Measures to ensure local councils are better resourced and capacitated received particular attention during a commission on Legislature and Governance at the ANC National Policy Conference (NPC) currently underway at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.
Among the issues raised was the need to expand the powers of local and district municipalities to enable them to better provide services and infrastructure.
The commission deliberated on proposals contained in the NPC discussion documents, which have formed the basis for branch discussions over the last few months. According to the discussion document: “Local Government sphere is the most critical sphere of government in the delivery of government infrastructure investment and services to communities. Municipal space is the shared and most contested space by various government agencies, national and provincial departments.”
The commission dedicated much time to identifying solutions to the challenges at local level, challenges with existing funding models and allocation of existing. Another area discussed was the need to strengthen the capacity of councillors to effectively undertake their responsibilities and to professionalise the public service.
Drawing on the policy discussion document, the commission emphasised the centrality of coordinated planning and execution of ANC policies.
While the national Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has put in place monitoring and evaluations frameworks that enable the state to measure its impact and identify shortcomings, the practice of integrated planning has not taken root across all spheres of government.
The commission thus considered mechanisms to ensure that legislatures in all spheres are more effective in advancing the ANC’s electoral mandate, holding the executive to account and ensuring public representatives are more responsive to the needs and views of the people.
The recommendations of the commissions on legislature and governance which are expected to include enhancing the developmental role of state owned enterprises, improving public management and public finance capabilities, rooting out corruption and wastage, and enhancing the role of traditional leaders, will be presented to the Conference plenary for discussion and adoption.
South Africa’s readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the transformation of the broadcasting and print space, and the facilitation of the entry of new players into the media industry.
These were among the issues under discussion in the commission on Communications and the Battle of Ideas in the National Policy Conference (NPC) of the ANC currently underway at Nasrec , south of Johannesburg.
The commission, chaired by Comrade Jackson Mthembu, focused on strategic issues to be prioritized if South Africa is to fully reap the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The role of social media as a powerful global tool for the dissemination of information was also under discussion; with an acknowledgement by delegates that technological advancements have forever altered the political and electoral landscape.
The delegates also discussed the positioning of ICT as an enabler of economic activity across all sectors, and that in positioning South Africa as a key player, policy cohesion and seamless integration is critical.
To this end, the Commission expressed itself on the impact and desirability of separate Ministries charged with the responsibility of advancing various aspects of the ICT agenda, these being the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications.
Failure of self-regulation by the print media came under sharp focus as evidenced by the withdrawal of the Independent Group and The New Age from the Ombudsman.
The Commission also expressed strong support for the establishment of a specialized University focusing on developing high level ICT skills that will develop citizens adequately.
As was expected, land restitution and redistribution took centre stage at the Economic Transformation Commission of the ANC National Policy Conference (NPC) currently underway at Nasrec, Johannesburg.
The National Policy Conference is called by the governing party every five years to assess progress on policy implementation and make recommendation on amendments or the development of new policy towards the National Conference in December which makes the final decisions.
The ANC’s National Policy Conference noted progress on the redistribution of land to the people of South Africa and the role of land in stimulating the economy.
The ANC in the discussion document on Economic Transformation commits government to returning land to the people and reiterates that due to this commitment, South Africa’s Constitution mandates that land reform must take place.
The Commission also received an update on the enacting the Expropriation Act, which is currently being consulted upon.
The commission on Economic Transformation yesterday received a report on progress made on putting in place legislation and other policy instruments to ensure redistribution of land; as well as to improve agriculture and farming in communities. Delegates concurred that it was vital to put measures in place for redress on land.
Commission Chairperson Comrade Thulas Nxesi urged delegates to ensure that, in a disciplined way, conference adopts radical and sustainable policies that will ensure that the ANC continues to carry further the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Africa.
The Commission urged government to speed up programmes meant to ensure food security for the nation.
These programmes include the “one person one hectare” programme; and should be sped up.
Amongst other proposals being considered is how to practically, put in place a system that would ensure land ownership vests with the state on behalf of the people and leased for public and private use.
The mandate of the Land Bank also came under scrunity, with delegates decrying the fact that the Land Bank uses the same processes used by commercial banks.
The Commission will present its proposals to the plenary session of the NPC when it resumes on Wednesday.
If we are to realize a more egalitarian society as envisioned in the Constitution- society had to be radically transformed.
This is particularly with regards to advancing social cohesion and building a common national identity for our people.
The Social Transformation commission, chaired by Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu- has been sitting at the organization’s National Policy Conference (NPC) in Nasrec, Soweto.
A bedrock of so-called first generation rights, social transformation is key to the ANC’s electoral mandate and to realizing a Better life for All.
Delegates discussed a wide range of proposed interventions to advance social transformation amidst a climate where there has been a resurgence of social ills such as racism and patriarchy.
In a society fractured along race and class lines: the ANC as the leader of society must be at the forefront of pushing for societal transformation.
This, delegates say, requires a focus on addressing and solving social problems: including but not limited to violence against women and children, gangsterism and substance abuse.
Delegates have also emphasized the need to mainstream youth development across government as a whole.
Bolstering support for military veterans was also proposed. The commission will provide a report back on its recommendations to plenary this week.
“When some people hear us speaking about the NHI, they think we are talking about closing all private hospitals and practices. No, the NHI is not about shutting down the private sector, it is about making healthcare universally accessible to all South Africans”, comrade Aaron Motsaoledi said in his opening remarks in the ANC National Policy Conference Commission on Education and Health.
Motsoaledi gave a presentation on the National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper which was recently released to ANC delegates in the Education and Health Commission. The ANC Policy Conference currently underway at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg is in its 4th day of deliberations on ANC policy.
The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds together to provide quality and affordable personal health services to all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their social-economic status.
Motsoaledi told the commission that there will be massive reorganisation of both private and public healthcare. The NHI will be run as a non-profit public entity. It will strengthen the hand of the consumer and keep the cost of healthcare reasonable while ensuring that healthcare providers receive fair rate for their services. The National Health Insurance Fund will pay public and private healthcare providers on exactly the same basis, he added.
The fund is a chance for South Africans to join hands in a way that really counts, contribute for their wellbeing, their relatives wellbeing, friends, community and fellow citizens. “None of us would like a fellow human being to die, become disabled or live in pain just because he or she could not get decent healthcare. A healthy nation is a safe, productive and economically stable nation to live in” Motsoaledi added.
Motsoaledi concluded his presentation by urging delegates in the commission to engage with the recently released NHI White Paper.
Comrade Naledi Pandor, who is the chairperson of the commission applauded Motsoaledi for his presentation and urged delegates to endorse the NHI White Paper and further advocate for public awareness among ANC members in branches, in our communities and the broader society at large.
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.
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.
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
- 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.