South African’s National Liberation Movement

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National Conference​


Adopted resolution on Building the ANC

6 July 1991

Having examined in depth and critically tile strength and weaknesses of the Movement; having identified the opportunities and threats to the ANC, the Commission, therefore,


1. On the Youth League membership

1.1. A special commission should be set up to investigate our inability to draw in all the Youth League membership over 18 years of age into the ANC

1.2. The ANC Department of Arts and Culture should initiate sports and cultural activities in consultation with the Youth League Department of Sports and Culture, to generate excitement that will attract the youth

1.3. Clarity must be given by this Conference on the implications and meaning of the concepts “autonomous and independence” with regard to the ANC Leagues.

2. On the Tripartite Alliance

2.1. A joint commission with the two other members of the Tripartite Alliance should be set up to investigate the reasons for the inability of the Alliance to function effectively at the grassroots level, and make recommendations for the redressal of the situation. The investigation should include reasons for our inability to attract Cosatu membership into the ANC.

3. On the Civics and Local Government

3.1. The ANC should develop a clear policy on local government with special reference to the roles of Civics and branches in this regard, bearing in mind that the Civics have been the formations occupying this terrain of struggle

3.2. The Department of Local Government should establish clear structural and functional relations with the Civics to avoid tensions and resultant confusion

4. On strategic campaigns

4.1. The ANC should conduct door-to-door campaigns and house visits, especially in the middle classes in all communities – preferably by the highly disciplined and politically clear leadership – to explain the history and policies of the ANC

4.2. That the ANC should develop a coherent strategic programme of action with clear goals which is actively pursued despite the obstacles that may be encountered such as outbreaks of violence.

4.3. That the ANC should draw on the experience of the UDF in reaching the masses of our people

4.4. That the ANC should put over the message in accessible languages to all the oppressed and exploited masses

4.5. Noting, that: there is a need to link our campaigns for an Interim Government, a Constituent Assembly and against violence to the concrete issues affecting the lives of the people; Conference resolves therefore that the incoming NEC should start a national campaign on the following three crisis areas that affect our people:

  • housing
  • unemployment
  • education

4.6. That the ANC should, in preparation for a Constituent Assembly and an Interim Government embark on a massive Literacy Campaign, jointly with the NECC, and this should be linked to massive Intensive I earning Campaign

5. On political education

5.1. The Department of Political Education should develop a comprehensive national political education programme, with special focus on the gender question and the history and policies of the ANC, in the languages understood and spoken by the people

5.2. Where commissars, whether from abroad or internally based, are present, they should be deployed to do political education work amongst the oppressed

5.3. An extensive political educational campaign/programme should be started to explain the need for, and the nature of a liberation front with other organisations like PAC, Azapo

5.4. The Department of Political Education should draw up a national calender which will serve as a guide for all regions and branches on timeframes according to which issues like current state of political developments, policies of the ANC, should be discussed.

6. On the public image of the ANC

6.1. A mechanism, constitutional if needs be, should be established to ensure that inter-departmental co-ordination, particularly at national level, takes place to avoid individualism and incoherence in public pronouncements on policy matters.

6.2. A strong disciplinary code should be formulated and be strictly enforced on all members and employees of the ANC, at all levels, to avoid conduct that could tarnish the image of the ANC

6.3. The incoming NEC should order all ANC marshalls to wear a standard uniform and carry appropriately designed identity cards at all functions of the ANC

6.4. All marshals should receive a standard training that must incorporate lessons on the expected conduct of a marshall

7. On the diverse strands within the Movement

Conference should order the incoming NEC to develop a national programme to integrate the rich, but diverse, political and cultural experiences of our membership, to overcome a “them and us” syndrome which might have adverse political consequences on the image and unity of the ANC

8. On International Contacts

8.1. The ANC should utilise its extensive international contacts to access skills and resources for educational and developmental purposes.

8.2. As interest and support for the anti-apartheid cause diminishes, due to the De Klerk regime`s initiatives, the ANC has to examine ways and means of becoming self-reliant as quickly as possible

9. On Employment/Administrative practices

9.1. The incoming NEC should evolve a staff code to ensure professionalism in the regulation and co-ordination of staff conduct in all offices of the ANC, at all levels.

9.2. The Secretary General`s Office should develop a comprehensive basic administrative skills training programme to enhance the skills-quality of our office operatives

9.3. The Organising Department should establish simple procedures to deal with lost membership cards and the renewal of membership, with special reference to what the ANC`s membership year is.

