ANC downsizing the capacity for January 8th Statements

The ANC president delivered his January 8 statement on Sunday, the 8th of January.  This time at Orlando Stadium.  Downsizing the space venue for its supporters following the embarrassment done in 2016 elections where the party lost a number of most of its supporters to the opposition.

This is regarded as one of the worsed since the year 2012, when Mangaung 40 000 capacity stadium was filled with the ANC supporters for the celebration.  In the year 2015, the celebration was held at the Western Cape stadium in Cape Town. A stadium with the capacity space of about 55 000 people, even in that stadium, ANC supporters managed to fill up the whole area and in 2016, the celebration was held in Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg.  The stadium carries about 44 530. The party depreciated enormously and causes its members to squeeze themselves in a small space, this proves dismally that the factions and corruption in the organisation has cost the party big shots.  Though they have managed to fill up the stadium, the party needs to up its gears to please the supporters.

The president’s address was to provide the party’s program for the year ahead.  The first January 8th statement was in 1972, issued in exile, the founding date of the ANC.  This statement outlined the organisation’s programme for the year. Following a hiatus, the ANC issued its next January 8th statement in 1979. The idea of marking the anniversary of the founding of the organisation with a statement became a tradition over the years and is known as the January 8th Statement.  However, in the years between 1972 and 1979 the ANC issued statements related to major events or issues. These were known as Special Statements. The 2016, was a watershed year in the country’s democratic history after August 3 local elections seriously dented the African National Congress’s (ANC) domination in party-politics.  The elections showed that democracy is maturing and that liberation movements could fall if the ANC do not respect the will of the people.

The ANC saw its electoral support decline nationally as it lost control of the key metros of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay to DA-led coalitions.  As 2016 winds down, the ANC has reflected on its eventful year, the worst since it took power in 1994. The country’s capital city of Tshwane, the financial hub of Johannesburg, as well as Nelson Mandela Bay are now run by the opposition, DA.  The ANC ended the year reeling from major crises, which captured international headlines.

Its worst performance in the elections, led to calls by some within its ranks for the current leadership to step aside.  The party admits the loss came as a shock, and a wake up call to redeem itself.  The dismal performance resulted in a wave of calls from senior party members for President Jacob Zuma to resign. And now the ugly succession debates, seem to be coming to the fore, if this is not handled well, it may lead to the worst outcome in the 2019 general elections.  This is a threat to tear the party apart, ahead of its elective conference in 2017.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to lock horns with outgoing AU Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in a bid to succeed President Zuma.  This thing called succession can’t be a function of individual ambitions; it can’t be just a function of lobbying.  It can’t be a function of friends and associations who are promoted. It should be about what is the kind of leader the party need currently.  Also, the party should be determined that they must talk to the challenges facing the movement today and try to find a leader who can actually be reflective of the challenges facing the movement. Hopefully, the party should elect credible leadership in 2017.  There should be leadership that leads the motive forces of change.  It should be leadership that understands challenges of the day. And the leadership that is attached to the forces of change; then society is going to come back.

Corruption and factionalism are also some of the key challenges confronting the ANC.  One of the things that the party must do to act against strongly as the ANC is the importance of no longer talking about corruption as a perception. They must deal with corruption as a reality facing the society and confronting it.  Another issue is the question of factionalism that a divided movement can never be at its best.  Members must work for unity and cohesion of the movement.