National Policy Conference
Closing Address by President Jacob Zuma, at the ANC National Policy Conference
29 June 2012
Deputy President Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe,
ANC Officials and Members of the National Executive Committee,
Leadership of the Leagues and MKMVA,
Our Alliance partners, SANCO and other representatives of the mass democratic movement,
Traditional and religious leaders,
Representatives of fraternal parties from the SADC region,
Comrades delegates and deployed cadres,
Members of the diplomatic corps and other observers;
Comrades and friends,
We have come to the conclusion of our very successful and fruitful fourth national policy conference.
We have met during a significant week in our history. On the 26th of June the historic Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter, the minimum political programme of the ANC.
The Freedom Charter outlined a vision of what a free, non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa should encapsulate.
Every policy document that the ANC produces, every action it takes in the furtherance of the National Democratic Revolution, is aimed largely at achieving the minimum demands stated in the Freedom Charter.
This fourth policy conference has, against the background of the Freedom Charter, engaged on various organisational and policy issues to finalise recommendations to the 53rd national conference in Mangaung in December.
In the 2005 national general council, the ANC reaffirmed the position that the power and authority of the ANC lies with the branches. Amandla asemasebeni, amandla asemagatsheni, matla atswa makaleng, die sterkte van gesag le by die take.
That is the strength of the ANC.
Its branches are the embodiment of ANC democracy, of our culture of internal debate and scrutiny, our culture of thorough engagement.
This has been clear in practice in the manner in which comrades engaged on all the discussion documents that the National Executive Committee had placed before conference.
The ANC concludes this conference wiser and stronger, because of the hard work undertaken this week.
We will now be refining these proposals over the next few months until the 53rd national conference in Mangaung in December.
On Tuesday in opening the conference, we advocated a radical shift and a giant leap towards economic and social transformation, in our draft discussion document on Strategy and Tactics, incorporating what we called then, the Second Transition.
This was informed by the fact that regardless of progress we are making in transforming our country in various sectors, the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment persist. These affect primarily the black majority, women and the youth.
Conference has agreed and re-affirmed that despite major achievements, the structural legacy of Colonialism of a Special Type including patriarchy, remain deeply entrenched. This is reflected in the colonial, racist and sexist structure and character of our economy and development.
In this regard, conference has endorsed the need for a radical economic and social transformation programme.
The branches of the ANC in their wisdom have declared that we are in a continuing transition from apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society.
Therefore, Conference resolved that the interventions required to speed up change, especially with regard to economic transformation, can be understood as marking the Second Phase of the Transition to a National Democratic Society instead of the Second Transition proposed by the National Executive Committee.
This second phase of the transition shall be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to achieve the change we envisage.
In moving to this new phase, conference re-affirmed the characterisation in the 1997 Strategy and Tactics, that April 1994 was a historic breakthrough in the struggle for democracy. It was a decisive departure from a colonial system spanning over three centuries and a revolutionary break with the past.
We are therefore proud of these achievements we have scored since then.
Indeed a lot of work has been done in 18 years to transform our country.
In the opening of the conference we outlined the various challenges that indicate to the ANC that something drastic must be done. These include the skewed ownership and management of the South African economy, which needs to be corrected. With regards to the ownership of the economy, after excluding the value of foreign operations, the gross black ownership of South African assets on the JSE is equivalent to 6.8%.
Our simple estimate of Black Economic Empowerment net value – which is the value that remains after subtracting debts owed by black shareholders but without taking into account debt repayment through dividend payments – is 78 billion rand. This is equivalent to 3.3% of the value of South African assets on the JSE.
The gross BEE market capitalisation (without taking into account the debts owed by black shareholders) is estimated at 170 billion rand. This is equivalent to just above three percent of the JSE’s total market capitalization.
Obviously this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue forever.
The country has to do better at the level of the management of the economy as well.
According to the 2011 Commission on Employment Equity report, black people accounted for approximately 86% of employees covered in the reports analysed by the commission.
