South African’s National Liberation Movement

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National Conference​

Report of the Secretary General

5: Headquarters Department Reports

17 December 1997


At the time of going to conference in 1994, the following departments were operational at Head Office:

  • The Presidency which includes the offices of the President, the Deputy President, the National Chairperson and Cde Walter Sisulu;
  • The Secretary Generals Office (SGO) which includes the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General;
  • The Treasurer Generals Office (TGO) which also includes the general administration of our finances;
  • The Administration department which also dealt with personnel, human resource development and staffing matters;
  • The Department of Information and Publicity (DIP) which also services the NEC Media Committee;
  • The Department of Political Education and Training which services the NEC political education committee;
  • The Organising Department which also services the NEC Provincial Committees;
  • The Department of International Affairs which also serviced the NEC Committee on international affairs.

As part of the restructuring process, the Departments of Administration and International Affairs were closed and their functions integrated into the SGO. Full time staff are employed to fulfil these functions, but we have removed the costs of running separate departments.

Each department is accountable to the NEC through an NEC Political Head. Day-to-day responsibility for the running of departments rests with Directors, formerly known as Heads of Departments. These Directors sit in on NEC meetings as observers.

Coordination of departmental work at Head Office takes place through the Secretariat, which meets weekly.

The restructuring process which sought to cut costs, develop a sustainable financing strategy and to establish a structure better suited to our new circumstances, resulted in

  • reorganising all departments to fall under one of the three offices of the officials

    Presidency: Political Education, DIP, Policy;

    SGO: Organising, Elections, TRD, Bereaved Committee, Administration;

    TGO: Finance and fundraising.

  • cutting our expenditure by a third. This entailed staff reductions which were mainly effected at Head Office level. It also involved introducing new measures to bring down costs of telephones, transport, travel and general administration costs. The allocations to provinces were reduced by a third.
  • fundraising mechanisms, which will be covered in the report of the Treasurer General.

The process of restructuring has been difficult. The retrenchment of 180 ANC cadres was especially painful, but we ensured that the retrenchment package was much more generous than the law prescribes. We have also successfully placed most comrades in new positions.

The reduction of staff has also created difficulties for the functioning of the organisation, but we have to learn to cope with what we can afford.

The process has not been completed yet. Elements of it can only be implemented after conference. The process needs to evaluated by the incoming NEC.


NEC head: President

Director: Beryl Baker

Areas of work

The primary role of the Department has been to ensure that the duties and functions of the Officials – specifically the President, Deputy President and National Chairperson – are facilitated efficiently and effectively.

As these Officials are responsible for political leadership and the image of the organisation, their participation has been in all areas of work that the organisation, in each of its departments, undertakes.

The role of the Department staff has been in coordination, planning, logistics and implementation of the programmes of the Officials. A large area of work has been one of public relations and coordination between ANC and government, dealing with correspondence and other communications from the public, organisational structures, NEC, NWC and the Alliance.


The Presidency consists of the offices of the President, Deputy President and National Chairperson. Cde Walter Sisulu remains an ex officio member of the Department. None of the Officials in the Presidency is full-time. This absence of political authority in this important office has become a problem, hence the proposal from the NWC that an NEC member be appointed full-time in this office.

Following the 1994 elections, a new structure was evolved to suit the changed circumstances within the movement, which remained in force until the headquarters restructuring process of September this year. In terms of this new structure, the departments of Policy, Information and Publicity, Political Education and the two leagues also fall under the responsibility of the Presidency.

The complete reconstitution of the Presidency in line with this new structure will only be able to take place after the election of new Officials at National Conference, and the relocation of headquarters, which will enable all the elements of the Presidency to be located in one physical area.


Carrying out the decisions of Conference, the main drive of officials` responsibilities, has largely been undertaken through their participation in NEC and NWC structures. As the ANC settled into government, Officials` meetings were set up on a weekly basis. These regular meetings greatly assisted the Officials in preparing for and participating in NEC and NWC meetings.

Other activities of the Department have included meetings-in-office with other structures and individuals of the movement, provincial visits, functions, Alliance meetings, participation in Conferences and launches and fundraising.

