ANC members should take care to halt the “haemorrhaging” of the ruling party, struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said on Saturday.
“The ANC is haemorrhaging, it is your responsibility to stop that haemorrhaging,” she told party members at her home in Orlando West, Soweto.
Madikizela-Mandela received the ANC centenary torch on the last day before it left Gauteng.
She warned members not to allow the party to disintegrate and she encouraged African National Congress members to make sure the party ruled forever.
She said she was “so touched” to receive the flame. Like the flame, the ANC had “travelled a long way to be here”.
She said 2012 was a very important year because it was the 100 year anniversary of the party and the 60th anniversary of the defiance campaign which “got us to where we are today”.
Madikizela-Mandela recalled the days when her suburb was “a battlefield”.
Looking around at the neat rows of guests assembled in her garden, now adorned with roses, she smiled slightly as she said: “I hid all the weapons here”.
She concluded her speech with her trademark salute of “Amandla!” (power).
Supporters and members of the provincial executive council responded rapturously: “Awethu!” (people).
ANC Gauteng secretary David Makura paid tribute to Madikizela-Mandela, saying her salutes embodied the essence of defiance, which fuelled the struggle against apartheid.
“That defiant hand of yours… there is only one veteran who does it like that.”
He said younger generations had drawn inspiration from her.
“The June 16 generation, you introduced them to the movement… the young lions imbibed your fire,” Makura said.
He said she was a symbol of resilience too, as she had never let her spirit be broken by the White apartheid regime.
“You have always been the guiding light and that is what we bring back to you… that is what the torch represents.”
The torch was delivered to Madikizela-Mandela’s home just before 2pm by an ANC cavalcade accompanied by a fleet of the Sopranos Bike Club, Tshwane Metro police and police.
A solemn procession of uMkhonto we Sizwe veterans from Tshwane delivered the flame.
The torch arrived in Gauteng on June 1 after being received by former President Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
After its month in Gauteng, the torch would be sent to Limpopo to continue its journey, which started in Mangaung, in the Free State, in January.
The flame was set to arrive in Polokwane before midnight to keep up with the centenary celebrations schedule.