South African’s National Liberation Movement

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Report of the Secretary General

16 December 2002


This Organisational report accounts for the programme of the movement over the five years since our 50th National Conference held in December 1997, in Mafikeng. It reports on work done to implement the Conference resolutions, evaluates our strengths and weaknesses and makes recommendations on how to strengthen the capacity of the ANC.

The first part of the report gives a broad account and takes stock of our work during the last five years. It is complemented by detailed reports from provinces, the Leagues and structures of the NEC, contained in the Annexure to this report. This information should enable delegates to Conference to measure our performance and map out the way ahead enabling us to effectively discharge our historic mission.

  1. The ANC was formed “to unite the African people in a powerful and effective instrument to secure their own complete liberation from all forms of discrimination and national oppression.” (1919 Constitution). Over the years, it has embraced non-racialism and non-sexism and defined the strategic objective of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

  2. The primary role of the ANC therefore remains the mobilisation of all classes and strata that objectively stand to gain from the cause of social change. The strategic objective and the motive forces of our struggle inform the unique character of the ANC, which it has been sustained over the 90 years of its existence. The objective environment in which it operates, also influences how the movement takes forward this primary mission. At Mafikeng we recognised that the context was vastly different from the preceding eighty-five years, with many new and complex dynamics.

  3. The movement has succeeded in setting South African society on a course of transformation. It has defined the main tasks of our society and of the motive forces for change. Because of what it stands for and its track record, the ANC has emerged as the leader of the progressive and democratic forces in the country.

  4. As a mass movement and the governing party, we are expanding and deepening the power of the democratic forces in all centres critical to the National Democratic Revolution and making steady progress in improving the quality of our people’s lives. The overwhelming majority of South Africans, black and white, support our efforts to build a united nation and a better life for all. The ANC’s consistent internationalism has seen it emerge as a champion of Africa and for the creation of a more humane and equitable world order.

  5. This historic course we are charting requires that the ANC remains true to its character as a revolutionary democratic organisation that works for fundamental change; a non-racial and non-sexist movement determined to bring an end to the legacy of apartheid social relations and patriarchal relations in all facets of life; a broad national democratic movement that represents all the forces that pursue social transformation; a mass movement that brings into its ranks as many South Africans as possible who accept its principles and policies; a leader of the democratic forces that unites our people and as a champion of progressive internationalism. The confidence and expectations of our people, the African continent and the progressive forces in the world, place an obligation on the ANC to build its capacity as an effective instrument for change and good governance.

  6. The five years since the 50th Conference have been characterised by the strengthening of the mass character of the ANC and its capacity to provide leadership to society. Our annual January 8 statements and the President’s State of the Nation assessments are key vehicles for this task. We have significantly improved coordination between organisational and governance work, and achieved a more focused approach to the international obligations of the movement in the context of the African renaissance and building a better world.

  7. However, we have also recognised a number of weaknesses in our movement, brought to the fore by the changing environment and relationships. Our entry into government in 1994 saw many cadres move from full-time organisational work into various functions in government and parliament. While this extended our potential to reach out to communities and various sectors, this potential was not always fully exploited to do ongoing political work within the Alliance and broader democratic forces. The ANC since inception was an instrument at the service of our people. And yet, in the new conditions, some within our ranks regard the movement as an instrument to serve narrow self-interest and self-enrichment.

  8. The 50th National Conference at Mafikeng was an important moment in the history of our movement, coming as it did three years after the democratic breakthrough of 1994. It allowed us to reflect on the immediate and new challenges of governance, of building national unity and consolidating our democracy. It set signposts for our movement to strengthen its role as a truly non-racial, progressive and revolutionary movement for change.

  9. The National General Council (NGC), held in July 2000, took this a step further. As one of the largest political schools of the movement, with its theme ANC agent for Change, it allowed for wide-ranging debates on the progress made since 1994. It recognized that the wide front of struggle, opened by the democratic breakthrough had the potential of dissipating focus. The NGC therefore asked the questions: have the revolutionary forces fully understood the historic moment and does the movement have the cadreship to carry out its objectives on all fronts?

  10. In response to these questions, the NGC decided that we should maintain and deepen the revolutionary traditions of the organisation. The ANC, for over 90 years, remained a people’s movement with the capacity for internal renewal and constant learning. This includes, for instance:

    • The ability to adapt to the demands of the moment, to mobilise our people, to identify and seize decisive moments and to place the organisation at the head of whatever challenges we face;
    • Encouraging enquiring minds, wide-ranging internal debates on ideological questions, on the critical issues facing the country, and discouraging dogmatism.
    • Building the widest possible unity amongst the motive forces and those struggling for a better life.
    • The confidence that the ANC has in the masses of our people, ensuring that it always places the needs of the people first in whatever it does.
    • Steadfastness to principle and seeking sustainable solutions to problems.
    • The internationalist character of the movement, learning from relevant international best practice.
  11. Members and cadres across the country engaged and answered the question: what are the immediate tasks and the role of each member and cadre to build the ANC as an agent for change? The Declaration of the NGC summed up the revolutionary character of the movement:

    “The ANC is our family, our home, built on the foundations of mutual respect, decency, trust and open discussion. When we argue amongst ourselves, we do so inside the home. When we celebrate our achievements and goals, we dance before the world! Our patience is rooted in the realisation that we grow together but we will be firm with the unruly who attempt to disrupt our progress. We welcome strangers at our door, and will teach them the ways of the ANC, so that they too can benefit as we benefit from the collective wisdom of our traditions, our forebears, and our developing membership. With humble strength and deep pride we repeat the words of former generations of freedom fighters because they are also our own: Asinamona; asinanzondo; siyayidumisa i-ANC! The ANC lives! Its policy lives!

    Like the Kabwe Consultative Conference in 1985, the NGC resulted in a qualitative step forward in the development and direction of our movement.

  12. As we prepare for the 51st Conference, we are mindful that the First Decade of Freedom ending in 2004 and the centenary of the ANC in 2012 are upon us. The policy review process critically evaluated whether we are making progress in creating a better life for all our people. The Draft Resolutions make recommendations to this Conference on how to improve our policies and programmes to move more decisively to address the legacy of apartheid and build a united nation.
  13. A recurrent question that all our structures have grappled with as we prepared for 51st Conference is: how do we reinforce the capacity of the ANC, in the context of the changing environment and given the subjective strengths and weaknesses we have identified. The NEC appointed a task team to look at the overall organisational design of the movement. The task team has not yet completed its mandate, but this report will reflect on some issues arising from its preliminary findings. Robust discussions took place in branches, regions and provinces on the impact of realignment on our structures and proposals will be made of amendments to our Constitution to enable the successful completion of this process.

  14. The provinces, Leagues, NEC committees, government clusters and Headquarters submitted reports on their work over the last five years. These reports, which we table here as the Organisational report, should enable delegates to Conference to assess critically and honestly the implementation of the strategic vision and resolutions of the Mafikeng Conference.

  15. The 51st Conference in 2002 is held under the theme: PEOPLE`S POWER IN ACTION. PHAMBILI MAVOLONTIYA. AFRIKA KE NAKO. It builds on the theme of the 1997 Mafikeng Conference, where we emphasized the need to consolidate people’s power. We were newly elected to office, and had to clearly identify and communicate to our people the tasks of the moment. We are meeting in 2002, having laid the foundations for the fundamental transformation of our society. The challenge we now face is improving implementation so that we translate policy into actual fundamental social change. This requires a renewed emphasis to develop our structures and cadres as implementers of social change, to strengthen links with the people and ensure the involvement of our people in changing their lives for the better. To achieve this requires that we strengthen and deepen our national identity, values and democracy and continue to play our role on the African continent.

  16. Above all, this Conference affords the democratic and progressive forces the opportunity to define a programme that will lead us into the Second Decade of Freedom (2004-2014) and the Centenary of the ANC (2012).


  1. The Mafikeng Conference identified as one of the five pillars of the current period, the need ‘ to build and strengthen the ANC as a movement that organises and leads the people in the task of social transformation’ (Strategy and Tactics). It adopted a range of organisational resolutions, instructing the incoming NEC during its term of office to ensure that significant progress is made in this pillar of struggle. These resolutions, re-affirmed by the NGC, focused on strengthening the mass character of the ANC, its internal democracy, discipline and cohesion, its cadre policy and development, leadership of the motive forces and society, and the relationship between organisational structures and governance.

A.Build and strengthen the mass character of the ANC

  1. The ANC seeks to represent the mass of forces that pursue social transformation, which are made up of the different social strata and classes who stand to gain from fundamental change. Keenly aware of the social basis of apartheid, it recognizes the leadership role of the working class and is biased towards the poor. It does so by mobilising, educating and organising the motive forces, using critical instruments at its disposal such as the ANC branch as its primary unit, the recruitment and involvement of members in the political life of the movement and mass campaigns to involve people in solving their own problems.

    Branches as nerve centres of communities

  2. A key organisational priority has been to place the ANC branch at the centre of organisational efforts. The branch is the most important unit of the ANC, responsible for mobilising people into action for their own development and to change the immediate circumstances of the poor and the most vulnerable groups. It is the primary structure where all members can equally participate in the political life of the movement.

  3. The 50th Conference resolution on branches noted that: “the weak state of our branches has resulted in an absence of mass mobilisation, with the ANC not giving sufficient leadership in the mobilisation of our people to be active participants in the process of transformation.” This weakness continued after Mafikeng, as reflected in the Midterm report to the NGC, and in fact we saw a further decline in the growth and quality of our branches. The number of branches in all our provinces grew towards the 1997 Conference and continued upward, seemingly related to vigorous recruiting efforts in preparation for Provincial conferences in 1998. This membership declined immediately after the provincial conferences, and grew again as regions prepared for their own conferences and the 1999 elections. At the time of the NGC in 2000 we had 5 500 branches, most of which were not in good standing and with little political life.

  4. The National General Council signalled a decisive break from this state of affairs, by placing the building of branches at the centre of building the ANC. Rejuvenated cadres and local leadership departed from the NGC with a single-minded goal to turn the tide around. The regular fortnightly visits of the NWC to regions and provinces, the deployment of PEC and REC members to branches and the training and induction of newly elected BECs, began to have a real impact. The common message that for branches to be central to the organisational life of the movement, they must have an active political life, reverberated across the country.

  5. The NGC introduced organisational awards to encourage and popularise good practice. It provided guidelines for how we measure the strength of a branch, which include its role in mobilising communities around local transformation and development; the engagement of its members in political programmes and campaigns; the level of political consciousness, social activism and ongoing engagement with the strategic challenges of the moment; a cohesive, united leadership; the ability to build and develop local partnerships for development and transformation; and capacity to recruit, induct, renew and practically engage new and old members in the life of the branch and of the movement.

Organisational Awards

Award winners 2001

Award winners 2002

Sol Plaatje Award for best ANC branch

Peter Mayibuye branch, Galeshewe, NORTHERN CAPE

Mthetho Ntlanganiso branch, WESTERN CAPE

ZK Matthews Award for best ANC council

Zastron Council, FREESTATE
Makhudumatamage Council, LIMPOPO

Letsemeng Council, FREESTATE

Anton Lembede Award for best ANCYL branch

ANCYL Mandlenkosi branch, Beaufort West. WESTERN CAPE

ANCYL Matsulu branch, MPUMALANGA

Charlotte Maxeke Award for best ANCWL branch

ANCWL Kathlehong branch, GAUTENG

ANCWL Mlambo Ohlaza branch, NORTHERN CAPE

  1. Following the completion of the local government demarcations and elections, the process of realigning branches and regions as instructed by Mafikeng started in 2001. The NEC at its Lekgotla in January 2001 resolved that the one-ward-one-branch and one district/metro-one region was the approach best suited to have branches and regions that contribute to the building of integrated communities and development-focussed local government.

  2. The realignment process also addressed some of the problems in our branches and regions that were raised at the NGC. It assisted the building of branches with consistent political and community programmes and strengthened mechanisms for participation in the political life of the movement. The realignment process was also an opportunity to address unacceptable tendencies such as gate keeping, factionalism, corruption and the use of branches as spheres of influence to enable individuals to access resources and dispense patronage.

  3. The realignment process took nearly two years to complete and was much slower than initially anticipated. Cadres and members embarked on this organisational realignment following guidelines provided by national. The NWC deployed organising task teams in a number of provinces, drawn from MPs, MPLs, HQ staff and regional organisers. The practice of auditing branches, providing a valuable instrument to keep track of our state of organization, was introduced.

  4. By the end of August 2002, we had launched and audited 2218 ward-based branches (Table A). This means that the ANC has an organised presence in close to 60% of the 3 706 wards throughout the country. The majority of branches are located in areas where we won an outright majority in the 2000 local government elections. We also launched branches in wards where the opposition had won. In the remaining 40% of wards, we have ANC members but still need to grow and consolidate so that branches can be launched. Since the audit most provinces have launched many more branches, as indicated in the detailed provincial reports.


AS AT 31 AUGUST 2002


Wards (Potential branches)

Branches in good standing

ANC Members

Membership at 50th Conference 1997

ANC votes in 1999





















Chris Hani














O.R. Tambo







Alfred Nzo







Nelson Mandela

Metro NM


































Thabo Mofutsanyane







Northern Free State





















West Rand















Metro EK







Metro JB







Metro TS













Lower South Coast






Greater Pietermaritzburg












Greater Msinga





















Far North







North Coast














East Griqualand








Metro TK


















































































Gert Sibande



































West Rand



































Frances Baard








Metro TS



























Pixley ka Seme














Frances Baard














West Coast





















South Cape














Cape Town

Metro CT













  1. The new ward demarcations not only bring together communities on a non-racial basis, but also cover rural areas, towns, villages and farm areas. We have thus increased our presence in farm areas, though much more still needs to be done. Among the difficulties our newly aligned structures faced in rural areas is the size of wards, which makes it difficult to organise general meetings because of long distances. The NEC has made provision for provinces to apply for exemptions to allow for more than one branch in such areas, but only Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal and Northern Cape have, to some extent, used this exemption to address the problem.

  2. We have made real progress in rejuvenating ANC branches, and built a solid foundation of local organisation that, with the necessary support, has great potential to mobilise local communities around the task of social transformation. In each branch we have a committed core of members and cadres who understand the centrality of organisation to meet our revolutionary objectives. We have drawn hundreds of cadres and activists of the movement, who since 1994 have not played a role in local organisation, back into branch activities.

  3. A number of weaknesses remain. The state of ANC branches is not always reflected in the strength of the Women’s League and Youth League structures, although there are many active women and young people on ANC Branch Executive Committees (BECs), with women forming the backbone of many ANC branches and a very active part of local community campaigns. There is often competition between ANC local structures and the Leagues, hindering development of the Leagues.

  4. More needs to be done to strengthen the social and political consciousness and activism of our members. We have seen greater participation of ANC members in community structures and forums, stronger partnerships between ANC branches and other structures in the spirit of volunteerism of our Letsema campaign. However, we need more focused measures to ensure that the ANC branch capacity to take up campaigns around local development and community problems, to inform communities about government programmes and to direct the work of local government, is developed. ANC branches must also assist communities to understand and exercise their rights.

