Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa

 Comrade Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected President of the African National Congress at its 54th National Conference in Nasrec, Soweto, on 16 December 2017. He is the 13th President of the ANC since its founding. Before his election, he served as the Deputy President of the ANC under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma as part of the National Executive Committee of the ANC as elected in 2012. He is the current Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa in the ANC’s fifth administration in government. 

Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa has served in the National Executive Committee of the ANC for 26 years. He was elected to the position of ANC Secretary-General at the 1991 National Conference, the first conference of the ANC in the country after unbanning, under the Presidency of Nelson Mandela. 

He began his political activism in the 1970s during the period of students uprisings in the country, organised behind the banner of the black consciousness movement, which came to head during the 16 June 1976 massacre. 

His election into the ANC and especially to the position of Secretary-General followed his reputation as an effective organiser and trade union leader following his term as General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He led the founding processes of the NUM and went on to lead the union to stage one of the biggest and most effective industrial strikes in South Africa in 1987, leading to a three weeks shutdown of the entire mining industry. He emerged out of that political standoff between labour and capital as a renowned negotiator, reputed for his tough approach and ability to push a hard bargain whilst maintaining the respect of his opponents.

As part of his role as Secretary-general, he served as Chief Negotiator for the ANC at the Congress for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) at which the framework for a democratic transition was being mapped out. His experience as a negotiator in industrial conflicts asserted him as one of the key players in breaking stalemates and initiating strategic areas of consensus between opposing parties in that process.

After the first democratic elections in 1994, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa was deployed in Parliament by the ANC and was elected as Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly tasked with drafting the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. He was re-elected as Secretary-General of the ANC in its 49th National Conference in 1994.


The ANC subcommittee on Organisational Renewal, in its assessment of the current state of the ANC as an organisation reaffirmed its confidence that ANC remains the leader in the processes for social change as demonstrated by our delivery of service since 1994. 

Presenting the outcomes of commission discussions on the renewal of the organisation, the sub-committee Chair on Organisational Renewal, Cadre Fikile Mbalula emphasised the organisation’s dual character as a liberation movement and a political party. He further stated that this in itself requires the organisation to readjust its organisational machinery to be more responsive to the new demands arising from our current political epoch.

According to Mbalula, the sub-committee accepts and is introspective about the dangers that have creeped into the movement and believe restoration begins with acceptance of ones failures and underperformance.

The central thesis of the organisation’s analysis is that the subjective weaknesses of our movement are not unrelated to the influence of a neo-liberal ideological paradigm. Neo-liberalism sought to weaken both the ANC’s progressive outlook and the capacity of the developmental state to carry out a thoroughgoing transformation agenda, Mbalula said.

He also pointed out ‘the silent shift from transformative politics to palace politics wherein internal strife and factional battles over power and resources define the political life of the movement’. The tendency of other comrades nowadays who ‘use mainstream media outlets to let out their political ambitions within the movement and find fame within enemy agents hoping that our people would not decipher the political venom of their “poisonous tongues” must be condemned, Mbalula emphasized.  

With regard to policy proposals, the Subcommittee proposed a maximum target of 65% National Executive Committee members be allowed to serve in the country’s Cabinet. This proposal, he said, will allow the organisation to have an objective view and influence developments in government, civil society, the economy and international arena.

There was also a proposal on the establishment of the Revolutionary Electoral Commission. “This process must be guided by the Through the Eye of the Needle policy document, he said, in order to ensure that the ANC structures prepares, produce and present to South Africa the best cadres from its ranks.”

The Subcommittee also proposed that the Internal lobbying of ANC members, leaders or structures to have specific internal arrangements to enable ethics and code of conduct regulations to prevent ANC work from being conducted in dark corners. This will also prevent corruption.

“A one stop ANC portal infrastructure should be rolled out to reconnect ANC to the people and membership” Mbalula said. This was another proposal. This portal would contain all relevant policy and other documents. It should have a page where members, cadres and supporters can advise or express their views on various matters.

The Subcommittee also concluded on the type and quality of cadres the ANC required. The new cadre should be able to understand and appreciate the ideological orientation, policies and political programmes of the African National Congress, Mbalula added. This new cadre should be able, at all times, to understand, and interpret the changing nature of global balance of forces, social and economic trends in society and have a strategic and farsighted approach to challenges of “modern day” society.


South African National Civic Organisation

This 54th National Conference of the leader of society affords the revolutionary alliance and the Mass Democratic Movement an opportunity to reclaim its revolutionary conscientiousness and recommit to the advancement of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as we rebuild, renew and reposition the African National Congress (ANC) as a strategic centre of power to serve all people of South Africa. 


