The year was 1972 when the struggle was being co-ordinated from foreign soil, In Lusaka, Zambia, ANC President Oliver Tambo penned the first January 8 statement. It was the 60th anniversary of the party.
Tambo wrote, “Why are we where we are – violently oppressed, brutally exploited and racially persecuted and insulted – which is worse than where we were this day 60 years ago? This is surely one of the rarest questions that a people could put to itself at the end of sixty years of continuous and courageous struggle and sacrifice.”
The January 8 statement became ANC Tradition even into the democratic state. But the tone, had slightly changed under former President Nelson Mandela, it was more on nation building, with the quest for Social Cohesion however this brought the rise of a new enemy in Inequality.
A fight which former President Thabo Mbeki took the fight to a global stage. This was evident in the 2007 January 8 Statement Themed – “The Year to intensify the struggle against poverty as we advance in unity towards 2012.”
Global participation meant South Africa is not immune into international economic slumps.
And while the democracy was maturing some challenges remained.
President Jacob Zuma’s 2015 8 January Statement coincided with the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter and 21 years since the first democratic polls.
During the celebrations Zuma highlighted South Africa’s challenges stating, “ The triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality persist and the task of the ANC in the second phase of the democratic transition is that of radical socio-economic transformation. This represents a fundamental break with the ownership patterns of the past and the putting in place of a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it. We are deracializing the South African economy. The ANC government is taking steps to enhance its developmental role and create a more conducive environment to achieve that objective. Monopoly capital still has an unhealthy effect on our economy. We must break the stranglehold of monopoly capital on our economic development.”
All eyes will be on the ANC President Jacob Zuma as he delivers the ANC statement on Saturday.
And many hope that the message will capture the mood and also reflect on the challenges the country is facing and solutions to address such challenges.
– By Aldrin Sampear