May everyone stand up, join the spirit of #ThumaMina
The African National Congress is a party which does not speak at the people. It is a party that speaks with the people. It is a party that speaks to the heart and soul of the people of SA, embracing their hopes and addressing their fears as we stride into the future.
We are a young nation. It has been just 25 years since the first nonracial elections when all South Africans won the right to cast their vote on that immensely historic day on April 27 1994.
It seems a lifetime when South Africans made their first mark to create a truly democratic country that was the toast of the world.
On Freedom Day, we will take time to reflect on what that meant to all South Africans. We united a nation. We created a dream. We saw all of our people believing that a better life for all is possible. But that is when the hard work began.
April 27 1994 was the day when correcting the wrongs of the past began. It was the day when we began the fight to restructure a land that had been divided and destroyed by the evil of apartheid.
We marked it as a day to begin to change all inequalities that were the legacy of the previous regime.
The ANC has worked hard to enact and enforce change. It has not been easy and the work still continues. There is no quick fix to reversing the wrongs of the past. It takes hard work and resolve.
It takes a party on the ground, speaking with our people, listening to them, tending to their needs and helping them reach their dreams.
It takes a party of millions at grassroots, the activists, public representatives and members on the streets of Alexandra and in the fields of Limpopo, to be able to feel the pulse of the country.
It takes time, love and understanding of one's people, their culture, their situation, and their needs to enable us as servants to do the very best for the citizens of our country.
The members and councillors, the activists and volunteers keep the party in touch with the needs and feelings of our people.
This can be anything from water issues, such as we have just had in the Naledi local municipality or the service delivery protests in Alexandra. We listen, and we react. It is our credo. We live to serve.
The ANC is not a party that waits for the people to come to it. We are the people's party. We go to the people. President Cyril Ramaphosa has been listening and serving. His new dawn is no mere slogan.
It is a promise backed up by action. And it is the action that involves everyone, in the spirit of #ThumaMina.
The president got the first-hand experience of the problems with the rail system on his much-publicised three-hour trip in Pretoria recently. He acted quickly and Prasa are in the process of speeding up the modernisation and upgrading the rail network for the millions of commuters who rely on the service to get to and from work.
The president and other leaders of the ANC have spent time on the campaign trail touching base with communities around the country, from the Cape to Limpopo. The ANC has listened and heeded their cries. The ANC leadership has assured them of plans to put the economy back on track, told them about potential investment and explained how that will help to improve their lives. New jobs, more schools, better service delivery.
The ANC has been honest about the hurdles the country faces, this is the only way people can trust you about changing their lives and transform SA into a nation that will fulfill the promise of that magical day 25 years ago. The ANC keeps this promise at its core in everything it does.
We listen to the people for we are the people.
*Mbalula is the ANC head of elections and a member of its national executive committee