bnzimande

A GENERATION AHEAD OF ITS TIMES : A COMMUNIST TRIBUTE TO CDE AHMED KATHRADA

bnzimandeBlade Nzimande, General Secretary of the SACP

29 March 2017

The South African Communist Party stands up today to lower its red banner in honour of this revolutionary stalwart, Cde Ahmed Kathrada, a cadre and leader of our liberation movement, a communist and a principled champion of a non-racial South Africa till the end. We also stand today to give our most heartfelt condolences to his partner, Cde Barbara Hogan and the rest of the Kathrada family, as well as all his comrades and friends in our broader national liberation movement.

To us as the SACP, Cde Kathy has been part of our family for decades. Cde Kathy joined the ranks of the Young Communist League in the 1940s at the tender age of 12 years and his early politicization was through the then Communist Party of South Africa and the Transvaal Indian Congress under the leadership of Dr Yusuf Dadoo, who was later to become the General Secretary and National Chairperson of the SACP.

Cde Kathy was part of a generation that was ahead of its times. At the height of racial oppression, including the victory of the National Party in 1948, it would have seemed easier for the likes of Cde Kathy to mobilise the black oppressed on the basis of anti-white politics and racial chauvinism. But because they were far-sighted their answer to colonial and apartheid racism was a superior goal, that of building non-racialism! Building non-racialism is a task we must never take for granted.

However, Cde Kathy also understood that the struggle for non-racialism is inseperable from the struggle against class exploitation and partriarchy! This is a lesson we have learnt from the likes of Cde Kathy as a younger generation, and must be learnt by future generations. We must also thank Cde Kathy’s generation for having built a giant non-racial organization like the ANC. In honour of Cde Kathy we have a duty to defend and protect this organization at all costs so that it remains true to its mission as a people’s movement. We thank them for their foresight in building and leaving us a Communist Party, a vanguard organization of the working class, allied to the ANC. We must also look after it!

Cde Kathy’s politics was formed through community activism in the passive resistance campaigns and against the so-called Ghetto Act. He was also active in student politics and led the South African delegation to the World Festival of Youth and students in Berlin in 1951. He subsequently worked full time for nine months at the headquarters of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. He was an internationalist and fighter against imperialism from a very young age, who also witnessed the defeat of fascism in Europe and thanks to the Soviet Red Army. He believed strongly that a new world of peace and justice was indeed possible!

Back in South Africa, he was active in the growing co-operation between the ANC and the Indian Congresses. This was a key moment in deepening the non-racial values of our struggle of our struggle in practice and activism. As I said, they were indeed ahead of their times! It is important to remember this history at a time when a parasitic patronage network is today seeking to hide its intentions to loot the state resources behind a veneer of narrow African chauvinism, and monopoly capital seeking to capture our state through the exploitation of the black majority.

After his release from prison in the late 1980s Cde Kathy served in the interim national committee of the ANC, and later elected to the ANC NEC in 1991.

As we say goodbye to Cde Kathy, the SACP also regrets that we never interviewed him in detail about key aspects of the history of the SACP, especially between its reconstitution underground in 1953 till his arrest in 1963. Cde Kathy was not only an encyclopedia of the liberation struggle, but was particularly such an encyclopedia of the history of the SACP between the 1940s and the early 1960s.

Let us remember Cde Kathy for his humbleness, simplicity, sacrifice and love for the African people and the rest of the oppressed of the world. Let us teach the current and future generations about this giant as part of building a new and better South Africa. Cde Kathy leaves us at the time when our movement desperately needs the wisdom of people like him. In the name of Cde Kathy, let us defend the political authority and morality of our movement, for the sake of our country and its future generations!

bmbethe

REFLECTING ON THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES IN THE YEAR OF OR TAMBO

bmbetheBaleka Mbete

The celebration of the centenary of our countrys great center of knowledge, the University of Fort Hare, is a historic event all South Africans should be proud of. It is our common history that can unite us, and our shared past that give us a sense of collective destiny.

 

Fort Hare University has not just been part of South Africahistory of struggle but rather the true embodiment of the decolonisation of our country and our minds. 
It was set up in the midst of colonialism at the beginning of the 20th century as an ideological  project to win and colonise our minds. It was set up on the ruins of a colonial military establishment from which the British waged their wars of dispossession against the indigenous people.

 Instead of serving its master, this institution has served the people. Instead of producing subservient servants of the master, this institution became an incubation hub for the generation of a revolutionary intelligentsia,  many of whom would play a leading role in liberation movements  in our country and across the continent.

 

Today, we pay homage to these leaders whose glorious history was recounted with admiration by all of us during the centenary celebrations. 

 We remember the people of this province who used Fort Hare as a trench in our struggle for our freedom. 

 We will never forget those students who passed through the hostels and lecture halls of this institution to help shape the history of our country. 

 It is from here that Bantu Education was defeated. 

 It is here that the Bantustan system crumbled and fell.

 To be a centenarian is a sign of strength and a function of resilience.  We grow wiser with experience.

 The question begs to be asked – what have we learnt in the hundred years of Fort Hare?

 

Firstly, that universities can outlive us. They are not just about the present but the future which is yet to become a concrete reality. This challenges us to never allow our universities to collapse under the weight of the present. We must defend them as centres of excellence because their role, contribution and value to society is beyond the Now.

 Secondly, universities are the conscience of the nation. They should speak truth to power, and pursue their independence, through their excellence,  with vigour. But not with violence and destruction 

 

Finally, the universities must emulate Karl Marx in their commitment to knowledge that is not just for interpreting the world, but also for changing it. In transcending time, standing up as our conscience, universities must transform our country, society, and us as individuals. They must empower us, enlighten us, save us from the burden of ignorance, and teach us to never  feel comfortable with dogma, intolerance,  and extremism.

 In this regard, universities are not standing outside society, pontificating about wisdom and virtue, but are in the midst of things  – in our daily struggles, our sufferings, and dreams as a people. They should therefore stand by us in our collective search and quest for a better South Africa.

 We should measure their success not by their distance from society, but through their transformative impact.

 

Conversely, as a society, we should allow our universities to play this role by protecting them, and providing them with requisite resources.  No university must be a bush” university in our country. No deserving student must fail to access our higher education sector because of lack of financial resources.

 Universities must occupy their well deserved place in society through the relevance of knowledge that they produce, and the calibre and quality of graduates they contribute to our nation.

 As the legislative sector, we must continue to protect the independence of our universities and ensure that they are adequately resourced. 

 

 The end of these centenary celebrations is the beginning of another century for Fort Hare.  In the same way that this university has profoundly changed since 1916 when it was founded, the same must be expected in the next hundred years ahead. Fort Hare can endure  and emerge stronger  if it remains relevant and responsive  to societys challenges.  

 

The end of these celebrations is also 4 months since the beginning of the celebration of another centenary – that of Oliver Reginald Tambo,  one of the illustrious alumni of this University. 

 

I had the privilege of serving under OR Tambo during my years in exile and after our return in 1990. I can attest that in OR,  Fort Hare produced one of the best cadres  our country has ever known, without a shadow of a doubt the best ANC leader who served under the most difficult times.

 

If you wanted sharp intellect, he had this in his analytical ability that distinguished him from many of us. If you wanted oratory skills, this he demonstrated in the moving speeches he delivered to call us to action. If you wanted selfless dedication to our people, OR was the best example.  Many of us were touched by him. In strategies and tactics, he excelled. He kept us strong in the most difficult times. He gave us courage when many of us could have succumbed to fear. Under his leadership,  we stood firm and resilient instead of surrendering and giving up.

 Both Fort Hare and OR were born in the years following the founding of South Africa in 1910. Fort Hare is an institution,  Tambo was human like all of us. However,  like Fort Hare, he produced his own graduates,  schooled in the politics of the struggle for liberation. He produced leaders like Fort Hare did, some of whom are at the helm of our country today. 