9.4. To tackle the gross administrative inefficiency (especially in regard to the telephone service at national and regional levels)

9.5. The NEC should work against the concentration of leadership at the Head Office, and should ensure that delegated responsibilities to the regional formations is implemented.

10. On relations with supportive professionals and businesspeople

Proper canvassing and consultations must precede mass actions, where these will affect supportive professional and business persons, for both logistical and political reasons provided that no relationship is built with these businesspeople at the expense of the employees and the implementation of mass actions.

11. On the rural areas

11..1. The incoming NEC should start a development programme on rural areas based on strong democratic organs of people`s power and accountable leadership.

11.2. Conference recommends that henceforth, the ANC NEC make it a practice that whenever leadership meet Bantustan leaders, local leadership be part of such talks/meetings/consultations

11.3. Further, that Conference instruct the incoming NEC to convene a consultative inter-regional workshop to discuss the many issues affecting mobilisation, relationship, demarcations in the rural areas.

11.4. Conference instructs the incoming ANC NEC to avail maximum resources for rural mobilisation, organisation and campaigns.

11.5. Conference empowers the incoming NEC to appoint a special commission to urgently investigate the extent and the effects of the glaring lack of resources in rural areas – report back to the NEC within three months and advise on practical and significant steps to be undertaken in order to redress the appalling situation which obviously is the major factor contributing to the weakness of the movement in such areas.

11.6. Noting that the structures of the ANC are weak in the rural areas and noting further that practical steps need to be taken to redress the situation, conference therefore recommends that the incoming NEC should set up a commission to investigate the causes of this weakness, and report back not later than three months after the commencement of the investigation.

11.7. In the light of problems in recruiting membership in the hostile Bantustans, the negotiating task force should include in the process of talks about-talks the removal of obstacles as posed by repressive Bantustans as well as commitment to the dissolution of these structures.
These efforts will reassure ANC members and encourage non-members to join the organisation in these Bantustans.

11.8. Noting that there are serious problems in membership recruitment ill the hostile Bantustans and noting further that there is a dire need to re-assure ANC members and to encourage non-members to join the movement in these Bantustans Conference therefore resolves that the incoming NEC should order its negotiating task force to include the repression of ANC members in these Bantustans as an obstacle to negotiations and that the incoming NEC should demand a total dissolution of these Bantustans.

11.9. NEC is directed to convene a meeting of all regions to consider inter alla a strategic approach to the Bantustans and political parties. Such a meeting to take place within 60 days.

11.10. There is urgent need to disseminate a questionnaire to all regions requesting information on:

  • organisational difficulties and level of repression locally and regionally – what political parties have been established? what role do they play/or relationship with the ANC branches in the region
  • to what extent are youth wings being established and for what purpose? (unemployed youth appear to be the target for recruitment into Bantustan para-military forces)

12. On consultation and communication

12.1. Noting that at the National Consultative Conference in December it was resolved that mechanisms be established for purposes of consultation between the leadership and membership, particularly with regard to negotiations and noting further that such mechanisms have not been established conference therefore resolves that the incoming NEC should order that the Organising Committee develop such a consultation mechanism, in co-operation with regions and branches, as a matter of urgency for implementation during the next three years.

That progress thereof should be evaluated on an on-going basis, and that the Secretary General should include this evaluation in his report to the next National Conference.

12.2. NEC is to improve two-way communication between Head Quarters and Regional Executive Committees and Regional Executive Committees and branches.

13. On organisational restructuring

13.1. Noting the changed circumstances in which the ANC operates today and having received and accepted the reports of the work of the ANC in exile and over the past 18 months within the country and recognising the necessity of ensuring a minimum of bureaucracy, clear lines of communications and accountability nationally, regionally and at branch level now therefore instructs the NEC to immediately appoint a commission to examine the organisational structure

Further that the commission should assess and redefine the authority, responsibility and accountability of the inter-relationship between and amongst the ANC`s restructured departments. This commission should be required to report not later than 30th October 1991.

14. On Women

The incoming NEC should establish a mechanism that will specifically:

  • concentrate on the recruitment of all women from all sectors and levels in our society both urban and rural
  • consolidate and strengthen the participation of women within the organisation
  • assist to strengthen the ANC Women`s League

15. On minority groups

Conference instructs the NEC to convene a National Consultative Conference of persons drawn from the different minority groups who are not ANC members to consider ways and means of drawing these communities closer to the ANC.

16On countering state propaganda

The DPE in conjuncture with the Department of Information and Publicity should look into the viability of establishing a weekly newsletter which the ANC can use to counter the state and commercial media`s propaganda aimed at undermining the ANC in the minds of the masses of our people.