National Policy Conference
Report of the Commission on International Relations
27-30 June 2007
- The conference in general agreed with the characterisation of the international situation as outlined in the discussion document, however the commission decided to further elucidate on the following issues;
- The conference discussed how imperialism has mutated into a sophisticated system in the globalised world, often associated with violence and aggression in its pursuit for exploitation of resources in the developing countries and its impact in the African continent.
- In responding to this challenge of imperialism the ANC needs to strengthen itself and other progressive forces and develop a common agenda with an objective of realizing a just and a better world. Such a world order must be characterised inter-alia by greater security, peace, dialogue and greater equilibrium between the poor and the rich. In this were guided by the ANC principles of “a better life for all and a vision of a just world and better Africa”.
Pan African Fund
- The conference noted that the Pan-African fund is being launched with a projected collection of $1 billion dollars from governments of Africa for infrastructure development. The proposal of both the establishment of the pan African Fund together with the proposal for the South African Development Aid could be used as instruments to achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s) and could be the beginning of Africa being less dependent on outside aid.
Millennium Development Goals
- The conference agreed with the version in the discussion document. Conference expressed their disappointment in the failure of the West, in particular the Group of 8 Countries, (United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Russia, Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands), to honour their commitments to the MDGs.
- On proposed policy issues the following issues were raised:
- The African Union Government: towards a United States of Africa
- The current continental and international climate and challenges requires a united continent of Africa capable of engaging other powerful nations. In line with the ANC vision of building a better Africa;
- The resuscitation of the idea of United States of Africa is welcomed as one of the goals that inspired the African leaders of the anti-colonial struggles.
- In principle the conference supports the establishment of the Union Government and creation of Africa United States as a step towards a strategic goal of unification of Africa. However, the process must be informed by a developmental agenda for Africa with immediate focus on building regional economic communities/ regional blocks (RECs), with emphasis on regional integration.
- In addition the conference agreed with submissions from provinces such as:
- Strengthening of AU and all its organs in its role as a catalyst towards the formation of the Union of African states.
- Strengthening of legislative bodies and harmonisation of legislations.
- Use of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as the developmental blue print in the continent through mobilisation and promotion of partnerships of the African States.
- Development of a common approach, through involvement of civil society and the general citizenry.
- South Africa to be proactive in the debate and processes that leads towards the creation of the United State of Africa including the mobilisation of the progressive forces (and governments) towards a common understanding on the strategic plan.
- ANC should engage its structures and the South African public in general to develop a better understanding of the agenda for Africa and the world. In guiding the discussions in our structures, in the movement and society in general the ANC needs to develop a discussion paper containing proposals on the form, character and shape of the United States of Africa. The paper should also capture the debates and history by the post independent Africa leadership in the early 1960’s before the formation of the OAU and later towards the formation of the African Union.
- The conference strongly recommends that SADC should be consolidated as a first step towards the development of the Africa United States.
- SADC region faces a number challenges but we need to ensure that they are resolved to ensure the effective functioning of SADC. There is a need for a political will within the SADC countries and its leadership to be able to achieve our objectives.
- The ANC has to play a leading role in strengthening and consolidating the region politically.
- To achieve our economic and political programmes as agreed by SADC regional leadership – our approach should be developmental and ensure diversification of the economies of the member states.
- Furthermore, the SADC Parliament should be established so that it could engage and contribute to a common approach on issues in the region.
SA Developmental Aid
- The idea of a Developmental AID is one of the key strategies that could assist the ANC and government in pursuit of our vision for a better Africa. The development Aid will enhance our agenda on the international relations and should rest on three pillars which are; (i) consolidation of the African agenda, (ii) south- south and (iii) north – south co-operations.
- The recommendation on the establishment of the development aid was endorsed by the policy conference. However, conference cautioned that its implementation should not generate negative perceptions about South Africa as a colonial power; rather it should encourage other countries in the continent to follow suit.
