Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 7.00.41 PMStaff reporter

If the countries of the African continent are to realize the aspirations of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU), there must be a focus on unity between nations, with a strong focus on strengthening regional integration.

This was amongst the areas of focus for the commission on International Relations sitting at the party’s National Policy Conference (NPC) in Nasrec, Gauteng.

In presenting a summary of the discussion document, International Relations Subcommittee Chairperson Comrade Edna Molewa noted that South Africa’s foreign policy unapologetically reaffirmed that the country was an integral part of the African continent; and that the ANC wholly supported the African Agenda.

To that end, “A prosperous, stable, secure and peaceful Africa remains an important objective of the ANC’s International Relations policy,” said Molewa quoting the discussion document.

The ANC International Relations discussion document opens with an affirmation of the ANC’s commitment to ‘progressive internationalism’: ‘born out of the interaction with fellow liberation movements throughout the world and with international solidarity movements.’

Playing a role in the peaceful and inclusive resolution of Africa’s conflicts, and ‘increasing the people-to-people interaction (particularly amongst youth) between African countries (augmented by government-to-government and institutional relations)’ formed a key part of Building A Better Africa – which is the cornerstone of the IR policy discussion document.

Delegates representing the different provinces were given an opportunity to present their views to the committee. A robust exchange of views followed on matters contained in the discussion document, ranging from the Israel/Palestine conflict; to defining the role of South Africa in BRICS, to the strengthening of relations within the SADC region.

Delegates reaffirmed a number of resolutions taken by successive conferences of the ANC on international relations matters.


Staff Reporter

Deputy-President Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa says he is happy with the way in which the ANC’s National Policy Conference (NPC) is proceeding: adding that this ‘positive tone’ was catalysed by President Zuma’s opening speech.

The Deputy-President was addressing media in impromptu briefing during his walkabout of the Progressive Business Forum (PBF) exhibition area in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, where the NPC is currently underway. Various businesses are showcasing their products in the exhibition hall, ranging from electric vehicles, to security drones to professional services.

Ramaphosa also briefly visited a stand displaying the portraits of the successive presidents of the ANC.

He offered journalists a brief overview of the programme of the NPC thus far; saying that overall, the NPC gave the organization an opportunity to strengthen itself.

“This is the ANC at its best,” said, singling out branches for particular mention for their energy in the discussions; noting that the branches possessed political and ideological clarity and were ‘very clear’.

“They are debating the substantive issues that have to do with our economy,” he said, adding that the leadership of the ANC was here to listen to what branches are saying.

As a delegate himself, he said he was ‘in high spirits’ and was optimistic that the NPC would see the ANC emerge with very good resolutions to its policy and other challenges.

“This is where the branches have a voice”, says Ramaphosa

The first two days of the NPC have been focused on Organizational Renewal and Strategy and Tactics; and sectoral policy discussions will begin in earnest on Monday.

Referring to the Organizational Report presented by the Secretary-General Comrade Gwede Mantashe on the first day of the conference, Ramaphosa said it was critical that the organization ‘move beyond’ the issues contained in the NEC report and find solutions to them.

Describing the ANC as a living organism that is constantly evolving, he said like all political parties, it had its up’s and down’s – but what was important was that delegates displayed unity of purpose. “The process we have embarked upon is that of uniting the ANC” he emphasized.



Staff Reporter

Presenting the organisational renewal discussion document to the Policy Conference, Comrade Fikile Mbalula, ANC Head of Organisational Development, was emphatic that organizational renewal was deeply anchored on the unity and cohesion of the ANC.  The challenges confronting the ANC are many and require focus, dedication and unstinting commitment to reasserting the values of the movement.

Mbalula set the tone by quoting OR Tambo when he was closing the ANC’s first consultative conference in Morogoro in 1969 when he said, “Comrades, beware of the wedge-driver, the man who creeps from ear to ear, carrying a bag full of wedges, driving them in between you and the next man, between a group and another, a man who goes round creating splits and divisions. Beware of the wedge-driver, comrades. Watch his poisonous tongue”.

