National General Council
ANC statement on NGC Discussion Documents
29 July 2010
The ANC`s National General Council (NGC) is a forum between National Conferences where we review progress and challenges since the last Conference. The NGC will be amongst the largest political schools of the ANC. It is an opportunity to engage on critical issues facing our people and the movement.
We are pleased to officially release the following NGC discussion documents to the ANC structures, the Alliance, the broader democratic movement and the public.
1. The Strategic and Tactics and the Balance of Forces: this is a document in which we assess the domestic and international balances of forces and broad strategies and tactics required for the ANC and our strategic allies. The world today has significantly changed from what it was three years ago. We are still in the midst of a global economic crisis (beginning with financial crisis in 2008) which had a harsh impact on many countries, including South Africa – millions have lost their jobs and government revenues have significantly declined. The ideas that call for a minimal state and subjection of everything to market forces are no longer attractive nor are they capable of offering solution to the economic and social problems confronting the world.
Domestically, our 2009 general election victory has, once again, confirmed the ANC as the principal representative of the majority of the population. Through our Manifesto, we are now hard at work to implement the key priorities of the ANC government. Uniting and mobilising our people around the key priorities of decent work and sustainable livelihoods; rural development, land and agrarian reform; education and health; and fight crime and corruption, remain our critical task.
2. Economic Transformation – Toward a growth path for decent work: In the context of the balance of forces mentioned above, the ANC has been engaged in process of developing a developmental growth path for South Africa. We emerged from Polokwane with a clear position that “the central and most pressing challenges we face are unemployment, poverty and inequality.” In our discussion document “Toward a Growth Path for Decent work”, we review shortcomings as well as progress around the economy since 1994 and identify core strategies to ensure more equitable, inclusive and sustained growth for discussion. At the heart of our strategies is the creation of a decent work agenda and sustainable livelihoods, which represent the primary focus of our economic policies. The analysis here underscores that the decent work agenda means that the ANC policies must go beyond the relief of poverty to address inequality and exclusion.
3. Legislature and Governance – building a developmental state: The central task of the ANC is to build a developmental state with the strategic, political, economic, administrative and technical capacity in pursuit of the objectives of the national democratic revolution. It is this task that the NGC must assess and propose recommendations that will qualitatively improve the functioning of the ANC in governing the state. Other issues for discussion will include the building of the public sector cadre, role of parastatals, as well as the review of the electoral system, including a possible introduction of single election system for all spheres of government.
4. Media diversity and ownership: Our discussion document on Media Diversity and Ownership emphasises the need to promote pluralistic and diverse media through the enactment of laws and interventions guided by principles of free and independent media. Such intervention through policy and legislation with objectives to creating an enabling environment, which support media development and diversity, can enable free, independent and pluralistic media. The interventions should always be guided by the principle of promoting media freedom and independence. This is the critical vigilance as surely the temptation is always there to want to interfere with content but in a constitutional democracy, law can protect media against any such interference, if it arises. Media diversity supports, promotes, deepens, consolidates and strengthens democracy, nation building, social cohesion and good governance. The necessary changes in media could accord citizens the possibility to influence and deepen democratic ethos at community level, more so using community media.
In this context, it is proposed that we also investigate the desirability of setting up an independent statutory institution, established through an open, public and transparent process, and be made accountable to Parliament. The investigation should further consider the mandate of the Media Appeals Tribunal and its powers to adjudicate over matters or complaints expressed by citizens against print media, in terms of decisions and rulings made by the existing self-regulatory institutions, in the same way as it happens in the case of broadcasting through the Complaints and Compliance Committee of ICASA.
5. Peace and Stability – transforming the criminal justice system: The challenges facing the criminal justice system include the unacceptable levels of crime and weak capacity at critical services of forensic, detective, investigation and prosecution. These are challenges of beefing our courts and stepping up prosecution and conviction of cases of corruption. A number of proposals to address challenges are being advanced. For example, the discussion paper proposes the establishment of regional courts in each province to deal with corruption cases based on the experience and lessons learnt from dedicated 2010 FIFA World Cup courts.
6. Organisational Renewal: The NGC will be a moment of intense self-reflection, self-correction and self-renewal in order to face the future with confidence. We are asking ourselves hard questions of whether the current state of affairs enhances the organisation`s future prospects or threaten our long-term success and sustainability. Our on-going organisational renewal process is a collective effort to:
Unite and mobilise all our people around the vision of the Freedom Charter;
Maintain and enhance the character of our movement as a multi-class organisation with a bias towards the working class and rural masses. Our movement character is that of being a democratic, mass-based non-racial, non-sexist, and internationalist organisation.
Preserve and adapt our values and principles of unity, discipline, selfless service, collective leadership, democratic centralism, honesty, hard work and mutual respect.
7. Leadership renewal, discipline and organisational culture: Related to organizational renewal is the need to identify the dangers that erode our character and values. Such dangers include the `sins of incumbency`- such as bureaucratisation of the state and party. Social distance of leaders from the masses, ideological decline, sharing the spoils of office (positions and state resources).
Related to this is the indiscipline within our ranks, lobbying, leadership conduct and the role and influence of money in our movement, especially when it relates to leadership positions. We not only identify these subjective and objective realities in our discussion papers, but propose measures and actions to ensure that they do not raise their ugly heads in our revolution.
An additional document on Local Government will be released in the next two weeks.
These are the discussion issues we are presenting to the NGC.
A link to the ANC website has been created for NGC and all above documents will be available as from today, the 29th July 2010.
We also call the public to make comments on these documents.