The major activity of 1995 and the beginning of 1996 was the Local Government elections, in which all three Officials played a significant part.

Evaluation and problems

Consideration must be given to the duality of roles – in the ANC and in government – of the Officials in making any evaluation. Following the 1994 elections, the participation of the three Officials was minimal. In 1995 and early 1996, Local Government elections took precedence. During 1996, when the structures of the movement were re-adjusted and regular meetings of the Officials and NWC became more disciplined, the participation and work of the Officials of the Presidency was greatly enhanced.

Present and future priorities

Following Conference, the priority of the management of the Department will be to ensure that, as a wider Department under a new structure, it functions effectively and efficiently under the guidance and direction of its political leadership. The main priorities will be carrying out the decisions of Conference and campaigning for the 1999 elections.


NEC Head: Pallo Jordan

Director: Ronnie Mamoepa

Areas of work

The Department is responsible for the management and flow of information both within the organisation and outside of the organisation. It is responsible for the public image and profile of the movement. This involves work in areas like media liaison; media production, electronic information through the ANC`s internet site; and the collection of ANC and other documentation in the ANC library.


To focus on each of these areas the Department was structured into a number of different units under the direction of the Head of Department. These units included:

  • Media liaison, which included the Parliamentary media liaison office;
  • Media production, which included Mayibuye;
  • Library;
  • Research and monitoring, whose staff was divided between headquarters and sub-headquarters in Cape Town;
  • Electronic Information, based at sub-headquarters in Cape Town;
  • Training, primarily responsible for empowering provincial media officers;
  • Administration.

Since the restructuring of headquarters, only the media liaison, media production, training and administration components remain.

Each province also has a media officer, who interacts on a regular basis with the national Department. Most provinces made significant progress in establishing media committees to assist in media work.


The activities of the Department over the last three years have included:

  • the issuing of press statements on an almost daily basis;
  • holding media briefings and conferences on a variety of issues;
  • fielding queries from the media and members of the public;
  • producing Mayibuye for the most part of this period on a monthly basis;
  • producing occasional documents, like the ANC TRC submission and January 8th Statements;
  • establishment and maintenance of the ANC`s internet site;
  • media training for provincial media officers, MPs, MPLs and ANC Ministers;
  • maintenance and expansion of the headquarters library;
  • research and monitoring of media coverage;
  • providing media support for the Local Government elections campaigns.

Evaluation and problems

The Department has suffered a loss of skilled personnel, beginning with the deployment of key comrades to government and continuing with a number of resignations and, this year, with the tragic deaths of three comrades. The restructuring process that took effect in September saw the staff complement of the Department being diminished dramatically.

The input of the NEC Media Committee was initially very limited. However, this has improved somewhat over the last period. There has also been a lack of resources, skills and organisational input at a provincial level.

The various units of the Department have not always operated in concert with each other in pursuit of a single organisational media strategy. The research and electronic information units, in particular, suffered from a lack of a developed programme.

Present and future priorities

The Department is having to grapple with the effects of restructuring on its key tasks and core functions. The next period will see the Department consolidating the progress it has made on a number of fronts, and identifying its chief priorities within the constraints of limited personnel and resources.


NEC Head: Steve Tshwete

Director: Ka Shabangu

Areas of work

The central task of the Department has been to build the ANC into an effective mass-based organisation. This has involved building and consolidating organisation structures; instituting a new membership system; raising the general level of political understanding within the ANC; co-ordinating national campaigns.

The Department has been involved closely with the Department of Political Education and Training in a political education programme and with the Elections desk in training and preparing our structures for the 1995 / 1996 local government elections and now for the 1999 general election. The Department has also been responsible for the deployment of leadership for organisational work.

Through the work of organisers at provincial and regional offices, there is coordination of the work of provinces, regions and branches.


The Department was restructured towards the end of 1994, where the previous sections of the Department were collapsed into one.

The Department was streamlined to have a Head of Department, nine provincial organisers, a public relations officer, membership officer, membership bookkeeper and administrative support staff. Following the restructuring this year, there are now only five national coordinators and no membership bookkeeper.