“Cde Tambo’s wise counsel has never been more relevant in the history of the ANC,” says Mbalula.   “The emergence of destructive tendencies and factions whose sole preoccupation is to amass political power for themselves and their friends at the expense of the ANC pose a real danger to the ANC.”  Mbalula similarly cautioned the ANC against the rot that was settling and undermining its ability to effectively play its role as a leader of the progressive forces.  He challenged the Policy Conference to look critically at this alien conduct that threatens the hegemony of the ANC and outlines its defining characters as:

  • Widening social distance between ANC leaders and members
  • Rampant corruption
  • Poor service delivery record of government
  • Factionalism
  • Abuse and manipulation of organizational processes for personal gain
  • Ill-discipline of members characterised by flagrant disregard of established rules of conduct
  • Use of intelligence (public and private) to spy on fellow members
  • Arrogance of leadership in dealings with members or civil society

According to Mbalula, “a key condition to achieve organizational renewal remains an honest appreciation and acknowledgement of the negative tendencies that has become rampant in the organization.  Members should always be weary of those who mask themselves as revolutionaries while using the structures of the ANC to achieve personal political ends.  Similarly, renewal presupposes that one has fully understood that, which impedes progress, before any forward momentum can be realised.”

Speaking on the character of the ANC, Mbalula said, “In navigating the path towards renewal, the ANC must have a full appreciation of the treacherous path that has to be traversed.  The premise of this is the affirmation of some of the core values that underpin organizational hegemony. These include the appreciation that the ANC is a product of the left with a bias towards the working class and the poor;  the ANC remains a strategic centre of power and a leader of the progressive forces.” He further added that “the rule of law is a cornerstone of a transformed society where all citizens are equal before the law, progressive Civil Society thrives and where the ANC earns its leadership role through constructive engagements with organs of civil society.”

Mbalula urged delegates not only to be honest in the appraisal of the challenges the ANC faces, but to also engage robustly without fear or favour.  He challenged them to be bold in conceptualizing robust and radical interventions to achieve renewal.  Mbalula implored Conference to seriously consider re-orientating itself and to critically examine whether in the light of the current challenges this requires only adjustments to its organizational design or a complete revamp of the organisational machinery.

The National Policy Conference will continue until Wednesday when the plenary session will reconvene to adopt recommendations towards the National Conference to be held in December.


ANC Today sat with the Chairperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape Comrade Phumulo Masualle, who is also the Premier of the Province, on the sidelines of the National Policy Conference to speak about among other things, Eastern Cape’s key priorities at the Conference, deepening unity in the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, and the kind of comrade the ANC must seek to build.

The Eastern Cape held its own Provincial Policy Conference in the week leading to the Conference, with close to 900 delegates in attendance, and prioritised first and foremost the issue of economic transformation, Masualle said. ‘We are coming from an era of accelerated economic transformation, the challenge now is to radicalise it and that is logically drawing attention’, he added.

The Eastern Cape is one of the country’s poorest provinces. Radical economic transformation will contribute to the province’s vision to turn around the situation to grow and transform the economy for a greater contribution to the GDP. ‘We need to also ensure that our factories affirm employability to avoid making Eastern Cape only the sender of employees elsewhere but to grow its local base and ensure rural economy triumph’, he said. He also believes that taking the radical steps in the economy is not really just rhetoric but an intention and vision we need to drive.

The province also took it as its priority to fight the factionalism problem. ‘The issue of gate keeping, membership manipulation, is killing the whole essence of the relevance of a member, Masualle said. ‘ANC must be an organisation that is open to members of society, must be an organization where they can work freely, join it, serve it, If we say we need a branch that is functional, we must be able to see that this branch is sitting, there are officials of the branch, there are monthly reports, not only based on the audit that we only receive when conferences are coming, so the whole life of an organisation, the filing system, membership follow-ups, the renewal of membership, must always be there’, Masualle said.

He reiterated that it can’t always be the matter of figures that determines the presence of an organization, it must be the life, the energy, the zeal, and enthusiasm of the membership of the ANC to be politically trained, and to be developmentally astute, to understand the task at hand.

Masualle welcomed the frankness of the President’s opening speech at the conference. ‘President was very frank. Starting from the genesis of the movement, problems of this old movement, how those problems will be resolved internally by the ANC, Masualle said. ‘The single issue that stood out for me is the issue of discipline. The organisation cannot be ill disciplined when it has problems. ANC is still a torch bearer for the future of this country’, Masualle said.