This gathering of activists and festival of ideas must rise above growing factionalism, self-interest and patronage tendencies that seek to redefine the character of the movement, i.e. if the ANC is to emerge from this watershed conference as a united force to carry out its historic mission to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist, equitable and democratic society.

South African Communist Party

The South African Communist Party salutes the delegates to this historic 54th National Conference of our strategic ally, the African National Congress. In saluting the delegates to this Conference we trust that you appreciate that the future of the ANC, the future of our Alliance, and therefore the prospects for the sustained advance, deepening and defence of our national democratic revolution lie, in many respects, in your hands. 

The 54th National Conference of the ANC has the potential to impact on the future viability of our Alliance. In wishing delegates and leadership to the Conference well, we urge you to agree on policies and a leadership collective that will move the ANC out of the current trend of decline.

Congress of South African Trade Unions

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on behalf of more than 1, 7 million of its members wishes the African National Congress a successful and productive 54th National Conference. 

The unity of the ANC is sacrosanct. The delegates in this conference should work to foster and defend not just the unity of the ANC but of our people in general. This conference should be about the restoration of unity and cohesion within the movement as a whole, as well as building confidence and hope amongst the masses of our people ahead of the national elections in 2019. 

COSATU trusts that this 54th National Conference would hopefully lay a foundation and develop a programme of action to rebuild the ANC and our revolutionary Alliance. We wish all the delegates well in their deliberations and we hope that they will show discipline and successfully carry their mandates from their branches. 

Aluta Continua!


The African National Congress first adopted the strategy and tactics document at its 1969 Morogoro conference. It analyses the socio-political environment in which the organisation has to operate. 

It offers an analysis of the domestic and global developments and consequently outlines tactics and strategies to be employed in the prosecution of the current phase of the struggle (the national democratic revolution).

This is critical given the restlessness of the ‘motive forces’ that clearly have “lost confidence in the capacity of the ANC” – as shown in the 2016 local government elections – to carry out the agenda of fundamental  social transformation.  This was shown either through non-participation or by voting for parties that have broken away from the ANC.

The strategy and tactics adopted at the 2017 conference has provided a road map to guide all the structures of the organisation across women, youth, veterans as well as branches, provincial and national structures.  All have to play their part to ensure that the organisation wins the 2019 general elections. This also applies to our allies in the tripartite alliance plus SANCO.

Forces aligned against the ANC have not hidden their desire to dislodge the ANC from power. It is indisputable that the ANC is by far the biggest and most supported political organisation in South Africa. It has held the country together since the dawn of democracy in 1994. The further weakening of the ANC will invariably undermine the state and the democratic system, as a whole. 

Key characteristics of the strategy and tactics document are: 

The main content of the NDR remains the liberation of Africans in particular and blacks in general. This means uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor

This is being affected by the distributive mechanism offered by the comprehensive security system, the old age pension and other grants, etc, that provide a safety net for the poor and infirm and other vulnerable people. 

The need to build a developmental state that has the capacity to intervene in the economy in the interest of higher rates of growth and sustainable development

Mobilising the people as a whole to act as their own liberators through participatory democracy. Accordingly the ANC will continue its attempts to build a democracy with social content

There is a need to continue to change the structure, system and design of the South African economy which, 23 years after democracy, continues to be dominated by monopoly capital. The ANC will accordingly continue to be vigorous in the manner in which it manages the relationship with this sector. This will be characterised by co-operation over the need to attract investment for the creation of jobs, promotion of technological advances, encouraging competition.  Equally, there will be contestation where there is typical monopoly behaviour, price fixing and rent-seeking. Such inherently anti-competitive behaviour will be addressed through regulation, legislation and policies and will involve utilising the Competition Commission to drive correct behaviour

In doing all the above, the fate of SA is inextricably linked to that of the African continent. This will be expressed through investment, trade and peace attempts as we play our part in the African Union and all its structures.


The President of the ANC Youth League, Cadre Collen Maine has called for constitutional amendments to prevent the ANC from being taken to court. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the 54 National Conference at Nasrec, Cadre Maine said there is a need for delegates to behave, disciplined and not be afraid to engage in the deliberations. Maine also said that the leader that get elected must unite the ANC and understand that when the organisation is not united then the country will never be united.

“The ANC must ensure that the constitutional amendments adopted by conference empowers the party to curb this thing of being taken to court” said President Maine.

“As things stand, everytime we meet we get a monitoring report from government which means government is monitoring itself, therefore we need to build that capacity in the ANC” further said Cadre Maine. 