However, it found that black people were only represented at 16.9 percent at top management and 35.9 percent at the Senior Management level.
People with disabilities accounted for approximately 0,83 percent of the total number of employees reported by all employers in the period under review. The figure hobbled at 0,70 in 2006.
Such challenges and a host of others at an economic level, underline the need for the radical shift that we are proposing.
Conference has directed that this shift will require the maximum unity of the ANC and the Alliance, so that we can sharpen our capacity to advance this programme and defend the National Democratic Revolution.
It also requires that we build the maximum unity of the South African people behind this proposed policy shift.
The ANC urges all South Africans to appreciate that unless we decisively deal with racialised and gendered inequality, poverty and unemployment, our collective democratic and constitutional achievements would be put at grave risk. To implement our resolve for drastic change, we are guided by the Freedom Charter directive that the people shall share in the country’s wealth.
In this regard, Conference reaffirmed the economic transformation resolution that we took at the 52nd national conference in Polokwane.
We had said in Polokwane that our most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work, and that creating work requires faster economic growth.
It is recommended that to drive this economic programme will be a developmental state in a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth.
We propose the following transformative state interventions.
- Financial regulation and control, including through a state owned bank.
- Wage and income policies that promote growth and address poverty and inequality.
- Progressive competition policies aligned to our development objectives.
- A well-resourced and state-led programme to implement industrial and trade policies.
- State ownership, including more strategic use of existing state-owned companies.
Conference also resolved that in this second phase of our transition, where we have emphasised a radical shift in the economy, the ANC will prioritise women’s economic empowerment.
Conference recommends a review of all the business and industrial codes, including the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, to ensure that women are prioritised. Women are significantly the largest group carrying the biggest economic burden.
It was agreed as well that women in cooperatives must be capacitated with business, financial and management skills and with access to finance.
Conference also agreed that the recommendations for the 50-50 parity across public and private sectors must be legislated appropriately. Alongside this, skills development and empowerment of women must be accelerated. With regards to minerals, there was broad consensus that minerals belong to the people as a whole, and should be governed by the democratic developmental state in the interests of all South Africans.
Mining should have a developmental impact and promote job creation. The state should also capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation.
More importantly, we agreed that mining should create safe and decent work, and mineral extraction should not compromise local communities or the environment.
Conference agreed that state intervention with a focus on beneficiation for industrialisation is urgently required in the minerals sector.
At the forefront of this intervention should be the strengthening of the recently created state mining company by consolidating state mining assets into a single institution.
In light of the centenary of the 1913 Land Act, conference emphasised that land reform must represent a radical and rapid break from the past, without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security.
Conference moved that the state must mobilize resources to reverse both the human and material conditions of those displaced by previous land policies.
Transformation imperatives, dealing with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality in rural areas must be addressed, without any further delay. It was agreed that we have to ensure equitable land allocation and use across race, gender and class.
A comprehensive audit of state owned land and surveys of state owned land must be completed by December 2012.
Conference also affirmed the proposal to replace willing buyer willing seller with the “Just and equitable” principle in the Constitution, immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes.
Conference also recommends the implementation of the Freedom Charter’s call to help those who work the land with implements, seeds, livestock, tractors, irrigation infrastructure and other material support:
In this regard the state must scale up the recapitalization and development programme and the comprehensive agricultural support programme, including in communal areas. Conference has also recommended against ownership of South African land by foreigners in principle.
We also agreed that ownership of land by women needs to be accelerated in order to address poverty.
There are a number of other proposals on land that will be taken to the national conference in December. These are aimed at fundamentally correcting the land question for the good of the country and to address the poverty situation which was deliberately created by colonialism in our country.
Conference also welcomed the infrastructure programme which will have a positive impact on improving social and economic infrastructure and job creation.
We have at this conference, emphasised that urgent and extra-ordinary measures are required to address youth unemployment.