On the question of how the organization can deepen unity, Masualle revoked Oliver Tambo as indeed the embodiment of what ANC would like to see. The humility, the humbleness, the astuteness, the correct politics, we need to development more Oliver Tambo’s of today. ‘But we must appreciate that Oliver Tambo of the 60s will be different from Oliver Tambo of 2017. We would like to see members of the ANC, those that are joining the ANC, who may be coming to the organisation singing, that this is not an organisation to sing only, we need to balance content, theory, revolution, understanding what is NDR and what NDS is all about, what are the pertinent challenges’, Masualle said.

He then concluded that we need a well oiled army of comrades, who are able at a younger age, gender struggles, taking the movement forward as a professionally runned organisation, which must be delivering new hope to our people, but we cannot then wish away the foundation of our veterans. ANC is an intergenerational organisation, which is supposed to live longer, and the issues raised by the President in his input is what we need to attend to, Masualle concluded.


zikalalaStaff Reporter

The ability of the African National Congress (ANC) throughout its history to self-correct has become all the more important when interpreting the current challenges facing the movement.

This is the view of the ANC Kwa-Zulu/Natal Chairperson Comrade Sihle Zikalala; echoing sentiment expressed by President Jacob Zuma in his keynote address to the ANC’s National Policy Conference (NPC) currently underway in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

“Self correction becomes more important to us as movement during this time… the decline of the ANC from the previous local government elections has corroded the standing of the ANC and needs to be addressed and confronted,” says Zikalala.

Comrade Zikalala’s call on the National Policy Conference to focus on the unity of the organization and the restoration of its organizational values has been made by all ANC leaders on public platforms since the opening of the NPC.

“As Kwa-Zulu/Natal we want to see the ANC emerging from this conference more united and with clear focus on the implementation of programmes of the ANC,” says Zikalala.

Crucial to deepening unity is confronting the issue of slate politics which Zikalala says should be done away with. “We need to ensure that whenever we elect leaders we don’t do so on the basis of one slate but facilitate a means to ensure there is ‘integration’ of various preferences and views,” says Zikalala

Speaking to the policy priorities of his province, Zikalala says radical economic transformation was foremost amongst them.

“We are unwavering on that we are committed to see the lives of our people being changed. The reality is that the south African economy is estimated to be about R 8.7 trillion, more than 3 trillion is in the hands of only one percent of the population who are rich. That tells you that those who are rich are filthy rich are filthy rich..” says Zikalala.

The ANC in KZN says it wants to see radical economic transformation accelerated: “at the center of this (radical economic transformation) is to ensure that we work hard on industrialization in South Africa,” says Zikalala.

Access to education was also a priority. “We must make it easy for the people of our country to access education and free education must be reaffirmed and implemented.”

Ultimately, though, what is ‘derailing our revolution’ is the failure to implement decisions and programmes of the ANC – and to this end the ANC KZN is in agreement with sentiment expressed by some that there should be an institution established to ensure the implementation of the decisions of the ANC.


2017-07-01-PHOTO-00000009Staff Reporter
To realise the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution, the ANC needs to renew itself and act more decisively, NEC member Nathi Mthethwa said in presenting the Strategy and Tactics discussion document to the ANC National Policy Conference.

Given the current challenges within the ANC and Alliance, the discussion on Strategy and Tactics has focused attention on the strategic implications of the weakened state of the organisation.

While the document suggests that this a moment of opportunity to forge a social compact towards the NDP’s Vision 2030, the ANC, its Alliance partners and the government it leads are at their weakest since 1994.

It therefore calls for the integrity of the ANC to be enhanced. Self-correction should include efforts to revitalise the visionary and policy integrity of the movement. From the processes of joining the movement to the operation of branches and higher structures, there should be mechanisms of sifting quality and of ongoing improvement in the orientation and character of members. The criteria and processes of selecting leaders should contribute should enhance leadership integrity. Leadership collectives should, as a whole, reflect the motive forces of change and the various centres of power.

According to Mthethwa: “The ultimate objective of a united and prosperous society dictates that the ANC should reach beyond its narrow social base to persuade all South Africans about their common long-term interests. It should continually seek to forge a social compact – a broad national front – for mutual benefit.”

“The ANC should act as the strategic centre of power for its members, learning from, and in turn guiding activities across, society.”

