Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commemorated the centenary of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), hailing its successes as a key liberation movement in the country but also calling for its continued determination to defend the principles of freedom, justice and non-discrimination.
“The African National Congress is more than a political party. It is a movement – a tangible expression of a vision,” Mr. Ban said yesterday in a message. “The commitment and sacrifice of its members led to the emancipation of a nation. The justness of its cause attracted support from around the world, from all races and religions.”
Mr. Ban underscored the role that the ANC has played in helping South Africa establish firm foundations, citing a tradition of smooth democratic transitions as well as a progressive constitution which gives women one third of the seats in Parliament as elements that have ensured the country’s progress. He also highlighted the country’s robust economy and its growing influence in continental and global affairs.
“All these examples of progress are testament to the ANC’s success,” he said. “Yet with such success also comes great responsibility. The power of the ANC lies not just in the numbers of people who vote for it, but the vision for which it stands.”
Mr. Ban stressed that the ANC must strive to achieve its vision of a non-racial democracy, which he said is not just an issue relevant to South Africa but to the whole world.
“The struggle for freedom, justice, human rights and non-discrimination is a global battle,” he said. “Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all.”