  5. Though we are moving towards the establishment of a branch wherever people live, this has not always translated into the organisation and mobilisation of all the different social strata and classes that make up the motive forces. At branch and regional levels, we have often not been able to create effective forums for joint strategising and action with the Alliance. Our local and regional structures have also not always been able to work effectively to support struggles or campaigns of various sectoral formations, e.g. youth, students, workers, women, rural structures, NGOs or other social movements that are found in localities or to ensure targeted recruitment into the ANC from amongst these ranks.

  6. Many ANC cadres who now find themselves in different sectors of society, taking forward the task of social transformation where they are, have found it difficult to make a contribution at branch level, to help with the development of vibrant local structures. There is still a vast pool of lapsed and inactive ANC members and cadres whose energy, skill and experience is not being harnessed by the movement. Finally, our leadership collectives at all levels (NEC, PEC, REC) need to do much more to support branch work and help to create the functioning environment that enables branches to flourish.

    The membership of the ANC

  7. As a mass and democratic organisation, the policies of the ANC are determined by its membership, and its leadership is accountable to the membership in terms of procedures laid down in the Constitution. Membership is open to all South Africans, irrespective of colour, race and creed, who accept its principles, policies and programme. The oath which all members must take, reflects the rights and responsibilities of all ANC members:

    Rule 4.15 I, … solemnly declare that I will abide by the aims and objectives of the African National Congress as set out in the Constitution, the Freedom Charter and other duly adopted policy positions, that I am joining the organisation voluntarily and without motives of material advantage or personal gain, that I agree to respect the Constitution and the structures and to work as a loyal member of the organisation, that I will place my energies and skills at the disposal of the organisation and carry out tasks given to me, that I will work towards making the ANC an even more effective instrument of liberation in the hands of the people, and that I will defend the unity and integrity of the organisation and its principles, and combat any tendency towards disruption and factionalism.’

  8. Very important constitutional obligations are placed on individual members to ensure that they play a role in the political life of the ANC, and on the leadership structures to ensure that members are developed and able to play a meaningful role in the movement. The NGC called for the involvement of members in the resolution of critical questions facing the organisation, not only as part of our internal democratic processes, but as an instrument of practical political education.

  9. The NEC and other leadership collectives have, over the last five years, sought to strengthen the participation of members in the political life of the movement through measures such as programmes to build the branch as the basic unit where members exercise their rights and responsibilities; regular constitutional meetings, such as Regional and Provincial General Councils and Conferences, where branches are directly represented; and visits by the NEC and the PEC to different regions where members are party to decisions and approaches adopted by leadership collectives. This also includes special consultations through countrywide regional general councils on key issues, such as the challenges facing the Alliance and our approach to HIV and AIDS. The NEC and NWC also produced discussion documents on a range of issues to facilitate debates in structures of the ANC and the Alliance.

  10. In all instances where the NEC and NWC intervened to resolve problems in provinces, this was preceded by extensive discussions with structures on the nature of the problems. The interventions also sought to create an atmosphere where ANC members contribute towards finding lasting solutions to problems faced by the movement in their province or region. Finally, the processes leading up to the NGC and the 51st National Conference have been characterised by extensive involvement of ANC members in reviewing our policies and the challenges of implementation.

  11. The minimum requirement to launch an ANC branch is that 100 members be recruited from a particular ward. This is a benchmark used since the re-launch of the ANC as a mass legal organisation in 1990. However, in the context of new ward based system, we need to set a target for membership that more adequately reflects ANC electoral support and the population of a particular ward. During the two years of realignment, we have seen the tendency where comrades were satisfied with simply recruiting the minimum 100 members, even though the membership potential may be much greater in that ward.

  12. The NGC raised the need for targeted strategic recruitment, so that besides its reflection of the working class and poor, the ANC continues to be the repository of ‘the best in society’: including the best students, professionals, community leaders, business people, academics, scientists, sports people, cultural workers and so on – either as members or active supporters committed to the cause of social transformation. This will require dedicated approaches within our organising strategy, to ensure that we pay particular attention to sectoral work and to ensure that we devise means, especially at branch and regional levels, for such targeted recruitment from among all of the motive forces.

  13. We have taken steps to improve the membership system of the ANC, to enable us to properly account for our membership and have the information at our disposal to ensure the effective development and participation of members. The Constitution, as amended at Mafikeng, strengthened the section on Membership (Rule 4), such as an eight-week period of provisional membership, the taking of the oath by all new members and making practices that militate against members’ ability to fully participate in the life of the movement, an abuse of organisational rules.

  14. Problems with our membership system included weak and inconsistent recruitment activities, weak membership induction and lack of a proper focus of membership renewal and assessment. We also did not sufficiently analyse our approach to recruitment; how we encourage people to join the ANC or the reasons why people join. The rate of non-renewal has been very high, and many new members only remained within the organisation for a brief period. This phenomenon was not so much the result of shifting political allegiances, but the failure of branches to engage new members in political programmes, social mobilisation, cadre development and general activities of the movement.
  15. Our work over the past five years to support branches and introduce the necessary realignment with the electoral structures sought to address these problems. We encouraged branches, provided guidelines and trained recruitment teams in every ward. Our new membership system was piloted in 2000, starting with Mpumalanga. The new system allows for more effective distribution and monitoring of recruiter packs, assigns a unique life membership number to each member and provides a profile and history of membership in the organisation. It also allows for more efficient distribution of membership fees to the relevant structures and for membership cards to be produced at regional offices.

  16. The pilot projects of the new membership system revealed a number of problems, and measures were put in place to address these. The following progress has been made:
    1. The system is now operational in all provinces, although we still have to improve regional capacity (computers, software, printers, phone lines, training) to operate optimally.
    2. Special efforts were made to catch up with the backlog of capturing membership data and issuing membership cards. We ensured that before every Provincial conference during 2001/2002 all members were on the system, membership cards printed and distributed via regions and provinces.
    3. Implementation of the one-third allocation of membership fees to branches started at the beginning of 2002 in the N Cape and has since been extended to the other provinces, except Limpopo and Eastern Cape, which only recently completed their realignment processes. All new ward-based branches had to register with the national office and had to open a branch bank account, as the new regions launched.
    4. Through the audit of recruiter packs, we have begun to eliminate practices such as the recruitment of ‘ghost members’ and recruitment of members on the eve of an AGM for voting purposes. The audit also provides a basis for greater control over the deposits of membership fees. But no matter how foolproof the system, ultimately we rely on ANC members and cadres to ensure the integrity of our membership system.
  17. Although the new membership system has a number of features to enable us to properly analyse our membership, to date we have concentrated on getting the basics right – putting in place recruitment teams, distribution and retrieval of recruiter packs, capturing membership data into a central database, printing of membership cards and implementing the one-third fee transfer to branches.

  18. We have put in place fairly stringent measures for membership and branch audits in order to enable us to uproot negative tendencies, which have crept into our structures in dealing with membership and their participation in the life of the organisation. We do not envisage this to be a permanent approach to matters of organisation. Once we have established a critical mass of good practice country-wide, we should be able to move towards introducing systems that make it easier for members to join and renew, and for branches to run their own affairs.

    Campaigns as a strategic tool for mass mobilisation

  19. Maintaining strong links with the masses is essential to reinforce the responsiveness of the movement to the needs of the people. Community and issue based campaigns are among the most effective tools to organise and lead our people in the task of social transformation. One of the challenges facing the movement and the progressive forces generally since 1994 is our ability to sustain mass mobilisation under completely new conditions, in particular the existence of a democratic government with an overwhelming popular mandate to create a better life for all. Mafikeng noted that among the factors undermining the mass character of the ANC is the absence of consistent social mobilisation and campaigns by the ANC, outside of election campaigns.

  20. The NGC also considered this matter and resolved that mass campaigns be used as a strategic tool to strengthen the links between our branches and communities, and between communities and government at all levels. Our national programme therefore included local campaigns on health-related matters, with a focus on HIV and AIDS; education focused on making schools work, the Masakhane campaign and fighting crime and corruption. National campaigns included elections, the campaign against racism in the context of preparing for the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) and the Letsema campaign during the 90th anniversary of the ANC.

  21. Our approach to these campaigns has been to identify aims, target groups or constituencies, messages and campaign methods, consistent with the overall objectives of the movement. We thus clarified the link between our campaigns and social transformation, ensured that our message was consistent with finding sustainable solutions to problems, and that our campaign methods reflected the mass character of the movement. We emphasized direct contact with our people, mass involvement in our activities and complimentary roles between government and organisational mobilisation.

  22. For the local campaigns, branches were trained on campaign messages and methods and provided with manuals and other resource materials to run campaigns. We ran a fairly consistent campaign around HIV and AIDS, with leadership collectives involved in taking forward the message, periodic national strategy meetings to introduce new phases in the campaign, a close link between the strategic plans and programmes of government, and ongoing education and mobilisation work by our local structures and the Leagues. There was limited focus on the other campaigns – making schools work and fighting crime – with support work mainly in the form of guidelines on participation in structures like School Governing Bodies and Community Policing Forums. Mass activities tended to be during the opening of schools and protests action against the abuse of women and children, mainly led by the ANC Youth and Women’s Leagues, respectively.

  23. The national campaigns provided opportunity for joint action as an Alliance, with other progressive forces and for cooperation with governance structures. The campaigns raised awareness on the need for a broad based social activism of all sectors of society, as the process of transformation unfolds.

  24. We have indeed moved beyond the stage where the ANC only has campaigns during elections, and have once again begun to create opportunities for our members to engage in mass work and mobilisation. The response to these activities has been very positive, indicating that where the movement leads in addressing problems, our people respond with enthusiasm.

  25. We do however face a number of challenges in this area. The progressive forces – including the ANC and the Alliance – have vacillated between the extremes of demobilisation of the masses as recipients of government programmes and anti-statist approaches to mass mobilisation. At local level, this was compounded by inward-looking ANC branches and competition with the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) about who should take up local developmental issues.

  26. The ANC itself, as the leader of the liberation forces, has been inconsistent in finding ways to mobilise people around their problems and to support struggles of different sectors. This difficulty is largely linked to finding the correct balance between the ANC as a mass movement which must organise the people in their daily struggles for transformation, but which is also the governing party, elected by those masses to lead the programmes of government.

  27. And, although we have begun to develop a fairly exact methodology around campaigns for elections, we have not applied this methodology consistently to all our campaigns. For example, we are not consistent in our approaches to strategising, leadership deployment, targeting and message development, campaign methods and phasing, and the allocation of resources for campaigns. As a result, our campaigns still fall short in terms of their depth and the crucial element of consistent mass mobilisation.


    We have laid the foundations for the ANC to be rooted amongst the masses of our people, for members to participate in the political life of the movement and for ongoing mobilisation of our people to be involved in the task of social transformation. We must build on this foundation, and the challenges before Conference therefore include:

    1. What additional measures do we need to put in place to strengthen the ANC branch, so that it is able to involve members, recruit from amongst the motive forces in communities and take up community development issues and problems?
    2. How do we address the weaknesses identified in realigning our structures such as the quorum for branch general and annual meetings and large wards in rural areas?
    3. What more do we need to do to ensure that our campaigns are consistent, involve our people in changing their lives for the better, improve coordination between government and organisational structures, and build local partnerships? What are the responsibilities and roles of different spheres of the movement?
    4. What additional measures must we put in place to strengthen the involvement of members in the political life of the movement, and improve our membership system?
    5. How do we ensure that members, wherever they find themselves, can participate in the political life of the movement, do political work in different sectors and contribute to building vibrant branches?

B. Provinces

  1. The provincial sphere of the organisation has a very important role to lead the branches and regions of the movement, to interact and unite with the Alliance, give direction to governance and oversee the implementation of our overall vision and strategic objective. Each province contributes to making the ANC a powerful and cohesive entity that can unite our people and the country. Each province has its own unique conditions, based on its history, the evolution of the movement in that province, the balance of forces and its demographic and social realities. It is this understanding of the history and prevailing balance of forces that guides our programme of action and approaches in each of our provinces.

  2. The ANC has an organisational presence throughout the country. We are the governing party in seven provinces, and in coalition government with the IFP and the NNP in KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape respectively. The local councils won in the 2000 elections account for at least 85% of the electorate. This places immense responsibilities on the ANC to speed up creating a better life for all and involving all our people in the process of social change.

  3. Our Provincial Executive Committees (PECs) therefore carry immense responsibilities. On the whole, PECs have risen to the challenge. In carrying out their governance and organisational work they projected a positive image of the ANC and impacted positively on political developments in the provinces.

  4. All our provinces have acquitted themselves well, ensuring that they support branches in the realignment processes, and that we strengthen the capacity of branches to implement the programme of action of the movement. From the detailed reports from provinces, it is clear that most of our provinces have taken forward work around campaigns, with specific focus on the campaign against HIV and AIDS and against racism. At provincial level, the Alliance structures generally have not been plagued by the tensions seen at national level. In most provinces relations have been good, focusing on the tasks of transformation. The PECs have also played an important role in engaging various sectors including traditional leaders, business, farmers and farm workers, NGOs and other sectoral formations in the provinces.

  5. Relations between organisational structures and governance at provincial and local levels have also improved. PECs hold annual makgotla to look at the national programme of action and to determine provincial governance and organisational priorities for each year. With a few exceptions, we have seen important improvements in the capacity of provincial government to fulfil their mandates, although issues of coordination and integration between spheres of government remain a challenge.

  6. Among the most outstanding achievements has been the increased voter support in the Northern Cape. In 1994 we barely obtained 50% of electoral support and the organisation was relatively unknown amongst the predominantly rural, poor and mainly coloured population of the province. Through hard and consistent organisational and political work, with government representing the aspirations of all the people of the Northern Cape, and as a united and cohesive leadership that listens and respond to the people, the province has managed in a space of five years to turn the tables. We not only increased our electoral support to a convincing two-thirds majority, but the ANC has decisively won over the coloured population in the province to participate actively in our organisational structures.

  7. This huge, yet sparsely populated province has, for the first time, increased the membership of the ANC in the province to over 20 000 members. The province also introduced a number of novel practices, such as holding meetings of the Executive in different regions, and the opening of its provincial legislature in a stadium. The NWC took a leaf out of this innovative example, and holds its regular meetings in different provinces on a rotational basis.

  8. In KwaZulu Natal, where we did not win a majority of the votes, the movement faces a range of different challenges. KwaZulu Natal has been managing the fragile peace process and a difficult political environment of competition and co-operation, which imposed many demands on our provincial leadership. Peace and cooperation with the IFP, and introducing its rural and traditional support base to the ANC and its policies, have been important parts of the programme of the province. The province has generally conducted itself with discipline in the coalition government and through their consistent interventions on major governance, political and development issue, the performance of our MECs, and their participation in political and civic activities in the province, the ANC is seen as a positive force at the head of transformation. Organisationally, we have not made maximum use of the opportunities presented by democracy, peace and stability to do consistent work among the sector that were alienated from the movement, such as amakhosi, the rural masses and Indian communities of Chatsworth and Phoenix. The political realignment process among opposition forces over recent years placed strains on the ANC-IFP cooperation, reflected in the IFP-DA coalition in most local councils in the province, the dispute about the provincial capital, tensions around the crossing of the floor period and the reshuffle of the provincial cabinet.

  9. The revolutionary alliance in the province operates as a united force, strategising and acting jointly on the key challenges facing the movement. The province has very strong political education and communication units, which contribute towards an informed membership and general public in the province.. Also, though the province has a strong membership and cadreship core, there have been some lapses in servicing lower structures and assisting them to develop organisational approaches and programmes in very complex local conditions.