 

Fort Hare is his Alma Mater and should join the country in celebrating the centenary of this great South African. You are home to the archives of the liberation movement which contain piles of paper which were generated by his life and the movement he led. You can use these archives to celebrate and learn from his life.
He was once your student. His footprints are somewhere in your lecture halls.  His name can be found in your students residences. He is part of your rich history. He is your icon and part of your iconography. 

 

His life should interest your students and the entire academic community.  There is so much that our youth can be taught about him. So much has been written about him, yet not enough is fully known about him. You can help us research further and deeper to learn about this great South African. 

 

 OR Tambo is yours – you must claim him. Fort Hare must be in the lead in the celebration of his centenary.

 We should play our part to ensure that his name unites all of us to work together for a better South Africa.

 

South Africa is at the cross road over the direction and speed needed to transform our country. The Land Question is still a question begging for an answer.  Our people can no longer wait for the promise of a better life. They want to see a better South Africa in their lifetime. 

 Our economy is yet to undergo  the transformation that OR Tambo  envisaged.  Race and gender remain the basis of the ownership patterns underpinning our economy. 

 

In many parts of the country our people are in the streets – over the lack of jobs,  Fees Must Fall, land, hunger and many other issues that were the very reason the struggle was waged against white settler colonialism.  

 We are constantly being reminded that A Luta Continua  – the struggle is far from over. But this struggle must unite rather than divide us. Together,  inspired by OR, we must find our way to a better South Africa. 

 

OR Tambo was the President of the ANC,  our ruling party. He left us a united party. We owe it to our people to continue working together,  united in action.

 He was a cadre par excellence.  We can best emulate him by leading from the front as we combat corruption as a scourge threatening to reverse the gains of our freedom. We must be servants of our people like he was, not leaders with a big chin and cheek.

 

 We will never stop celebrating the University of Fort Hare for its contribution to our nation and continent.  We are richer today in our intellect as a nation, because Fort Hare gave us the Tambos and many other leaders whose lives we must continue to celebrate. 

 

This is an extract from a speech given by the National Chairperson of the African National Congress Cde Baleka Mbete at the Closing Ceremony of the UFH Centenary Year

 

06june

ENHANCING ORGANIZATIONAL INTEGRITY THROUGH POLICY REFORM

06juneNathi Mthethwa

Every five years the African National Congress (ANC) conducts a strategic review of its policies across a range of broad thematic areas. As the governing party of South Africa, it is essential that our policies remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the nation and prevalent local as well as global circumstances and conditions.

As the ANC limbers up for its 5th National Policy Conference in June, as well as the 54th National Conference slated for December, the organization has released a set of discussion documents.

These nine discussion documents are always released publically and within good time in order to facilitate an effective participatory process involving not just from our branches, but the public at large – in line with the ANC’s longstanding commitment to participatory democracy.

Amongst them is the ANC’s Strategy and Tactics document, that broadly outlines, analyses and charts a future course for the movement within what we call the Balance of Forces, both domestically and globally. It is testimony to the vibrancy of the movement’s intellectual tradition that the Strategy and Tactics, first adopted at the Morogoro Conference in Tanzania in 1969, are regularly reviewed and updated by our movement in response to prevailing conditions.

Assessment of the balance of forces helps us to clarify opportunities and constraints in the process of discharging our responsibilities towards deepening social transformation.

The Strategy and Tactics document analyzes the global and domestic Balance of Forces, and how this facilitates or hinders the attainment of the ANC’s ultimate objectives.

Arising from this are the medium- and long-term tasks facing both the organisation and society at large.

All the other documents are rooted in the ANC’s Strategy and Tactics – for it is in essence presents the theoretical perspective of the organization.

The Strategy and Tactics opens with a historical overview of our society; underlining the point that the 1996 Constitution, whilst containing transitional clauses, was on the whole an expression of untrammelled majority rule, with profound socio-economic provisions.

In this sense, the ideals the Constitution articulates are not a compromise; but wholly consistent with the objective of creating a society underpinned by a profound humanism.

That said, it has become worrying common that a number of sectors within our society, especially in the political arena, have turned our courts into the terrain for contesting political squabbles and settling scores, when such could possibly have been better managed through more relevant channels. From quarrels with satirical puppets, to the lyrics of controversial songs, to the seemingly endless legal challenges to Constitutionally-valid administrative actions of the Executive.

This low-intensity ‘law-fare’ has steadily been ratcheted up over the years, and are sucking up the judiciary into the maelstrom of day-to-day societal management.

Repeated attempts of this kind, involving significant resources (even from non-governmental organization’s who traditionally have limited sources of funding and income) leads one to question whether there is an attempt by the privileged elements of society to undermine the ANC’s popular electoral mandate through the courts.

Another chapter outlines the ANC’s vision for a National Democratic Society founded on unity, non-racism, non-sexism, democracy and prosperity. A subsequent chapter of the Strategy and Tactics deals with the motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), and further outlines that the fact they stand to benefit from the process of revolutionary change does not necessarily impel them to act in a corrective measure. Here the point is reinforced that Black workers – employed and unemployed, urban and rural – remain the main motive force of the process of change.

The chapter on Political Leadership and the Process of Change deals with our organisational challenges and what the movement has to do to remain relevant.

The analysis of the global Balance of Forces in the Strategy and Tactics is instructive for all who seek to understand modern political dynamics, as well as the influence that global capitalism continues to wield in society, despite the slow rise of progressive forces.

At the centre of humanity’s challenges is economic inequality. It is well known that more wealth is owned by the richest one-percent than the rest of humanity; and ‘eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’ (Oxfam: 2017).

In many developed countries, large swathes of the population have in the recent period actually experienced stagnant incomes and a declining quality of life.

No where is this more acutely manifested than in South Africa. As the Strategy and Tactics notes, we “represent the most acute manifestation of most of the social fault-lines that define humanity’s current challenges: race, class, gender and geographic location. Income inequality and inequitable distribution of assets are at their most intense. Poverty and unparalleled opulence live cheek by jowl. “

What is clearly demonstrated in the assertions made by the document is a deep seated relationship between political oppression and the apartheid capitalist system that, if decisive action is not taken to deal with economic subjugation and exclusion, the essence of apartheid will remain, with a few black men and women incorporated into the courtyard of privilege.

The old fault-lines will persist, and social stability will be threatened.

Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, the crisis of capitalism also finds expression in the collapse of ethics, or greater public exposure of such deplorable practices.

From ‘cooking of the books’, wilful violation of financial regulations, vehicle defeat devices to circumvent environmental regulations, to massive and undeserved packages to many executives and, in some instances, actual looting of the fiscus – all these developments have undermined the legitimacy of many polities in the eyes of the majority of citizens.

The ANC’s policies are informed by the need for the revival of local and African economies; driven by a new corps of continental leaders with peoples’ interests at heart. This sets the stage for improving the quality of life of our people.

The ANC seeks to harness the Africa Rising narrative. By some estimates, by the turn of the century, seven of the fastest growing economies in the world were located in Africa.

Africa’s trade with the rest of the world has grown massively; foreign debt has declined; and labour productivity has improved. Critically, these advances have found expression in such social indicators as improved income, lower rates of unemployment, reduction in poverty, higher rates of enrolment in primary education, and lower rates of under-five mortality.

As articulated in Agenda 2063, the continent seeks to attain prosperity based on sustainable development, democracy and citizen activism, good and ethical governance, as well as multifaceted integration and peace.

The fate of South Africa is inextricably linked to the continent’s future, and the progress the continent has made in the past twenty years has been to South Africa’s advantage.