A strategic centre of power should command legitimacy and authority. It should ensure that its mandate is carried out by its members, wherever they are located. It should be able to monitor and evaluate the implementation of its policies. When and where there are weaknesses – whether these are a result of poor policies, weak implementation or poor leadership – it should be able to act decisively.

The ANC’s approach to transformation should be guided by our macrosocial reality:

  • South Africans have attained political liberation with the principle of equal human rights guaranteed in the basic law of the land.
  • Since 1994, the state has been gradually transformed to serve all the people.
  • Progress has been made in extending basic services to the majority; but the quality of services and working conditions remains poor, and apartheid spatial economic and settlement patterns largely remain.
  • Poverty, in terms of income and assets, has been reduced; but black people continue, disproportionately, to endure massive privations.
  • Inequality remains stubborn, and management and the professions particularly in the private sector, are dominated by white males.

This reality underlines the fact that critical attributes of colonial social relations endure, Mthethwa said. South African society can thus be characterised as ‘racial capitalism’ or ‘neo-colonialism of a special type’.

To build on the foundation laid since the attainment of democracy, the pillars of social transformation the inform the framework of the ANC’s focus should be the state, the economy, organisational work, ideological struggle, and international work.

Mthethwa said the National Democratic Revolution should strive to realise shared prosperity, social justice and human solidarity. This is premised on a united state based on the will of all the people, without regard to race, sex, belief, language, ethnicity or geographic location; an improving quality of life among all the people by providing equal rights and opportunities to all citizens; and the restoration of the birth-right of all South Africans regarding access to land and other resources.

A national democratic society should be therefore founded on a thriving economy which should reflect the natural endowments of the country and the creativity that a skilled population can offer. It should be an economy in which cutting edge technology, labour-absorbing industrial development, a thriving small business and cooperative sector, utilisation of information and communication technologies and efficient forms of production and management all combine to ensure national prosperity. It requires de-racialisation of ownership and control of wealth, management and the professions.

All manifestations and consequences of patriarchy – from the feminisation of poverty, physical and psychological abuse, undermining of self-confidence, to open and hidden forms of exclusion from positions of authority and power – need to be eliminated, he said.

“Critical in this regard is the creation of the material and cultural conditions that would allow the abilities of women to flourish and enrich the life of the nation.”

He also said: “A nation’s success depends also on its ability to encourage, harness and incorporate into its endeavours the creativity, daring and energy of youth. This relates to such issues as access to social and economic opportunities, engendering activism around issues of development and values of community solidarity and creating the space for youth creativity to flourish.”

A national democratic society should also ensure the protection and continuous advancement of the most vulnerable in society, including children and the elderly.

The motive forces of change – the classes and strata which objectively stand to benefit from fundamental transformation – still desire such change and are prepared to work for it. It is up to the ANC to ensure that they are organised, mobilised and effectively led to achieve this change, he said.




Staff Reporter

Head of ANC Policy and NEC member Comrade Jeff Radebe delivered a progress report on the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) to the 5th National Policy Conference of the ANC currently underway at the Nasrec Expo Centre in the south of Johannesburg.

In introducing his report, Radebe reminded delegates that the ANC’s 53rd National Conference at Mangaung resolved that “…we embraced Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan as a platform for united action by all South Africans to eradicate poverty, create full employment and reduce inequality as critical building blocks towards a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.”

The 2015 National General Council of the ANC reaffirmed that the NDP is the long term plan that identifies the critical actions to be prioritised towards 2030. “To this end, we reaffirm that the National Development Plan (NDP) constitutes the programme through which we advance radical socio-economic transformation” he said.

The key objectives of the NDP are set out to eliminate income poverty by reducing households with a monthly income below R419 per person (in 2009 prices) from 39% to 0; reduce inequality where the Gini coefficient should fall from 0.69 to 0.60 and reduce unemployment rate to 6% by creating 11 million more jobs by 2030.

On Education, Radebe said enormous strides to redress the educational imbalance of the past and improve basic education have been made. Between 2014 and 2016, the matriculation pass rate rose from 58% in 1994 to 72.5% in 2016. “We are on a positive trajectory, as can be seen in international comparisons through the South and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring of Educational Quality (SACMEQ) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS)” he said.