In terms of the restructuring, the department is now part of the Secretary General`s Office.


The Department made a major contribution in the convening of the provincial conference and the setting up of PECs. From February 1995, the Department played a crucial role in all stages of the preparations for local government elections. Much effort went into resolving differences on the ground between ANC structures and our alliance partners and Sanco.

The launching of regions was a major achievement, as it involved reactivating the branches, recruiting campaigns and induction of newly elected RECs. An increase in paid-up members, has been accompanied by a revival of many of the branch structures which had collapsed after the 1994 election.

The Department has also been involved in major initiatives in the Free State, KwaZulu/Natal and Northern Province to address organisational problems in these areas. It has also assisted with preparations for Women`s League and Youth League Conferences.

Evaluation and problems

Much progress has been made in improving the membership system. Some problems, however, do still exist, including the lack of resources and inefficiency among some administrators.

Too much time is spent by the Department in reacting to daily crises with structures, including conflicts between BECs and councillors and between other structures. Provincial Executive Committees are not always decisive in dealing with these problems.

Present and future priorities

The priority of the Department in general remains building the organisation, and in this period it would particularly be strengthening the organisation to ensure a decisive electoral victory in the 1999 elections. This would include:

  • assisting branches to develop programmes which would involve them in local development;
  • ensuring that leadership deployments are relevant and effective;
  • looking at the possibility of establishing branch offices;
  • ensuring that RECs service their branches effectively;
  • clarifying the role of constituency offices and their relationship with constitutional structures;
  • ensuring that councillors are accountable to ANC structures;
  • encouraging branches and councillors to consult regularly with communities on issues affecting them.


NEC Head: Tito Mboweni

Director: vacant

Areas of work

The Department is responsible for providing dedicated capacity for the organisation to ensure the continued development, implementation and monitoring of ANC policies. The specific areas or sectors of policy work which the Department should ultimately cover include:

  • social transformation;
  • economic transformation;
  • peace and stability;
  • local government;
  • infrastructure;
  • governance and legislatures.


Prior to 1994, there were a number of fully-fledged departments within the ANC that dealt with the development of policy. These various departments were rationalised into a single department in August 1994.

The Department was headed by a member of the NEC, and there were four identified policy coordinator positions: Health, Welfare and Education; Human Rights and Security; Local Government, Housing, Water and Electrification; and RDP. The latter was tasked primarily with coordination of the RDP Council. The intended organogram was however never fully implemented as many positions remained unfilled.

The general staff rationalisation process that the organisation undertook in 1997 provided an ideal opportunity to align the work of the NEC Committees and that of the Department. The function of co-ordinating most of the NEC Committees was transferred to the Department, and its own positions were re-organised to mirror the sub-committees of the NEC dealing with policy matters.


Immediately after the 1994 conference the focus of the departments work was on the setting up of RDP councils at national and provincial levels. In each of the councils sectoral committees were set up, and RDP coordinators were employed at national and provincial levels.

Branches were to set up local RDP structures consisting of broad MDM forces which in turn were to form Local Development Forums (LDFs) to ensure the active involvement of communities in local development, particularly the presidential lead projects which were initially driven by the RDP ministry.

Work on this front was always uneven especially at local level. The closure of the government RDP ministry made it difficult to have a central reference point. These full-time posts were closed down as part of the restructuring process.

Another area of focus was the setting up of National Coordinating Forums (NCF) which brings together stakeholders in sectors – ANC provinces, minister, standing committees of national and provincial government and the relevant MDM formations in the sector. This continues to work well in the sectors which had traditionally been part of the ANC work. Where it has been functional, there has been very little misunderstanding between different components and our capacity to fight onslaughts from those resisting change has been greatly enhanced. Where these do not exist, or where it is weak, we experience problems and tensions.

This role also meant that the department got involved in sectoral campaigns and often in firefighting and mediation, functions which ought to reside with the Organising Department. The two departments need to find a better way of dealing with this.

After the NEC Lekgotla held in January this year the NWC appointed a political head.

The implementation of the rationalisation of the Department has seen its activities focus primarily on preparations for the first national Policy Conference since 1992. The Conference, held on 1-2 November 1997, was attended by 450 delegates coming from the NEC, provincial structures and all spheres of government. The Alliance and MDM formations were also represented.