Despite the daunting challenges that our country continues to face, we have done well. The Strategy and Tactics captures the point very clearly.

At the core of the ANC’s tasks in the current period is the renewal of the organisation for it to exercise societal leadership in a changing environment, and the speeding up of programme of fundamental transformation.

It is the task of all the cadres to unpack the themes outlined in the discussion documents. The release of these documents presents us with an opportunity to take stock of our methods of struggle and their effectiveness or lack thereof. It also beckons that we look deeply into the new conditions as a result of our new position in the country, continentally and globally.

We call upon branches and broader members of society to read and engage with the documents.

By Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture and a Member of the NEC, NWC and Chairperson of Political Education Sub-committee of the NEC.

mmbada

REPOSITIONING THE ANC AS AN ORGANISATION THAT CARRIES THE HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA

mmbadaMduduzi Mbada, ANC Mzala Branch Chairperson, Ward 54, Johannesburg

Introduction

The year 2017 has been declared the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. This is the year in which ANC members are called upon to build and deepen the unity of the organization. In October this year we will celebrate hundred years of O.R’s birth in 1917. This intellectual and leader of our revolution remains an epitome of how a leader should conduct oneself in the execution of the struggle for the total liberation of the people. We must emulate him and many who placed people first and were accountable for their actions to the broader membership of the ANC and to the rest of society. O.R Tambo’s leadership traits should be a defining feature of the kind and caliber of leaders that must lead the ANC going forward.

In 1983 addressing the fourth congress of Frelimo under the theme, ‘The Unity of our peoples’, President O. R Tambo had this to say:

“We in the ANC and the revolutionary alliance which we head, have never considered freedom to be the substitution of black for white faces in the corridors of power, while leaving unchanged the exploitative economic infrastructure from which racism receives its sustenance. We have always understood that the uprooting of the oppressive system must necessarily entail the seizure of the key centres of economic power – as stipulated in our Freedom Charter – and their transference to the common ownership of the people.

The radical restructuring of the economy will also require dismantling the white minority’s monopoly over the best agricultural land, and its redistribution among those who work it. We envisage a totally new State system in which the army, the police force and the judiciary serve the interests of the people as a whole and not those of an exploitative minority. Finally, we conceive of our country as a single, united, democratic and nonracial State, belonging to all who live in it, in which all shall enjoy equal rights, and in which sovereignty will come from the people as a whole, and not from a collection of bantustans and racial and tribal groups organised to perpetuate minority power”.

O.R Tambo worked for the unity of the people. He did so because he understood that in order to attain the liberation of South Africa we needed a united, strong and functional ANC. It is interesting that, those many years back, he argued for the radical restructuring of the economy. This point is made because at times when we make attempts to go back to what the ANC stands for and what many of our founding leaders have said, there are those within and outside the movement who say our forebears wouldn’t have anticipated the challenges of living in free and democratic South Africa. These views must be dispelled because, ours was an organisation led by great intellectuals, who at all times have applied themselves on critical questions relating to the kind of society we seek to build, including on how to go about building it.

If, as the current generation of ANC activists, we are to honor O.R Tambo and our forebears, we must inculcate and espouse the principles of humility, accountability, integrity and ethical conduct, which have made it possible for our movement to earn its position as the leader of the South African society and the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).

Uniting South Africans

Throughout its existence one of the strengths of the ANC has been its ability to unite Africans and all those that continue to support the struggle against the exclusion of the natives by white minority rule.

The attainment of unity was never going to happen overnight because of many factors. It is for this reason that even today, it must be acknowledged that the struggle to realise the goal of a National Democratic Society requires that at all times the capacity to understand the enemy – the detractors of the National Democratic Revolution – be sharpened.

Electoral decline 1994 to date

This remains critical because since the ANC took state power in 1994, it has had to deal with many destructions that have resulted, among others, in the concerning decline of electoral support across the country especially in the metropolitan areas. Could this decline in electoral support be as a result of how the ANC is conducting and waging the struggle? Many have said the ANC is now led by unethical leaders; that it has lost its moral authority over society. They say we are arrogant, we don’t listen to the smallest of voices, we think we have answers and more dangerously we do not respect the constitution of the republic including that of the ANC.

Principled and accountable leadership

They say the ANC lacks integrity; that is has become part of what can be referred to as “The Establishment” – made up of a political and economic elite detached from the masses who historically have been its base. It is also said that those in leadership positions in the ANC and in the state are using the levers of power not to advance socio-economic transformation but to pursue narrow personal interests that are mainly financial in nature.

We need to turn the corner before we loose the hard earned leadership of the South African society. Once again, what we need is an accountable and principled leadership that speaks truth to power and staying the course. Staying the course means focusing on the tasks of the NDR, hence at all material times when decisions are taken the central question is and should be, what impact will this have on the people, will it change their material position for the better, will such a decision contribute towards the attainment of a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society.

The ANC as a movement with rich history needs to find comprehensive responses to these and many other challenges it faces – be they real or perceived. This is particularly important in light of the reality that the ANC’s grip on state power is waning especially in the aftermath of the August 3 local government elections. Denialism and the continued burying of heads in the sand will not assist!

Responding comprehensively to the challenges it faces is also important because the ANC needs the state and its apparatus as one of the critical and strategic levers to drive radical social and economic transformation, taking forward the agenda of radically restructuring the economy as espoused by O.R Tambo. How then does the ANC turn the corner? What is to be done to continue building a National Democratic Society?

The 2007 Strategy and Tactics document of the ANC is instructive in this regard. It argues that a National Democratic Society does not emerge “ripe and ready for harvesting at the point of transfer of power.” It needs to be built consciously by the forces of fundamental change.

Faced with the current challenges, as well as the very real prospect of losing its vanguard role in society – a role it has earned over many years of consistently fighting on the side of the oppressed and marginalised – the ANC needs to mend its ways. This has to happen urgently!

Organizational Renewal

 In this regard, the resolutions on organisational renewal taken at the 2012 Mangaung National Conference of the ANC are particularly relevant, also because it was not for the first time such a discussion or view was put forward. The 2012 Conference resolved, among others, that the renewal of the ANC should: “Principally be about building the ANC’s resilience, enhancing its transformative capacity and its ability to adapt to changing situations so that it can continue to serve and lead the people.”

Part of this renewal requires that the ANC invests in the development of cadres that are ready and willing to “walk the talk”, that are principled and have integrity. These are cadres who at all times place the people first; cadres that preoccupy themselves with seeking answers on why the plethora of ANC programmes and policies for socioeconomic transformation have not yielded the desired results of changing for the better the conditions of the majority of South Africans.

Development of dependable cadres

Equally the ANC needs cadres that will work towards finding lasting solutions to the social ills in society; solutions on how can poverty, unemployment and inequality be addressed decisively in a systematic and sustainable manner.

The key question though, is where does the ANC produce such cadres that are so desperately needed? Where is the ANC’s reservoir from where it draws its most dependable cadres who are ready and able to discharge the responsibility of consciously building a national democratic society; cadres who can help the ANC regain its vanguard role in society and its standing as a trusted ally of all those seeking a better life for all? Put differently from where does the ANC draw its forces of fundamental change?

The former President of the ANCYL Anton Lembede speaking on the kind of youth required to build a formidable youth movement and a youth ready to contribute towards the vision of the National Democratic Revolution had the following to say about the commitment required from young people;

“We are not called to peace, comfort and enjoyment, but to hard work, struggle and sweat. We need young men and women of high moral stamina and integrity; of courage and vision. In short, we need warriors. This means that we have to develop a new type of youth of stoical discipline, trained to endure suffering and difficulties. It is only this type of youth that will achieve the national liberation of the African people.”