Introduction of ‘no fee’ schools and meals through the National School Nutrition Programme have increased access to schools, and supported learning in schools, he added.

On Health, overall life expectancy increased from 62,9 years in 2014 to 63,3 years in 2015. Compared to 2009, Radebe said this reflects a huge increase of 6,2 years, true for both males and females, as a result of success in combating HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.

The health of South African children has also improved. Mortality amongst children under the age of 5 years has dropped from 40 deaths per 1,000 live-births in 2014 to 37 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2015 (MRC).

“The highlight of the health sector’s achievements during the Zuma administration must be the adoption by Cabinet of the National Health Insurance White Paper” Radebe said. This policy framework will enable good quality health services for the majority of our people, irrespective of their ability to pay, he added.

On NDP Outcome 3 which is to build safer communities, addressing threat to security of the state and fighting corruption, Radebe reported that considerable progress has been made in the fight against crime.

Between 2014 and 2016, attempted murders reduced from 26 806 to 18 127 (-32%), sexual offences decreased from 53 617 in 2014/15 to 51 895 in 2015/16.

Since 2014 to March 2017, the number of persons convicted for priority corruption cases increased from 52 to 110. The value of assets frozen by freezing orders is almost R5 billion.

The progress with the economy, “we continue to use the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) to drive industrialisation, as well as the Black Industrialists Programme. In the mining sector, we have developed a Minerals Beneficiation Action Plan to advance local value-addition across five mineral value-chains” Radebe said.

Other interventions include a commitment to set aside 30% of procurement from SMMEs; Local content policy to support new industries; Localisation efforts through public procurement and the designation of sectors and products; The establishment of InvestSA as a one-stop shop (OSS) to remove obstacles in doing business in South Africa and process of establishing three provincial OSS in Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape in 2017/18; and In addition, we continue to grow our tourism sector where the Direct and indirect contribution to GDP increased from R372 billion in 2014 to R375bn in 2015, he added.

Rabede also said that NEDLAC has also agreed to establish a National Minimum Wage. “We have successfully implemented a Social Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS)”, he further added.

On the ANC’s fifth priority area and Outcome 7 of the NDP, Comprehensive Rural Development and Food Security, Radebe told delegates that though the progress on land reform has been at a slow pace, there have been strides made in the ANCs programme restore the land to the majority of South Africans.

Radebe said land reform had transferred 10.6% or 8.7 million hectares out of the 30% target set in 1994 to distribute agricultural land to previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs). “Financial compensation of R11.6 billion was paid out to land claimants who opted for this option for the same period. Had these claimants opted for land to be restored, a further 2 772 457 ha would have been restituted”, he added.

He said the ANC must develop a coherent policy giving direction to land reform and redistributing of state owned land. “We must also invest more in agriculture and provide comprehensive support to smallholders” he added.

In concluding Radebe said “the National Development Plan is our roadmap towards socio-economic transformation. We must redouble our efforts to address challenges of economic transformation as it is only by addressing our challenges that we can improve.”

“We climb the mountain one step at a time” he said.



Bathabile-Dlamini2Staff Reporter

Unity of the African National Congress, full representation of women in all sectors of society and not just the ANC, expropriation of land without compensation, the fight against violence directed at women and children, are some of the policy matters the President of the ANC Women’s League, Comrade Bathabile Dlamini said the league will bring to the ANC Policy Conference.

The ANC is currently holding its 05th national policy conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.
Dlamini is optimistic that the ANC will come out of the conference stronger and united. “The values of the organization have always been what brings us together to assist us where we disagree. South Africans want to see an ANC that speaks with one voice and an ANC that is truly a leader of society.  The Women’s League, as a constitutional structure of the ANC, will therefore advocate for a united ANC that does not compromise on its values,” she said.

On land, Dlamini is adamant on the need to accelerate the pace of land restitution and redistribution.  “If you look at the issue of the land, it is the only clause that has a timeframe in our Constitution and it may take years to change the Constitution so we believe that if we do not take this bold step now, we may never get the land back to its rightful owners,” said Dlamini. She also stressed that the ANCWL supports  land expropriation without compensation and will continue advocating for it during the policy conference.

On the emancipation of women, she said the league would like to see the resuscitation of the committee on women emancipation. She said the full representation of women in all sectors should not only be an ANC matter but it should find itself properly articulated in the private sector and other political parties too.