  10. In the Western Cape, we emerged for the first time in the 1999 elections as the majority party in the province, though not with an absolute majority. The ANC spent most of the post-election period in opposition to the DA, which governed the province. This provided the ANC with an opportunity to concentrate on rebuilding its structures, building local partnerships, African-coloured unity and expanding the support base of the movement in the province. It has thus proceeded with the realignment programme with enthusiasm, and has implemented a number of campaigns against racism in the province.

  11. The break-up of the DA and our cooperation with the NNP provides us with an opportunity to ensure that we focus on issues of poverty, unemployment and improving delivery to poor and marginalised communities in the province; to make further inroads into the coloured working class communities; to consolidate our support amongst the middle strata and intelligentsia in the province, as well as engaging with the white community.

  12. The Limpopo province, one of the poorest parts of the country, with its largely rural and female population and the apartheid legacy of dividing our people into Bantustans, has been a bedrock of the movement, with more than 90% electoral support for the ANC. It has a rich history of resistance, with a very capable cadreship core. However, internal organisational conflicts over the last few years have seriously eroded the character of the movement in the province. As a result, the NEC dissolved the Provincial Executive Committee in 2000 and established an Interim Leadership Core to help rebuild the provincial structures.

  13. We have just begun this rebuilding, and Limpopo Province, as we gather at Conference, is organisationally weaker than at the last Conference in Mafikeng. A major challenge facing the new leadership that was elected at the Provincial Conference in 2002 is the need to unite the movement, rebuild the culture of the movement, strengthen its links with our people in the province and to strengthen the capacity of the state to address the challenges of poverty and economic development.

  14. The masses of our people and ANC members in Mpumalanga have been very consistent in their trust in the capacity of the ANC to ensure a better life for all. This province too faced the challenge of transforming several bantustans into a single, non-racial province, and address the complex challenges of large numbers of people working as farm labourers. Given the history of the province, we do not have a very deep layer of ANC veterans, and the cadres in the province are generally fairly young.

  15. The province has also been plagued by division at leadership levels, impacting on our structures and by difficulties in governance, especially around issues of corruption. The NEC had to assist in convening a Special Conference in Mpumalanga in 1998 and a further intervention in 2000. An organisational task team was deployed to Mpumalanga to help the province with its realignment. This task was successfully completed, culminating in the provincial conference held early in 2002. This, together with the redeployment of comrades from national to province and province to national, has seen the development of a sense of common purpose, a process of internal renewal and stability among the structures and leadership of the province.

  16. The leadership collective in the North West, faced with the difficult task of integrating into a single province one of the most conservative beneficiaries of the apartheid regime’s bantustan and rightwing white policies, have risen to the occasion and welded the North West into a single political entity, with solid ANC support. Although we lost some ground to the UCDP in the 1999 elections, due to the political work since done, we have regained some of that ground during the crossing of the floor window period in 2002. The province has also done consistent political work in implementing the programme of action. Organisationally, the province continues to face the challenge of building unity and the need to continually raise the political consciousness of its members, cadres and leadership in the province.

  17. The Eastern Cape has strong and deeply rooted traditions of the ANC, the SACP and SACTU and now COSATU. However, we lost some ground in this province during the 1999 elections, 73.2% of the vote as against the 80% we received in 1994. There continue to be weaknesses in the province, particularly poor image and underperformance in areas such as welfare and education. Though we are objectively dealing with a legacy of underdevelopment, poverty and massive backlogs in social sectors such as education, health, welfare and infrastructure, there are serious subjective weaknesses on our part, including failure to instil the spirit of batho pele in the public sector and even amongst members of the ANC and the Alliance working in this sector. Organisationally the province has performed below its potential for a number of years. The realignment process was much slower than envisaged, but we have now made progress in laying the foundations for proper branch structures throughout the province, which has introduced innovations such as an education manual for all its leadership collectives.

  18. The province has had serious organisational problems in the OR Tambo region, manifested in divisions among structures in the region and with the province, between ANC structures and councillors and around the existence of parallel branches. These problems seriously impacted on the Regional Conference to launch the newly demarcated regions. The problems in the OR Tambo region, and the slow progress with realignment generally, meant that the Provincial Conference on 8-10 November 2002 was organised in great haste, and some serious mistakes committed. As a result, most branches in the province were unable to convene properly constituted branch general meetings, to prepare for Provincial Conference and to elect mandated delegates to this Conference. Consequently, the NEC took a decision to nullify the Provincial and OR Tambo Conferences, reinstated the previous PEC and reinforced it with a National Task team to prepare for Provincial conference within three months. The brief of the PEC and National Task Team is to ensure that we unite the movement in the province, address the underlying problems that gave rise to the poor preparations for Conferences and restore the culture of the movement.

  19. Gauteng, the economic heartland of the country, with its complex demographics and urban sprawls, requires of the leadership of the province and metros to be visionary and able to engage and unite the large and diverse populace of the province in action for change. We have done quite well in the province, shifting our electoral support from that of a marginal province in 1994 to decisively winning the province in the 1999 general elections.

  20. However, the internal problems in the province have seen an erosion of the base of the ANC, and this in a province where we have a wealth of cadres. The NEC dissolved the PEC in 2000, and established an Interim Leadership Core, with the primary brief to rebuild ANC branches and to work towards convening a provincial conference. The process in Gauteng went very well, and following the completion of the realignment process and provincial conference late in 2001, the province is making good progress towards consolidating organisational structures, ensuring that our members and leadership in the province act in a manner that puts the people first. Much more needs to be done to build on our organisational foundation – and to ensure that we launch branches in the 47% of wards where we only have a presence.

  21. The Free State province, the founding place of the ANC, has a rich history of resistance, particularly amongst women and is another bedrock of the ANC’s electoral support. Largely rural, with a predominantly white agricultural sector and areas of former bantustans, the governance and nation-building challenges faced by this province are immense. The ANC as an organisation has been plagued by problems over recent years, and a number of interventions have been required.

  22. The NEC took steps to address organisational problems, with divisions at leadership level that permeated to lower structures and resulted in paralysis of both organisation and decision-making. Branches and members complained about not being given guidance by provincial leadership. The ANC became isolated from its mass base. This also impacted on the capacity of the ANC to give leadership to governance and the programme of transformation. As a result of this situation, the NEC in 2000 dissolved the Provincial Executive Committees in the Free State for the second time and appointed an Interim Leadership Core (ILC).

  23. The Free State ILC fulfilled its mandate, and the province held its Provincial Conference during the second half of 2002. The new leadership elected at conference has indicated a commitment to act in a manner that unites their province, guides and supports the structures of the movement and prevents the recurrence of the problems of the past. However, the process of building cohesion, unity and confidence in the provinces still has a long way to go and we will have to keep on monitoring the situation.

  24. Finally, despite the weaknesses, the programme of the movement for transformation is to a large degree being implemented at provincial levels and is reflected in the range of activities that provinces have engaged in, covered in the detailed reports in the Appendices.

C. Cadre Policy, Organisational democracy and discipline

A prerequisite for the success of a revolution is the existence of a strong revolutionary organisation. The strength of a revolutionary organisation lies not only in numbers, but primarily in the quality of its cadres. Hence in the development of our organisation, cadre policy occupies a central role. Cadres are all members of the Movement involved in the formulation and practical implementation of policy, and willing to carry out all tasks assigned.

The cadre policy of an organisation is determined by the tasks, which are short and long term in the revolution. A correct cadre policy produces activists equipped to perform special and general skills and tasks.

(Report of the Commission on Cadre Policy and Ideological work, Kabwe Consultative Conference, 1985)

  1. Our cadre policy has to respond to the current phase of the NDR. This includes responding to challenges such as the need to continuously improve our capacity and skill to transform the instruments of power, the capacity to mobilise and lead the motive forces, as well as fulfil our continental and international responsibilities. Key elements of cadre policy must therefore include targeted recruitment from among the motive forces, ensuring that they understand the basic policies and programmes of the movement; political, moral, professional and ideological training to raise political consciousness and skills of members; deployment and redeployment according to specialty, aptitude, skills and capability of individual cadres; promotion and accountability; and the preservation of cadres.

  2. The 1994 breakthrough opened up new opportunities for material and social advancement through positions in the public and private sector and for economic empowerment. With the dismantling of apartheid career barriers, the availability of much greater choice of career paths and scope for the realisation of individual preferences and ambitions became possible. The occupation of positions of power and the material reward this offers could create some “social distance” between individuals and constituencies they represent, particularly in the context of the legacy of inequality, large scale unemployment and poverty that still plague us. This could render some in the revolutionary movement complacent, concerned with maintaining their positions and even indifferent to the conditions of the poor.

  3. Our cadre policy therefore seeks to build cadres and a leadership that reflects the character of the ANC as a revolutionary democratic organisation, a non-racial and non-sexist movement, a broad national democratic movement, a mass movement and a leader of the democratic forces, with policies based on principle and a commitment to serve.

    Cadre development

  4. The NGC focused on the need to build the New Cadre, who will be able to take forward the programme of social transformation. This New Cadre must be developed and given responsibilities.

  5. Mafikeng and the NGC emphasised the importance of cadre development, because a comprehensive review of our political education work since the unbanning in 1990 indicated a number of weaknesses, which we have begun to address over the last five years. These weaknesses include the fact that during the early 1990s we did not reproduce greater numbers of cadres grounded in the politics, organisational values and culture of the movement fast enough. The method of ‘rolling popular mass education and training´, though important for raising general consciousness of policies and programmes, did not allow for follow-up on individual comrades trained and assumes that all participants are at the same level of development.

  6. Another weakness was our methodology and the use of only the formal educators and political education officers, while ignoring many comrades who may not be educated, but had a rich political understanding and experience. It has also been difficult, post-1994, to get leaders who are deployed to government to play a role in political education. Other cadres deployed in various centres of responsibility and authority also seldom play a role in their branches.

  7. Since Makifeng and the NGC we have sought to create an environment in which the New Cadre can flourish. The campaigns, especially Letsema in 2002, and the realignment process, alongside our political education programme have played an important role in raising consciousness around the centrality of Batho Pele to our movement, its cadres and members.

  8. Political education in pursuance of this objective has thus implemented programmes such as: –
    1. Piloting the Political School, implementing dedicated block training since 1998 for various categories of comrades, including teams of political educators from each province; women leaders from the Women’s League and ANC, and local councillors from all provinces. The block training was done on the basis of a specified curriculum that focused on the evolution of ANC history and politics, our programmes of national democratic transformation, theories of change and international work.
    2. Broadening the pool of political instructors to bring on board the wide range of experienced cadres who can enhance our programmes while also widening the methodology to accommodate our specific needs. Some Provinces, like Gauteng, have started with Political schools for branches and councillors. We have begun to use, albeit on a small scale, veterans in our cadre development work, with very positive results.
    3. Supporting branch work through the development of a ‘WHAT IS THE ANC booklet for new members; induction manuals for branch, regional and provincial executives; training of branches on the role of the BEC and local action plans; as well as election training
    4. Together with the Elections Education and Training Unit (EETU) and SALGA, conceptualising training for the new cadre of local councillors after the 2000 local elections on the range of challenges they face, including developing IDPs, gender in local government, role of ward committees and so forth.
  9. Having piloted the Political School in its current form for at least the last five years, the Political Education Unit (PETU) began to put in place measures to establish a political school with premises within the next two years. Fundraising for this important venture is being done as part of the Stalwarts Research Trust, a trust established to coordinate fundraising for the School and the Policy Institute. The Political school will then operate with its own physical location and standing programme, and will conduct an assessment of cadres who are sent there. It should also provide for the ongoing development of layers of leadership in the movement and provide forums for cadres in all spheres of society to develop perspectives broader than their areas of specialisation, and to test their work against these broad perspectives.

  10. The Political education unit is also responsible for the publication of the journal, UMRABULO. The journal underwent major redesign at the end of 1999, and is now published quarterly. It has provided an important forum for raising major national and organisational debates and we have seen the growth in contributions to UMRABULO by members and supporters. UMRABULO is distributed primarily to ANC and Alliance structures, with a growing subscription base. It is also widely read on the Internet, both at home and abroad. We have organised Umrabulo forums with progressive academics, activists and others, and during the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held very successful UMRABULO forums as part of the civil society platforms.

  11. The Political Education and Training Unit also published the Political Lectures of cde Jack Simons, various readers for the Political School programmes, a history of Umkhonto we Sizwe on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, a book by cde Gertrude Shope on women in struggle and will publish “A 90 Years of ANC History” textbook by cde Pallo Jordan. The NEC periodically developed discussion papers on a range of issues confronting the movement for discussions and debate in structures of the movement. These papers have played an important role in the ongoing political education at all levels of the organisation.

  12. Due to the measures we have put in place over the last few years, there is a growing body of cadres in the movement who consistently and tirelessly perform their revolutionary duties. This is the clear cadre core that is committed to the revolution and on which the movement largely relies. This cadre is of necessity deployed in various spheres of political responsibility and authority. Its outstanding characteristics are its unwavering commitment to the values, culture and principles of our revolution and its ability to put into practice the essence of batho pele.

    Cadre Deployment

  13. The Mafikeng Conference called on the ANC to put in place a deployment strategy, which directly relates to the national democratic tasks set out in Strategy and Tactics. Acting on this mandate, the NEC in December 1998 appointed a National Deployment Committee. One of its first tasks was to develop a deployment strategy for consideration by the NEC, which sets out the short, medium and long term challenges, identifying key centres of power and authority, our strategy to transform these centres and the attributes and skills we require from our cadres to do so effectively. The Deployment Strategy, adopted by the NEC in 1999, identified the immediate deployment tasks as strengthening:
    • The capacity and transformation of the state, so that it reflects the motive forces, and through the deployment of cadres ensure that the leadership, values and culture of all institutions of the state are changed;
    • The transformation of key centres of power, including such areas as deepening democracy and human rights, safety and security, the arena of the battle of ideas, international work and so forth.
    • The political and administrative control and supervisory structures of the ANC at headquarters, provincial and regional offices, and parliamentary constituency offices.
    • Engagement in all sectors of social activity, including the economy, education, science and technology, sports, recreation and culture, mass popular organisation and mass communications.
  14. After adoption of the strategy, the National Deployment Committee developed further detailed guidelines on a range of deployment matters, including guidelines on the functioning of provincial deployment committees, accountability mechanisms for public representatives, guidelines for the deployment of premiers, mayors and other such categories. Deployment committees were established at provincial levels, and the National Deployment Committee visited all provinces to engage on the deployment strategy with provincial leadership and ANC caucuses.

  15. Based on the strategy and guidelines adopted by the NEC, the National Deployment Committee implemented and carried out deployments or advised on deployments to certain strategic positions and structures. It reported to the Officials and the NWC on specific deployments and also submitted regular reports to the NEC on its work. Key to the effectiveness of the work of any deployment committee is the integrity of the structure as a collective and the need to operate in a manner that is beyond reproach. However, towards 2001 questions were raised by NEC members about the integrity of the National Deployment Committee. Once this happened, it undermined the capacity of the committee to fulfil its work and the operations of the National Deployment Committee were suspended. Deployment from this point onwards was done by Officials, who reported to the NWC and NEC. The NWC was mandated by the NEC to address the concerns raised about the National Deployment Committee, but it has not managed to do so.