I argue that failure to developing a well thought and comprehensive response to the clarion call made by Lembede and his generation, will result in the ANC not being able to answer the question: where will the next crop of cadres to take it and the broader society beyond this epoch come from? This is one critical task because institutionalising cadreship development will be the most profound reflection of the ANC’s seriousness about securing its future and relevance as well as guaranteeing the success of the National Democratic Revolution.

Conclusion

As the ANC grapples with these important questions, it needs to do so taking into account that 2017 is the year of the National Elective Conference. Historically the tendency has been that when faced with Elective Conferences, the ANC has tended to be preoccupied with itself; spending more time on who must be elected as opposed to a thorough and deeper analysis on what characterises this epoch of struggle and what responses are needed both at a leadership and programmatic level.

This year instead of rushing to electing leaders, the ANC must first and foremost pay serious attention on how to respond, in a comprehensive and sustained manner, to the challenges of society taking into account current global and local political and economic developments. Discussions on who must be elected can then follow. These discussions must include ensuring that society as a whole makes a direct contribution in the process of electing ANC leaders. This will go a long way in cementing the ANC’s role as a leader of society; a true Parliament of the People.

MINIMUM WAGE REALIZES THE DEMAND OF THE FREEDOM CHARTER

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

The agreement by social partners to introduce a national minimum wage by 1 May 2018 realizes a key demand of the Freedom Charter on the Rights and Conditions of Workers.

It also fulfills a commitment made by the ANC in its 2014 Election Manifesto to examine the modalities for the introduction of a national minimum wage.

Its introduction is a great victory for working people and for COSATU, in particular, which has consistently championed the national minimum wage over many years.

The agreement that has been reached owes much to the hard work of COSATU, together with its Alliance partners, to improve the lives of South Africa’s lowest paid workers.

It is a demonstration of the practical gains that the Alliance can achieve when working together in a collaborative and united manner.

The introduction of a minimum wage gives real substance to the ANC’s working class bias.

Building on such achievements as the Constitutional guarantee of the Right to Strike, the Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the minimum wage reaffirms the movement’s determination to place the poor and working class at the centre of its policies and programmes.

Significantly, the minimum wage agreement reflects a recognition even by business that income inequality is a major obstacle to economic growth and development.

The Ekurhuleni Declaration, which was adopted by all social partners in November 2014 and which laid the basis for the current agreement, notes that legacy of low wages is among the biggest causes of poverty and inequality in South Africa.

It has been more than 60 years since delegates to the Congress of the People in Kliptown resolved that: “There shall be a forty-hour working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers.”

Yet while working conditions have improved immeasurably and the rights of workers are entrenched in the Constitution, millions of workers are paid less than what is considered a living wage – the amount needed to ensure a decent standard of living.

There is a huge gap between the highest and lowest earners in the economy. It is estimated that in 2014, the average income of the top 10% of full-time employees was 82 times the average income of the bottom 10%.

The wage gap reinforces the severe economic inequality that persists more than 20 years after the end of apartheid and, together with unemployment, accounts for our high levels of poverty.

The introduction of a national minimum wage of R20 an hour by 1 May 2018 will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of people. Currently, around half of all people in employment – which amounts to roughly 6.6 million workers – earn less than R20 an hour. This includes around 90% of domestic workers, over 80% of agricultural workers and around half of all construction workers and wholesale and retail workers.

While this is not yet what may be considered a living wage, the national minimum wage will have a huge impact on the lives of these workers, lifting their incomes and improving the living conditions of their families.

The impact is likely to be most profoundly felt by women workers. The 2015 Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa Report finds that the median wage for employed women among the bottom quarter of wage earners was 75% of that for men.

Which means that these women earn around a quarter less than men. The national minimum wage will help to correct that.

This is likely to improve further with time as the minimum wage for domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, is steadily increased from 75% of the national minimum wage to full parity. (Agricultural workers, the other ‘tiered’ category, will start at 90% of the national minimum wage.)

The benefits of the minimum wage will be felt across the economy. With more income, the buying power of these workers will improve and increase demand for certain goods and services. This will contribute to greater economic activity, increased production and more jobs.

Poor families will enjoy better living conditions, have a chance to acquire assets and improve prospects for the next generation. It will contribute to the development of more stable and sustainable communities.

The national minimum wage could help to address the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. International experience suggests that a national minimum wage can reduce levels of poverty and inequality, particularly when accompanied by other poverty alleviation and job creation measures.

There is a growing body of international evidence that when set at a reasonable level national minimum wages have no significant employment effect one way or the other.

In their deliberations on the level of the national minimum wage, the social partners were conscious of the need to agree on a level that would make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and would contribute to the reduction of wage inequality, while ensuring that it was affordable to employers. There was a concern that if the level was set to high, companies may be forced to shut down, would refuse to comply or would lay off workers.

The agreement therefore makes provision for the impact of the national minimum wage on jobs, poverty and economic growth to be regularly reviewed. This will be done by a National Minimum Wage Commission, which will also have responsibility for the annual adjustment of the level of the minimum wage.

In addition, businesses that are unable to afford the national minimum wage may apply for an exemption for up to 12 months. Any fragile sectors that are having difficulty in complying with the NMW will be considered for assistance within the available means, including through incentives.

The social partners will finalise discussions over the next few weeks on issues such as the Commission’s institutional arrangements, minimum daily working hours and the status of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants.

The discussion on the inclusion or exclusion of EPWP is particularly important, given the role of this and other public employment programmes in poverty alleviation. In contrast to regular jobs in the economy, public employment programmes provide work opportunities for specific periods to unemployed people so that they can receive a basic income – in the form of a stipend – and gain skills and work experience.

Government has argued that if the stipends were to be set at the level of national minimum wage, it would, given the current constraints on the budget, be able to fund far fewer participants. It is estimated that over 300,000 such work opportunities could be lost a year. Labour and the community sector have taken a different view, arguing that these work opportunities should be considered the same as regular jobs. This matter will need to be resolved before the national minimum wage is finalised.

The social partners will be undertaking extensive public consultation on the introduction of the national minimum wage ahead of the finalisation of the necessary legislation.

The introduction of a national minimum wage is seen as a step towards reducing wage inequality in South Africa.

However, there is much more that needs to be done to make a lasting and meaningful impact. The social partners have therefore agreed to continue with deliberations on other measures to reduce wage inequality and to address the needs of the poor, including through the introduction of comprehensive social security.

The agreements reached by the social partners demonstrate how all sectors of South African society can work together to give effect to our vision of economic transformation and the promise of a better life for all.

The manner in which these agreements were reached, following many months of intense negotiations in which social partners had to reconcile quite divergent positions, signal a willingness by all constituencies to find workable solutions to even the most intractable of our challenges. These agreements could be the genesis of a broader social compact on the key economic tasks we need to undertake to decisively move South Africa forward.

CDE. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA IS ANC DEPUTY-PRESIDENT

 

THE SOCIAL COMPACT: A KEY TO A DEVELOPMENT STATE

ADV. NGOAKO RAMATLHODI

The Developmental State is a modern concept that has its foundations in the development of society and state.

The State is equally in a state of becoming, and remaking. Indeed, humankind has always been in the process of perfecting instruments of governance, right through feudalism and into contemporary statehood.

Similarly, international governance institutions such as the UN system has also gone through challenging times in the 20TH century.

In South Africa consolidation of the democratic project is in full swing, with the separation of powers between the Judiciary, the Government (Executive) and the Legislature (Parliament).

Everyone is increasingly equal before the law and all enjoys equal rights.

The end of the 19th century saw the culmination of all wars of conquest across Europe, Africa and right across the world and the development of what is called nation states in the contemporary narrative.

The wars had cost millions of lives and resulted in dispossession, colonialism, racism and oppression. Many nations had been conquered, such as the conquest by Prussia to create the modern Germany. Latin America and Asia were not spared from the colonial malaise of the 1800’s.