Some of the proposals on the table include those contained in the National Youth Development Strategy, a tax credit to incentivise youth employment, the provision of training subsidies and a youth work-seekers grant linked to skills development.
All these proposals aim to bring new entrants into the workplace, while still protecting the jobs and conditions of existing workers.
We propose a discussion on youth employment that embraces the private sector, public sector, youth organisations and trade unions, given the gravity of the situation.
We will continue to debate these matters and various other economic transformation questions within the ANC and Alliance in preparation for the national conference.
Conference emphasised that this new phase in our transition from Apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society characterised by more radical policies, will require the renewal of the ANC, the Alliance and the broad democratic forces.
The renewal of the ANC over the century of its existence has been guided by the nature and content of the struggle against apartheid colonialism and its legacy as elaborated in its Strategy and Tactics.
Conference has agreed to the proposal for a decade-long programme of action, at the core of which is a cadre development policy, which must be the centre piece of organisational renewal. Accordingly, conference recommends that the 53rd National Conference should declare the next decade a Decade of the Cadre, in which there will be a key focus on the ideological, political, academic and moral training of a critical mass of ANC members.
The ANC will continue to promote core values as the gradual erosion of the core values of the ANC threatens its continuing existence in the second centenary.
Conference emphatically condemned factionalism and agreed that political discipline is a necessary ingredient without which no organisation can achieve its goals.
In this regard, we reaffirmed the NGC’s call for firm and consistent action to instil discipline across all levels of the organization without fear or favour.
Conference will also recommend to the 53rd national conference that members who are found guilty of wrongdoing in other institutions of society should also be subjected to internal disciplinary processes in line with the ANC Code of Conduct. This will send an unambiguous message in society that the ANC does not tolerate any wrongdoing, including corruption, among its members.
Conference also agreed that the ANC branch as a basic unit of the organisation, needs to be strengthened.
We also agreed that the ANC should take active interest in ensuring that its Leagues understand and play their full role in line with the purpose for which they were founded.
This includes making sure that the Leagues undergo compulsory political training conducted by the ANC as part of cadreship development.
We have also reaffirmed the on-going relevance and role of the Alliance in the national democratic revolution and the need for joint programmes of action.
We also resolved that the civic movement be strengthened to play a strategic and proactive role in community development and local struggles for transformation.
Conference also finalised recommendations on a number of social transformation issues.
On education, conference noted that a lack of appropriate infrastructure affects learner performance and should therefore be dealt with urgently and in an integrated manner.
A comprehensive school build programme should be developed under the leadership of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.
Conference also directed that a policy for free higher education to all undergraduate level students, from poor and working class communities must be finalised for the elective conference, for phased implementation as soon as possible. On health, conference noted the progress towards the implementation of the National Health Insurance, including the setting up of pilot sites in at least 10 districts covering all provinces.
Conference recommends that a dedicated NHI fund be set up urgently using state revenue.
Conference also recommends the acceleration of programmes to improve the health status of South Africans through the prevention of illnesses, reducing the burden of disease, promotion of healthy lifestyles and the performance of the health system.
Conference also recommends that the ANC continues to prioritise improving the social wage by expanding access to and the quality of basic services, implementing a comprehensive social security system and building integrated and sustainable communities.
Other critical tasks include developing and preserving our arts, culture, heritage, language and sports language to promote social cohesion and nation-building.
In addition, conference adopted all proposals contained in the Social Transformation discussion document in relation to the Anti Poverty Strategy.
This includes the development of an Anti-Poverty White Paper to address poverty, inequality and unemployment. A draft should be considered by the 53rd national conference.
Conference has also undertaken that the ANC will prepare a comprehensive discussion document on the rights of people with disabilities and policy options.
On legislature and governance it was resolved that outstanding issues relating to the creation of a single public service should be finalized through further consultation within the Tripartite Alliance and a report be presented to the 53rd Conference.