“There is a tendency to find women surrounded by men whenever they occupy positions of power subtly implying that women need assistance from men for everything they do and we want to ensure that this does not become the norm!” She said another matter that was concerning is the removal of women from office before their term ends without any investigation.
The ANCWL President said it was clear that women across all sectors of society in South Africa were tired of the violence that is meted on them. She said this was an area that women were vocal about and wanted more stricter and more stringent laws to protect them.”Women in our country still need to explain themselves when they are being violated everyday of their lives. We have listened to different voices on how we should deal with the violation of women and their children and we have heard them, so we will bring it to conference for debate,” she said.

Dlamini says it is time for the ANC to take the hard and painful decisions so that the lives of South Africans can improve. The National Policy Conference ends on the 5th July 2017 when its recommendations for a final decisions to the National Conference in December will be presented.


maineStaff Reporter

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) believes current divisions within the organization have more to do with leadership contestations, than matters of ideology or policy.

ANCYL President Collen Maine was speaking on the side-lines of the ANC’s 5th National Policy Conference (NPC) in Nasrec.

“Our opponents are expecting us to come here and tear each other apart, fight and kill the ANC.” This should not be allowed to happen, Maine says.

What will emerge out of this conference is that we should present to the public that the ANC, as it has promised them, has used this platform (the NPC) to self-correct as a movement, he says.

In order to forge greater unity within the organization, Maine believes it is critical to do self-introspection and to diagnose what is actually dividing the movement.

“The ANCYL is of the view that there are no fundamental differences on the issues of policy; the issue is the upcoming elective congress. What is important is that the leadership of the ANC must sit down and strike a deal that will unite the organization,” says Maine.

On whether he is in fact referring to a ‘consensus list’ he said he was of the view this was a possible route to consider.

He cited the example of organizational renewal recommendations of the ANC in the Northern Cape to increase the number of National Officials from six to nine, saying “ we must follow their example which we should use to unite the organization… so that not just one bloc takes the whole nine, we must bring everybody on board, taking into account the character of the organization.”

“The ANC is a broad church, let us bring everybody on board and we will have dealt with all of these major issues,” he says.

He adds that it is important that branches be guided, because ‘in the main, the divisions in the organization are not in the lower structures, it is at national level in the leadership structures.

On what the ANCYL’s key priorities were for the NPC, Comrade Maine cited free education, the scrapping of experience for posts, and the nationalization of key sectors of the economy.

He said the ANCYL noted that President Zuma in his opening speech to the NPC

“appreciated that the country was getting younger, therefore issues that affect young people should be given priority.”

Maine says that the ANCYL concurs with sentiment expressed by President Zuma in his speech about the unity of the organization.

“If we can just unite amongst ourselves for the sake of the ANC..the ANC is the only hope of South Africans, so we dare not tear it apart ourselves,” says Maine.

On what measures the ANC should institute to accelerate organizational renewal, he said the ANCYL believed it was time to relook at the structure of the National Executive Committee (NEC) because they believe the structure is too bloated- and as a result is unable to deal with issues.

“The size of the NEC must be reduced but secondly but there also needs to be agreement on the number of officials,” says Maine.

The ANCYL also believes there needs to be a second Deputy Secretary-General who will focus on monitoring and evaluation. “As it stands now they depend on government and ministers to do this vital function. The organization must monitor and evaluate itself,” Maine says.

On what the ANC can do to accelerate radical economic transformation, Maine believes the key ingredient is ‘decisive leadership.’ “We have been discussing these things, resolving about them ten years back.. on the issues of the land for instance, we’ve got good resolutions but the ANC is not moving.” He adds: “what we need is the implementation of our own resolutions,” that would be the most important thing.


IMG_6631Staff Reporter

President Jacob Zuma says a return to the core values that have defined the historical character of the African National Congress (ANC), such as selflessness and collective leadership – will be critical to reunite the organization.

President Zuma was delivering the opening address at the ANC’s 5th National Policy Conference that opened in Nasrec, Gauteng on Friday. President Zuma said the policy discussions over the next few days of the NPC must be rooted in party unity, which, said President Zuma, was ‘the rock upon which the ANC was founded.’

Unity must be the thread that keeps the ANC and the country together, he said.