The French revolution accelerated the development of what in modern society refers to as democracy, equality and non-sexism.

In the midst of all these political and historical developments, there were intervening social and economic developments in these centuries, such as the period of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution for its part revolutionized society and hastened the development of the productive forces. The Industrial Revolution developed what we call motor cars, aircraft, typewriters et cetera. To date the development of trade, migration and cosmopolitan societies of Johannesburg, New York and London could be attributed to the developments of the 19th century.

Africans were influenced by these crucial developments and in return also reaped the developments of society.

At the turn of the 20th century, more and more Africans began their own struggles for independence.

In South Africa, the struggle for free and independent, democratic republic also intensified. Pixley Ka Seme issued a call on all Africans to forget the past and unite together in one national organization. “We are one people, this divisions, this jealousies, are the cause of all our woes today,” he proclaimed.

This was the formation of the African National Congress (ANC) as we would come to know it today.

The ANC was to prosecute the struggle for the free and democratic South Africa for 82 years to realize the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). Since the successful prosecution of the NDR in 1994, the National Liberation Movement (NLM) has been seized with the task of transforming society and the economy to the benefit all of South Africa as envisaged in the freedom charter, “The People Shall share in the Country’s wealth”.

Important strides have been made in the improvement of people’s lives, such as over 2 million houses built for the poor. Current statistics from Stats SA showed that as of October 2016, 89.9% of all people have access to water, 77% have access to sanitation, 85% have access to electricity and indeed 77% of our people live in formal housing.

In the January 8th statement of 1984, Cde OR Tambo said, “You are aware that the apartheid regime maintains extensive administrative system through which it directs our lives. This system includes organs of central and provincial government, the army and the police, the judiciary, the Bantustans administrations, the community council the local management and local affairs committees. It is these institutions of apartheid power that we must attack and demolish, as part of the struggle to put an end to the racist minority rule in our country”. (Statement of the National Executive Committee, 8 Jan 1984)

The 1994 breakthrough allowed the revolutionary forces to begin rolling back apartheid laws, develop policies to undo centuries of racial oppression and economic bondage of black majority by a small white minority. The National Liberation Movement (NLM) characterizes this as a colonialism of a special type; a special type emanating from the fact that the colonized and the colonizer are within borders of the same country.

The democratic order began its primary task of uniting our country, fostering reconciliation as well as building social cohesion.

However, it became increasingly clear in the following years that there was a need to accelerate economic growth and redistribution. Our movement has of course responded to all challenges at material times; such as the intervening policies, namely the Growth employment and Redistribution (GEAR), ASGISA, GIPSA and several other policy interventions.

Despite the ANC’s ongoing transformation policies, the task of transforming apartheid special and economic development has proved to be difficult.

We may have underestimated the damage and ravages of apartheid and therefore we have produced the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP calls for integrated development that cut across the social and political life. It includes deepening of economic transformations, all round training of the human resources, re- industrialization of the country, increasing the number of artisan and occupational skills, and growing the tax base though massive employment programmes, as well as a raft of social protection and health policies.

In the current trajectory, the 51st and 52nd National Conference of the ANC enjoin the ANC, its alliance and the government to transform the state and the economy so that they all reflect the will of the majority.

This must be done in the context of the creation of the Developmental State. This transformation has proved challenging in the dominant economic sectors of our economy, namely; mining finance and services as a whole. The challenges of transformation are magnified by the fact that of the top 100 companies in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies, there are only 3% of black directors.

A Developmental State is self-defining. Its self-definition does not however, mean that every development be it material, physical or otherwise constitutes a developmental state or elements of it.

A developmental state requires of our nation to build a cohesive state and united in action with its people in civil society, trade unions, the government and its para-statals.

The building of the Developmental State will require that the nation as a whole has a social compact. The social compact will bind all social partners including government, business and labour to have a covenant to do things that would make South Africa a prosperous nation.

In realizing this goal, the ANC and its alliance are in agreement in the building of this desired state. This end state is the same scenario envisaged in the NDP Vision 2030.

This will require the following:

To continue strengthening institutions of the state do deepen democracy, economic and social rights. The building of democratic institutions will require of all of us in the state and government to appoint properly qualified individuals in government in order to create an effective and capable government and state.

Bad practices, such as employment of unqualified people including nepotism must be abolished to ensure that people with the technical and political know are appointed to lead and transform the economy as the resolutions from the 53rd National Conference correctly argue.

In our quest to deepen the understanding of our movement’s theory of development state, The 53rd  National Conference resolves to ensure bold forms of state intervention, including through financial regulation and control, including through a state owned bank; progressive and redistributive taxation; wage and income policies that promote decent work, growth and address poverty and inequality; progressive  competition policies that promote growth and employment, and address poverty and inequality; a well-resourced  state-led industrial and trade policy; increased state ownership in strategic sectors where deemed appropriate on the balance of evidence, and more effective use of state-owned enterprises.

In order for our movement and the democratic government to realize this goal it is crucial that greater care must be placed on increasing the ability of the leadership of the public service to meet these needs. The cadre that our movement and government needs is a cadre that will roll back corruption in state and society.

Our public service should be more and more professional, accountable and be guided by our movement’s values of Batho Pele.

All these means our movement should be able to deploy cadres with right professional skills to be able to deliver on the promise of a better life for all.

Our experience in the last 22 years has showed that where there are skills relevant to the work, the public service is delivering on the mandate of our people and people’s aspiration. The Auditor-General in his audit outcomes show this.

Cadre deployment should also be matched against the skills if this developmental state is to take off the ground.

The Developmental State would be a State without corruption.

It will have at the heart of its employees, the desire and need to serve without expecting any reward, as employees are already rewarded through salaries and other associated benefits.

The Developmental State will get rid of wastage in the system of government, and pilferage that occurs without stealing of legitimate social programmes, such as social grants and other form of social assistance. Let’s make corruption history!

The end state of the Developmental State as envisaged in the NDP needs proper funding.

The success of the NDP will raise incomes and close income inequality and make poverty history.

However, this programme will need to be financed, and experience in the last two decade shows that the private sector is on what could be referred to as investments strike.

Grant Thornton released a report in 2013 in which they argue that South African companies were sitting on large sum of cash and not investing in the economy because of confidence and other factors.

It is estimated by the South African Reserve Bank that the private sector may be sitting of something between 578 – billion 1.38 trillion in cash reserves as of 2013.

There are no signs that the private sector is going to change direction or course to be in pursuit of the same goal as the ANC, namely; eradicating poverty, eliminating inequality, abolishing racism and sexism, and reducing unemployment to at least 6% by 2030 as called upon by the NDP.

Currently, the state is in no position to drive the Developmental State using its own resources without the participation of the society as a whole.

The private sector is sitting with huge financial resources like pensions. But these are only involved in currency speculation with little tangible benefit to ordinary people, such as members of the pension funds.

Many pensioners when they retire return to their areas of birth which more often than not, is in the rural areas and not in towns.

This means that pensioners spend many of their prime years developing cities which do not benefit them when they become pensioners.

Moreover, some of the workers remain poor even on retirement and have no housing or medical coverage, and therefore become a burden on the State.

To deepen the developmental state, government has to increase its investment in infrastructure and maintenance.

The trade unions, for their part, have agreed to the use of pensions to increase investment in infrastructure. The funds held by provident and pension funds could be harnessed to create the building block for a capable state.

These funds run into trillions and are sitting in many JSE- listed companies. Unlocking these funds would unleash one of the greatest recoveries after the Marshall Plan.

Even 20% of prescribed assets as agreed with labour and business at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) would release massive financial resources to build more roads, bridges, houses and therefore stimulate the economy.