The Youth League, which has in the past raised concerns about the requirement for experience on entry level positions in government, wants conference to adopt a policy position that scrap this requirement.

“It is quite unfair for young people to go to school and get degrees and be told about experience, this requirement must be scrapped” concluded Cadre Maine.

*Pic* Collen Maine


The Western Cape Acting Chairperson, Cadre Kaya Magaxa has put the unity of the Alliance as top priority for the unity of the ANC to be achieved. 

Speaking on the second day of the 54 National Conference, Cadre Magaxa said the ANC must appreciate the importance and contribution of the entire alliance. 

“We need to lay some principles to avoid the ANC being a law unto itself and to the alliance. ANC needs to appreciate that it is in power because all other partners of the Alliance contribute towards that victory” said Cadre Magaxa.

Magaxa further emphasized that ANC, SACP, COSATU and Sanco are important to the alliance and if the ANC can appreciate that first it will be able to have a united alliance.

The Western Cape Acting leader called on all members to be disciplined and respect each other, the leadership and the chairperson for the success of the conference.

Magaxa appealed on delegates that “discipline is key in the conference and we must respect democratic processes and try and avoid provocation, sing songs that are acceptable and respect the leadership of the ANC and chair in this conference”. 

*Pic* Snuki Zikalala

The ANC must emerge the winner 

The ANC and South Africa must be the winner at the end of this conference and it must emerge united to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

The President of the Veterans League, Cadre Snuki Zikalala emphasised the need to ensure that the ANC becomes the winner of the 54 National Conference. 

Cadre Zikalala says the ANC has the best policies however it falls short when it comes to implementation. 

“We must come out of here committed to ANC values and principles, and we must implement policy decisions and appoint people in government who are skilled, passionate and committed” said Zikalala.

President Zikalala said that the league will ask for electoral reform to avoid the kind of contestation we have seen during credentials. This will be to make sure that delegates should come from and be elected by constituencies and accountable to the constituencies. 

“The electoral reform we seek must be constituency based and reduce the number of NEC members from 80 to 60 members. Within the NEC there must be people who are credible and who have the interests of serving society and not themselves” said Cadre Zikalala.

The league also seeks for conference to adopt a resolution that 60% of people in the NEC must not be deployed to government so that they can hold government accountable including its President. 



The Limpopo Provincial Chairperson, Cadre Stanley Mathabatha says the outcome of the 54th National Conference must be the best conference the ANC has ever held.

In the ANC, the Morogoro conference is always referred to as the best conference that the ANC has ever held, therefore we expect the same from delegates said Cadre Mathabatha.

Mathabatha further said “We must make the conference to be the most successful, you know we always talk about Morogoro, lets talk about Nasrec as the best conference even better than Morogoro”.

Mathabatha appealed to delegates to exercise their revolutionary morality and political consciousness.  

“ To make the conference the best conference, that can only happen if we have delegates who uphold what we normally call revolutionary morality and political consciousness which is the cornerstone of any revolutionary cadre of the ANC” emphasized Mathabatha.

“As Limpopo province, we would want to make sure that conference adopts resolutions that ensure that the land issue is resolved which will benefit a rural province like Limpopo” he said.



The Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC) Comrade Gwede Mantashe has delivered the Organizational Report to the 54th National Conference of the ANC. It covers the five-year period since the 53rd National Conference at Mangaung in 2012.

ANC Today interviewed him on the side-lines of the National Conference about the work covered by the report; organizational challenges, and the future of the ANC.

How do you see the ANC’s current role in society?

Owing to its programmes of advancing change and transforming the conditions of the country’s poor and marginalized, the national liberation movement, the ANC, remains at the helm of South African society. It is our responsibility to continue to earn the trust of society.

What are the biggest challenges we face as a country?

We are now in the second phase of transition to the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) which is characterized by radical socio-economic transformation. This is in acknowledgement that unemployment, poverty and inequality must be obliterated. Full change cannot be realized unless economic power is conferred on the majority.

The Organizational Report has strongly referenced the Decade of the Cadre – please elaborate on this?

For any organization to withstand contemporary challenges and at the same time remain true to its values, principles and ideological grounding – it is imperative that we need to undergo a process of developing the right calibre of membership. This is where the notion of cadreship comes in. The focus of this decade-long programme is the ideological, political, academic and moral training of a critical mass of ANC members. Notwithstanding our challenges, efforts are underway to realize this objective. At the heart of this is political education. The discussion on organizational renewal must be a permanent feature of our movement to ensure that we adapt and change.