  16. At provincial level the functioning of these structures has also been uneven. Some provinces have done well; others have been plagued with problems related to tensions and factionalism in the provincial structures of the movement. In some instances the provincial Officials have also acted as the Provincial Deployment Committee, creating problems where officials were said to be biased in their deployments. A few provinces have included NEC Deployees on their provincial deployment committees, which helped dispel perceptions of bias by provincial officials in the manner in which they conducted deployment.

  17. There is no doubt that the development and implementation of a deployment strategy during the second term of government has considerably strengthened our programme of transformation. However, we need to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of this first phase of the operation of our deployment strategy, with a view to improvement. To do this, the movement will have to address a number of issues that arose in the course of implementing this decision of conference, including:
    • Ensuring that deployment committees act in a non-sectarian manner, promote unity and accountability in the organisation and do not create perceptions of ‘jobs for pals´. It is important to make the distinction between deployment and employment. In many instances deployment committees are viewed as employing bodies and any cadre who requires employment is directed to them.
    • Besides the existing mechanisms for elected representatives, ensure the accountability of all cadres of the movement wherever they are deployed. Clearly outline the nature and extent of the organisation’s obligation to public representatives who are not re-elected.
    • Address the problem of some cadres not understanding that their previous deployment (as a cabinet minister, MP, MEC, mayor, etc) does not mean automatic deployment into that position or one of equivalent stature and financial packages in subsequent elections.
    • Implement sectoral deployment (Allies, mass formations, progressive professional organisations, etc) in a manner that helps to strengthen these formations, whilst extending the influence and leadership of the movement throughout society.

    Organisational democracy and discipline

  18. The current phase of the NDR contains many new and complex dynamics, making it even more important for the ANC to continue to be a vibrant organisation within whose ranks there is constant exchange of ideas, however different these ideas might be. Its cadre policy should therefore also encourage creativity in thought and practice, and eschew rigid dogma. The movement must at the same time exercise maximum unity in action and discipline amongst its members, and ensure that after ideas have been exchanged and decisions taken, all structures and members pursue the same goal.

  19. The democratic and mass character of the movement – which creates a climate and forum for debate, free flow of ideas and political discussion – remains the cornerstone of the political discipline of the organisation. The principles of democratic centralism continue to guide our structures, making provision for ongoing policy and organisational review, subjecting, in the appropriate forums, previous decisions to ongoing assessment. The application of these principles requires structures in which all members are able to participate, where open and frank discussion is encouraged and where political considerations are paramount.

  20. Our conscious efforts to build the mass character of the ANC have included strengthening the operations of the constitutional structures where members and branches participate, improving the flow of information in the organisation and with government and encouraging the practice of ongoing political discussions on strategic issues of the moment in our leadership collectives. We have taken measures to strengthen the interactions between leadership and lower structures through the deployment of NEC and PEC members to regions and branches, and structured interactions between the NEC and branches.

  21. We have had ongoing discussions and debates over the last five years on how to strengthen the revolutionary character of the ANC. Discussion documents such as ANC AGENT FOR CHANGE AND THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE opened the debate and helped to educate members about the evolution of the ANC traditions, values and approaches, and how best to reproduce and adapt these under the new conditions.

  22. We can say without exaggeration that there are few organisations which have the deep-seated internal democratic culture, culture of debate and commitment to unity in action that the ANC has. Our members and cadres, and indeed our people broadly have made use of the constitutional order that guarantees freedom of expression, information and association. In the engagements between our movement and the masses of our people – in people’s forums, mass meetings and in forums between government and communities such as izimbizo – the people continue to show a profound understanding of the policy direction of our movement, and have not shied away from engaging robustly on the challenges of implementation.

  23. At the same time, over the last five years we have also experienced breakdown of organisational discipline within leadership collectives, which required interventions to safeguard the unity and cohesion of the movement and to make it possible for members to remain at the centre of the organisation. We have observed that where there is a breakdown of political cohesion, discipline becomes the victim.

  24. In the NEC, we have experienced tendencies of members failing to raise their views openly in the structures of the movement, and then undermining decisions through such actions as leaks to the media. We have also seen the erosion of the unity of this collective through members attacking each other or the movement in the public domain, without having raised their concerns within the structures of the movement. As a result, the NEC held a specific discussion on the CONDUCT OF NEC MEMBERS, to lay down ground rules of what is expected from members and the collective of this important organ of our movement.

  25. We have also reported to the NGC on the challenges being in power has on the structures of the movement. We found that the issues dividing leadership of some of our provinces are not of a political nature, but have mainly revolved around access to resources, positioning themselves or others to access resources, dispensing patronage and in the process using organisational structures to further these goals. This often lies at the heart of conflicts between constitutional and governance structures, especially at local level and is reflected in contestations around lists, deployment and internal elections process of the movement. These practices tarnish the image and effectiveness of the movement. Yet when we decide to act firmly, we have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from members and our people. A good example was the positive response to our undertaking in the 2000 local government manifesto and campaign to act against corrupt councillors.

  26. The limited political consciousness has impacted negatively on our capacity to root out corrupt and divisive elements among ourselves. For the movement to renew itself as a revolutionary movement we have to develop specific political, organisational and administrative measures to deal with such destructive elements.

  27. As a revolutionary movement, the political consciousness of our members, cadres and leaders is central to the character of the ANC. We seek to develop members, so that they can consciously make choices, wherever they are and at all times, about approaches, behaviour and actions that either furthers the cause, or constitutes a betrayal, of the people. This political consciousness is what should distinguish an ANC member, and should find expression in how they conduct themselves, their style of leadership, their adherence to policies, values and norms of the ANC and their commitment to work resolutely for the improvement of the conditions of our people.


Important progress has been recorded in ensuring that the movement has a comprehensive Cadre Policy, that focuses on the development and deployment of our cadres. However, we need to build on and learn from the experiences of the last five years, in particular to strengthen:

  1. Our Cadre policy with a more comprehensive human resource development strategy, including professional development, career-pathing, a cadre data base, exit strategies and a strategic approach to succession in the movement.
  2. Measures to ensure the reproduction of the culture and tradition of the movement amongst the new generations of cadres and members, through induction, striving to be a learning organisation, giving members responsibilities and leading by example.

D. Renewing the democratic mandate

  1. The advent of the 1999 general elections posed a number of tactical and strategic questions about the shifts in the balance of forces during the first five years of liberation. Arising from the balance of forces in 1994, our approach to the major issues of transformation was informed by the compromises made during the negotiations. This applied to issues such as deployment of personnel, matters of detail on economic policy, and generally the pace of transformation. However, by 1999 the situation had changed, characterised by amongst others the consolidation of the legitimacy of our democratic order and a better hold on the levers of state power.

  2. The situation was also characterised by a general expectation of change and hope amongst the overwhelming majority of South Africans as we approached the end of the “era of sunset clauses”. The NEC therefore concluded that the situation provided greater opportunities for more rapid advance during the second term. This was captured in the approach of “continuity and change’: continuity in the substance of policy and change in the detail as well as the style, pace and effectiveness of implementation.

  3. Our main election message was therefore speeding up change, captured in our Elections Manifesto, finalised by an Extended NEC meeting, which included Alliance partners. The Manifesto focused on the following five themes: Speeding up delivery of basic needs and developing human resources; Building the economy and creating jobs; Combating crime and corruption; Transforming the state; and Building a better Africa and world.

  4. The foundations for the campaign were laid in 1998, with the setting up and training of election structures at all levels, the development of an election strategy and message, the ID and voter registration campaign and the listening forums. The first six months of 1999, focused on active campaign work, which was divided into phases with a separate focus and tasks for each. During this period, our main activities included:
    1. Direct voter contact: door-to-door work, distribution of elections media, listening forums, blitzes, etc and the deployment of leaders, MPs and MPLs to such activities;
    2. Completing the List processes with an Extended NEC in February 1999, followed by an appeals process, which was concluded at the beginning of May 1999; the training and deployment of candidates on our Lists and the announcement of our Premier candidates.
    3. Developing our Manifesto and work by the Policy unit on implementing the Manifesto to ensure we hit the ground running after the elections. This culminated in the Accelerating Change document.
    4. Deployment of the President in a national campaign trail, with selected national mass events in targeted areas and constituencies;
    5. A media strategy, including campaign media for mass distribution, an elections song on cassette, newspaper adverts, radio adverts and general media liaison;
    6. Participating in the IEC structures to prepare for election day; and
    7. Selection and training of ANC party agents.
  5. Although we had our election structures, strategy and tasks in place at the beginning of 1999, it took some time to ensure focus and co-ordination. Weaknesses of our campaign include problems with deployment of some leadership, MPs, MPLs, cadres and councillors. The NWC had to intervene through an extended meeting with Provincial Elections Coordinators and by strengthening the provincial command centres through the deployment of NEC members.

  6. Key strengths of the campaign included the following: –
    • Our programme of direct voter contact;
    • The profile of the President;
    • The campaign allowed us to put aside internal differences in some provinces;
    • Our message helped to explain our achievements, the problems we experienced and provided hope; and
    • Allowed for the active participation of large numbers of our cadres and members.
  7. The message of the ANC and the campaign work found resonance among the majority of our people, resulting in a bigger electoral majority for the movement.

  8. The 2000 local government elections heralded in a new system of non-racial and developmental local government. Our aim in these elections was to win an overwhelming victory in the context of a high voter turnout. Our campaign for the local elections therefore sought to mobilise the base support of the movement to participate in the elections, with the belief that the ANC can make change happen in communities. In addition to these objectives, we also had to address the perceived and actual dissatisfaction amongst our people relating to the performance of local councillors and to educate voters on the functioning of the new system of local government.
  9. Our elections manifesto, jointly drafted with our Alliance partners, under the MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN where we live, focused on the following themes: –
    • Free basket of basic services – improve general delivery of services.
    • Stronger women’s participation
    • Participation at local level through ward committees
    • Forging social partnerships at local levels.
    • Integrated planning
    • Support local economic development, infrastructure development, community-based enterprises, job creation.
    • Safety and security – including establishment of metro police
    • Accountable local councillors – ensure that we act against corrupt and unaccountable councillors
  10. The results (Table B) indicated that the ANC maintained its level of electoral support, and made significant gains in a number of areas. Our majority was indeed overwhelming. The ANC was the only party that contested elections in all municipalities. However, this victory was not achieved in the context of a high voter turnout, or a significant reactivation of our base support. We also did not significantly increase the number of registered voters.

  11. The mixed electoral system at local level means that in between elections for local government, we will continually have by-elections in wards for a number of reasons. We therefore had to put in place systems to ensure that we maintain and expand our positions in local government, by successfully contesting by-elections.

  12. The national Campaigns Task Team since 2001 has put in place a system that enables us to contest by-elections that has happened on a near-monthly basis. This includes a generic budget for each by-election, campaign materials, a checklist for branches and regions and a questionnaire for branches to assist with strategising based on the nature of the ward they are contesting. The Campaigns Task Team, through ongoing contact with the Independent Electoral Commission, has informed provinces and the affected regions about forthcoming elections. It also identifies marginal wards and assists with the deployment of leadership to help with campaigning.

  13. The NWC, following the decision of the Mafikeng Conference, has made some effort to establish a permanent election capacity for the ANC, linked to our other campaigns. Comrade Peter Mokaba therefore served as Elections Manager in 2001, until his untimely death in 2002.


The commissions at Conference on Building the ANC will discuss and make recommendations on:

  1. Our election campaigns, and our broad vision for the 2004 elections.
  2. Review our list processes, whether indeed they result in public representatives who reflect the character of the ANC and the deployment of the best of our cadres to various positions.
  3. Ensure that an ongoing focus of our elections work is making sure our people have IDs and are registered, especially first time voters, but to also ensure that those who qualify are able to access their social grants.
  4. Strengthening our capacity to monitor the implementation and impact of our Election manifesto and monitor and support the work of ANC public representatives.
  5. Ensuring that all our structures and public representatives consistently keep contact and engage with voters.

E. Leading the programme of women’s emancipation

  1. Our struggle against apartheid integrated the struggle for gender equality and the emancipation of women. The Strategy and Tactics adopted at Mafikeng therefore states that transformation will only have real meaning if it addresses the triple oppression of women. The ANC must therefore lead the efforts aimed at eradicating these oppressive power relations in society. Within its own ranks, it must entrench gender awareness and appropriate practices.

  2. Women comprise 52% of the population, and a slightly larger percentage in rural areas. More women than men are unemployed and women-headed households are generally poor. Building a non-sexist society is a complex social process, with many challenges and detours. Our definition of and goals towards the achievement of gender equality are guided by our vision of human rights, which incorporates the acceptance of the equal and unalienable rights of men and women, a fundamental tenet of our Bill of Rights and Constitution. This vision was further elaborated in the National Gender Policy Framework of government, adopted in 2000.

  3. 50th Conference adopted a range of programme areas to take forward the struggle for gender equality, including the elaboration of the role of the ANC Women’s League and the need to strengthen it; the introduction of one third quota in all structures in the ANC Constitution, underpinned by a capacity building programme; building a broad women’s movement; strengthening the gender machinery in government; action to reduce violence against women; addressing maintenance violations; a review of all discriminatory customs, traditions and other practices that are oppressive to women; and integrating gender into the Strategy and Tactics and all programmes and policies of the ANC.

  4. The movement has taken steps to ensure that the one-third quota is implemented – within the NWC and NEC, ANC committees and delegations. We have had less success at the levels of the PECs and RECs. We have strictly enforced the gender quota in all our list processes for public representatives, and particularly in the deployment of mayors after 2000. The ANCYL has also implemented a quota of young women, who are either elected or co-opted onto their NEC and PECs. The gender profile of our provincial staff and ward councillors remains a problem. Women are also amongst the most active ANC members in our branches.

  5. The objective of the quota is to ensure that there is a critical mass of women in decision- and policy-making structures at all levels of the movement and society, and that their participation takes forward the objectives of gender equality. However, the challenge remains to turn the quantitative progress into qualitative progress with regard to gender equality. Further, the National Policy Conference recommended that we should use the 30% as a minimum, not as a maximum as is the tendency.

  6. The activities of the Gender Committee of the ANC has included work to make the ANC disciplinary procedures more gender sensitive, monitoring and engaging with the gender machinery in government and work on a comprehensive gender policy for the country. Together with the Women’s League it has raised the profile of women’s issues around the celebrations of August 9, National Women’s Day and activities with other organisations around the Days of Activism against Violence against Women. The Gender committee also made detailed recommendations on an approach to tackling violence against women; this was referred to the Policy committee and has not been processed yet.

  7. In addition to integrating gender in all aspects of the ANC programmes and policies, the main instrument for the mobilisation of women is the ANC Women’s League. However, the League has been plagued with problems for most of the period of this report. The activities and assessment of the League will be covered in more detail in a later section. One of the main challenges of this 51st National Conference is to discuss a programme to rejuvenate the ANC Women’s League.

  8. The Political Education Unit had a pro-active programme to help build capacity of women in the ANC and of the Women’s League. This includes identifying women leadership in the League and the ANC as one of the target groups for the Political School pilot, ensuring a quota for women in all other political education programmes, including in the training of political instructors, assisting the ANCWL with a range of political education programmes, including preparations for their Conferences and helping to organise a special workshop for the League on women and job creation, before the Job Summit in 1998. PETU has also developed a Gender and Transformation module, which was used in the Political school project, in the ANCYL political school, provincial political schools and to the Gender Committees of NUM and NEHAWU.