Conference resolved that a Presidential Commission be appointed to review provinces, and make proposals on, among other issues, the role of provinces and the number the country should have and their possible boundaries.
It was also resolved that legislatures should be strengthened as part of building a developmental state and that their oversight model and capacity should be improved.
On policing, it was resolved that the resolution to create a single police service should be implemented, integrating the various municipal police departments under the control of the SA Police Service.
We also resolved that street Committees should be established and controlled by the ANC, as they are part of the ANC crime fighting strategy and are best placed led by the ANC branches. Given the challenge of undocumented migrants in the country, it is recommended that Government should consider a policy on centres for asylum seekers during consideration of status.
There should also be awareness programmes to combat xenophobia and educate society against narrow nationalism.
We also resolved that a comprehensive national security strategy to secure national key points should be developed, and that Home Affairs should take a lead in the border management agency as a department which is seized with immigration issues.
On the separation of powers, the ANC reaffirms the position that the branches of the state are equal parties entrusted with distinct constitutional powers in their quest to realise the ideals of a democratic South Africa.
Each branch of the state must therefore observe the constitutional limits on its own power and authority. No branch is superior to others in its service of the Constitution. The executive, legislature and judiciary should work together in a cooperation and equal relationship respecting each others roles, powers and responsibilities.
On Communications, conference agreed that a programme of national dialogue is needed to forge unity for accelerated transformation.
The ANC also need to intensify interaction with broader society and the reassert its position as a leader of society.
Conference agreed on a comprehensive review of all information communications technology policy documents in order to develop a single national policy on Information Communications Technologies.
In addition, conference recommends that one of the new tertiary institutions should be a Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies and Engineering studies.
An example is the one in the Northern Cape, in view of South Africa securing the majority portion of the Square Kilometer Array.
On International Relations, the Conference affirmed that the ANC moves from the premise that our international relations policy is directly informed by our domestic policy, and vice versa. Both domestic and international policy are mutually reinforcing with an umbilical link.
The ANC remains committed to its founding values of a struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world, in particular a free Africa.
Africa and its development remain the central objective of the ANC’s international perspective and policy, with the African Renaissance remaining a key policy objective.
As an anti-imperialist organisation, the ANC will continue using its progressive internationalism and solidarity as a prism through which it looks at the world.
The ANC will focus on its solidarity campaigns in support of building a humane, just, equitable and free world order particularly in Africa.
Conference also agreed that we will continue to build and deepen relations with progressive like- minded governments and former liberation movements in Africa and across the world.
We will increase interaction with former liberation movements such that there is a continuous deepening commitment towards human rights and democracy.
We congratulate the Pan African Youth Union which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It was established in 1962 even before the formation of the Organisation of African Union.
The ANC is a unique organisation. We are the only organisation in this country which takes policymaking so seriously as to dedicate so many days and effort to it.
We are also proud of being the only organisation that is 100 years old, not only in this country but the continent. The success of this conference is proof of the fact that this organisation began to make policies in 1912. We take this opportunity to thank all participants for ensuring the success of this conference.
Firstly, the discipline, dignity, respect for one another and unity that prevailed has epitomised the African National Congress that we have always known and which we are proud to be members of and to serve.
Comrades have displayed exceptional conduct and have restored the integrity of the organisation.
When we opened the conference we said the ANC is the leader of society, not only of its members, and that our conduct as members must reflect that national responsibility. Indeed this has been displayed in all respects.
Disagreements took place in a comradely manner, and with a view to enhancing the policy proposals. This augurs well for the organisation that is on the path to a second centenary.
It has been a landmark conference indeed.
We must now go back and report to all structures so that we move together as a united African National Congress to the 53rd conference in December.
Comrades and friends,
The first President of a free and democratic South Africa, Tata President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela will turn 94 on the 18th of July.
Conference extends its best wishes in advance to Madiba on that special day.
We wish all delegates a safe journey home.