As we move forward, the people of this province must resist any attempt to divide them. We must hold hands and continue with our journey of building a stronger KwaZulu-Natal economically and socially, writes NDABEZINHLE SIBIYA
Over the past few days, there have been unfortunate comments in various social media platforms with people lashing out at some ANC members and suggesting that they should return to the IFP.
This weekend, the mainstream media has deliberately peddled a narrative that seeks to isolate ANC in KZN from national politics. Ethnicity nationalism is being woven into the narrative as part of a clear attempt to set comrades against each other.
It is the same strategy that was used by the enemy of the revolution ahead of 1994 general elections. Every attempt to take us backward must be resisted.
The ANC was created as a home for all; to unite all the people of South Africa and mobilise them all to struggle for the liberation of all those who were oppressed by apartheid – Blacks in general and Africans in particular – as well as to tirelessly work to ensure a better life for all the people of South Africa.
The ANC spearheaded the adoption of the historic document, the FREEDOM CHARTER, which proclaimed that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, Black and White.
Today, our country enjoys a constitution that is based on the Freedom Charter, in which our human rights are enshrined. It is this constitution that guarantees us, among other things, a government chosen through the will of the people, equality before the law and an independent judiciary; all of which the ANC fought to achieve and that the ANC will respect, defend and protect at all times.
The ANC has steered this country and created peace and political stability to such an extent that, today, South Africans barely remember the murders of yesteryear that were sponsored by apartheid agents.
We barely remember the massacres of the unarmed and defenseless people and all manner of atrocities that took our country to the brink of a catastrophe which the whole world believed was inevitable. The fact that that catastrophe was averted is a lasting testament to the remarkable maturity and wisdom of the ANC collective leadership.
In the past years, the ANC and its government prioritized economic growth and delivery of basic services: bringing water, sanitation, shelter, health and education facilities closer to millions of our people marginalized by apartheid. Millions of rand were placed in the hands of the elderly, the vulnerable children and disabled, making a direct impact to the poor people of our land.
Sound management of the economy, good governance coupled with policies that attracted foreign investments and the creation of sustainable growth of the economy, resulted in the reversal of spiralling unemployment and the creation of a stable economy that withstood such challenges as those which devastated economies elsewhere in the world in the late 90’s.
Nowhere has the impact of post-apartheid peace been more welcomed and appreciated than in KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal was the region of our country that was worst affected by apartheid-sponsored political violence which drew in, to a large extent, members of the ANC and the IFP.
We need to remind those who are playing tribalism card that in this province we once experienced senseless loss of lives which was instigated by apartheid agents. ANC leaders at all levels and the membership should remember the deaths of innocent people and trauma that was inflicted in the whole society. This must never be allowed to return.
Critically, we must remember for more than 15 years, here in KZN the spirit of peace and reconciliation blew like a fresh cool breeze as robust political debates replaced guns and pangas as weapons of choice whenever differences of opinion emerge in the political sphere.
For a very long time this province has been enjoying reasonable freedom of association and political tolerance which was unimaginable between 1994 and 2004.
The ascendancy of the ANC to the helm of provincial government in 2004 resulted in a bubbling feeling of overwhelming optimism about the future of the province.
The image of KwaZulu-Natal changed from a gloomy hopeless province, at war with itself, to become an attractive destination for investors and leisure-seekers who cannot wait to set foot on our sandy shores. The warmth and friendly smile of our people has become a brand very few can compete with.
The pace of service delivery has accelerated, as all petty political bickering has been put to an end. The ANC at the helm of KZN Government managed to maintain reasonable growth rates, which, for a while, have remained higher than the national average.
The ANC has promoted the rights of women and ensured that women are promoted to senior positions of authority ensuring that their skills and capacity are appropriately employed. Access to water, electricity and provision of child support grants has off-loaded a heavy burden that women had to carry as result of the social inequalities of the past.
The ANC has created a responsive administration, trained continuously to improve efficiency, and motivated to be sensitive to people’s needs. KZN has become a province where the rights of citizens to service delivery is fiercely protected and will be defended.
Ours is also a province that ties together the proud traditions of the people without sacrificing the gains that democracy has brought us. It is in this context that the position of traditional leaders has been given dignity and respect by the government of this province.
As we move forward, the people of this province must resist any attempt to divide them. We must hold hands and continue with our journey of building a stronger KwaZulu-Natal economically and socially.
Sibiya is a former Spokesperson for KZN premiers: Dr Zweli Mkhize, Senzo Mchunu and Wilies Mchunu. Now works as the Head of Content and Knowledge Management in the KZN Office of the Premier. He writes in his personal capacity.