This will build new road networks and decrease the time of travel from one town to the next.

Small and big business will benefit from shorter times to do business and so will the workers take shorter time to work.

It is for our country and all its stakeholders to agree on the minimum programme for the creation of the Development State.

Amongst the conditions we contemplate is the fast-tracking of the state-owned bank to focus on developing the rural economy and the many black people who do not have collateral resources.

The development of the state housing company has already seen its development with Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS). This is still at its embryonic stage and we will be observing its success so that it could catapult our country to the desired government housing company.

When we harness the energy of all our people towards the Developmental State, we will create the possibility of linking villages through bridges and roads; and therefore create new markets and new economic fronts. Our people’s standard of living will improve as more and more people would have proper housing and thereby release government from being the sole provider of housing to low income earners.

This task begins now.

CDE ADV NGOAKO RAMATLHODI IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC AND THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION

 

CELEBRATING THE 30th ANNIVERSARY OF SAYCO – “THE YOUNG LIONS”

BAPHELAOBED BAPELA

As celebrated in January Statement of 2017; it is the 30th Anniversary of SAYCO, an organization of the Young Lions, that roared the ANC to power.

Cde. Peter Mokaba called them the “Shock Troops of our Revolution”.

History bears witness to their role in fighting apartheid and colonialism.

Between 1983 and 1993 over 2 700 young people were killed/massacred and assassinated. Over 60 000 were detained during the State of Emergency of 1985 to 1986, some of them spending years incarcerated.

During apartheid’s darkest days, many went into exile to train as MK combatants gaining the detachment name of the Young Lions.

Most others who did not go to exile remained behind and trained internally – becoming part of the Self Defense Units (SDU’s) against the surrogate forces of apartheid. These Young Lions were the last line of defense against the aggression of the brutal enemy.

The story of the Young Lions has not been fully inscribed in the chronicles of history.

Each terrain of struggle has its own story to tell, from Gugulethu, to Kwa-Mashu, Mamelodi, Alexandra, Soweto, Mankweng, Galeshewe, Botshabelo, Siyabuswa, Bisho, Mahwelereng, New Brighton, Kwa-Nyamazane, Kagiso, Kwa Thema, Duduzane, Lamontville, Sharpville, Seshego, Ga-Nchabeleng, Langa, Cradock, Kwa-Maphumlo, Driefontein, Kanana and many others.

The Young Lions operated with zeal and determination to defeat the enemy, forcing the apartheid police to retreat. They used all means at their disposal, from stones, to petrol bombs, to mass-mobilization, to consumer and school boycotts to stay-aways to force the hand of the mighty Nationalist Party regime.

This came as the enemy was bringing troops into the townships including the notorious Koevoet (a specialized unit operating in Namibia) and using assassinations squads to break our comrades. During this time many comrades disappeared or were assassinated, with their whereabouts unknown to this very day.

The Young Lions openly defied the apartheid regime. They effectively unbanned the then-banned ANC and SACP.

Every funeral or activity was an ANC site of struggle, with flags openly displayed including the biggest flag ever displayed at the funeral of the Cradock 4, (Mathew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlawuli) in 1985.

They declared their support for Freedom Charter. They listened to Radio Freedom. They followed the line of march as we called it. The ANC was their organization and OR Tambo their commander.

Thanks to the generation of Young Lions (whom some disparagingly referred to as the lost generation) we enjoy the fruits of liberation. And yet many of them are poor, unemployed, still feeling the after-effects of the brutality of the regime such as torture, neglected by the welfare system and condemned to a life of deprivation.

Yet it was they who gave their all to liberate this country. They deserve recognition.

We know we were not in struggle for personal gain or for self glory; but acknowledging those who fought the enemy is what each nation does. Every nation honors its heroes and heroines with history books, museums, monuments, statutes and memory walls.

Even in prison and detention, the Young Lions embarked on hunger strikes that went for months. They declared that unless they were released they would never end the hunger strikes. Many ended up in hospital with others escaping to foreign embassies and then going into exile where they would intensify the campaign for the international isolation of apartheid South Africa.

Indeed, the “Freedom or Death – Victory is Certain”, slogan of SAYCO was alive. Their efforts eventually saw comrade stalwarts like Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and others getting released from prison. This was later followed with the release of detainees and political prisoners, leading to unbanning of our movements and return of exiles.

We see this generation as the most daring, undeterred and brave -ready to die for the cause. Yet those who want to undermine their contribution to the struggle for total liberation refer to them as lumpen or “ibovu”.

They were simply the best generation of fighters. They fought at home and in the belly of the Beast. They were in trenches and on the frontline. They were tortured, killed, assassinated, disappeared, massacred, detained and imprisoned, but they feared nothing.

Let us honor them as we celebrate the 30 years of SAYCO; which became the national umbrella body of Youth Congresses established from from 1992 following the COSAS Resolution to form youth movements.

Let us include the chapters on the period 1979 to 1993; the Era of the Young Lions in our history books; as we did with other chapters in the liberation history of South Africa.

Let us trace our Young Lions, let us create a chatroom for them so they can come forward and tell their stories. We owe it to them. We owe it to history. We owe it to the future.

CDE OBED BAPELA IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC. HE WAS A JUNE 16TH ACTIVIST AND FOUNDING MEMBER OF COSAS AS AN ANC UNDERGROUND OPERATIVE. HE WAS AN ALEX YOUTH CONGRESS ACTIVIST AND LEADER, UDF ACTIVIST, AN ACCUSED IN THE CRADOCK RED FLAG TRIAL AND IN THE ALEXANDRA FIVE TREASON TRIAL. HE IS A FORMER LEADER OF THE ANC IN THE FORMER PWV REGION.

 

 

ANC LEKGOTLA UNITED TOWARDS COMMON GOAL

PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA

The National Executive Committee (NEC) elected at the ANC’s 53rd National Conference in Mangaung has just concluded its last January lekgotla ahead of the organization’s 54th National Conference to be held later this year.

The occasion has provided us with the opportunity to thoroughly study the resolutions taken at Mangaung and look at whether this current NEC has over the past year fulfilled the mandate that it was elected for.

We have done so mindful that our actions must re-assure our people that the ANC remains the only representative of all their hopes and aspirations for a better life.

This year’s ANC’s January 8 statement informed our discussions and work at the lekgotla. The statement covered a lot of issues and priorities that we want to focus on for this year as a movement.

Aside from reviewing our performance as the NEC over the past year, the lekgotla focused on translating the January 8 statement into a practical programme of action.

In reviewing performance in the past year, we bore in mind the outcome of last year’s municipal elections.

Our people sent a particular message to us during the local government elections; and we have accepted publicly that we made mistakes and that we will correct those mistakes in practice and in a visible manner.

Having discussed the election outcome extensively in the NEC we will now focus on solutions.

With approximately two years before the next national elections, how we perform and conduct ourselves as the ANC in the party and in government will to a large extent determine the results of those elections.

The ANC has a mission to fulfill, and that is to advance the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and to transform this country.

The electoral outcome demonstrated that people want action in a number of areas and the January 8 statement has outlined these critical areas.

Primarily, the main issue is transforming and growing the economy.

Access to land, jobs, fighting crime and corruption and the access to basic services also remain critical.

Primarily, economic transformation has to happen, and this should not be just a slogan.

The ANC’s economic vision rests on the Freedom Charter’s call for the people to share in South Africa’s wealth.

The equitable society we intend to build, in which there is decent work for all, can only be achieved through accelerated transformation of the economy.

The ANC’s Mangaung conference reaffirmed that the National Democratic Society will have a mixed economy, with state, co-operative and other forms of social ownership and private capital.

In the January 8 statement, we say more decisive steps must and will be taken to promote greater economic inclusion and to advance ownership, control and real leadership of the economy by black people.

