ANC-Caucus statement

23 June 2005

1. Resignation of MPs

The African National Congress Parliamentary Caucus announces the resignation of MPs involved in the travel investigation. The five Members: Ruth Bhengu, Mildred Mpaka, Rhoda Joemat, Pamela Mnandi and Mavis Magazi tendered their resignations yesterday and the ANC has welcomed their decision.

We view in a serious light the reasons of the resignation of the Members and regard their decision as a demonstration of remorse. Accordingly we commend them for putting the interests of both the organisation and Parliament first.

The five comrades have apologized profoundly to fellow comrades within both the Parliament and the ANC for the damage this has caused on the reputation of the organization and the institution.

Caucus regrets the challenge faced by these Members.

2. Appointment of Deputy President

The Caucus welcomes the appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to the position of Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa by President Thabo Mbeki yesterday.

Comrade Mlambo Ngcuka has performed well in her public work since 1994 and her appointment affirms her incontestable governance and political capabilities.

Comrade Mlambo-Ngcuka's appointment further reaffirms the ANC's resolve and commitment to the empowerment of women.

We applaud President Mbeki for this decision and congratulate Comrade Mlambo-Ngcuka on her appointment. Caucus wishes her well in he new portfolio and assure her of its unqualified support.

3. Freedom Charter Celebration

This weekend Parliament will for two days conduct its business in Kliptown, the cradle of the Freedom Charter. The gathering of the legislators of a democratic South Africa in the People's Assembly at the same venue is a fitting tribute to the Congress of the People that 50 years ago endorsed the Charter.

In the same manner this Congress brought together thousands of South Africans to proclaim their aspirations and desire for a democratic South Africa. The event further affirms the institution's role and image of being a servant of the people and a vibrant catalyst for change.

The ANC Caucus notes with regret the immature and irresponsible decision taken by some political parties to exclude themselves from the organized event on the basis that the Charter is an ANC document. The parties' decisions ignore the historical fact that it was South Africans from all walks of life who drafted the Charter. Their action therefore effectively refutes the aspirations of the entire nation and reflects their bitterness for failing to win the allegiance of the people.

We view the parties' decision as a futile attempt to discourage our people from getting involved in the historic event. The tactic is reminiscent of the 1955 efforts by the white regime to bar people from the Congress of the People.

We continue to appeal to the parties to show responsible leadership and reconsider their decision.

4. Launch of Freedom Charter booklet

We are happy to announce the release of the Freedom Charter booklet today. The booklet is one of the Parliamentary Caucus's fitting tributes to the revolutionary document and thousands of freedom volunteers who played midwives towards the Charter's birth in Kliptown in 1955.

Significantly, the booklet's launch today happens three days before the 50th birthday of the Charter on Sunday, June 26.

5. Constituency work

The ANC NEC has declared 2005 as 'The Year of Popular Mobilisation to Advance the Vision of The Freedom Charter'. The crux of this declaration demands that our work reflects the requirements of the Freedom Charter.

In the past few weeks, the Chief Whip of the party held meetings with the staff of constituency offices in various provinces with an aim to enhance and consolidate the implementation of planned programmes for this year.

The gatherings further discussed how constituency offices can be capacitated to meet the challenge of implementing the ANC's reconstruction and development policies with particular emphasis on local government, which is at the forefront of building a better life for all our people.