ANC STATEMENT ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC met on 27 – 28 June 2020 by means of a virtual platform. The NEC took place six months into the global Covid-19 pandemic, which has had profound social and economic consequences for our country and the world. As the NEC was deliberating, the virus had infected more than 10 million people and claimed the lives of more than half-a-million people. A second wave of infections in countries that have hitherto managed to control the pandemic is of great concern. The Covid-19 pandemic affects the public health, economies and social cohesion of all national, with devastating consequences for all sectors of society, especially the most vulnerable.
The pandemic has, once again, exposed the persistent fault lines of poverty, inequality and unemployment in our society. As a nation we must seize the opportunity collectively to fight both this public health pandemic, but also to embark on a programme of socio-economic reconstruction, solidarity and common prosperity.
The NEC therefore considered a draft Covid-19 Reconstruction, Growth and Development Plan from the Economic Transformation Committee, which will be finalised and released for public comment and inputs.
The NEC commended the government and the people of our nation, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the clear and decisive leadership in driving a united, focused and co-ordinated response to the pandemic.
The rising number of infections remains a matter of grave concern, as economic and other activities are being ramped up. Accordingly, the NEC called for maximum vigilance, responsibility and care by everyone living in South Africa.
The Covid-19 pandemic will constitute a “new normal” for our country and the world for the foreseeable future. Consequently, this calls upon all of us to change our behavior fundamentally.
In keeping with the injunction: Protect yourself, Defend each other, Let us do it together: We must commit ourselves rigorously to adhere to the practices of hand hygiene, wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowded places and large gatherings.
The NEC observed a moment of silence for the families, colleagues and friends affected by the over 2 400 Covid-19 deaths recorded to date. The NEC again paid special tribute to health care and other essential workers, who over the last few months have worked even longer working hours and placing their health and those of their families at risk, as they serve our nation on the frontlines of the war on the pandemic. We salute them.
In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa and the world face two other crises: gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide, as well as the persistent scourge of racism.
The NEC welcomed the Alliance campaigns against racism and gender-based
violence, in particular the greater focus on the role of men and boys in the fight against gender-based violence, and for the amendment and improved enforcement of laws to strengthen the prosecution of GBV perpetrators.
The pandemic hit us as we emerged from our first 25 years of democracy, as the country prepared for local government elections in 2021. The pandemic has disrupted and delayed these preparations; the adaptations required and the recent Constitutional Court Ruling on the Electoral Act, have given impetus to society-wide engagements on broader electoral reforms, which will have an important impact on our political system for the decades to come.
The NEC commended ANC structures at branch, regional, provincial and national level, as well as the Leagues, for adapting to new ways of working imposed by the pandemic and ensuring that they are centre of efforts to deal with the pandemic.
The NEC resolved that the National General Council as well as provincial and regional conferences and branch general meetings this year, should be postponed until further notice in keeping with regulations aimed at containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NEC dealt with these and other major issues confronting the country, in a spirit of robust debate and unity of purpose, more determined to ensure that our nation survives and thrives through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated challenges.
ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: WE HAVE NOT YET WON THE WAR
President Cyril Ramaphosa in his political overview to the NEC highlighted the difficult road we travelled in 2020, as the novel Coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe. South Africa acted decisively and early – to get the public health messages to all citizens and inhabitants, to start preparing our health system and personnel, and to put in place the capacity for tracing and testing. The State of National Disaster of 15 March 2020, followed by hard lockdown until end of May 2020 helped to slow down infection, and deaths, during these first critical months.
The pandemic exposed the severe and persistent fault-lines in our society: food insecurity, the precariousness of incomes of informal sector, casual and temporary workers, unequal access to internet connectivity and data, backlogs in access to basic services, and underdevelopment.
These fault lines meant that the burden of COVID-19 remains unequally distributed, as it affects every woman, man and child within the borders of the Republic. A number of measures are in place to mitigate the social and economic impact of the pandemic. These include swiftly providing water to communities, schools and other critical facilities who
were without; food relief, shelter to the homeless; increase of existing social grants and the introduction of the Covid-19 grant for the unemployed who do not receive any other grants or benefits. It includes the package of economic measures to mitigate the impact of lockdown on workers and businesses: expansion of the UIF system; tax concessions; specific support packages in the environmental, tourism and hospitalities and small business sectors; the R200 billion SARB and banks package to assist other businesses and sectors; and an agricultural and agro-processing plan to address national food security. Parliament also received the special Supplementary Budget, to allow for repriorisation and funding of the public health, social and economic responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Ramaphosa focused on other critical and immediate measures necessary to aid economic recovery and reconstruction, with special attention to job creation. Most importantly is a massive infrastructure programme to stimulate investments and employment, and government has already convened the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) to develop priority sectors, projects and plans. The President also reiterated the ANC’s commitment to agricultural and land reform, as part of Covid-19 economic recovery and reconstruction.