Please elaborate on what you have identified as the key challenges facing the ANC?

Some of the challenges we face are as a result of self-inflicted wounds. One notes for instance Then there are the fierce, even fatal contestations, together with an almost endemic factionalism between and amongst comrades dominating our structures, causing grievous divisions in the movement.

Others can be attributed to external factors opposed to our movement and its outlook on society and the world. There is for example a rising groan about state capture, corporate capture and the role of money in politics and policymaking.

It is also a reality that over a sustained time period, our movement has experienced a decline. This has manifested itself in a multi-faceted manner – including but not limited to the quality and quantity of our membership; ideological outlook and policy articulation; efficiency and effectiveness of structures; organizational discipline and the waning of values and principles amongst the leadership and membership alike; cohesiveness in the Alliance; electoral performance and ability to govern – and influence in the broader society.

In your view are any of these challenges insurmountable? 

No, because all normal organizations pass through such phases. However, decline is arrested when there is recognition that something dramatic has to be done – and a new growth trajectory initiated. We have reached such a moment.

The report speaks to a ‘trust deficit between the ANC and the people – please elaborate?

As a result of some of the aforementioned factors, there is a growing gap between the movement and the people, which has placed the legitimacy of our movement as the standard bearer in society under threat. In the second half of this term, we witnessed a decline in our performance at the polls in the 2016 municipal elections – with our support dropping by 8% compared to the 2014 elections. Of particular concern was the massive losses incurred in the Metros. The latter threatens to relegate the ANC into a rural party in a manner similar to those of other liberation movements that are in decline.

It is important however to note that trust deficit is a problem facing liberal democracies in general, and also occurs where there is a general mistrust for the ruling and business classes.

This Conference is taking place in the centenary year of OR Tambo. How do you see his legacy living on in the movement?

Next year we will also begin to mark the centenary of Comrade Nelson Mandela. We should use such anniversaries as an opportunity to energize our movement and remind us of the quality and selflessness of the leadership that has inspired us and provided a vision as well as sense of unity and purpose to our movement, but to the people as a whole.

What has been your observation regarding the unity of the leadership in this period?

Despite extremely challenging conditions, we have sought to maintain our unity as a leadership collective. This however has come under strain as a result of factions and slates. In some instances, decision-making has been removed from structures – reducing them to being sounding boards. That notwithstanding, structures are expected to take collective responsibility for as well as defend decisions they cannot honestly own.

How has the ANC culture of internal democracy suffered as a result of factionalism and slate politics?

This vibrant internal culture, wherein all views are sought and consensus reached based on the best and most appropriate course of action – is virtually non-existent. A symptom of this is when the results of every conference are immediately appealed – because some are motivated only by the need to win any debate or election. Court challenges have become the preferred method of engagement when results do not favour one or another faction.

How have perceptions of corruption dented the reputation of the ANC?

We are faced with a painful situation where the entirety of the liberation movement is projected as corrupt as a result of the actions of some. State capture is a reality and forms part of public discourse – and the ANC cannot afford to be perceived as confused or defensive in the face of this debate. The Conference must provide concrete guidance to the leadership not only on the position the ANC must take, but on how it should engage with this debate.

What can be done to arrest the ANC’s electoral decline, particularly with the 2019 elections looming?

The ANC remains the only realistic formation that can unite a cross section of all our people and engender real change. What is lost on some is that the ANC has since the inception of democracy continued to be victorious at the polls. In each national general election, we have maintained a majority of 60%. This despite many commentators and analysts predicting the ANC would poll in at below 50%.

A number of things need to be done to arrest this decline. It starts with ensuring that our support base goes out and votes; and that we are registering more voters for each set of elections. We need to reduce opportunities of local parties and independent candidates who are breaking away from the ANC. We urgently need to continue to improve our candidate selection processes. It is important equally that our leaders at all levels are made to appreciate that factional selection of candidates is very costly to the ANC, and even more so in the long term. Provinces and regions that need our urgent attention must be helped. Most importantly, we need to prioritize rebuilding the reputation and image of our movement. The serious signs of decline must be arrested – and a new growth trajectory developed.


ANC TODAY sat with the ANC Treasurer General (TG), Dr Zweli Mkhize, after his presentation of the organisations audited financial statements at the 54th National Conference for the years ending March 2013, March 2014, March 2015, March 2016 and March 2017.

ANC TODAY: How has the economic environment affected ANC fundraising over the last five years?