- The national budgetary processes should commit resources to the developmental aid fund. The fund should be located in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
- The fund should in addition assist African countries in strengthening their state institutions in developing mechanisms and frameworks for their growth and development.
Party – to-Party Relations
- Party-to-Party relations amongst former liberation movements must be prioritized by the ANC (SWAPO, MPLA, FRELIMO, ZANU (PF), PAIGC, CCM, SPLMA, etc) and pursue the meetings and structured support of the former liberation movements in the region.
- An audit is required to have a better understanding of the ideological orientation and character of the parties in the continent and identify those that share the same political vision as the ANC. A deliberate effort to strengthen relations with all progressive and like – minded parties in the region, continent and the world should be made.
- Promote relations with other ruling parties in the continent who might not be sharing the same vision with the ANC and such relations could be based on common interests.
Embracing the principle of Strategic Partnership
- Commission supported the principle of strategic partnership outlined in the document. This strategic partnership while assisting the ANC in achieving our strategic goals must also ensure consolidation of the African Agenda.
- Continued engagement with India and Brazil (IBSA) was supported as part of consolidating South – South Relations which will also include engagement with China.
- Such Strategic partnerships should not narrowly be interpreted as relationship at government level only but also independently include party – to party relations as well as civil society formations.
- The advent of democracy has created new opportunities for the South African Business both in Africa and in the world in the retail, mining, construction, engineering, banking services, communication services, agricultural, agric-processing and others. This opportunity is welcomed and good; however, it brings with it new challenges in the relationship between South Africa and other African countries.
- The conference endorsed the idea of resuscitating and beefing up of economic desks in the South African embassies to ensure our businesses/companies exploit the available business opportunities abroad and in the continent and ensure our goods enter their local markets in those countries; while at the same time we encourage the African countries to produce quality goods that can compete with the South African products and for them to take advantage of the developing and growing economy. This will encourage trade amongst states in the continent and in the south and also expand on our objective on the national interests.
Business Code of Conduct in the Continent:
- Need to acknowledge and give attention to the code of practice which binds many companies trading in different countries within the continent. The development of the code of conduct was agreed upon in principle and it was agreed on that the code need to be legislated and regulated without restricting their competitiveness.
- We should encourage those countries in the continent in strengthening, their labour and trade laws.
- The code of conduct should have general standards that guide it, such as prohibition of child labour, discouragement on bribery and that those who practice such actions be criminalised.
- The standards on the code of conduct to include among others the encouragement on recruitment of local labour, imparting of skills, prohibition of child labour and contribute to the social responsibility programmes of that country and remove the negative connotations about South African Government and the private sector.
- A proposal emerged that the ANC must develop a clear policy guide for parliament, legislatures and municipalities in their engagement with the bodies to which they are affiliated and in the establishment of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- There is a need to develop capacity to monitor all these processes and ensure that there is co-ordination at all levels and everyone pursues a common goals and objectives as in the foreign policy. There should be proper training of all cadres involved or participating in the foreign/international activities in pursuance of their programmes.
- The South African Embassies should play the role of providing delegations with information, advise and protocol without undermining the separation of powers as dictated to in the SA constitution.
Political Party Foundation Funding
- This will assist in the building of the progressive movement in African and in the World
- The funding mechanism should be linked to the proposal in the Organisational Review on the funding of political parties through public funds.
Rebuilding of associated bodies of the OAU, now AU
- There are broad agreements on the resolution as it will assist in the strengthening of the AU and all its organs including the associated bodies such as Pan African Youth Movement (PAYM), Pan African Women’s Organisation (PAWO) and Economic, Cultural, and Social Council (ECCOSOC), to function effectively, particularly within the civil society arena, including the funding and resourcing of these bodies.
Religion and politics
- This section was supported. The ANC must engage in a public discourse to assist society to reach broader consensus and religious tolerance, which will assist in reversing global polarisation.
CURRENT POLICIES THAT REQUIRE REVIEW, STRENGTHENING AND REINVIGORATION
Migration, Immigrants and Xenophobia
- Dept of Home Affairs working together with the Criminal Justice cluster needs to develop a policy and systems that will ensure that illegal immigrants are captured in a data that will assist in monitoring their movements and enforcement of our laws.