The NEC applauded the African Union, the AU Commission and President Ramaphosa as current chairperson of the African Union, for the timely and consistent manner in which they have led and enabled African responses and interests, including a platform to ensure access to all African nations to vital medical supplies and advocating for African economic recovery, including debt relief and forgiveness. We must continue to build on this to strengthen the global progressive and left forces.
The presentations stressed the points, that the worst is still to come and we must brace ourselves as a nation and all sectors in the society. The most effective public health strategy remains prevention, and to halt the spread of the virus. This means that we must continue to tirelessly advocate for the following public health preventative measures by all:
- Physical distancing: keeping at least a distance of 1.5 meters between persons, limitations on gatherings, public transport, work places and shopping malls.
- Hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water or with sanitisers.
- Universal use of cloth masks by the public, that cover nose and mouths.
- Monitoring for “flu-like” symptoms.
- Encouraging those over 60 years and with other conditions (diabetes, hypertension, cancer, asthma, HIV, TB, kidney diseases, obesity to work remotely and stay at home.
These prevention measures by all South Africans, together with rigorous testing, quarantine and isolation measures are critical to the current phase of the pandemic, as we seek to find the delicate balance of saving lives and saving livelihoods. This means hyp er vigilance, because as we are easing lockdown, the virus has not eased its infection.
The National Executive Committee welcomed the reports on the Covid-19 Pandemic, and resolved to:
- Support the strengthening of the District Development Model, as we disaggregate and manage the pandemic at this level, including through the use of the CSIR information systems on vulnerable communities in each district.
- Implement a national ANC mass mobilisation campaign working at community and street level, to advocate for and support public health prevention, screening and testing measures, as well as the social and economic measures.
WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO STOP GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
The NEC also deliberated on the notion of a “second pandemic” of gender-based violence, with presentations by the Social Transformation as well as the Peace and Stability Subcommittees of
The ANC structures, working in street committees and with all sectors of society will continue to mount a massive campaign to change attitudes, and to provide support in the war on gender based violence. The NEC further acknowledged that gender based violence takes place in the context of a traumatised nation, where violence is seen as the first response to any problem and challenge, reflected in our high rates of violent crimes.
Amongst the key recommendations from the Committees which the NEC adopted are:
Review of legislation that govern gender based violence, to ensure tougher sanctions for perpetrators, including bail conditions, sentencing, and the enforcement of restraining orders.
Training of police officers, magistrates and other personnel on gender-based violence, to avoid the second victimisation of women, children and others reporting abuse;
A society-wide awareness campaign on sexist, misogynist attitudes and socialisation, as well as
patriarchal power relations, in which gender based violence flourish, with special focus on boys and teenagers.
The NEC vows that we must all continue to speak for the victims of gender-based violence and femicide, and to break the culture of silence around perpetrators.
More generally as a society, we need a process of healing, dealing with the wounds of intergenerational trauma and violence, so that we begin to build a generation free from violence and trauma.
FIGHTING THE ABUSE OF ALCOHOL
Research by the SA Medical Research Council and others showed the huge drop in alcohol related injuries as well as crime during the period of the lockdown and ban on the sale of alcohol. Conversely, we’ve seen these evils manifesting themselves again as the ban was lifted.
Clearly as a society we have problem, with average alcohol consumption per adult (9.5l) considerably higher than the average in the rest of Africa (6.0l) and the world (6.2l) in 2011. This not only leads to injuries and crime, but also one in ten deaths in 2019 was alcohol-related and our country continues to record high levels of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Alcoholism
continue to destroy individual, brilliant lives, and has a devastating effect on children and families. Although the reversal of the alcohol ban is not on the agenda, we do have to as a society look into this matter as part of our broader programme to reconstruct our communities and strengthen families.
MEASURES FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION AND EXPANDING SOCIAL SAFETY NET
The deep impact of inequality and poverty, despite progress made, continues to be reflected in millions of people facing hunger, living in informal settlements, in indigent households and unemployed. We introduced social measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic such as food relief, increasing grants and the special Covid-19 grant.
Although these measures made a difference, given the devasting economic impact expected as the pandemic unfold, we must look at additional measures to broaden the social safety net, and provide for the dignity of all South Africans.
The NEC therefore tasked the Social Transformation Committee and the Economic Transformation Committee to urgently meet to look at the feasibility and detailed modalities of a Basic Income Grant, including the costing and financing of this measure, and to report to the Officials and NWC.