  9. The National Executive Committee had a number of discussions, led by the Gender Committee on the building of a progressive women’s movement. The NEC concluded that such a movement can only be built on the basis of a strong ANCWL. At the ideological level, there is some indication of the internalisation of gender sensitivity. However, in our discussion documents preparing for 51st Conference we noted that although Mafikeng tasked us to integrate gender into the Strategy and Tactics, we were merely able to do a gender patchwork to an already finished document.

F. The Leagues of the ANC

  1. The Women and Youth Leagues of the ANC are important mass sectoral formations of the movement, aimed at the mobilisation of women and youth behind the vision of the National Democratic Revolution. They are therefore organisationally autonomous structures, with their own constitutions, programme and leadership, guided by the overall policies, strategy and programme of the ANC.

ANC Women’s League

  1. Mafikeng confirmed the objectives of the ANC Women’s League to place itself at the centre of the struggle for gender emancipation, to defend and advance the rights of women in the ANC and in society, and to ensure that women play a full role in the life of the movement and in the national life of the country. The Conference also committed the ANC to assist with the strengthening of Women’s League structures and to encourage ANC women, including young women to play an active part in its work.

  2. The Women’s League continues to have a committed and loyal support base amongst older, poor and working class women across the country, who identify with the history, symbolism and traditions of the Women’s League, and who when mobilised, respond in large numbers – whether it is to celebrate Women’s Day, in support of government’s court case against the pharmaceutical companies, or to protest against violence against children and women.

  3. This social base of the ANCWL forms the backbone of most ANC branches, playing an active role in recruitment teams. They remain the most consistent support base of the ANC in all elections. The ANC Women’s League programmes have been mainly targeted at this constituency, mobilising women at local level to participate in community structures (CPFs, SGBs, Health committees) and projects, in protest action and as volunteers in the Letsema campaign.

  4. The ANCWL continues to advocate for representation of a critical mass of women at all levels of the movement and society. It has long won the argument for a quota system in the ANC and is advancing this approach in broader society. As a result, the ANC has in its ranks, in its leadership collectives, amongst its public representatives and its deployed cadres a fair representation of women.

  5. The League coordinates and engages with the gender machinery in government and the legislatures, and Women’s League members are active in structures and women’s caucuses set up at different levels. Its members in parliament, legislatures and local councils are contributing toward raising awareness about the integration and mainstreaming of gender in all policies of the movement and of government.
  6. In the continent and internationally, the progressive women’s movement continues to be inspired by the struggles and advances made by South African women, and looks up to the ANC Women’s League to share approaches and to play a leadership role in putting gender issues at the centre of the renewal of the continent and the creation of a better world.

  7. However, like the ANC, the Women’s League is faced with complex challenges. These include the state of organisation of League structures at all levels, making it difficult to harness the achievements of women and the non-participation of large numbers of ANC women activists and leaders in the Women’s League structures. The League has serious capacity problems, at their headquarters, provinces and regions, with their membership system and generally limited resources. The weaknesses in the ANC, including at a theoretical level on gender issues and some patriarchal attitudes amongst members of the ANC, have also impacted on the League.

  8. The Women’s League National Conference, scheduled for 2000, was postponed due to this weak state of organisation. At present, the League reported that it has managed to launch only about 252 branches countrywide. Provinces such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and Free State, where historically we have had strong progressive women’s organisation, are performing way below potential in setting up Women’s League branches. The slow progress in the Limpopo province, where women constitute the majority and are amongst the poorest, is a serious indictment on our movement.

  9. The Officials of the ANC and the NEC have engaged with the League leadership around these challenges. Officials have also engaged ANC women leadership about their non-participation in the structures of the League. This is an important organisational question, which this conference must address.


We are making progress as a society towards changing the subservient position of women, and to ensure that women rights are human rights. However, the fundamental task of changing gender relations remains at the core of our programme to build a non-sexist society. In this regard, the ANC Women’s League is an important instrument of the ANC to place itself at the head of gender and women’s struggle in our country. Challenges that this Conference must address therefore include:

    1. Strengthen theoretical and ideological clarity in the movement and society on patriarchy and its manifestations in our society, and thus on the task of changing gender relations;
    2. Strengthen the Women’s League, the participation of ANC women in its structures and programmes and its capacity for organisational rejuvenation.
    3. Address how to position the ANCWL to give leadership to gender struggles, and to broaden its social base in order to reach out to women of other national groups and social strata.
    4. Organisational approaches to spearhead the mobilisation of women and men against the abuse of women and children, and how to harness the groundswell of support for such action.

ANC Youth League

  1. The Mafikeng Conference also re-affirmed the main objective of the ANC Youth League as uniting and leading the youth to deal with problems facing them as a sector; ensure that the youth makes a full contribution to the life of the ANC and the nation; to function as a political and organisational preparatory school for young cadres of the movement, and to provide the movement with organisational vibrancy and youthful political debate.

  2. The Youth League at its Congresses defined its twin tasks as championing the interests of youth in the ANC and in society, and to mobilise them behind the vision of the ANC. It has been grappling with the challenge of renewing itself, so that it remains relevant to the new generations of youth. The constituency of the ANC Youth League increasingly consists of young women and men, who grew up and entered their youth after the democratic breakthrough of 1994. Their consciousness is therefore shaped by the objective environment of a society where formal racial discrimination, indignity and oppression have been outlawed. Yet, they are also products of a society in transition, that is laying the foundation for a better life for all, but where the legacy of apartheid underdevelopment still profoundly impact on all aspects of human activity.

  3. The Youth League over the last five years has implemented a concerted programme of organisational rejuvenation, which is beginning to bear fruits. It has over the last five years implemented Operation Back-to-Basics to revive its branches, improve its internal communication and cadre development, membership system and support to branches, and implement mass campaigns around issues affecting young people such as HIV and AIDS, substance abuse, against racism in all its manifestations and around youth unemployment. It is making steady progress in realigning its branches and to date has launched 1 010 of its ward-based branches. It has effectively mobilised around Solomon Mahlangu Day, June 16 Youth Day and its birthdays to create awareness amongst young people and society generally about the issues of youth. During its 58th anniversary in 2002, it organised very successful activities, including the reburial of its founder member and first President, comrade Anton Lembede. The Youth League has been very pro-active in giving direction to the government youth machinery at all levels, and through its legislatures and governance committee, has lobbied consistently for the mainstreaming of youth issues in all government policies and programmes.

  4. The League has made concerted efforts to reach out to different sectors of the youth, to place itself at the centre of a broad youth movement and to raise its profile as a champion of the youth: consolidating branches on campuses and participating in SRC elections with SASCO and other progressive student formations; building the Progressive Youth Alliance; a gender programme to empower young women; engaging young professionals and business associations; working with the IFP Youth Brigade on peace and youth development in KwaZulu Natal; engaging Afrikaner youth organisations on issues of nation-building and strengthening the South African Youth Council, a civil society body of all youth organisations and structures. However, competition between the ANCYL and SASCO on some campuses have led to situations where both organisations contested SRC elections separately, thus splitting the progressive vote and resulting in these campuses being controlled by other forces.

  5. The League is also active in the international youth movement:- building and strengthening the youth movement in the region and continent, advancing Africa’s renaissance in various international forums in which it is either a member or a participant, and pledging solidarity with struggles of youth and the peoples of Western Sahara, Swaziland and Palestine.

  6. A number of challenges still confront the Youth League and the movement. Chief amongst these are to strengthen social and political activism amongst youth to partake in the democratic life of our country and in the process of social transformation as active participants. The fact that less than 50% of first time voters (18-20 years) registered and voted in the 1999 elections is a cause for concern, and so is the weak state of the student movement at high schools and higher education levels. If, as a society and a movement we fail to conscientise and mobilise the student and young professional and intelligentsia, other forces will step into this vacuum, either mobilising them as a force against change or demobilising them to think only of their individual advancement.

  7. The unemployed and working poor youth make up a large proportion of the youth constituency. The reality of structural unemployment we face means that every year, hundreds and thousands of school-leavers join the ranks of the unemployed. The ANC Youth League must therefore continue to militantly advocate for, and the movement must be receptive to, ensuring that as part of an overall employment, skills development and growth strategy, we give hope to our youth. The Youth League, like its forbearers must also ensure that it helps to strengthen the progressive trade union movement, especially in the changing labour market, with many young people employed in the new knowledge sectors and as casual labour.

  8. The Congress Youth League historically has been the main think tank and foot soldiers of the ANC on the tactics and approaches to mass mobilisation and organisation. To continue to play this role, the ANC Youth League itself must be a vibrant and resourceful mass movement of young people, contributing to the renewal of the ANC and the broader mass movement, through its youthful energy, creativity and ideas. It must not be scared to initiate and test new ideas and approaches.


The ANC Youth League is an important organ of the ANC to ensure the renewal of the movement and that it remains relevant to new generations. The League has made progress in rejuvenating itself and raising its profile as a champion of youth issues. However, the low levels of participation of first time voters (18-25 years) who constitute only 7% of ANC total membership and the mobilisation of the student constituency, is a cause for concern.

Conference must therefore discuss what we need to do to assist the Youth League to increase its mobilisation of youth in all their sectors – the pioneers, learners at high schools, unemployed and students at higher education levels. The ANC should ensure that it gives tasks to Youth Leaguers, so that they feel that they have a role to play in the movement.

The role of the youth in building communities, social consciousness regarding helping the aged, combating HIV/AIDS and volunteer work should also be considered.

G. The Alliance and the broad movement for transformation

  1. The Tripartite Alliance is an organisational expression of the common purpose and unity in action shared by the national liberation movement (the ANC), the party of the working class (SACP) and the progressive trade union movement (COSATU), who continue to jointly define and redefine their programmes in the context of the goals and tasks of the National Democratic Revolution.

  2. These organisations are committed to a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. This means political liberation of Africans in particular and black people in general, and uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, the majority of whom are African and female. It means deracialisation of South African society in all its elements and the reshaping of gender relations.

  3. The Alliance partners with the ANC took part in defining this strategic objective, and, to the extent that the struggle to reach this goal remains in place, they will always have a close partnership with the ANC. The Tripartite Alliance is therefore not a matter of sentiment, but an organisational expression of the common purpose and unity in action that these forces share, and continue jointly to define and redefine in the course of undertaking the tasks of the NDR.

  4. Strategy and Tactics identifies the ANC as the leader of the broad movement for transformation. Its leadership has not been decreed, but earned in the crucible of struggle and the battles for social transformation. It should continually strengthen itself as a national political organisation and ensure that it stays in touch with the people in their day-to-day life.

  5. In this vein, Strategy and Tactics identifies the following general tasks for the ANC in respect of the Alliance, the broader movement for transformation and civil society:
    • In the context of our mission to mobilise all the classes and strata that objectively stand to gain from the success of the cause of social change, it is the task of the ANC to channel the energies of these forces towards the goal of a non, racial, non-sexist and democratic nation.
    • Recognising the central role of the working class in realising these goals, to do so in close alliance with leading organisations of the working class, in particular the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
    • Link up with various political, community, sectoral and other formations that share our strategic objective and contribute to their orientation with regard to the major national questions of the day.
    • To the extent that other broader forces share some short or even long-term goals with the ANC, we should find ways of pooling efforts to achieve those goals.
  6. The purpose of our Alliance, therefore, is to mobilise the core social forces of the revolution and their organised formations toward these tasks. The Alliance partners, both as separate independent organisations, and as members of the ANC in their own right, participate fully in shaping the ANC’s programmatic approach to these tasks. We would expect, therefore, that each Alliance component would develop its own programme around these tasks, and for the Alliance to then develop a common programme.

  7. On the basis of this perspective we resolved at Mafikeng to strengthen the Alliance at all levels, through a coordinated political programme around the challenges of transformation of our society and to coordinate policy development around these issues as an Alliance.

  8. The Alliance interactions and programme have been co-ordinated by a range of structures and processes, including the Alliance Secretariat, meetings of Alliance Officials, ten-a-side meetings and annual Alliance Summits, where broad strategic and policy issues were discussed. Alliance Summits were held in 1997, 1998 and 2002. In 1999 and 1999 – 2001 there were no full Alliance Summits, but ten-a-sides and other senior level meetings took place consistently, including extended NEC meetings that agreed upon the ANC Election Manifesto in both 1999 and 2000. The summits discussed a range of major questions including re-examination of the political basis and programme of the Alliance, and political and policy questions under discussion in the country and between the Alliance partners. In this respect we went a long way in coordinating both political programmes and policy development within the Alliance. In all cases these discussions agreed on areas of consensus, and identified clear processes where consensus could not be reached.

  9. At a programmatic level, the highlights of Alliance relations over the last five years were the common programmes of action around the 1999 and 2000 elections. The 1999 campaign in particular marked a high point in unity in action of our constituencies and our people to vote ANC. Central to this unity in action were detailed Alliance processes to arrive at a common policy platform for the elections. As noted above, in both 1999 and 2000, these processes of extensive discussion culminated in extended Alliance NEC meetings to finalise the manifesto. Also important for our ability to mobilise the Alliance and MDM forces around the ANC for Elections has been the democratic, open and transparent nature of our list processes, which have been open to direct engagement from the Alliance and broader civil society.

  10. The Alliance has also played an important role in preparations for both the World Conference Against Racism and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, working with government to develop perspectives and approaches and engaging South African and international civil society around the perspectives of the Alliance on key questions facing the world.

  11. The Alliance partners, COSATU and the SACP, have also taken up important campaigns aimed at deepening transformation and our democracy. These include ongoing campaigns and programmes by COSATU around issues such as skills development, the labour laws, work place safety, the rights of vulnerable workers such as domestic and farm workers and so forth. COSATU also consistently sought to strengthen the labour movement as a whole, interacting with other unions, building one industry one union, ongoing membership recruitment, policy development and advocacy and strengthening COSATU locals. COSATU affiliates also engaged various government departments around transformation in a range of sectors including transport, energy, telecommunications, mining, clothing and textile, and so forth. It also plays an active and consistent role in the National Economic Development Labour Council (NEDLAC).

  12. The SACP campaign around the restructuring of the financial sector has found resonance amongst sectors beyond the support base of the Party. Its annual focus during Red October months, on themes such as transformation of the banks, cooperatives, social security and its input into the Financial Sector Summit, has played an important role to raise the profile of the SACP and to ensure mass mobilisation for the transformation of a very important sector of the economy.

  13. Unfortunately, the joint work based on the common perspectives of the Alliance outlined in Strategy and Tactics, and the specific tasks resolved at Mafikeng, has been overshadowed by tensions within the Tripartite Alliance. It has emerged that our Alliance partners, in particular COSATU, do not share the understanding of the Alliance as evolved at the Conferences of the ANC. Instead they regard the Alliance as a forum in which to bargain for changes to aspects of government policy that are of specific importance to the organised working class – such as labour market legislation, macro-economic policy, particularly fiscal policy and the restructuring of state owned enterprises.

  14. Another difference between us has been around the process of government policy formulation and how the Alliance should relate to this process. COSATU has argued for an ‘Alliance-in-government’, ‘co-determination’ and a ‘political centre’, whereby the Alliance would jointly formulate government policies, such as the budget. The ANC has held that the many common processes that already exist (such as the Alliance Summits, the drafting of election manifestos in 1999 and 2000 and other existing forums) are sufficient for arriving at a common Alliance programme.