- Our policy needs to take into account the United Nations(UN) codes on refugees that we have ratified to ensure that the manner in which we treat refugees is humane, including taking lessons from other countries which give support, education and welfare
- We need to conduct awareness campaigns amongst our communities to prevent incidents resulting from xenophobia. We also need to acknowledge the valuable skills many immigrants bring to the country, while preventing exploitation
- Going forward in enhancing the understanding of the international agenda including immigration, refugees and Xenophobia, a need for provincial workshops was identified for our structure in preparation for National Conference.
Twinning of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities
- It was agreed that we need to develop a policy that would guide on twinning agreements with clear objectives and guidelines and develop capacity to monitor implementation.
Building a Progressive Movement in Africa and the World
- There was agreement that we need to strengthen the progressive movement in Africa and formalise relations with the global progressive movement in particular Latin America and East Asia.
Strengthening the South African Foreign policy
- The dominant features of our foreign policy are about peace, conflict resolution, peace keeping activity, partnership, multilateral development agenda pursuant of the NEPAD programme, building institutions in the continent and the reform of others and influence on political global issues.
- The conference agreed that South African policy includes in its objectives of the achievement of National Interests (namely political, economic, cultural, social and people to people relations) which should be anchored into the three pillars which are:
- Consolidation of the African Agenda,
- South-South Relations and
- North-South dialogue
- The Department of Foreign Affairs should change to Department of Foreign Relations and having embraced the development aid principle should include International Cooperation (DFR & IC)
- The ANC and government need to ensure that there is a deliberate educational programme on the international work to ensure a broader understanding and for the achievement on the national consensus.
- The African Diaspora section in the document needs to be strengthened but we need to have a vision that can materialise into policy objective. In preparation for the national conference a document outlining our policy on the issues be developed and circulated for branch inputs.
- In addition the ANC needs to prepare for the African Diaspora Head of State meeting taking place in 2007 and the Summit in 2008.
- The solution to the situation of in Zimbabwe would be resolved by the people of Zimbabwe in the main. The conference expressed support on the initiative for mediation by President Thabo Mbeki as mandated by the SADC region.
- The resolutions are already pointing towards a direction of solidarity campaigns and engagements to seek solutions in areas such as Palestine, Western Sahara, Sudan, Somalia/Somaliland, Swaziland and certain regions such as the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa.
- Reaffirm our solidarity campaigns such as the Free the Cuban Five, the release of political prisoners in Myanmar, Palestine, Western Sahara, etc.
- In the spirit of our vision of a better Africa and the world which is also expressed in the Freedom Charter, the conference that the organisation should always pursue all efforts to seek speedy solutions in all the areas that are currently experiencing conflicts and challenges.
- The policy conference affirmed the 51st Stellenbosch Conference and the 2005 NGC resolutions and that they should be re-characterised based on the current situation prevailing in the continent and the world.
ISSUES IDENTIFIED NEEDING FURTHER DELIBERATIONS
- While the policy has been agreed upon in principle, further work needs to be done to inform ANC structures and the SA public a the history, form, character and shape that the United States of Africa should take including issues such as sovereignty and developmental agenda.
- Further work on the issues and further debates with provinces should be held to formulate clear policy perspectives on migration, immigration, refugees and xenophobia.
- The policy perspective and the definition of the African Diaspora needs further strengthening.
- Developing common understanding and consciousness on SA interest with the SA Foreign Policy. To further enhance our foreign policy document and circulate it for further discussion and input.
- The Religious desks would further strengthen the policy perspective on Religion and Politics.
- Develop a policy on Twinning of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities to reinforce our resolution.
NOTE: These are summarised resolutions as presented and adopted by the National Policy Conference and are constituted as recommendations to the 52nd National Conference. In reading the recommendations, alignment with the policy discussion documents should be exercised.