President Zuma noted that the NPC was being held at a difficult period for the country economically. The economy had entered into a technical recession and discussions at the policy conference would need to look at what needs to done to reignite growth over the next five years.

Despite these challenges, President Zuma noted that equal consideration needed to be given to the considerable progress made by the ANC government in consolidating democracy and expanding access to a better life for all.He cited a vibrant civil society with an independent judiciary, a free press and an extensive social security net for the poorest of the poor, and the expansion of basic services to the poor amongst the democratic gains achieved under the ANC government since 1994.

Furthermore, ‘the ANC has increased access to economic opportunities to black people who were excluded before through several economic programmes,’ the President noted.

The Conference will need to deliberate on the pace and quality of ANC programmes, as government strives to undo the damaging effects of apartheid, he added.

Turning to present challenges facing the organization, President Zuma said that historical context was key: noting that “the movement has faced several challenges over the past few years in the changing terrain of struggle that has impacted on the character of the organization.”

The ANC President said that there was a worrying development of what he termed ‘negative tendencies’ that had ‘caused frustration and disillusionment’ amongst the population at large. The ANC needed to ‘cleanse itself’ of these negative tendencies, the President said.

Within the organization itself, he cited patronage, corruption, social distance, factionalism, abuse of power, slate politics, membership system anomalies such as reported manipulation of membership data and bulk buying,  as negative tendencies.

He also singled out the tendency of ill-discipline, saying that “some leaders and members of the ANC have become primary conveyors of negative information about their own movement” which needed to be stopped. Instead, members and leaders should handle matters within the organization.

Importantly, he said, “this perpetual negative messaging by our own people has a negative impact on the economy.” Moving forward, a balance would need to be struck between the ANC’s valued trait of self-criticism, with the need to protect the ANC and provide it with the space to resolve problems in a more organized manner.

President Zuma noted that it was not the first time the ANC had discussed organizational renewal, as this was done before every conference.

“This time, however” he noted, “we must discuss it not for the sake of it,”  but in order to come up with a united, strong focused and cohesive ANC.

“The ANC belongs to the people of SA and we must fix it so it can continue improving the lives of our people,” President Zuma said.

President Zuma also addressed a wide-range of contemporary issues such as the election of leaders of the movement, rooting out corruption, and the contentious and thorny issue of ‘state capture’ – noting that a judicial commission of inquiry had been established.

On policy matters he touched on matters of the funding of higher education, the lowering of data costs, and promoting gender equality.

“To applause in the hall, he said that the NPC would deliberate at length on advancing the status of women.

Ultimately, President Zuma’s keynote address contained the overarching message that the NPC needed to come up with concrete and tangible recommendations that would ‘direct the movement back to its core business and character.’

“We must draw on lessons from the past 100 years and what led to the ANC surviving to be the oldest liberation movement on the continent” said President Zuma. Amongst these were its deep roots and connection with the people, a culture of vibrant internal democracy and collective leadership, a readiness and willingness of members to make sacrifices for the people and the ability to adapt to changing conditions and rise to the occasion at critical moments.

“These traits have made the ANC the parliament of the people,” he said, adding that despite current challenges, the ANC still represents the hopes, dreams and aspirations of millions of our people.”

The people of South Africa who love the ANC “want us to resolve our difficulties and work towards transforming south Africa and building a better life for all,” the President said.

The President then reflected on the policy imperatives before the NPC: emphasizing that ‘the economy remains our apex priority,’ and that the last National Conference of the ANC in Mangaung resolved to embark upon the Second Phase of Transition to a National Democratic Society, that would be more radical.

He explained that radical socio-economic transformation referred to a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.

President Zuma said the ANC government would use the Constitution, legislation and regulations, licensing, BBBEE and other transformation charters, the national budget and procurement, State Owned Enterprises, government programmes and Development Finance Institutions as ‘instruments’ to accelerate radical socio-economic transformation.

In conclusion, the President said that the ANC had reached a centenary and beyond because of its ability to ‘rise to the occasion to deal decisively with problems that threatened its very existence’.

Calling on delegates not be ‘defeatist’ in their deliberations, he called on them to come up with solutions to the challenges facing the movement and the country.

“The ANC”, he said: “must and will emerge from this policy conference stronger.”