  15. As independent organisations, the National Conferences or Congresses of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP are the highest decision-making bodies that adopt policies. It is important that within the Alliance, we respect the policy making process of each component.

  16. In general, the SACP has supported the line adopted by COSATU. This is in spite of the fact that members of the SACP have participated directly in all the deliberations behind the decisions and policy formulations in all ANC gatherings. The contestation over government policy has included a series of political strikes.

  17. In the context of these serious tensions within the Alliance, the ANC too has not prioritised its own relation, as a political centre, to the various independent organisations and forces that constitute progressive civil society. It has also been found wanting in the task of leading these forces through action and engagement to build a partnership between the state and civil society at all levels. In the absence of engagement from the ANC, some of these organs of civil society have too easily drifted toward oppositional stances, rather than seeing the ANC as a partner in the transformation of our society.

  18. Another unresolved question in our Alliance relations has been the definition of our relationship with the South African National Civics Organisation. SANCO participated in the Ekurhuleni Alliance Summit as a full partner. Nevertheless, uncertainty still surrounds its role in the Alliance at all level: i.e. are they a full member of the Alliance or a ‘plus one’ – an addendum to the Tripartite Alliance. Conference will therefore have to engage in a discussion on this matter.

The challenges facing us at this 51st Conference, therefore include:

  • Defining the key tasks in the current period and the role of each Alliance partner in taking forward the tasks identified,
  • Developing a common understanding of the political nature of the Alliance, by ensuring that all Alliance members share common tools of analysis of society and building the ANC’s capacity to continually carry out these tasks within the Alliance and broader civil society.
  • To guide the implementation of a common programme of the Alliance, jointly and individually, to take forward the tasks of transformation. The basis for such an Alliance programme is, we believe, contained in tasks of the NDR identified above.
  • Strengthening the ANC, its unity and capacity to mobilise the motive forces and to use the various centres of power to bring about a better life for all our people.
  • Strengthening the capacity of the ANC to participate in the ideological struggle, the battle of ideas, across all spheres of society and engage constructively throughout progressive civil society. It is in this context that the ideological struggle against both ultra-leftism and neo-liberalism should be seen, as a battle of ideas, rather than being personalized.
  • In particular we need to more clearly identify the practical tasks facing the ANC as a movement at national, provincial and regional level in relation to the Alliance, broader civil society and government.

H. Leadership to society

  1. At each stage of the historical development of the ANC, its leadership and cadreship were able to adapt to the demands of the moment, mobilise the people and place the organisation at the forefront of popular struggles for change. The movement therefore developed as a people’s movement in theory and in practice, recognising that a leadership role is earned, not decreed.

  2. The new phase of struggle post-1994 placed a different set of demands on the movement, in playing this historic role. Mafikeng summarised these in the five basic pillars:
    • Build and strengthen the ANC’s capacity to lead the people in the task of social transformation;
    • Deepen democracy, human rights and mobilise for people’s participation in the process of change;
    • Strengthen the hold of the democratic forces on state power and transform it to serve the cause of social change;
    • Pursue economic growth, development and redistribution to change people’s quality of life;
    • Work with progressive forces in the world to advance Africa’s agenda.
  3. During the last five years, we have made steady progress in building the capacity of the ANC, as instructed by Conference. Through a combination of our strengthened branch structures, engaging our Alliance partners, our internal and external communications and strengthening of our capacity at HQ, in the provinces and regions we have been hard at work to strengthen the mass character of the ANC.

  4. The deployment of NEC members to provinces and to various meetings and activities was an important part of the political work required of NEC members during this period. We took a decision in principle to introduce sectoral deployments, to enable us to have dedicated teams of NEC members to do political work amongst various mass formations of the motive forces as defined previously. However, this decision has not been fully implemented, and the movement is much the weaker for it.

  5. Considerable advances have been made to strengthen our internal and external communications. After the National General Council, we emphasized internal communications, because it is primarily through an informed ANC membership and cadreship that we can explain our programme and the challenges we face to our people and different sectors. The range of ANC print and electronic media have also played an important part in ensuring unmediated communications on the positions, policies and programmes of the movement. Our regular media included the NEC Bulletin, produced after every NEC meeting and distributed by fax and e-mail to provinces, ANC e-mail users and NEC members. Between NEC meetings, the NWC also produced, less frequent NWC Briefings on programmatic matters. Other media include an annual programme of action manual for branches, a booklet (in all 11 languages), on WHAT IS THE ANC? for use for the induction of new members, the relaunched MAYIBUYE and UMRABULO, our journal for political education and debate. The ANC online weekly newsletter, ANC TODAY, was launched in 2001. It is available on the Internet, distributed by e-mail to more than 2000 subscribers and printed copies are also distributed to provinces and regions.

  6. The NGC instructed the movement to play a more proactive role in strengthening the ideological leadership and engagement on matters of national debate. The NEC at its Lekgotla in 2001 established an Ideological Task Team, to look at the whole spectrum of institutions and areas where the battle of ideas and knowledge production takes place, and to allow for a more integrated approach to these. Work identified by the task team includes matters such as moral regeneration, values in education, strengthening diversity in the communications arena, research, nation building and the transformation of arts and culture and so forth. Though the task team initiated work in some of these areas, it has not functioned adequately to enable us to make a decisive impact on all these areas.

  7. The movement has, making use of the various centres it occupies, engaged with a range of forces in society towards building consensus on the common challenges we face as a nation. At local levels – the creation of structures such as School Governing Bodies, Community Policing Forums and ward committees are important instruments to deepen local democracy. Our participatory approach to the development policy and legislation found expression in public hearings, provision of information and constituency work done by our legislatures and councillors.

  8. The Offices of the President and Premiers have played important roles through the izimbizo, rotating meetings of provincial cabinets and working groups structures to engage important national sectors such as organised labour and business, the religious and cultural communities and so forth on various matters of national importance. Various ministries in their line function areas are also following similar approaches.

  9. The Youth League has continued with its proactive programme of reaching out to different sectors of the youth – the student sector, youth in the arts and culture, Afrikaner youth organisations and so forth; whilst at the same time working to strengthen the Progressive Youth Alliance and the South African Youth Council.

  10. The movement, especially after the 1999 elections, also faced a number of challenges to its position as the leader of South African society. These challenges took a number of forms, including the public debate and challenges on HIV/AIDS and the best strategy to tackle the disease, the arms procurement package, issues of corruption and various areas of economic and social policy (restructuring of state owned enterprises, approach to comprehensive social secuprivatisation, the basic income grant, land reform, etc).

  11. In a number of instances, subjective weaknesses on our part – such as poor communication on our position and approach and limited engagement with social forces who share our perspectives resulted in some of these issues whittling away at our programme of building unity of purpose and in action amongst the progressive forces and society in general around the enormous task of addressing the legacy of apartheid. This provided space for both the right and the ultra-left to attack the movement on issues ranging from the pace of delivery, to the challenges of unemployment and poverty.

  12. The ANC’s position on these all these matters is informed by an approach that avoids short cuts to the solution of complex social issues, to identify those issues that would result in sustainable solutions and seeking to engage and win over society to its own point of view. In addition, the movement must also ensure that it learns from its mistakes and when the need arises, change approaches after intense and thoroughgoing debates in our ranks.

  13. This period has also seen changes in the opposition ranks, with which the movement had to engage. On the one hand, we continued with our efforts of co-operation with the Inkatha Freedom Party, based on the need to ensure lasting peace in KwaZulu Natal and the common constituency that we share, who objectively stand to gain from the success of our transformation efforts. Thus, following the end of the Government of National Unity period in 1999, we continued co-operation with the IFP in national government and established joint structures to consolidate the message of peace and normalise relations between membership of the ANC and the IFP in KwaZulu Natal and in Gauteng.

  14. The second democratic elections in 1999 saw further significant shifts in opposition politics. It consolidated the shift amongst white voters from Volkstaat politics to politics of ensuring white interests, evident in the decline of the fortunes of the Freedom Front and other white rightwing parties. The Democratic Party, with its ‘fight back’ message, emerged as the official opposition and the new party of white South Africans, having eroded significantly the base of the New National Party and the Freedom Front. Its elections strategy also focused on targeting of certain provinces (Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal) where demographic and political factors may be in their favour, efforts to penetrate African areas, and by portraying the ANC with its near two-third majority as a threat to democracy.

  15. The fact that no single party in 1999 won an outright majority in KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape prompted discussions on coalition governments in these two provinces. The ANC opted for a coalition government with the IFP in KwaZulu Natal based on our shared mass base in rural areas and a coalition with the NNP in the Western Cape, who won a large portion of the coloured working class vote in this province.

  16. The NNP, having just suffered a defeat at the hands of the DP, chose to join hands with the DP in the Western Cape, aimed at excluding the ANC, who won the largest portion of the vote in the province, but not an outright majority. From a position of weakness and with large-scale defections from its ranks, it further allowed itself to be cajoled into the Democratic Alliance as a junior partner in the lead-up to the 2000 elections. The Democratic Alliance therefore meant the coming together of the networks of the former white ruling political elite, elements of white business and sections of the white middle and working classes concerned about ‘falling standards’. It invoked a veneer of liberalism, claiming the “anti-apartheid credentials” of the Progressive Federal Party merely to justify and legitimise opposition to change.

  17. The changes brought about by the transition, resulted in sections of the white community recognising the folly of the DA and its followers. They recognised the limitations of the brand of opposition politics, which ultimately seeks to isolate the white community from the majority of South Africans and their government, forcing the entire white population into becoming a whingeing and marginalised minority. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of white South Africans know that South Africa is their only home and that they need to play a role in the reconstruction and development of their country.

  18. The marriage of convenience between the DP and the NNP was therefore bound to fail, because the DA has neither the vision, policies or tactics that will enhance the participation of white South Africans in the political and general life of our country. The cracks in the DA were evident since its birth, with MPs and MPLs from both the Nats and the DP approaching the ANC and struggles between the two components for the leadership of the alliance. This was particularly evident in the Western Cape, where even though the NNP got the vast majority of the votes, they were treated as junior partners, with all four DP MPLs occupying key portfolios in the provincial cabinet. These internal contradictions came to a head, culminating in the decision by the NNP Federal Council in October 2001 to withdraw from the DA. The ANC approach to this development was informed by the need to break the racial mode of opposition politics, which the DA presented. We thus entered into cooperation with the NNP, with a view to further the objectives of nation-building and reconciliation.

  19. It is in the context of this realignment within opposition ranks that the debate of crossing of the floor arose. It is not a new debate in the political evolution of our young democracy – it was introduced during the CODESA negotiations before 1994 and NEC has been debating it since before the 1999 elections. Our Constitution provides for parliament to pass an Act to allow for crossing of the floor, and for existing parties to change their names, to merge or subdivide. The principled position adopted by the NEC, after long debates, was that we should through legislation make provision for crossing of the floor, only when and if there is a major shift in political alignment.


  1. Amongst the challenges faced by the movement to strengthen its leadership of society include:
  2. Ensure that the ANC is strongly rooted among our people;
  3. Improve ideological engagement by the ANC at all levels of discourse and formulation of policy.
  4. Strengthen sectoral work and engagement, winning over issue-based organisations and social movements that may appear hostile to our movement or to government and strengthen the activism of ANC members in civil society.
  5. Strengthen our internal and external communication strategy and capacity; and
  6. Engage all sectors of society in building consensus on the key national issues facing our society.

I. Relations between Organisational structures and Governance

  1. Making an impact on the lives of our people requires an integrated programme of action between the ANC’s organisational and constitutional structures and governance, as well as dynamic coordination amongst these centres. This is key to our ability to effectively mobilise our people behind the task of social transformation.

  2. The Mafikeng Conference emphasized this approach, when resolving that ‘there is only one ANC irrespective of areas of operation. (The) ANC and its structures are central to the management and coordination of all processes of governance and the ANC needs to (build its capacity) to enable it to meet the demands of governance.” The resolutions of Conference instructed the NEC to ensure that our caucuses function effectively, to strengthen accountability of councillors, that our structures play an effective role in policy making, implementation and monitoring and to strengthen participatory governance.

  3. Mobilising our people behind the task of social transformation: Mass and local campaigns taken up by our branches and regions, the structured interactions between government and communities through izimbizo, cabinet meeting the people, parliamentary public hearings, local forums and consultations on various policy and implementation programmes have been ways in which we have sought to ensure that our people are dynamically involved in the process of creating a better life for all.

  4. We have greatly improved the participation of all our structures in community policing forums, school governing bodies, other community forums and the newly established ward committees. The Letsema campaign in 2002, with its theme months also highlighted the immense potential for targeted cooperation between government and the organisation, in the mobilisation of our people.

  5. Whilst all these initiatives have contributed towards deepening democracy and our people’s participation, there are a number of weaknesses we must address. These include the capacity of our branches and regions to have consistent and relevant programmes in communities around issues of development – whether it is to mobilise targeted sectors (children, the elderly, disabled, women) to access social grants and poverty alleviation projects, housing, school nutrition or free basic services or to access services aimed at SMMEs, emerging farmers or training. This weakness often means that we then respond to a crisis, or get overtaken by other forces who mobilise our people around their genuine grievances.

  6. In addition, our weakness at local levels also means that we are not doing enough to root out corrupt practices, that see poor people being forced to pay bribes for services that they are entitled to or that resources which are supposed to assist our people to get out of the cycle of poverty, end up in the pockets of corrupt individuals. For the ANC to become an effective agent for change, we must ensure that we build and strengthen this local capacity to be responsive to the needs of our people.

  7. Another weakness we faced, and that we have begun to address, is how to strengthen our structures to become centres of information for our people. The poor, vulnerable and indigent are often the least likely to have information on services available to them. As a movement with our bias towards the poor, the ANC should be in the forefront of reaching out to these sections of our people. The ANC as the majority party in national, provincial and local government has at its disposal an army of public representatives – more than 287 MPs, ? MPLs and over 7000 councillors, who should be playing a central role in ensuring that governance is brought closer to our people and enabling ANC structures to have first-hand information on the policies and programmes of government in every area of human activity.

  8. In addition, we must further strengthen the flow of information between Cabinet, the Executives, mayoral committees and our structures at all levels. The implementation of the decision to co-opt as observers into the NEC, PECs, RECs and BECs those comrades deployed in positions of responsibility has assisted in improving coordination and information flow amongst our structures, and has strengthened the ANC constitutional structures as the political centre.

  9. Policy development, implementation and monitoring: The National Conference sets the broad policy framework of the ANC. These are developed into specific priorities for government in our Election manifesto every five-year term, and further developed into implementation plans in government, under the political supervision of ANC structures in government.

  10. At a national level, the NEC Lekgotla at the beginning of each year set annual benchmarks and priorities, in addition to regularly discussing the work of government. NEC Committees focus on the policy and implementation issues for different clusters and line functions. The NEC committees include ANC cadres in the Executive, the study groups and the organisational structures. This policy process has been operating with varying degrees of success, and in general has had a positive impact on the work of the ANC in government. Most provinces also annually have makgotla to determine governance priorities for the year and have established PEC committees around clusters and line functions.

