Political Input to the 1st Provincial Conference of the Western Cape Veterans League

Allow me to welcome all our guest and delegates to this conference. Special mention must go to our stalwarts who during the darkest days against Apartheid stood firm to be counted as volunteers of freedom. Once again we salute you comrades.

I also would like to welcome representatives from the ANC, SACP and Cosatu.

Singular mention must go to the SACP since in few days to come, we shall be celebrating the anniversary of the SACP on the 31th of July.

Dear comrades, we gather here today on this cold day, the 12th of July 2023, to finally put a stamp to the official launch of a VL leadership in the WC.

We started this journey on the 15th of February 2023 when the PTT was officially inaugurated by members of the NTT, comrades Snuki Zikalala, Zakes Tolo, Susan

Shabangu and Trish Hanekom.

This inaugural meeting served two purposes, to introduce the PTT members for the WC and provide it with the roadmap.

Our defined task was to do the following: (a) Roadmap to conference, here we are today having our provincial conference,

(b) establish branches (these two being core to our work as the PTT), national induction of all the PTTs, setting up committees (renewal, oganising, campaigns and membership and fundraising. The Coordinator, Comrade Ernest Theron shall provide more details on this and work of the PTT.

I must report to you comrades that as this PTT we have been able to carry out the responsibility assigned to us by the NTT. We also attended a number of workshops arranged by the NTT which we found to be very much enriching.

We as VL have a responsibility beyond merely being members of the ANC to be custodians of the values, history and traditions of the ANC. We have to ensure that the key tenet of the ANC, well captured in the VL constitution, that the ANC VL is nonracial and non-sexist in character and is against any form of tribalistic exclusivism or ethnic chauvinism. May I add comrades (I think this is something we may consider adding in the constitutional amendments, that we are against any form of regionalism or regionalisation of the ANC. We are a unitary VL and a unitary ANC.

We have as the VL in this province, a province still in the clutches of an opposition party completely opposed to everything the stands for. It is against thorough going transformation of SA into a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist country. We must make

our contribution in reversing this trend. As veterans we are aware that the task is very

difficult to achieve that. We cannot be seen to be making childish statements of

imminent reversal. It is going to require lots of work and focus. Key to that focus is

unity of the ANC. Have an organisation in this province that is all geared towards

achieving this objective in the long run.

We must as we do this stress that the ANC as a whole must meaningfully contribute

to the renewal programme of the ANC. This renewal must not be a slogan but real

program. I am happy that comrades Mac, Wally and Frank will be touching on some

of these policies. And let me report to you comrades that they will do so via virtual

system. Comrade Trish, who has been with us throughout this journey shall be

assisting in this regard. I am happy comrades that you have availed yourselves for this

task. As custodians of ANC traditions and values, we must ensure that the ANC in the

WC is run according to what we know the ANC of – an organisation that is non-racial,

non-.sexist and opposed to regionalism. It must be an organisation that is opposed to

abuse of power and victimisation of comrades because of their preference at a

conference. How we do this, I leave it to this conference to further deliberate. But what

I stress is that this is one of our tasks and we should shackle our responsibility.

Before I sit down, let state this comrades as one of our singular tasks as veterans. I

urge you to look into the VL constitution to understand this.

Comrade I would urge you to celebrate your own achievement that we are able to

gather today to formally launch our provincial structure.

I would like as I conclude, to once again convey our congratulations to the PEC of the

ANC in the province for their successful conference. We as VL attended this

conference and am sure comrades we made our own o observations. One thing I

would like to raise upfront is that we as VL have we have this responsibility we should

not be shy about, to be custodians of the tradition and values of the ANC.

Those of us who attended the provincial conference may remember our message I

was assigned to convey to that conference. I started off by the song of our struggle –

angalila uChris Hani xa engasibona sinje (Chris Hani may shed a tear if he could see

us like this). This was our message to the ANC to guard unity of this organisation in

this province. We conveyed this message fully aware of the challenges we had

observed towards the provincial conference. We were extremely pleased to get that

conference with the ANC intact and ended up on the last day with the encouraging

message from our President. He urged us to value unity as that is what will be our

weapon against the DA misrule in this province.

So, delegates to this 1st Provincial Conference of the Veterans League in our province,

even though cold outside, you must surely be warm inside because we have delivered

ourselves to this date at this venue.

So comrades, I declare this meeting opened. If it was not cold, I would say to all of us

to please take off our jackets and men to take off their hats. And we all join in the

celebration of our achievement. The WC VL Provincial Conference is declared