The ANC must use the levers of state power to transform the economy and promote job creation.

We must use government incentives, procurement, infrastructure investment and other measures to create new industries and expand existing industries, which would increase the ownership of the economy by the Black majority.

The ANC has to deracialize the economy – and in doing so we must move beyond sloganeering into action.

Our SMME and BBBEE policies should focus more on the development of entrepreneurs who play a meaningful role in the productive sectors of the economy- rather than shareholder transactions. We should also seek to build cooperative institutions and other forms of social ownership.

The lekgotla assisted us in outlining in practical terms what more we need to do to achieve this goal.

To advance transformation we must look at a number of sectors- such as the mining sector where ownership and control still needs to be transformed.

We have been speaking for instance about establishing a state owned mining company; and we should critically look at what is stopping us from achieving this goal.

Land ownership is also one of the key implementable aspects of economic transformation.

In the ANC January 8 statement, we noted that too many people continue to suffer because of the historic injustice of land dispossession. The ANC has affirmed the need to pursue land reform and land redistribution with greater speed and urgency.

An area of critical importance remains the building of the capacity of the state and State-Owned Entities (SOE’s) as well as the development finance institutions.

The reform and strengthening of SOEs is critical, as is the need for them to be used as instruments of economic transformation and development.

Another critical issue, forming part of our fight against poverty and inequality, is the question of the National Minimum Wage.

We moved a step forward last year when the task team led by the Deputy President agreed on an amount, namely three thousand five hundred rand. Ongoing discussions should enable finality on the matter.

Government and also the ANC must step up programmes to empower women to play their critical role in the development of our nation and in the economy.

We should also strengthen our programmes for the empowerment of the youth with skills and economic opportunities.

On social transformation, education, healthcare, the fight against social ills including crime and corruption remain key.

On the issue of healthcare, we must be able to report on what we have done practically towards the launch the National Health Insurance Fund. Because it is the envisioned NHI that will take us a step further towards better and more affordable health care for all.

We have to respond meaningfully on the stresses on the social fabric as evidenced by the many social skills such as drug abuse and the brutal abuse of women and children. The ANC and its government must visibly fight these scourges working with the people.

The fight against crime and corruption must be stepped up each year, with visible results.

On Basic Education, progress has been made in the past few years. The sector is attending to matters relating to school retention, to ensure that learners do not drop out. We also need to look into underperforming schools and ensure that there are consequences for principals and management at schools who consistently score zero matric pass rates.

In the Higher Education sector, our position is clear. No child should be denied an education because he or she comes from a poor household. We must continue funding those who are academically deserving but are from poor backgrounds.

Discussions are currently ongoing on the matter, to find solutions. The Heher Commission is also continuing with its work in this regard.

The global political environment is also more challenging as evidenced by shifts towards protectionism and extreme conservatism in developed economies.

The Middle East conflicts remain a challenge for the whole world, especially ongoing events in Palestine and Syria.

As a country and organization, we remain committed to finding peaceful solutions to these challenges.  We condemn those elements bent on violent and undemocratic solutions.

Some political developments on our continent endanger the realization of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU).

Events in the Gambia are illustrative of the challenges around the constitutional transfer of power that continue to bedevil our continent.

We are confident that the intervention of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) will resolve the problem and enable the democratically elected President to lead the people of Gambia.

Comrades are aware of the recent escalation of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) owing to challenges around elections.

We also mourn the death of one of our fighters in the peace-making campaign, the young rifleman Moalusi Bushy Mokhothu.

South Africa played a critical role in the birth of South Sudan; regrettably the worsening civil conflict in that sister country prevents it from even starting the project of development; not to speak of the enormous human suffering.

We should as the ANC continue to assist South Sudan to find solutions.

Organizational renewal remains key for the survival and strengthening of the ANC.

The performance of the ANC as a party of government is intricately-linked to the health of the organization as an electoral party and as a national liberation movement.

This matter has exercised our minds as a party for a long time and should continue to do so.

It is a reality that disunity and internal conflicts do spill into the area of governance. But we should should not allow such conflicts to paralyze government. Let us deepen unity, in celebration of the life of Oliver Reginald Tambo.

2017 will be busy year for the ANC. Currently preparations are underway for the ANC’s National Policy Conference due to take place in June. Our deliberations at the lekgotla have laid the ground for a review of the implementation of our policies of the past five years, and assist the formulation of new policies.

The ANC is the leader of society; only the ANC is able to realize the aspirations of the National Democratic Society envisioned by our Constitution. Let us stay the course, demonstrate our capacity to manage internal tensions and conflicts –and retain our focus on our common goal. The lekgotla has seen productive discussions and seen us emerge united, and ready to run the next lap of the race.

CDE. JACOB ZUMA IS PRESIDENT OF THE ANC AND PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA.

 

 

 

FREE STATE MATRIC PASSES THE RESULT OF HARD WORK

ES ‘ACE’ MAGASHULE

The Free State Province can be justifiably proud of the results of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. We achieved an average pass rate of 93.2% excluding progressed learners.

When progressed learners are included, the Free State attained a pass rate of 88.5%, which is 15.7 percentage points higher than the national average.

This achievement, coupled with other strides made by the Free State in education, is a product of rigorous work, rather than a miracle.

Guided by the 2009 and 2014 ANC election manifestos, the Free State Provincial Government has made education its number one priority. In order to put into practice this mandate, the provincial government has consistently increased the allocation of human and capital resources on the broad areas of education.

Through its coordinated, holistic and universal service delivery model, Operation Hlasela, the Free State Executive Council has, since 2009, overhauled the entire education system in the province.

This overhaul of the education system has resulted in a continuous improvement of various education indicators. The matric pass rate, as the significant indicator that shows changes in the quality of education, has shown the highest increase.

From 2009 until 2016, the Free State matric pass rate has increased by almost 20 percentage points from 69.4% to the current 88.2%.

In the same period, the Free State has increased the percentage of bachelor and diploma passes from 20.2% in 2009 to 35.8% in 2016, an increase of more than 15 percentage points over the seven-year period. This demonstrates that the province has also realized an improvement in the quality of passes of the period under review.

The general improvement in the quality of education output is not accidental. It is a product of team work. It is an outcome of a conscious effort to use education towards the socio-economic transformation of our society.

After receiving the 2015 matric results, the Executive Council resolved to convene a Free State Provincial Government Education Indaba, with the purpose of developing a plan towards improving education output in 2016 and beyond.

The Education Indaba provided a platform for all crucial stakeholders, including but not limited to, Members of the Executive Council, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Executive Mayors and other leaders of municipalities, Heads of Departments, Municipal Managers, members of School Governing Bodies, leaders of labour unions and other interested parties to deliberate frankly on the state of education in the province.

At the Indaba it was resolved that the retention of the number one position by the Free State in the 2016 matric results was not optional, but compulsory. A clear plan of action was adopted which served as a directive for all sectors of our community towards a better education output. The Indaba also agreed that, for matric results to be improved, the focus should not be on matric alone, but on all grades of schooling, including early childhood development.

Emerging from this Indaba, all participants became education volunteers, all playing their part in the improvement of education output. Below are some of the highlights of the 2016 matric results, which indicate a solid improvement in the quality of passes in particular, and the education system in general;

Quality of passes

 

  • Of all those who wrote matric examinations in the Free State in 2016, 35.8% obtained bachelor passes. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points from 29.8% bachelor passes in 2015;
  • Compared with other provinces, the Free State is on the top spot on crucial subjects of Accounting, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Maths Literacy and Geography. The province has also jumped into second position on its overall performance on Mathematics. This represents a massive jump from fifth position in 2010.