  11. The Policy review processes undertaken at the NGC and before National Conference are an important part of our policy cycle, to enable National Conference to assess progress and to pronounce on matters of policy and the direction for the next period. The processes leading up to the National Policy Conference saw the holding of sectoral summits (on land, economic policy, health, welfare, sports etc), committee workshops and wide-ranging discussions in branches and regions, culminating in Provincial Policy Conferences. The National Policy Conference itself, attended by 688 delegates from ANC branches, regions and provinces, the Leagues, NEC, MKMVA, COSATU, the SACP, SANCO, progressive NGOs and other civil society organs, was characterised by robust debate and a diversity of views. The overarching pre-occupation of all delegates was how we should move faster to address the twin problems of poverty and unemployment.

  12. The draft resolutions of the National Policy Conference were distributed to structures and for public comment, and will be tabled for discussion, amendment and adoption by the 51st Conference as our policy framework for the next five years.

  13. ANC cadres deployed in government are developing new skills and capacities in various strategic areas, but these cadres and others in various sectors of the mass movement are thinly dispersed. Our constitutional structures make insufficient provision for them to interact as cadres of change, and they often do not have a readily available political centre that engages and coordinates with them. As a result, their impact becomes diffused and they become isolated, with a tendency to consider their terrain as the all-important one, often accompanied by narrow technocratic approach to strategic questions. We must continue to examine the nature and form of the guidance to be given to ANC deployees in government, at all levels. It must also look at the channels that should exist for communication and deliberation on ANC policy and programmes in government.

  14. Since 1994, the ANC policy capacity at HQ has been drastically reduced, and this impacted on the ability of the ANC to effectively monitor implementation and the impact of our policies on the motive forces and our mission. The Policy committee has been active in developing an approach to the establishment of a Policy institute, and a Stalwarts Research Trust was established to take forward this decision. The decision to create a policy institute and a political school, once implemented on full scale, should help to inform strategic policy determination by the ANC, enable us to review the impact of our policies, assist long term planning, address new questions and to provide a forum for open debate and engagement in the battle of ideas amongst cadres, wherever they are deployed.

  15. Functioning of ANC caucuses: Mafikeng debated whether caucuses should be given formal constitutional status in the structures of the movement. Although the Conference did not go this far, it adopted clear guidelines on the participation of all ANC public representatives in caucuses, on the role of caucuses in the movement. Most of our caucuses at all levels have thus functioned fairly well, except where political problems in ANC structures also impacted on the functioning of governance. We have improved our mastery of parliament and the legislatures as arenas of transformation after the 1999 elections.

  16. National parliament held a workshop in 2000 to discuss and make policy recommendations on the role of parliament and the relations between the different structures of parliament. Whilst this has been an important step, we have not been able to develop a coherent approach towards the transformation of parliament and our operations in parliament. Governance committees have been established in all legislatures and in 2001 the NEC appointed a Political Committee, responsible for the political management of the ANC in parliament. The Political Committee and Governance Committee have not operated optimally, and more needs to be done to strengthen their operations and effectiveness.

  17. We have developed a more strategic approach towards involving caucuses and our public representatives in the political life of the movement – including strengthening caucus and study groups; and regular briefings by Officials at national and provincial levels to caucus. Caucuses have also taken initiatives towards involving our public representatives in policy discussions and some have developed vibrant political education programmes.

  18. Local government: We approached the 2000 local government elections with widespread concerns from our support base about the performance of local councillors. The nation-wide audit of all ANC local councillors also pointed to a number of challenges we face in this sphere of government. A key message of our 2000 elections campaign was therefore speeding up change at local level, ensuring accountability and local participation, and a commitment that the ANC will monitor councillors and remove anyone not in keeping with our values of service to the people. The NEC thus after the elections, confirmed detailed guidelines on accountability structures for local councillors. However, because this process coincided with realignment of ANC structures, it has not been as effective as it should have been, and more needs to be done to address relations between our branches, regions and governance structures at local level.

  19. We have also sought to, in the new local government dispensation, ensure that we create developmental local government that is responsive to the needs of our people, which are integrated and accountable to communities. An important component of this was the introduction of ward committees and Integrated Development Plans, which allows for local community input into the priorities of local government.

  20. We have, following the 2000 elections, put in place accountability structures, which were finalised as we moved towards completion of the ANC realignment processes. The realignment of ANC regions and branches to mirror governance district/metro and ward structures is an important instrument to ensure that ANC structures are able to effectively articulate with this most important sphere of governance.

  21. Since the phasing in of the new local government dispensation, much has been done to build the capacity of this sphere – including the deployment of cadres as mayors to metros, district and strategic towns, training for local councillors through ANC political education, EETU and SALFA processes, augmenting the capacity-building being done by the Department of Provincial and Local government.

  22. During this period, we also established a national Local Government Forum, which drew in ANC councillors and caucuses at this level, the relevant MinMECs, as well as the Secretary General’s Office and Provincial Secretaries to make recommendations on relevant issues in this important sphere of work. However, the forum has met very inconsistently, due to lack of capacity at HQ to provide support and follow-up on recommendations from the forum.

  23. Selection of ANC public representatives: Within the proportional representative system for national and provincial government, and the mixed system for local government, the ANC continues to have amongst the most democratic systems of selecting public representatives. Our list process, which starts with nominations at branch level, includes the Alliance partners all the way up to national list conferences. The manner in which the process is structured thus facilitates democratic participation of ANC members in selecting public representatives and political balancing, addressing issues of gender, skills, geographic spread and the national question. During our list process for local government, we also introduced community participation element in our list process.

  24. However, our list process has not been without problems. On the one level, the problems reflect our weak state of organisation at the time of the process in 1999 and 2000. Thus, in provinces where we had no vibrant branches or zero branches in some case, where divisions and factionalism plagued our structures, members’ capacity to ensure that the process proceeded correctly, that we rid our ranks of opportunistic and corrupt elements and that indeed we select the most dedicated and the best to serve our people. On another level, we need to continually look at the process itself and see how it can be improved and strengthened.

  25. Amongst the things that we must implement with rigour, is regular organisational audits of the performance of our public representatives in all spheres, because it will go a long way to ensuring a coherent and cohesive ANC that is operating as one in all spheres of authority and responsibility and ANC public representatives that genuinely serve our people.

J. International work

  1. Arising from the Mafikeng and NGC resolutions, the International programme of the movement during this period focused on:
    • Promoting the vision and programme of the African Renaissance and the promotion of African developmental challenges, democracy and peace.
    • Working for the transformation and strengthening of African regional structures.
    • Promoting South-to-South co-operation, in addition to North/South interaction.
    • Reform of the multilateral organisations towards building a more equitable and just world order.
    • The transformation of the Department of Foreign Affairs, including our missions abroad.
    • Preparations for SA hosting international events including the Non-Alignment Movement Summit, the World Conference on Racism, Xenophobia & other forms of intolerance and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
    • Strengthen ANC participation in Socialist International affairs.
  2. Taking forward this programme required coordination between the organisational and governance components, and the International Committee played an important role in ensuring that these complementary roles were balanced. The NWC and NEC also regularly discussed international matters – both in the form of briefings on particular developments on the continent and strategic discussions on the approach the movement and South Africa should follow.

  3. Vision and Programme on the African Renaissance: Following the elaboration of our vision of the Renaissance, its objectives and motive forces in the 1997 Strategy and Tactics, much progress have been achieved over the last five years, including:
    • The consolidation of the position that problems on the continent need to be addressed first and foremost by the continental structures;
    • Strengthening of continental structures, in particular the process leading up to and including the launch of the African Union in July 2002;
    • Progress with the resolution of conflicts on the continent, in particular the DRC, Angola, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Comoros Islands and Sudan.
    • Impact of actions by the OAU/AU to prevent and intervene in situations where unconstitutional changes of government take place;
    • The development of NEPAD as a programme of the continent to address its social, economic and political challenges as a united force; and
    • The increasing prominence of issues of development and poverty, and thus the issues of Africa on the world agenda.
  4. The organisational programmes included bilateral interactions with a range of parties on the continent, the convening of a number of meetings of the Southern African former liberation movements forums, sharing experiences with countries emerging from conflicts of our own negotiations process, our transition and reconstruction programme and engagements with other African political parties and movement on party building and organisation.
  5. Education work included focusing on the vision of the renaissance in all our political education work, consistently covering developments on the continent in our media such as ANC Today and Umrabulo, in meetings of our structures and including the celebration of Africa Day on our political calendar. Furthermore, the launch of the African Union in Durban, South Africa also provided an opportunity for much greater organisational and public debate, education, mobilisation and awareness on the challenges facing the continent and the role of South Africa.
  6. A number of our provinces have also become involved in provincial Renaissance chapters, and KZN has for example successfully hosted annual Renaissance conferences.
  7. The Youth League are active in various continental bodies, including the Southern African Youth Forum, which it initiated, the Pan African Youth Movement and it serves as the Deputy President and on the Africa desk of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY). It has organised and hosted a number of conferences on the role of youth in the African renaissance. The Women’s League is also an active participant in the Pan African Women’s Organisation.
  8. Solidarity Campaigns: In addition to the solidarity campaigns identified by Mafikeng, the NGC also highlighted other areas where we need to work with other structures in solidarity actions. The International committee and the movement broadly have therefore been involved in solidarity activities, including:
    • Mobilising humanitarian relief for internal refugees in Angola, in cooperation with other civil society organs such as the SACC and the Ministry of Social Development;
    • Support for the struggle of the Saharawi people for self-determination, including regular briefings from Polisario Front representatives and a motion in parliament on the matter.
    • Participating in mass activities to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people;
    • Joining the Friends of Cuba Society in various activities calling for an end to the blockade, and highlighting various bilateral programmes we have as countries.
  9. Socialist International and Party-to-party engagements: As instructed by Conference, in 1998 the NEC finalised the decision to the join the Socialist International, and the movement has been an active participant in this body. The SI provides us with a platform to engage with other progressive parties from across the world, especially the South and to raise the issues of the African Renaissance and a more just world order in this forum.

  10. The ANC through bilateral meetings and visits has strengthened its relations with the following parties: the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Vietnam, the German Social Democratic Party, SWAPO, ZANU-PF, FRELIMO, MPLA, Rwanda Patriotic Front, Uganda National Resistance Movement, PDP of Nigeria, Botswana National Front, Botswana Democratic Front, AFORD of Malawi, New Labour Party of Britain, Sinn Fein of Ireland, Polisario of Western Sahara, Workers party of Congo (Brazzaville), French Social Party, Belgium Social Parties (Flemish and French), RCD of GOMA – DRC, CAIPV of Cape Verde and Jamariya National Movement of Libya. We have also interacted with the following parties/organisations and institutions: The MDC of Zimbabwe, Citizen’s Coalition of Zambia, Botswana Democratic Party, Swaziland Solidarity Network and with a range of embassies and high commissions based in South Africa, who regularly receive invitations to participate in ANC programmes such as the January 8th Anniversary Celebrations and the NGC.

  11. Strengthening the ANC International capacity: a very small unit at HQ did much of the international work, with assistance from the SGO and Presidency and members of the International Committee. In addition, the unit has also worked with NGOs in the sector, including the Institute for Global Dialogue, ACCORD and the Africa Institute. Following a decision to this effect, provinces started to establish international committees, but this was uneven, with insufficient coordination from national. Both the Leagues have active international units.

  12. We have also regularly invited the SACP and COSATU to meetings and programmes of the International Committee. The Alliance also played an active role in mobilisation and engaging other organs of civil society in the preparations for the WCAR and the WSSD. A joint alliance workshop on NEPAD and the African Union was also held in 2002.

K. NEC, NWC and Officials

  1. For the ANC to remain strong and to have the ability to lead the nation in its transformation agenda, it needs a strong coherent, cohesive leadership in all spheres of its work. The NEC, in accordance with the Constitution (Rule 11.1) is the highest organ of the ANC between Conferences and has the authority to lead the organisation, subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

  2. The NEC agreed on a number of operational measures to carry out its mandate. It elected the NWC as per the Constitution, and it agreed to meet more regular than the three monthly meetings set out in the Constitution. The elected NWC was tasked to process organisational and administrative matters, so that the NEC meetings, in the main, discuss political and other strategic matters facing the movement and the country. It divided its meetings between discussing Organisational, Governance and International matters.

  3. The NEC, in its regular meetings, has ensured sufficient time for political discussions, which assisted in building political cohesion and allowed it to have political solutions to problems and challenges facing our people and the movement. This is something, which the NWC and NEC in its interactions with lower structures strongly encouraged and took steps to ensure that this good practise is replicated throughout the structures of the movement.

  4. The NEC held more than thirty (30) meetings, including annual makgotla at the beginning of each year and extended meetings with the Alliance to finalise Elections Manifestos and lists. It further established Policy and Organisational Committees and task teams to process different components of its work. All NEC members were deployed to specific provinces, with a view to facilitate communication and do political work in the provinces. NEC members were also deployed to Policy and Organisational Committees, to ensure continued assessment and monitoring of the implementation and impact of policies.

  5. The NEC has been able to largely fulfil its mandate. It operated relatively effectively and efficiently and has managed to exercise leadership in the key areas of its work. In continuous critical evaluation of its work, it has managed to correct some of the weaknesses identified. As the highest constitutional structure of the ANC between National Conferences, the NEC must take responsibility for the organisational shortcomings and weaknesses identified, and the problems experienced in the implementation of organisational and governance programmes.

  6. The NEC has endeavoured to address the problems identified, and exercise decisive leadership, in a number of ways. Both the NWC and NEC meet regularly. The NWC meetings have deliberately been held in the different provinces, with direct engagement by NWC members and NEC Deployees with branches, regions and the Leagues. This has enabled a more hands-on approach and ensured the NWC has a visible, direct interaction with branches, regions and the PECs in their own areas.

  7. The NEC has specifically deployed a number of its senior members to HQ to ensure the ongoing day-to-day management of ANC affairs. This, together with weekly meetings of Officials, has greatly improved the political centre of the movement. However, this does not adequately address the need for sufficient skilled staff, including in key areas such as policy, communications, international and political education. Inadequate financial and human resources remain a constraint on the greater effectiveness of HQ and the NEC.

  8. To ensure more effective coordination between organisational structures and governance, the NEC invited as observers to all its meetings, senior cadres deployed in government. These have included Premiers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Office bearers who were not directly elected members of the NEC. These members were given responsibilities, including participating in NEC committees and deployment to provinces. This decision has helped to ensure that ANC cadres with national responsibilities in government are informed about the direction of the movement, and has thus added value to the implementation of policies of the movement in government.

  9. The National Working Committee in accordance with the Constitution (Rule 12.6) is responsible for carrying out decisions and instructions of National Conference and the NEC; conducting the current work of the ANC and ensuring that provinces, regions, branches and all other ANC structures such as parliamentary caucuses carry out decisions of the ANC; and to report to each NEC meeting.

  10. The NWC met at least every two weeks, and held more than a hundred meetings during the five years. NWC work focused on: –
    • Implementation of decisions of the NEC and ensuring that matters are properly processed for discussion and decision by the NEC;
    • Monitoring the state of organisation, including through the visits to provinces, reports from NEC Deployees and HQ and ensuring that corrective measures are put in place where needed;
    • Monitoring governance by processing reports from NEC Committees, interaction with the ANC Parliamentary and Cabinet caucus and taking decisions on governance issues referred to it by these structures;
    • Discussions on political developments of the day and the interventions needed, including on matters such as the Alliance, the WCAR and WSSD preparations, taking forward the African Renaissance at both governance and organisational levels, the realignment of opposition forces and so forth.
  11. The Officials during this period met on a weekly basis, processing matters for the NWC and NEC and ensuring that the overall programme of the movement is implemented and giving direction to such implementation.

