Perhaps we should celebrate this because we stood a chance of repeating the same mistake as previous conferences. Chief among these mistakes is not having a clear set of programmes that address the array of issues faced by the rural masses of our people and the organization.
This led to the people being elected for positions they should not be serving in, which subtracts from the ANC in terms of voter confidence and as a beacon of hope for the people.
In this platform, firstly, we give a brief background of Sekhukhune socio-economic as well as the political realities.
Secondly, we outline the desired outlook in terms of the wellbeing of our people and the organization in the long term. Thirdly, we are going to look into three programmes that the conference should prioritise in order to address the immediate struggles of the people for which our movement exists.
Lastly, as this is an elective conference, we also define the type of leadership that can carry out what is envisaged.
The three strategic programmes that we envisage will free the people of Sekhukhune from the clutches of poverty and under-development namely, the Sekhukhune District Offices Relocation (SDOR); the Sekhukhune Special Economic Zone (SEZ); and the University of Sekhukhune Land.
On issues of leadership, we will address the composition of the leadership as well as the ideal type of leadership as per the document “Through the eye of the needle”
Joel Netshitenze et all put it forth that: “Necessarily, we should ensure that the balances in the composition of leadership are informed by our immediate programmatic challenges.”
Since the advent of democracy in 1994, the people of Sekhukhune have been loyal to electoral process whereby, they contribute 90 percent of electoral support to the ANC, yet the level of socio-economic development is disproportionately lower than that of the support the ANC enjoys in the region.
Since the first term of the democratically elected government, the broad nature of policies such as the RDP of 1996 have done little justice in addressing our specific developmental and socio-economic welfare.
In 2002, Former President Thabo Mbeki, identified Sekhukhune region as one of the nodal points that needed government to urgently reduce poverty, unemployment and under-development.
There are remnants of the old apartheid system that exist today in Sekhukhune lingering over our heads like a dark cloud. First of this is these is the fact that since 1994, the people of Sekhukhune still have to access basic that are rightfully theirs in Peter Mokaba region, a system that was introduced during the Bantustants era. To give a practical example of the system, it costs a person from Sekhukhune, a poorest region, R200+ to travel a long distance and time to access services that are due to them, simply because they are geographically located in a different region and are far away from the people of Sekhukhune.
The second of these remnants is the exploitation of our rural masses by mining companies in the Tubatse area and their running of settler colonial type economy, whereby our mines are mere sites of extraction of raw materials. In short, there is a need for secondary and tertiary sectors in that area.
Lastly, Sekhukhune does not have a university of its own. This has led to people, yet again from the poor region, having to travel to distances to acquire education in Gauteng and other areas. Furthermore, the education they acquire is not tailor made to deal with the specific problems that are faced by Sekhukhune region.
On future politico-economic outlook of the region, we envisage a future where all these challenges have been overcome and where the ANC in Sekhukhune is equal to the task of those days. However, that future needs not be that far away and it should start today.
We envisage a Sekhukhune region where people are equal to other regions in Limpopo in terms of their relationship with government. By this we mean that they should have equal access to government services in their own area of residence as their counterparts such as in Vhembe, Peter Mokaba, Mopani, and Waterberg regions. As Sekhukhune region, where the ANC does socio-economic justice to the support it gets in from the people by ensuring that they enjoy equal rights as people from other regions.
We also envisage a Sekhukhune which demonstrates, in material sense, that it boasts the largest deposit of Platinum Group metals. By this we mean that the cities of tomorrow or new cities should emerge from around this wealth. A Sekhukhune region which is prosperous and advanced, both in terms of livelihood and general wealth inherently identified with its people.
The third dimension to our future look is a Sekhukhune people who are skilled and educated to address our immediate challenges. A Sekhukhune where, people do not have to hop on the migrant labour trend, going to seek quality education elsewhere.
Last and most important, we need a special type of leadership, a leadership that can stand bold to the challenges of the day. A leadership that is responsive; and surpasses the best in the world, both in conduct and execution of the ANC mandate. A future where, the rank and title of the organization initiates and facilitates discussions around core challenges and their solutions on the ground.
For us to realize this outlook, we have to start somewhere. There are three major objectives we have identified that can accelerate our movement towards the desired trajectory. These three objectives in the form of programmes that when implemented, will address challenges such as poverty, unemployment and under-development in the region.
They are briefly, Sekhukhune District Office Relocation, Sekhukhune Special Economic Zone and the University of Sekhukhune Land.
On the composition of the ANC Sekhukhune REC, we have many types of leaders in the ANC from various backgrounds, possessing different skills and attitudes. Continuity, women representation, fair representation of young people are the three elements that should make up the regional leadership.
On the type of leadership that is required, the revolutionary leader is dedicated to changing all society as quickly as possible. The leader demands commitment, courage and sacrifice from followers. Unlike the reform leader who is satisfied with changing a portion of society, the revolutionary leader is focused on turning the status quo on its head.
In conclusion, the issues raised pertaining to the trajectory of Sekhukhune regional political economy including organizational renewal should be canvassed in the context of the crafting of a programme of action to realize what is envisaged for our people.
As early as possible, as part of the preparations for the regional conference, the broader issues canvassed on this platform should be introduced into debates within branches. At the same time, ways should be found to manage the broader public discourse; and avoid shallow personality-driven and sensationalist treatment of these critical measures.
It is a matter of principle and convention that matters relating to election of leadership are managed internally and at the appropriate time within our ranks.
Their resolution is the responsibility of branches and ultimately, delegates at the Regional Conference. However, this does not mean that the ANC should leave the field open to cultivation by others. Dinkwanyane Andries Tlaka is ANCYL sub-RTT. ANC Branch Coordinator in Stephen Mmotong Branch within Ephraim Mogale Sub Region in ward 10. Mankwe Tiego Mashiane is ANCYL Coordinator in Morogoro Branch within Elias Motsoaledi Sub-region in ward 13.