National General Council
Official release of the 4th National General Council Discusssion Documents
17 August 2015
The African National Congress (ANC) will hold its 4th National General Council (NGC) from 9th to 12th October 2015 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand Gauteng. This NGC, like the three preceeding it, is convened in fulfillment of the resolution taken at the ANC’s 50th National Conference in Mahikeng in 1997, which directed that the organisation should hold a General Council mid-term its 5 year conference cycle. The NGC is called to:
- Assess progress made in the implementation of Conference resolutions
- Analyse challenges encountered and lessons learnt in the implementation of resolutions
Identify and respond to existing and emerging developmental challenges
The National General Council shall be a platform for critical political engagement amongst its 3000 participants, 2500 of whom will be delegates representing branches of the ANC and the remaining 500 allocated to the NEC, PEC, ANC Leagues, MKMVA, Alliance, MDM Structures, fraternal organisations, Parliamentary Committee Chairpersons from National Parliament and deployed cadres from government, SOEs and business. It is important to note that the NGC does not amend policy but rather reviews policies and programmes of the ANC.
The NGC takes place as the country marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter, a seminal document of the mass democratic movement and our prime political programme of action. It further takes place two years after the adoption of the National Development Plan which is the visionary blueprint of our country, aimed at guiding and accelerating the development of South Africa to 2030 and beyond. The NDP has been translated into governments MTSF (Medium Term Strategic Framework) for the period 2014 – 2019 as the first five year programme for its implementation.
All these documents and resolutions of successive ANC conferences create a framework for the South Africa we envision – non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous; characterised by a transformed economy with inclusive growth and an effective and capable state that is decisive in its pursuit of structural change.
- The 53rd National Conference held in Mangaung in 2012 declared had concluded that we entering the second phase of radical socio-economic transformation to tackle aggressively the triangle of Poverty, unemployment and inequality. Our main focus and priority areas identified.
- Creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods for inclusive growth
- Rural development, land reform and food security
- Fighting crime and corruption
As we implement these priority areas, we recommitted ourselves to expanding access to housing and basic services, building a democratic developmental state, social cohesion and nation building and contributing to a better Africa and a better world
Two and half years into the term of office, much has been achieved. Working together with our people, the ANC has made excellent progress in the transformation of South Africa from apartheid to democracy. We have made serious advances in moving South Africa closer to a truly non- racial and non-sexist democratic society. Education and Health have been and remain at the centre of this reconstruction of our country, and their contribution has been immense assisted by the involvement of stakeholders inside and outside of government There has been a substantial increase in public investment and related jobs since the global economic crisis of 2008. Despite these and many more other interventions, growth remains too low and job creation insufficient. A key constraint to achieving our economic growth targets is the national electricity shortage.
The African National Congress officially releases today the NGC discussion documents in the following policy areas to the ANC structures, the Alliance, the broader democratic movement and the public.
- Balance of Forces
- Economic Transformation
- Education and Health
- Legislature and Governance
- Social Transformation
- The battle of ideas, media transformation & diversity, and accelerating digital future.
- Peace and Stability
- International Relations
- Rural development and Land Reform
These documents are intended to guide deliberations and provide a critical assessment of the work done to date. Most importantly they seek that jointly, we may formulate responses to the challenges facing us in our quest to reduce unemployment, inequality and eliminate poverty.
1. The Balance of Forces
South Africa’s second phase of transition to a national democratic society depends on the balance of forces. This balance is a function, firstly, of objective conditions much beyond the ANC’s control. Secondly, it is also dependent on organisational and human agency. The discussion document analyses the global dynamics and prospects, noting that capitalism remains the dominant socio-economic system on a global scale. In the era of globalisation, there has been much technological progress which has opened up vistas for human progress and created the basis for the alleviation of poverty on a grand scale. However, the rampant unregulated practices of the past 30 years, including appropriation of most of national income by a few, have undermined its legitimacy. Domestically, the polity and the state enjoy popular legitimacy and there is broad national consensus on the need for decisive action to deal with poverty and inequality, as shown in support for the NDP. Whilst there have been stirrings of discontent among the motive forces of change, forces opposed to transformation have been emboldened to use unsavoury developments in government structures as an excuse to question the capability of Black people to govern and to challenge the very legitimacy of the state.
The change in social demographics, with a growing numbers of Black ‘middle and upper classes’, has not fundamentally changed the skewed racial distribution of wealth and income. It has brought to the fore social disparities within the Black community itself. At the same time, the value system based on selfishness and crass materialism entrenches further inequality.
Amongst others, the discussion document therefore calls for serious and systematic approach towards organisational renewal within the ANC itself in order to maintain, and indeed strengthen, its status and role as a vanguard in this second phase of transition to a national democratic society.