In the run-up to the Policy Conference the main activities of the NEC committees on Social Transformation, Economic Transformation, Peace and Stability and Legislatures and Governance were focused on preparation of the discussion papers for the Policy Conference. The Local Government National Co-ordinating Forum continued to meet to discuss specifically the key issues raised in the Local Government White Paper process.

Evaluation and problems

Since the ANC has gone into government the role of the department, its relationship to government and other sites of policy formulation has been less clear. The Policy Conference, and the processes preceding it, have begun to lay the basis for setting clear objectives, and for description of duties to be clarified.

The performance of the Department since 1994 has also been affected negatively by the failure to appoint an NEC head of department. The Deputy Secretary General, who had previously headed the department, was tasked with overseeing work until such time as a head would be appointed. Unfortunately this was also the time when the Secretary General was increasingly engaged in the work of the Constitutional Assembly.

An administrative head of the Department was never appointed. As a result, the Department has not always worked together as a cohesive unit.

Present and future priorities

The specific matters that the Department would have to deal with in the new year include:

  • finalising the sectors or clusters of policy that should be covered, and ensuring that these are aligned to the outcome of the restructuring of NEC Committees;
  • filling remaining vacancies, including the position of Department Director;
  • strengthening the research capacity of the Department;
  • clarifying the extent to which the focus of the Department is to be divided between development, implementation and monitoring of policy;
  • developing a proposal for the re-launch of Sechaba as a `theoretical` journal of the ANC.


NEC Head: Joel Netshitenzhe

Director: Naph Manana

Areas of work

The objectives of the Department are:

  • increasing organisational capacity;
  • increasing grassroots participation in discussing and understanding ANC policies and principles;
  • building layers of cadres that would be able to think critically and provide leadership in their branches, regions, provinces and nationally;
  • empower cadres on the ground to give leadership to changing situations.


The Department was established in March 1996. It has presently under its guidance provincial education secretaries who are supervised by a Political Head who is a member of the PEC.


The Department has conducted training programmes and workshops for cadres deployed at a number of levels of the organisation and in a number of areas. These have included:

  • training of approximately 4 900 ANC councillors, about the different levels of government and financing, effective consultation, management and planning, and budgeting;
  • training a total of around 14 000 branch delegates in the role of the BEC, facilitation of branch political education, Masakhane campaign, Conference preparations and election preparations;
  • a total of 480 Regional Executive Committee members were trained on how to develop a programme of action for branches and how to do their political planning;
  • nearly 400 regional training team members were trained on how to facilitate branch training and political discussion.

The Department held a Winter School in July 1996, which resulted in the publication of the first edition of Umrabulo. It also held a number of workshops for the national Parliamentary Caucus.

The Department held three workshops for organisers in 1996 and 1997, which focused on capacity building and the role of organisers in implementing the ANC Programme of Action. The Department also ran workshops for the ANC Women`s League, Youth League, Constituency Office administrators, South African Student`s Congress, and Congress of South African Students.

The Department has contributed to National Conference preparations by publishing and distributing discussion documents and the draft Strategy and Tactics. Four delegates per branch nationally were trained on Conference preparations and the 1999 elections.

The Department has been investigating the establishment of an ANC Political School. Research focused on two broad perspectives on the way in which a cadre development programme could be delivered, namely a `Political Education Centre` and a `Programmatic Approach`. Each approach has merit, although the choice has to be made in terms of long-term sustainability.

Evaluation and problems

Work at a provincial level has been going well and generally all provincial political education secretaries have been able to fulfil their role in the coordination of the Department`s programme. The Department has however to develop and implement a process of staff appraisals and evaluations and a method of evaluation for the implementation of its programme.

The Department does have difficulty in securing senior national leadership to participate in the programmes that are arranged at a provincial level. Mass political education of the general membership also depends on the traditions and conventions that we establish for branch meetings and those of BECs.

The ANC needs to put in place mechanisms that will ensure continued financial support for a programme on cadre development, as the current funding is likely to cease in 1999.