NEWLY elected president of the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) Strike Thokoane has vowed to return the organisation to the National Assembly.
Thokoane, who was the organisation’s deputy president, was elected to his new position during the party’s 39th national congress held in Soweto on Sunday.
He succeeds outgoing president Professor Itumeleng Mosala, who’ll be playing an advisory role for the party going forward.
Zithulele Cindi was elected as Secretary General and Sunshine Mbhele as National Treasurer. Thokoane said his focus would be getting the party back in parliament come 2019.
“Getting the party back to parliament is an urgent matter for us,” said Thokoane.
He said focus would shift to building the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Azapo lost its single seat in the National Assembly when it managed to gain only 0.11% of the national vote during the 2014 election.
The congress presented its policy plan on Land, Education and the economy to appeal for more votes in the upcoming elections.
In a statement earlier, Mosala said: “This arises because AZAPO membership does not seem to have reconciled with the fact that AZAPO is operating within the context of Electoral Politics.”
Outgoing Azapo Secretary General Manku Noruka said the land should be given back to the indigenous owners without compensation.
She said squatter camps must be scrapped together with RDP houses and the bond system, to make way for decent housing for the black community.
She said evictions targeted at black people in both rural and urban areas must also be done away with.
The party called for free education from pre-school to tertiary level.
“Lack of access to quality education and training does more than impoverish the intellectual life of an individual, it reduces an individual’s ability to make a decent and sustainable living. It impacts negatively on the ability of a nation to achieve its developmental objectives and ensure its economic sustainability.”
Thokoane said the party was still refining the policy to make nationalisation of mines and the return of land to black people a reality that would not hurt the economy.
Other leaders elected by the congress include:
– Moemedi Kepadisa: National of Secretary of Political Education
– Amukelani Ngobeni: Secretary of Publicity and Information
– Vusi Ngcoya: National Organiser
– George Biya: National Secretary of Youth Affairs
– Meshack S’bongile Galekhutle: National Secretary of Education
– Kamohelo Motloung: National Secretary of Gender and Women Affairs