COVID 19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact negatively on economic activity in South Africa and around the world – unemployment is rising, businesses are under pressure, public finances are being stretched and the legacy of underdevelopment is laid bare for all to see.
The NEC discussed a range of economic intervention measures under a framework for Reconstruction, Growth and Transformation, which will contribute to stimulating economic growth and job creation, economic transformation and inclusion, and speed up the commitments in the ANC 2019 Manifesto.
The first pillar will be to mobilise society around an infrastructure-led recovery with new investments in energy; water and sanitation; roads and bridges; human settlements, health and education; digital infrastructure and public transport. To achieve significant job creation
multipliers, the emphasis will be on localisation, including maximising the use of South African materials and construction companies as well as labour-intensive methods.
The District Development Model should be strengthened to improve service delivery and infrastructure expansion in both rural and urban areas; and to forge new spatial forms in its settlement and transport systems, to bring people closer to areas of social and economic opportunity.
As a second pillar, promote investment in key productive sectors, such as, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism and other services, alongside the necessary reforms in the telecommunications sector to allow for reduction of data costs. Similarly, the growth and job creation potential of energy-related investments, including green industries must be harnessed through local production linked to the energy investment programme, as required in the
Integrated Resource Plan. Industrialisation and the expansion of productive sectors will be accelerated through increased international trade, especially with other countries on the African continent. While working to restore fiscal stability, South Africa needs to deploy macro-economic policy
instruments compatible with economic reconstruction. Reconstruction programmes must be sufficiently financed and financially sustainable. The National Treasury, South African Reserve Bank, development finance institutions (DFIs) and private financial institutions all have a role to play. The mobilisation of funds for increased investment in infrastructure and key productive sectors, will inevitably require a combination of public and private resources.
Sustainable financing of economic recovery will require close co-ordination of fiscal and monetary policy to ensure ongoing access to capital markets, reduce the cost of borrowing, as well as strengthening the role of Development Finance Institutions. Changes should be made to Regulation 28 under the Pension Funds Act to enable cheaper access to finance for development. Furthermore, regulators should be vigilant to ensure increased competition in the banking sector.
To facilitate a society-wide mobilisation to advance South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery, a process of social dialogue and social compacting, at national and sectoral level, will be required to unite in action key constituencies including business, labour, community and government, led by South Africa’s Presidency.
STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES
The NEC took note of ongoing work towards the transformation of SOEs. The NEC welcomed plans to restructure SAA, with majority state ownership. It welcomes the search for equity partners, and encourage development finance institutions and worker equity, in addition to private sector participation.
The ANC calls on government to ensure that we minimize job losses as a result of restructuring and the challenges facing the aviation sector. It urged social plans that assist workers in the immediate and as we move towards rebuilding the national aviation sector.
The NEC also notes plans at SABC and other state owned entities, and call on Boards and management to be circumspect not to add to unemployment, as we seek to preserve jobs in a difficult economic climate.
END RACISM AND VIOLENCE
The NEC welcomed the campaign of the Alliance, launched on 5 June 2020, to stand in solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter movement and with African Americans as they battle centuries of slavery and institutionalized racism, as part of the global progressive community against racism and violence.
The NEC concurred with the approach that in South Africa, racism expresses itself in the legacies and outmoded attitudes caused by and engendered by the systems of apartheid colonialism and patriarchy. Although we have made progress over the last 25 years of democracy, these legacies persist, and we must continue to fight racism wherever it rears its ugly head, build non-racialism and continue to transform our country into a National Democracy that truly belongs to all.
All South Africans – black and white – are therefore encouraged to become part of this global movement against racism, and continue the fight for decolonization of our society, for a South Africa and world that is equitable, just and recognize the human dignity, and celebrates our rich diversity.
The NEC remains concerned about the state of local government, reflected in high and rising debts to Eskom and Water boards; and dwindling revenues making it difficult to pay creditors and staff and also impacting on their ability to provide basic services to the communities they serve. The latest adverse findings of the Auditor General and the many municipalities under administration are further causes for concern.
The NEC therefore agreed to the measures by COGTA to support municipalities especially those that have proven to be none-viable and to address the weaknesses that continue to plague this sphere of government.
The NEC appreciated continued efforts to build a responsive and effective developmental state across all spheres of government.
The NEC remains concerned about the state of local government, reflected in high and rising debts to Eskom and Water boards; dwindling revenues making it difficult to pay creditors and staff and also impacting on their ability to provide basic services to the communities they serve.
The latest adverse findings of the Auditor General and the many municipalities under administration are further causes for concern. The NEC therefore agreed to the measures by COGTA to support municipalities, especially those who have proven to be non-viable and to address the weaknesses that continue to plague this sphere of government.
