Address by ANC President Jacob Zuma to ANC Western Cape rally

Address by ANC President Jacob Zuma to ANC Western Cape rally

4 May 2008, Khayelitsha Rugby Stadium

I greet you today in the name of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, the people`s revolutionary movement for the complete liberation of all South Africans.

We have gathered here a week after we celebrated our Freedom Day, and just three days since we met in rallies across South Africa to celebrate Workers Day.

Today we have gathered for the same purpose - to celebrate our achievements as a nation, but also to commit ourselves once again to the struggle for the achievement of a better life for all.

Here in Khayelitsha, and here in the Western Cape, you have a long and proud tradition of struggle against the injustices of the apartheid system, against repression and vigilantism, and against all attempts to sow racial division and discord.

Today, we salute you. For it is by your struggles that we have reached this point in the history of our country.

But we know that there is still much that we need to do before we can say that all our people have been able to fully enjoy the fruits of freedom.

This is not the time to rest. This is the time to intensify the fight for a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic South Africa.

We must intensify our struggle on a number of fronts.

At the core of our efforts to build a winning nation, must be the task of ensuring access by all South Africans to decent education. Our people need skills. Our country needs skills.

In our January 8th Statement this year, we said: "Education must be elevated from being a departmental issue, or even a government issues, to a societal issue - one that occupies the attention and energy of all our people."

To this end, we are now launching the Campaign for Quality Education for All.

We are calling on all local education officials, teachers, learners, parents and community members to commit themselves to a "Code of Quality Education". By committing themselves to this code, they each take responsibility for contributing to improved schooling in their area.

We call on local department officials to ensure all schools have the books, stationery and other resources needed for teaching.

We call on teachers to teach with enthusiasm, to be on time and properly prepared, and to eliminate unprofessional behaviour.

We call on learners to accept that they are in school to learn and grow, to respect the legitimacy and authority of teachers, and to oppose anti-social behaviour like theft, vandalism, and assault, alcohol and drug use.

We call on parents to create a home environment conducive to study and take an active interest in the children`s education.

We call on communities to ensure that every school-going child is at school and to protect the school and its assets from vandalism.

Another campaign that is being taken up across the country is to mobilise communities to take the lead in achieving health for all. This is particularly important in areas that are vulnerable to ill health and disease.

We must acknowledge that we are in the middle of a devastating epidemic. Every weekend we have to attend ever more burials, as many of our young people succumb to AIDS-related illnesses.

But we are not helpless in the face of this disease. We have the power to prevent the spread of HIV through responsible behaviour. And we now have the means to ensure that HIV-positive people stay healthy for longer through effective treatment, including through the provision of antiretroviral treatment.

The responsibility lies with each and every one of us. We must take responsibility for our own health and for the health of others. We must encourage healthy lifestyles. We must organise ourselves to support our local clinics and health care centres, and we must create awareness about health risks and the services available in the public health care sector.

Another scourge that we must tackle with determination is the crime that continues to prey on our communities and terrorises our people. Among the many forms of crime to which we are exposed, we must take specific action to tackle the most serious, like robbery, murder and rape.

We salute those people who, under the most difficult conditions, have taken the fight to the criminals. We are speaking here about police officers and reservists, prosecutors, magistrates, security guards, members of community policing forums, and those members of the public who provide the police with vital information about criminal activities.

We must do better to support these people, and ensure they have the means to fight crime.

We cannot allow criminality to breed in our midst. We must organise ourselves into street committees that will identify and report criminal behaviour, and will keep our streets safe in the day and at night.

We face many challenges, as the people of Khayelitsha, as the people of Cape Town, as the people of the Western Cape, and as a nation.

If our history has shown us anything, it is that we can overcome even the greatest of challenges if we are united, and if we work together.

Apartheid tried to divide us. Even today there are people in this country who don`t want us to build a new non-racial society, one that belongs to all our people - African, coloured, Indian and white.

There are some in this city and in this province who still try to create divisions. We must defeat them. We must show that the people of this province can stand together, and together work to redress the injustices of the past.

The ANC has shown that it is the most popular organisation in this province and in this city. It is by far the most popular organisation in Khayelitsha. As we head towards the 2009 elections, we must already begin work to consolidate and increase that support.

We must use this election to send a clear message to those in this province who disregard the wishes of the people that no longer can they stand in the way of transformation.

We must mobilise for a resounding ANC victory in the Western Cape.

We must urge all our people, and especially the youth, to make sure that they are registered to vote. Those people who don`t have ID books, must go now to apply for them.

There is an election battle coming. Not only must we be ready, but we must be united.

In the January 8th Statement we said that the unity and cohesion of the ANC is paramount. All those within the movement, all those who support the movement, and all those who - for whatever reason - may have moved out of the movement, must work together to build unity.

We must defeat factionalism and divisive tendencies. We must not allow our structures to be held hostage by those who are only interested in their own narrow advancement.

It is important that we respect the democratic processes of the movement, that we respect the decisions of the ANC`s constitutional structures, and we accept the collective leadership of those duly elected by the membership to lead the organisation.

We must take to heart the call for a renewal of the values, character and organisational practices of the African National Congress.

We must rededicate ourselves, and commit all our energy, to ensure that the ANC is indeed a home for all. We must honour our historical responsibility to unite all South Africans. Because together we can and will build a new nation.