  12. NEC Committees: NEC Policy and Organisational Committees were established to carry forward specialised tasks and areas of work of the National Executive Committee, to guide provincial and local structures and to engage with governance and civil society structures in their particular areas of work. The NEC Provincial Committees had to facilitate communication between national and lower structures, to support political work in the provinces and to be a dynamic link between the NEC and lower structures. The committees also help to facilitate and direct the involvement of ANC structures in mobilising behind key programmes set out in the Organisational Action Plan for the year.

  13. There has been improvement in the functioning of NEC committees, especially after some restructuring proposals, which were adopted by the NEC in March 2001. The proposals focused on ensuring that members do not have too many committee responsibilities and to strengthen other committees such as the Gender Committee. However, despite greater focus in the work of committees, a number of committee reports indicate poor participation by NEC members, weak links with lower structures of the organisation and other organisations in their sectors.

  14. Most committees have invited the participation of Alliance partners in their meetings and activities. Committees have also been submitting regular reports to the NEC, and played a role in preparing for discussions in the NEC on strategic governance matters, and in work around Election manifestos and policy review and development.

  15. The implementation of the NGC decision on the Policy Institute will go a long way towards strengthening our overall policy capacity, and work has started towards the creation of the institute with the establishment of the Stalwarts Research Trust.

Assessment of the NEC and NWC

  1. The performance of the NEC and NWC during this period must firstly be measured against the requirements we set for leadership collectives generally. First amongst these are that as a revolutionary movement, the ANC needs revolutionary leadership. This required of individual members of the NEC to understand the policy of the movement, and to be able to apply it under all conditions under which they found themselves. NEC members were also required to constantly improve their capacity to serve the people, to be in touch with our people, listen to their views and learn from them. They, even more so than any of our leadership collectives, were required to be accessible and flexible, to win the confidence of members and our people in their day-to-day work; to be firm when the situation demanded and have the courage to explain positions of the collective, even if such decisions were unpopular.

  2. As a collective, we also measure the performance of the NEC against the duties and obligations set out in the Constitution of the ANC. The NEC had to give leadership and take responsibility for the movement as a whole, and the unfolding processes of social change – that it is given direction, coordinated and ensuring that the entire structures of the movement are mobilised towards the tasks of the moment.

  3. In carrying out the mandate entrusted to it by Conference, the strengths of the NEC and NWC included:
    • Ensuring that provincial and regional structures function effectively, with NEC deployees in most instances playing a positive role to assist with political cohesion and the challenges facing PECs and ensuring dynamic contact with structures through the NWC visits and Regional General Councils addressed by NEC members.
    • Decisively acting where problems arose, whether it was in the NEC as a collective or individual members or in provinces, to identify the cause of the problems, to decide on solutions, to safeguard the integrity of the movement and to involve membership in finding lasting solutions to problems.
    • As a collective, it was characterised by a spirit of robust debate, democracy, openness and honest engagements on political, organisational and policy issues before the movement. It allowed for the expression of all views, and for engagement on all issues, no matter how controversial or difficult.
    • Ability to give leadership to our people on the process of transformation and nation-building and to give hope to our people that though transformation may be slow, the movement is making progress and is committed to speeding up the process of creating a better life for all.
    • Whilst the majority of NEC members have other major responsibilities in their areas of deployments, the NEC as a collective and the majority of individual members have been able to fulfil their responsibilities and duties as NEC members.
    • The Officials and NWC have functioned as a united and cohesive unit, and in general was able to respond to organisational challenges, to monitor and support work of lower structures, to deal with matters of governance as they arise and to process matters for the NEC. The Officials and NWC also regularly accounted to the NEC on work done.
    • The process of internal renewal over the five years, through co-option, internal debates, engagements with structures, the diversity of ideas in the NEC and with the National General Council, provided ample opportunity for midterm reflection.
  4. Weaknesses of the NEC and NWC as collectives included:
    • Although it had regular political discussions, more needs to be done to strengthen ideological clarity in the NEC.
    • Insufficient interaction of NEC members, often because of other responsibilities, with lower structures, which deployees tended to restrict to attending PEC and PWC meetings. Although many comrades worked hard in the provinces, the lack of monitoring mechanisms meant that some comrades got away with not honouring their deployment commitments.
    • A tendency amongst some members to place individual popularity above that of the collective, and often the movement. This was manifested in incidences of public spats between NEC members and leaking and distorting discussions of the movement to the media.
    • Undermining the cohesiveness and culture of debate in the movement by not having the courage of conviction to raise matters within the structures of the movement for debate, but to raise it elsewhere, under the guise that there is no culture of debate in the movement.
    • Lack of initiative by the majority of NEC members to engage as ANC leaders in the public debates, explaining the policies and decisions of the movement; and a tendency to leave communication on ANC positions to Luthuli House.
    • There is room for improvement with regard to the deployment of NEC members to assist in the lower structures. These failures to honour deployments led to disappointment and demoralisation of our structures. The weaknesses of some of our NEC policy committees also undermined our ability to effectively engage with policy matters.
    • The NWC mainly allocated tasks and responsibilities to those serving on the NWC, and could have done more to involve the broader NEC membership.
    • Some NEC members are regarded or regard themselves as provincial leaders first, despite having been elected by the Conference to lead the movement as part of the national leadership of the ANC and to do work in other provinces.
    • Perception that the national leadership has certain preferences for provincial leadership, and although this in most cases is not true, it does contribute to divisions in provinces.
    • Insufficient attention to fundraising, and ensuring the financial sustainability and capacity of the movement to respond to the demands of the time.
    • A shift amongst our people, where more and more, those in government are seen as the leadership of our people, rather than the leadership of the ANC as represented by the NEC. This is in a large part as a result of how NEC members carry out their work as leadership of the ANC, and not only of government.
  5. These strengths and weaknesses are the result of a process of self-reflection by the NEC of its own performance as mandated by the last Conference. The membership of the movement, represented here by delegates from branches and other structures, must themselves assess whether indeed the NEC has fulfilled its obligation to give leadership to the movement over the last five years.

  6. Resignations: Since the Mafikeng Conference, Cdes Tito Mboweni and Gill Marcus have been redeployed and resigned from the NEC. Cdes Popo Molefe, S’bu Ndebele and Ngoako Ramatlhodi resigned as they were elected as Provincial Chairpersons. Cdes Mac Maharaj and Limpho Hani resigned due to other commitments, which made it difficult to fulfil their duties as NEC members.

  7. Ill-health: During the course of this term, cde Joe Nhlanhla, who served on the NEC and NWC, and as Convenor of the Free State NEC committee, suffered a stroke whilst on NEC duty in the Limpopo province. As a result, and due to slow recovery, he has been unable to fulfil his duties as a member of the NEC and NWC.

  8. Deaths: We dip our banners in memory of Cdes Alfred Nzo, Joe Modise, Steve Tshwete and Peter Mokaba who passed away.

  9. Co-option: The NEC at its meeting of 19-22 February 1998, exercised the power contained in Rule 11.3 (f) of the Constitution, when it co-opted comrades Ebrahim Ebrahim, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Thandi Modise, Stella Sigcau and Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to the NEC.

    Comrades Smuts Ngonyama, Candith Mashego, January Masilela, Dipuo Peters, Jomo Khasu and Thabang Makwetla were co-opted as replacements to fill vacancies on the NEC in accordance with Rule 11.3 (g) of the Constitution.

Serving members of the National Executive Committee

  1. President Thabo Mbeki
  2. Deputy President Jacob Zuma
  3. National Chairperson Patrick Lekota
  4. Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe
  5. Deputy Secretary General Thenjiwe Mtintso
  6. Treasurer General Mendi Msimang
  7. Ex-officio – Nelson R. Mandela
  8. Asmal, Kader
  9. Bengu, Sibusiso
  10. Chabane, Collins
  11. Chikane, Frank
  12. Cronin, Jeremy
  13. Dexter, Phillip
  14. Didiza, Thoko
  15. Dipico, Manne
  16. Duarte, Jessie
  17. Ebrahim, Ebrahim
  18. Erwin, Alec
  19. Fraser-Moleketi, Geraldine
  20. Ginwala, Frene
  21. Godongwana, Enoch
  22. Hanekom, Derek
  23. Hani, Limpho
  24. Jordan, Pallo
  25. Kasrils, Ronnie
  26. Kgositsile, Baleka
  27. Khasu, Jomo
  28. Mabandla, Brigitte
  29. Macozoma, Saki
  30. Madikizela-Mandela, Winnie
  31. Maduna, Penuell
  32. Makhaye, Dumisani
  33. Makwetla, Thabang
  34. Manuel, Trevor
  35. Mapisa-Nqakula, Nosiviwe
  36. Mashego-Dlamini, Candith
  37. Masilela, January ‘Che’
  38. Masondo, Amos
  39. Matsepe-Casaburri, Ivy
  40. Mkhatshwa, Smangaliso
  41. Mkhize, Zweli
  42. Mlambo-Ngcuka, Phumzile
  43. Modise, Joe
  44. Modise, Thandi
  45. Moleketi, Jabu
  46. Moosa, Mohammed Valli
  47. Mthembi-Mahanyele, Sankie
  48. Mufamadi, Sydney
  49. Myakayaka-Manzini, Mavivi
  50. Naidoo, Jay
  51. Netshitenzhe, Joel
  52. Ngonyama, Smuts
  53. Nhlanhla, Joe
  54. Nqakula, Charles
  55. Nzimande, Blade
  56. Omar, Dullah
  57. Pahad, Aziz
  58. Pahad, Essop
  59. Peters, Dipuo
  60. Radebe, Jeff
  61. Ramaphosa, Cyril
  62. Shilowa, Mbhazima Sam
  63. Sigcau, Stella
  64. Sisulu, Lindiwe
  65. Sisulu, Max
  66. Skweyiya, Zola
  67. Tshabalala-Msimang, Manto
  68. Yengeni, Tony
  69. Zuma, Nkosazana


Eastern Cape

Stofile, Makhenkesi Chairperson
Maxegwana, Humphrey Secretary

Free State

Magashule, Ace Chairperson
Matosa, Pat Secretary


Makhura, David Secretary

North West

Molefe, Popo Chairperson
Ngwenya, Siphiwe Secretary

Western Cape

Rasool, Ebrahim Chairperson
Skwatsha, Mcebisi Secretary


Mahlalela, Fish Chairperson
Mello, Lucas Secretary


Ramathlodi, Ngoako Chairperson
Mathale, Cassel Secretary


Ndebele, Sibusiso Chairperson
Gcabashe, Sipho Secretary

Northern Cape

Mompati, Neville Secretary
Women’s League
Dlamini, Bathabile Secretary General

Youth League

Gigaba, Malusi President
Mbalula, Fikile Secretary General


  1. Balfour, Ngconde
  2. Botha, Ntombazana
  3. Direko, Winkie
  4. Du Toit, Dirk
  5. Gillwald, Cheryl
  6. Hendrickse, Lindiwe –
  7. Mabudafhasi, Joyce
  8. Mafolo, Titus
  9. Nhleko, Nathi
  10. Mdladlana, Membathisi Shepherd
  11. Mpahlwa, Bongani, Mandisa
  12. Mushwana Lawrence
  13. Pandor, Naledi
  14. Ramathlodi, Ngoako
  15. Routledge-Madlala Nozizwe
  16. Shabangu, Susan
  17. Surty, Enver
  18. Eggenhuizen, Toine
  19. Mabasa, Lucky
  20. Manana, Naph

Serving members of the National Working Committee

President Thabo Mbeki
Deputy President Jacob Zuma
National Chairperson Mosioa Lekota
Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe
Deputy Secretary General Thenjiwe Mtintso
Treasurer General Mendi Msimang
Thoko Didiza
Frene Ginwala
Brigitte Mabandla
Sydney Mufamadi
Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini
Joel Netshitenzhe
Joe Nhlanhla
Jeff Radebe
Penuell Maduna
Baleka Mbete
Max Sisulu
Zola Skweyiya
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
Nkosazana Zuma
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (ANCWL President)
Malusi Gigaba (ANCYL President)
Smuts Ngonyama (Head of Presidency)
Nelson R. Mandela (Ex-officio)

L. Operations and administration

  1. The 50th National Conference resolved on strengthening the full-time capacity of the ANC, at HQ and in the provinces. Taking forward this resolution, the NEC confirmed the deployment of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Treasurer General on a full-time basis to HQ. It further appointed cde Smuts Ngonyama as Head of Presidency (and subsequently co-opted him onto the NEC), and cde Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini as Head of International and Policy in a full-time capacity. This brought the number of full-time NEC members deployed at HQ to five. This number was increased to six in 2001, with the appointment of the late cde Peter Mokaba as Elections Manager.

  2. The NWC also implemented an Organisational review in 1998, and on the basis thereof, Headquarters and provinces were restructured. The main objectives of the restructuring process was to increase and strengthen the programme staff component at Headquarters and to ensure that proportionally more staff are employed at provincial and regional levels, than at Headquarters.

  3. Further structures were put in place at national and provincial levels, to improve coordination of the implementation of our organisational action plan (Table G). Since 1999, annual National Implementation Forums with all ANC programme staff nationally have been convened, to plan the implementation of the organisational action plan. The Secretaries Forum, consisting of the SGO and Provincial secretaries also met before every NEC to discuss organisational matters. During this period we have also conducted management training for provincial secretaries and the national management team.

  4. The ANC moved its Headquarters from 51 Plein Street to 54 Sauer Street, Johannesburg at the end of 2000. With the realignment, regional offices were rationalised and changed to reflect the new demarcations. In addition, it was agreed that Regional Secretaries will be full-time and steps will to be taken to strengthen regional offices. The process of employing regional organisers for each of the Leagues, as they complete their realignment process, has also started.

  5. Amongst the challenges facing the movement with regard to our full-time personnel capacity at all levels, with better paid opportunities elsewhere and limited possibilities for upward mobility, is the ability to attract and maintain experienced and skilled comrades in the movement. However, notwithstanding this challenge, the ANC has a core of full time revolutionaries who have served the organisation in implementing its historic mission.
  6. Another challenge is the need to strengthen the capacity and financial resources of the ANC, in view of the challenges that we have outlined and the tasks which will emerge from this Conference.


  1. We recognised at Mafikeng that whereas the 1994 breakthrough ushered in a completely new environment in the entire existence of the ANC, it has taken the organisation some time to determine how to operate within this new context. The NGC observed that among the attributes, which make the ANC unique as a political movement, is its ability to amongst others, “internally renew and redefine itself when the situation so demands.” It thus also called for the ‘modernising’ of the ANC to face the new challenges ahead.

  2. The NEC Lekgotla in January 2001 therefore decided that a comprehensive review of our organisational design be done. On that basis, an Organisational design task team was appointed in 2002, to examine the factors that impact on the capacity of the movement to fulfil all the tasks we have set out above, and what we need to do to strengthen and enhance that capacity.

  3. We have made progress since the last Conference to build the ANC as an agent for change. However, we are faced with many challenges, which this report has highlighted. National Conference as the parliament of our people must therefore grapple with all these issues. It must ensure that when we emerge from this Conference, the ANC is stronger, more united and more resolved to fulfil its historic mission of a South Africa that belongs to all and for the creation of a better life for all our people.