2. On Economic Transformation
The ETC document reviews developments that have taken place in the global economy, in the various sectors and in the fiscal space. It acknowledges that South Africa’s Industrial Sector is beset with grave challenges including the high price & shortage of electricity, weak and declining commodity prices, softening international trade markets – these herald a difficult period for South Africa.
In response, we have developed three iterations of IPAP crucial in guiding and catalysing the private sector so as to deepen and broaden South Africa’s industrial base through the following:
Various measures are proposed to improve both the performance and the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector including:
Deepened localisation through the designation of sectors,
Up-scaled the implementation of our industrial support measures.
Diversifying trade and investment particularly focusing on the African continent and BRICS
Growing the agricultural and agri-processing sectors remains the strategy to improve food security and increase agricultural and income and support rural development. Key policy interventions are to support emerging farmers with implements and other support measures. Consideration is being given to incentives commercial agriculture, which contributes 93% of agricultural production
We have successfully concluded Operation Phakisa – Oceans Economy. We are now embarking on its implementation in the marine transport and manufacturing, oil and gas, aquaculture, and oceans security and governance. Drawing from this experience, there will be another for the mining industry in October. Areas identified, amongst others, include beneficiation, increasing exploration activities including enabling activities for more detailed geo-scientific information, enhancing research, development and innovation, community development of surrounding areas. Important projects are in place including the establishing a one-stop shop for mining licence applications and legislation to separate the Oil and Gas industry from mining.
Investment in infrastructure will achieve two objectives. First it is intended to stimulate demand and help to improve recovery in the other sectors of the economy. Secondly, it will help modernise the economy and improve South Africa’s competitiveness during recovery. Resolving the energy is top on the priority list. Other key infrastructure areas include, efficient and reasonable priced logistics, rolling out broadband and efficient spectrum management etc
State owned enterprises
To achieve all the above would require efficient SOEs. In this regard, there are important proposals to improve governance of these institutions to ensure effective delivery of the infrastructure.
The question that we grapple with in the NGC paper is how to implement our economic policy capable of supporting social transformation and leading to sustainable growth.
We acknowledge that the economic landscape is one shaped not only by factor endowment and global economic forces but also the accumulation of policy decisions and concrete interventions taken over time. The aim of the NGC is to allow for the debate of policy in a manner that strengthens the South African economy, to the level envisaged in the NDP in order to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality. This is addition to short-term measures such EPWP and youth employment programmes.
3. On Education and Health
The assessment made by the discussion document concludes that good progress has been made in the implementation of programs such as infrastructure delivery and maintenance, including the successful implementation of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), the roll out of ICT in schools, building of accommodation in colleges and universities, the renovation of clinics, provision of accommodation for doctors and provision of equipment and health technology; contribution of sectors to national programs to job creation, economic growth and youth empowerment; and active work to combat learner pregnancy.
The document also provides a summary of progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which indicates that South Africa will meet most of its targets. It also indicates that the sectors have consistently and consciously integrated issues of gender and disability in the work of the ANC and made positive contribution to empowerment among disadvantaged groups.
The assessment ends with the identification of critical priority areas. These include realising the objective of “Teachers are in-class, on time, teaching!”, engaging trade unions for members to accept re-deployment and re-skilling plus implementation of the Quality Management System (QMS); finalising the policy on free higher education to poor students at undergraduate level, Community Service for all by mid-2016 and support for the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system; resolving challenges that hamper the speedy implementation of the NHI, expansion of Primary Health Care and implementation of programmes to combat TB in South Africa, especially at a Primary Care level; and ensuring the finalisation of the MeerKat Radio Telescope as the forerunner to the SKA Phase 1 plus the promotion and of support the realisation of first stages of an indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity.
4. Legislature and Governance
Whilst there have been notable areas of progress in building a capable development state, a number of challenges and shortcomings have been identified. The review of the role of provinces has not been concluded and the implementation of major transformative policies around the reconfiguration of the state have been lacking. Institutional chalenges and viability of some municipalities are still to be adequately addressed. The NGC discussion document prompts discussion around driving and aligning delivery around the key national vision as encapsulated in the NDP and consideration on guiding intra-government coalitions for better integration between and within the 3 spheres of government . It further considers the streamlining planning, delivery and monitoring processes within government. Attention must also be given to more comprehensive engagement between the state and communities and create a more active citizenship and more responsive State; including a discusson on the role of Traditional Leaders.
