Comrades and friends.

Welcome to the first ever Conference for the Future of South Africa!

What a beautiful way for South Africans, from across the country, to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day.

Viva the fighting spirit of Nelson Mandela viva!

Today is a very special day for all of us.

It is our chance to make sure that we stop state capture and start moving towards the kind of South Africa that Madiba and millions of other South Africans fought for.

This conference is one of the best tributes that we can pay to Madiba, and we must ensure that we do him proud.

Our political ancestors did not lose their lives or go to jail so that we could end up living under state capture, or so that their country could be sold to crooks and thieves.

They did not write our wonderful Constitution so that people like Jacob Zuma could spit on it.

That is why we have to confront the people involved in state capture, and stop them. We have to make sure there is a future for South Africa and all who live in it.

As a young person, I have often wondered what the future of South Africa looked like, and what kind of country the people of Mandela’s generation were going to leave us.

I was concerned that the older generation was going to leave us with a desolate and desperate country where the rich just got richer and the poor got poorer.

I was disturbed that more and money was going to be stolen from the government and be used to buy houses in Dubai.

I was afraid that our government had decided that it was no longer the people’s government, it was the Guptas’ government. And that instead of paying us to buy our country, the Guptas had in fact been paid billions to take it.

I have to admit that I even felt that the stalwarts and veterans, and the activists who struggled in the liberation movements, in civic organisations, in the United Democratic Front and other formations, had forgotten how to fight.

But I feel there is more hope today.

Today it feels like there is a new spirit and energy and we will be able to build on all our efforts as activists in so many different sectors so that we finally get rid of state capture.

We will be able to stop a situation where the Guptas appoint Cabinet Ministers and we will stop Zuma, that rotten President, from helping to steal billions of rands. We will stop the contamination of the Hawks, the NPA, SARS and other state institutions, and stop the looting at Eskom, SAA, Transnet and PRASA.

If we get things right today, comrades, we can show Zuma and his fellow-crooks that the people have spoken — and what they are saying is that they don’t want him around anymore.

We can tell Zuma, loud and clear, that we want our government to buy sanitary pads for young women instead of buying trains that don’t fit inside tunnels, and we want it to buy more anti-retrovirals instead of building a stupid nuclear power station. We want a government that spends money replacing pit toilets in schools rather than sending it to Dubai in suitcases.

We want people in LGBTI communities to be safe. We want more police to protect woman and children against violence. We want to see social justice, not the injustice we see around us every day.

We want the South Africa that Madiba fought for. We want South Africa to have a future.

Comrades and friends, we have a long day ahead of us.

Many of you have travelled long distances to be here today. We must make your day worthwhile, and get down to work.

Once again, on behalf of the Save South Africa campaign and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, let me welcome you here, thank you for your presence and participation, and wish you a great conference — and a future filled with hope.

Viva the Conference for the Future of South Africa viva!