TG: The economic environment under which the ANC has operated over the last 5 years highlight to the members that the success of fundraising programmes and the flow of donations are heavily impacted upon by the economic situation. However, despite the challenging economic environment, the African National Congress has been able to raise funds which far surpasses previous records, in order to cover most of its activities, but more work still needs to be done.

ANC TODAY: Where does ANC get most of its funding?

TG: 65% of ANC Funding comes from our Fundraising programmes.

ANC TODAY: Does this not affect the organisations independence

TG: It is important for organisations to maintain independence from external donor influence. The recent examples have demonstrated that donors have a possibility of dictating terms to some parties, creating distortions to those parties in how they exercise their policy choices. This is a subversion of the will of the people. However, such subversion can never happen in the ANC.

ANC TODAY: Is the independence of political organisations the reason ANC has been championing a different model of funding in Parliament?

TG: It’s important to emphasise the need for the fiscus to be the main source of funding for political parties. That way the control of the political parties in South Africa remains securely in the hands of South African people.

ANC TODAY: How has negative perceptions about the ANC affected its fundraising ability?

TG: Fundraising for the ANC political programmes dependent on the public appeal of the “BRAND ANC”. Perceptions about the ANC as a brand over the last few years, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, unprofessionalism, have made the process of fundraising all the more difficult because these are the traits most private donor’s loath, as does the rest of society.

ANC TODAY: Does the ANC have enough income and investments?

TG: The main challenge for the ANC is to create a culture of saving and investing resources as well as to reduce the high expenditure pattern. This required the revamping of its administration and review its Human Resources Plan.

ANC TODAY: How is ANC’s spending pattern and what are its high cost drivers?

TG: The monthly operational cost of running the movement still remain stubbornly high. Remuneration costs, Travel and Accommodation costs, Communication costs, Legal Fees, Stationery and Consumables and Security costs continue to be the key cost drivers. The biggest expense of the ANC, is employee benefits which take almost a third of the budget. We must revamp the administration and review Human resource plan in order to eliminate all excesses and costs.

ANC TODAY: Would you say the organisation is financially stable?

TG: The organisation has a stable and consistent income stream, with modest increments year on year.

ANC thanks all its supporters who have ensured that we remain a financially viable entity that is able to fund all its programmes and fulfil all its responsibilities.

We remain a people centred organisation sustained only by the generosity of our members and donors.


The ANC must emerge from this 54th National Conference more united, with policies that take forward its mission of building a united, non-racial non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, according to President Jacob Zuma.

Speaking at a gala dinner on Friday night, President Zuma said the ANC and the country must emerge as winners. “We have called on all our members and delegates to ensure that unity prevails at the conference,” he said. While much attention has been paid to the leadership contest, it is just as important that Conference adopts policies that improve people’s lives.

Organised by the Progressive Business Forum, the gala dinner was attended by ANC leaders, business people and supporters of the organisation.

President Zuma called on progressive businesses to invest more in the economy to create jobs, drastically reduce poverty, break monopolies and deal with inequality.


“Your investment in strategic sectors of the economy will help secure meaningful participation in the economy by the majority of our people. We want to partner with investors who, notwithstanding profit motives, also understand our strategic national interest as well as the imperative of creating a better life for all,” he said.


It is important that such investment advances radical economic transformation by ensuring the participation of the black majority in key sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, industrialisation, mining, agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, water, energy and others. He said the long term interests of the country are guaranteed under conditions of social stability.

President Zuma said the partnership between the ANC and progressive business people allows the business community to engage meaningfully with the ANC in a solution oriented manner, “understanding that the work that needs to be done to achieve our desired and necessary levels of economic growth does not and cannot rest solely on the shoulders of our organisation”.


He reiterated that the ANC has always held the view that the society we are building will have a mixed economy, with state, cooperative and other forms of social ownership, and private capital. This is important because the economy requires massive investment from both public and private capital.


“What we must work to build consensus on is the areas to which this massive investment should be directed. Finding the correct answers as to where investment should be directed must necessarily begin with understanding that in order to deal with the problems facing our country, we need the kind of economic growth that does not only increase the value of current investments but which also significantly increases our tangible assets,” he said.


President Zuma highlight the importance of the partnership between the ANC and business in tackling our economic challenges. This must be a mutually beneficial relationship from which the people of South Africa as a whole are the biggest winners.

“Be encouraged to continue investing in your movement, the ANC, because it is the one most capable of changing the lives of our people for the better and creating a conducive environment for business to thrive,” he said.

President Zuma concluded by thanking the progressive business community for its support during his terms as ANC President. “Everything has been done to ensure a smooth and successful national conference,” he said.