5. Social Transformation
Key areas of progress have been noted which the irrefutable fact that more than 94% of our people now have access to water, 84% have access to sanitation, 81% have access to electricity, 71% have refuse removed from their homes, and we have supplied more than 3 million households with formal dwellings. The ANC-led government is intent on increasing the capacity of the state to ensure the acceleration of the provision of free basic services for the poor, quality free education for the poor, passenger transport subsidies, and access to social grants to children and older persons.
In order to respond to challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, we need greater coordination of all anti-poverty interventions, especially those with the greatest potential for creating jobs, transferring skills, building and maintaining community facilities, creating sustainable livelihoods, including self-employment and small businesses, and reducing food insecurity as well as transferring incomes. Building social accords, especially with labour, business and communities, in order to expand buy-in and support for our programmes will be important. A new plan is also required to redirect and enhance existing mechanisms to move towards more responsive and effective housing delivery. Increasing skills among the youthand expanding opportunities will be amongst the more pressing tasks facing the ANC government.
There is a need also to develop a framework for greater inclusion in the Arts and Culture sector, growing audiences and markets and improving the resource base of the arts through the creation of additional revenue streams for the sector and improving access to the arts. In order to become a competitive sporting nation we must resource sports in the country from the public fiscus at all levels through investments in infrastructure and local talent development.
6. The battle of ideas, media transformation & diversity, and accelerating digital future.
Since the dawn of the democratic dispensation in 1994 South African Society has been witness to a dramatic shift to an open society where freedom of association, speech and the media have been entrenched in our constitution.
The world has undergone an information and communication technologies (ICT) revolution and social and economic transformation driven by ICT. High Speed Internet has transformed the way people live and relate to one another.
ANC policy promotes media diversity and is opposed to dominant players consolidating monopolies. While noting some progress since the 53rd National Conference, media diversity, transformation, and accountability is a focus area of the discussion document. It further makes several proposals aimed at increasing affordable fast speed broadband rollout, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring that the digitization serves the national and public interest, including extending access of free and high definition multi-channel television services to all citizens, including the rural poor. Other areas include the modernization of postal services for the digital age and the speedy establishment of the Postbank.
Greater focus must go to improving government communications with its citizenry and ensuring that local content is developed and enhanced, skills are developed, jobs are created and local manufacturing industry is strengthened.
7. Peace and Stability
The Annual Crime Statistics released by the Police for the period 2008/09 to December 2013 show a continued general decrease in serious crime. This is due to, amongst others, the significant investment made by government in policing and criminal justice system since 2009. It is noted that progress has been made in transformation of the Justice System, including in improved case finalisation and greater gender representation amongst judges and magistrates. Similar progress is noted in Correctional Services, Home Affairs and Defence. The discussion document on Peace and Stability therefore focuses on the development and enforcement of a strong immigration policy for South Africa, the establishment of a single police service, cyber crime and tough action demonstrating intolerance to crime and corruption.
8. International Relations
It is in South Africa’s interest that there is peace on the continent for prosperity and sustainable development. The emergence of BRICS and South Africa’s membership of it will stand the region and the continent in good stead to reach developmental goals.
In SADC there is need to double our efforts to promote peace and stability, mobilise political support for major infrastructure projects like the Lesotho Highlands Water phase II, the INGA Hydro Electricity generation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, transform the Southern African Customs Union into a developmental agency and the realisation of the African Free Trade Area by 2017.
The ANC is cognisant of the importance of the transformation of global governance. To this end the discussion document calls on and supports the meaningful reform of the United Nations Security Council, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. It further calls for a critical review of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Rome Statute.
The NGC will ponder the following among others popularising the African Union Vision 2063, realising a conflict-free Africa, increasing regional integration and trade and recommiting ourselves to progressive internationalism and solidarity for self-determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.
9. Rural Development and Land Reform
Whilst progress has been noted we acknowledged that implementation of policies have not been at the requiste rate.
Strides have been made and there has been an increasing amount of communal land that is now under cultivation and animal husbandry as witnessed in the 208 animal and veld management projects. Approximately seven hundred and sixty six thousand (766 000) individuals are benefitting from the social development food and nutrition initiatives.There has been a drop in vulnerability to hunger with increased access to food in from 2010 to 2014
Key programmes as we go forward include is the construction of 44 Agriparks and the establishment of 24 aqua-culture projects under Operation Phakisa – Oceans Economy.
However we acknowledge the need to accelerate land reform in the best interest of the South African Public.
Above are some of the discussion issues that we will be presenting to the National General Council. The African National Congress invites discussion amongst its structures, the broader democratic movement and South Africa as a whole on the definition of our common future. A link to the ANC website has been created for NGC and all above documents will be available as from today, 17 August 2015.
Chairperson of the ANC NEC Policy Sub-Committtee
Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910