in senior government positions and in SOE’s Boards.
We will not entertain opposition of our continued request that those who are charged and found wanting should not occupy senior positions within the movement, represent the movement as MP’s, MPL’s and Councillors or be appointed to any government position until they have been cleared by the ANC disciplinary process and by a court of law.
We must admit that we still have a deficit of trust from society and we have to commit to rebuild the integrity and the dignity of our glorious movement.
As the Veterans League the integrity and dignity of our movement is sacrosant.
As veterans we are committed to build an ANC that is united in action. We will help our movement to heal the divisions and factions within its structures – the Veterans League, Women’s League, Youth League and the Alliance partners. We have to place the needs and interests of our people above all other interests.
As veterans we are committed to preparing our movement for a decisive victory in the forthcoming local government elections based on an ANC mandate of service and an end to poverty, unemployment and inequality.
We first have to admit that we have failed our people by not maintaining our infrastructure – roads and water pipes have not been maintained over years and yet budget in some cases has been approved. We have sewage flowing down surburban roads and past our schools. In our controlled municipalities especially in black townships, uncollected rubbish decomposes in piles on every street and illegal rubbish dumps have multiplied. This is a health hazard.
We must appoint skilled and competent bureaucrats who are fit for purpose and demonstrate their commitment to ethical leadership and service with the highest integrity.
As veterans we will insist that the selection of candidates and the deployment of cadres should be based on merit and not patronage.
In memory of Cde Ben Turok we will continue to uphold the values of our glorious movement.
We will help our movement to strenghten and tackle corruption at all levels. We will ensure that our movement puts an end to state capture and those responsible must be held to account.
Lala Ngoxolo Cde Ben Turok our revolutionary and a selfless and a committed leader. Robala ka Kgotso our veteran and stalwart, we will continue to fight against patronage and corruption for the sake of our future and will fly the ANC flag high.