ANC Veterans League


Closing address speech by ANC Veterans League President Dr Snuki Zikalala

19 November 2017

Good Afternoon Cdes,

On behalf of this collective, let me thank you for the confidence that you have shown in us by giving us the opportunity to serve you and the people of South Africa.

We can all agree that this was an important gathering of the Veterans of the ANC since the founding conference in 2009.

The importance of this gathering should not only be judged on the outcome of elected leadership but by the quality of engagement that took place as well as outcomes of our contributions as individuals and collectively.

Let me state upfront, comrades, that our determination of the success of this gathering will be based on how we implement the resolutions we have adopted.

It is no secret that we all had different views and expectations of this conference. However, what is important is the unity of purpose that prevailed.

What we achieved here is as result of our commitment to the objectives of the veterans league as outlined in the ANC constitution which is to ensure that veterans make a full and rich contribution to the work of the ANC and to the life of the nation.

We are in agreement that our movement is facing serious challenges unlike we have experienced in the last century of its existence. Most of our structures are characterized by factionalism, corruption, gatekeeping, patronage and buying of membership and support. Importantly, we all agree that if these ills are not addressed decisively, our glorious movement will diminish further and may ultimately be removed from power.

For example, communities have already displayed their dissatisfaction with the ANC in the 2016 Local Government Elections, which returned diminished results for the ANC. We lost Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

At this conference we all agreed that Veterans League has not been taken seriously by structures of the movement especially the ANC. The younger generation tends to treat veterans with disdain and we must reclaim our rightful position in society.

The Veterans League, like all other structures of the movement, is also faced with the challenge of factionalism and divisions and this has a negative impact on the ability of veterans to discharge their role or responsibility of being the source of wisdom and guidance to younger generations. In order for us to reclaim our position in society, we need to eliminate the practice of working in silos and should encourage unity amongst ourselves. A united Veterans League will assist with building unity of the organization and the country.

Comrades, let us use the outcomes of this Conference as the foundation for renewal of the Movement.

The fact that we agreed to support the consultative conference to be held on the 17 to 19th November is an indication of our commitment to building unity in the Movement. This will definitely help our glorious movement to undergo the rebirth that we are so yearning for. The NCC should be viewed as a platform for the ANC to confront the issues which are currently plaguing the movement.

This Conference made an important decision that the Veterans League should develop mechanisms to raise funds and become financially sustainable and independent.

We reaffirmed our role as the custodians of the ANC's values and traditions. In this regard, we undertook to play a more proactive role in ANC structures at all levels. We call on our organization, the ANC, to support veterans in our efforts to regain our position as leader of society.

As we prepare for the 54th National Conference, ANC structures must be mindful of the imperative to rebuild the dignity and credibility of the Movement. Through the Eye of a Needle reminds us of the requirements for leaders of the Movement. We expect our leaders to be ethical and beyond reproach, to be familiar with the policies and positions of the Movement and to be grounded amongst the people.

We thank you for your exemplary participation and mature engagements.

We wish you a safe journey home.

We will not disappoint you and we are ready to serve.