Pro-poor education system

 

  • Thanks to its grossly pro-poor education spending and focus, the Free State has ensured that an ever increasing proportion of distinctions achieved are from township schools;
  • Ngakana Lawrence Salemane of Le Reng Secondary School, a Quintile 2 school based in Ladybrand, Mantsopa, emerged as the best learner in Mathematics (100%) and Physical Sciences (100%);
  • The best Accounting learners in the province, Thabiso Mike Letlala, Ntebaleng Elsie Letaoana and Refiloe Ntsoaki Makhongoana, who all obtained 100% in the subject, are from Kgolathuto Secondary School, a Quintile 3 school in Phuthaditjhaba, Maluti-a-Phofung;
  • An increasing number of township schools are not only improving their pass rates each year, but are also realizing improved quality passes.

From 1955, when the Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter, until today, the ANC’s position on education has not changed. Under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC government, through making education priority number one, continues to demonstrate its belief that education is a potent weapon to transform society and to create a conducive environment for a better life for all.

Cde Ace Magashule is the ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier of the Free State Province.

 

 

 

At the Indaba it was resolved that the retention of the number one position by the Free State in the 2016 matric results was not optional, but compulsory. A clear plan of action was adopted which served as a directive for all sectors of our community towards a better education output. The Indaba also agreed that, for matric results to be improved, the focus should not be on matric alone, but on all grades of schooling, including early childhood development.

 

Emerging from this Indaba, all participants became education volunteers, all playing their part in the improvement of education output. Below are some of the highlights of the 2016 matric results, which indicate a solid improvement in the quality of passes in particular, and the education system in general;

 

Quality of passes

 

  • Of all those who wrote matric examinations in the Free State in 2016, 35.8% obtained bachelor passes. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points from 29.8% bachelor passes in 2015;
  • Compared with other provinces, the Free State is on the top spot on crucial subjects of Accounting, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Maths Literacy and Geography. The province has also jumped into second position on its overall performance on Mathematics. This represents a massive jump from fifth position in 2010.

 

Pro-poor education system

 

  • Thanks to its grossly pro-poor education spending and focus, the Free State has ensured that an ever increasing proportion of distinctions achieved are from township schools;
  • Ngakana Lawrence Salemane of Le Reng Secondary School, a Quintile 2 school based in Ladybrand, Mantsopa, emerged as the best learner in Mathematics (100%) and Physical Sciences (100%);
  • The best Accounting learners in the province, Thabiso Mike Letlala, Ntebaleng Elsie Letaoana and Refiloe Ntsoaki Makhongoana, who all obtained 100% in the subject, are from Kgolathuto Secondary School, a Quintile 3 school in Phuthaditjhaba, Maluti-a-Phofung;
  • An increasing number of township schools are not only improving their pass rates each year, but are also realizing improved quality passes.

 

From 1955, when the Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter, until today, the ANC’s position on education has not changed. Under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC government, through making education priority number one, continues to demonstrate its belief that education is a potent weapon to transform society and to create a conducive environment for a better life for all.

 

Cde Ace Magashule is the ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier of the Free State Province.

 

 “BLACK OPS” SAGA A FAILED ‘EXPOSE’

KHUSELA SANGONI

Reports surrounding the African National Congress’ (ANC) 2016 municipal elections communications campaign is manufactured controversy at best.

Six months since the poll which saw the ANC attain 54% of the national vote (the majority) the never-ending stream of dubious content passing as news shows no signs of slowing down – as its proponents desperately try to drive their narrative of a party in hopeless and irreversible decline.

Just like the notorious ‘sources close to the ANC’ exposes upon which some of our political journalists have built their reputations, this is yet another example of the failure of journalistic rigor and ethics.

What is now being called the “Black Ops” saga is yet another attempt to discredit an organization that has won the popular vote nationally since democracy in 1994.

To paraphrase Warren Johnson’s famous maxim: truth is the first casualty of journalism.

It is an unfortunate indication of the depths to which some have sunk that the amateurish brainstorming of junior PR executives contracted to some company headed by some individual has been elevated to the level of “ANC strategy.”

A strategy, coincidentally, that was clearly spelled out in our 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto – telling the story of delivery over the past 23 years and placing before the electorate our vision to advance the NDR and transform society.

Furthermore, a request for proposals to run the ANC’s communications campaign was issued to a number of agencies, which further spelled out our communications requirements ahead of the election. The ANC subsequently appointed global agency Ogilvy to run the campaign, working together with organization’s Department of Information and Publicity (DIP).

Regrettably, an employee of the ANC has been implicated and the ANC is conducting an internal investigation into his involvement.  No evidence however has been forthcoming to prove that apparently whiteboard-level brainstorming by a communications agency formed part of any ANC strategy around the 2016 poll, or any other strategy for that matter.

This has not stopped the traditional and social media commentariat from delivering scathing indictments that the ANC was running a ‘black ops’ campaign.

This kind of language conjures up images of high espionage, clandestine activities and plots in dark corners, and torture chambers. It is a desperate headline in pursuit of an even more desperate narrative: luckily the citizenry won’t be duped.

The ANC has no need to resort to desperate and surreptitious tactics or play mind games with the electorate – unlike others, we have a far higher regard for the intelligence of this country’s citizens; and don’t assume their electoral preferences may be swayed by fake posters and favorable tweets.

We can pride ourselves on having run a positive, transparent and clean campaign that did not any point resort to the negative campaigning.

This is the trademark of other opposition parties who tend to locate their entire message in relation to those of the ANC, sometimes even resorting to the desperate measure of appropriating ANC figures like Nelson Mandela to whitewash their own dubious campaign messaging.

In spite of the constant baiting and in some cases outright lies being peddled by some opposition parties, our campaign was run in full compliance with the country’s electoral laws. It has become important to reiterate this in the face of the desperate attempts of the DA to run to the courts: again if there is evidence that the ANC broke any electoral laws, we would welcome seeing it.

Although the overwhelming majority of allegations made in this ‘black ops’ story are problematic, some are more than others.

Not least of all because they betray an astonishingly naïve view of the way in which political campaigns are run in the 21st century.

The very notion of “Paid Twitter” is laughable- if one considers that promoted tweets are an integral tool of modern public relations and have been so since Twitter first launched. Engaging social media ‘influencers’  to drive certain messages is also nothing new. This is a common facet of digital marketing and has been so for over a decade.

There isn’t a modern political party in the world that does not use web content (some of it paid for) and broadcasting platforms to drive political messaging and the ANC is no different. During the election campaign we utilized our own website and social media channels to great effect to engage with voters; this has never been done covertly or in an attempt to psychologically manipulate citizens.

The sub-text of this unfortunate ‘black ops’ fiction is the suggestion that the manner in which supporters of the ANC assist in driving the organization’s message in the media space should somehow be proscribed.

Just as it is the Constitutionally guaranteed right of every South African to support and vote for the political party of their choosing – so is it the prerogative of every individual of this country to show their support for the ANC, and to nail their colors to the mast in the media space.

It would be unfair however to expect the ANC to take responsibility for an ‘strategy’ the ANC never sanctioned at any point.

Luckily the millions of South Africans who continue to vote for the ANC and see it as their only political home won’t buy into the spin. They know our service delivery track record, and they know we and only we continue to espouse the ideals upon which our movement was founded.

The ‘black ops’ story is a convenient fiction. Worryingly, its entire basis is court papers filed by a disgruntled litigant with an agenda. There is no ‘smoking gun’. There is no contract to speak of.

These should all be red flags for journalists. It is questionable whether the alleged court action itself would be able to withstand legal scrutiny.

This attempt at an ‘expose’ is a story cobbled together with emails and WhatsApp messages. It is littered with contradictions, conjecture and hyperbole. It is a storm in a Twitter cup.

CDE. KHUSELA SANGONI IS THE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER OF THE ANC