Ramaphosa also lauded the ‘true’ Umkhonto weSizwe veterans who were at the event.

African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa dismissed claims that nothing has changed in South Africa over the past 30 years, saying that such statements are inaccurate.

Ramaphosa delivered the January 8 statement at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

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The event attracted ANC members from various provinces, including former deputy president David Mabuza, and leaders of the uMkhonto weSizwe Liberation War Veterans.

Ramaphosa said: “These are the true Umkhonto weSizwe veterans.”

ANC transformation

Ramaphosa said although the ANC has had its fair share of challenges in the past 30 years, those who said nothing had changed were spreading falsehoods.

“We have made significant improvement over the last 30 years to put in place the building blocks of a national democratic society as set out in the freedom charter. The gains of freedom and the achievements of our young democracy are many, including our constitution,” said Ramaphosa.

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“Our constitution has continued to hold our country together and make sure that what we did not have under apartheid rule, we’ll continue to have in the past 30 years and it continues to mature, gain traction and we should be proud of. Not many countries can boast about the democratic architecture that we have in South Africa.

“Many countries look to us to emulate and copy and often say we envy you South Africans that you have the best constitution in the world.”

Ramaphosa reaffirmed the ANC’s commitment to its policies, even amid opposition and the emergence of new political parties.

“In 2024, we will focus, working together with the Alliance and all sectors of society, to accelerate the reconstruction of our economy, deliver quality basic services and infrastructure, renew the ANC and society, fight crime and corruption, rejuvenate our nation and contribute towards a better Africa and world,” he said.

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“There are those who say nothing has changed, but they also know they’re not telling the truth. They like it or not, the SA of today is different and has improved from the SA of 30 years ago. This has been brought about by the ANC.

“South Africa today, you like it or don’t like it, even if you hate it, it is there because the ANC has brought about real transformation in this country. Please accept it and swallow it, because that’s the reality.”

‘Worse than right-wing parties’

Ramaphosa criticised former ANC members who founded new parties, labelling them worse than right-wing parties.

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“We know that there are social and political forces that are working very hard to undermine gains of our freedom that we have made over the past 30 years. They want to stop the people’s march to a united democratic and prosperous country. The anti-transformation forces are converging in pacts, forming various pacts while seeking to fragment the forces of change through splinter groups and smaller parties that want to contest the ANC,” he said.

“They start off as factional groups and leave the movement when we act against them and go on become worse than right-wing opposition parties because they come through as snakes that are ready to bite people. They masquerade as more radical than ANC, but they’re here to deprive ANC of ability to use state power to continue with transformation.

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“Another anti-transformation tactic is to ensure that the ANC is locked up in internal struggles that will weaken the ANC and destroy it from within. They actively encourage rebel breakaway groupings to erode the support base of the ANC.

“We’ll keep making progress, whether they like it or not. They’ll keep talking, but we’ll keep moving.”


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