During this difficult time, we call on state owned utilities and financial institutions to be sensitive to the difficulties faced by municipalities and households, when it comes to cut-offs and evictions.
The NEC notes report from ANC structures who have taken action in the cases of fourteen (14) ANC councillors accused of wrong-doing during the distribution of Covid-19 relief efforts.
Although this is a tiny minority of the over 4000 ANC councillors, who continue to diligently and ethically serve their communities, such actions undermine public trust and confidence in our movement. The NEC called on ANC structures to continue to be vigilant and act promptly where there is misuse of food relief or other wrong-doing, and on public representative to be diligent and ethical in serving their communities.
STRENGTHENING THE WORK OF THE INTEGRITY COMMISSION
The NEC approved the appointment of additional names of comrades to the Integrity Commission, in order to strengthen and fill vacancies on the Commission:
- Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe
- Jennie Schreiner
- Nkele Dikeledi Ntingane
The NEC also received the report of the Integrity Commission, on the two Limpopo provincialleaders implicated in the VBS saga. It is now close to two years that the two comrades stepped aside from their positions as Provincial Deputy Chairperson and Provincial Treasurer respectively.
The NEC therefore decided that the two comrades be reinstated to their positions Their reinstatement will be preceded by engagement with Structures and Stakeholders which will be led by National Officials.
The NEC further called on law enforcement agencies to act swiftly against those found to in the wrong on the VBS saga regardless of their position and or station in life.
The NEC also called on law enforcement agencies to expedite investigations surrounding the lose of life’s by key whistleblowers in the VBS saga and to continuously keep the public updated.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS AND THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM REFORMS
The NEC supports the initiative by Officials and the NWC, to engaged in the development of proposals on a synchronized national, provincial and local government elections to enable better coordination and implementation of policies across spheres of government.
The NEC noted the Constitutional Court Judgement on the Electoral Act, and established a team to work with all internal and external stakeholders to ensure that the 24 month time frame to amend the Act is adhered to.
AFRICAN AGENDA AND SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE, CUBA AND OTHERS
The NEC noted that in addition to work of the African Union on the Covid-19 pandemic, the AU Chairperson is also steering work on other key AU Agenda 2063 programmes, including infrastructure development, silencing the guns, the African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa’s global partnerships and the reform and financing of the Union. As 2020 is dedicated to silencing the guns, work is in progress with Libya, Mozambique, and other countries. The AU Chairperson is also seized with the negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the African Renaissance Dam project.
The NEC noted the deliberations of the Palestine Solidarity panel held on 25 June 2020, and added its voice to the global community, who in the strongest terms, condemn the plans by Israel to, on 1 July 2020, annex even more land of the Palestinian people, as “the most serious violation of international rights.” The NEC reiterated its stances that South Africa will continue to support a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, existing side by side with Israel, within recognized borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with relevant UN and African Union resolutions. The NEC calls on all peace and freedom loving South Africans, Africans and the world to continue to support the struggle of the Palestinians for self-determination and against oppression.
The NEC reaffirmed the ANC’s solidarity with the struggling peoples of Western Sahara, as well as with Cuba and Venezuela.
The NEC congratulates the example of international solidarity which Cuba continues to set, and especially in the current global struggle against the Covid-19 Pandemic. We thank Cuban doctors for their contributions to strengthening our health system especially in rural areas, for the training of medical students, and the broader role it plays in Africa to support and help develop health systems. The NEC supports the call by the Italian people, for Cuba to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize and reiterate its 54th National Conference resolution calling for the lifting of the US embargo against Cuba.
OTHER ORGANISATIONAL MATTERS
Due to Covid 19 conditions the NEC reiterated its position to postpone all conferences inclusive of the Leagues and the National General Council.
In this regard the office of the Secretary General has already communicated with structures.
As the NEC therefore concluded its meeting, it emphasized the following key tasks of ANC structures:
- ✓ Community campaigns against the pandemic, gender based violence and racism;
- ✓ Prepare for local government elections and strengthen local government;
- ✓ Strengthen branch work, contact with members, meetings of BEC even if it is
- ✓ political education sessions, and encouraging members to register on the
- ✓ membership system and renew their membership.
- ✓ Rooting out corruption, and building diligent and ethical leadership
- ✓ Fighting against factionalism and building maximum unity
- ✓ Ongoing international solidarity
This moment in the life of our national demands that we act in accordance with the fundamental values of Ubuntu – emphasizing our common and inter-connected human that we act in solidarity with the hungry, the poor, the unemployed, the sick, the homeless and that we act to ensure that South Africa truly belongs to all who live in it.
ISSUED BY SECRETARY GENERAL ES MAGASHULE, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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