CLOSING REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA TO THE ANC NEC MEETING 8 MAY - 10 MAY 2021
National Chairperson, Cde Gwede Mantashe, Former President Thabo Mbeki,
Former President Jacob Zuma.
Members of the National Executive Committee.
We have now come to the end of an important meeting for our movement.
Although we had to deal with very difficult issues, this meeting has reaffirmed our shared commitment to the process of renewal and rebuilding.
IMPLEMENTATION OF PRIORITIES FOR 2021
As we noted on the opening day. this NEC meeting coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of our democratic
Constitution by the Constitutional Assembly.
The meeting recalled that the values and objectives enshrined in the Constitution find their genesis in the African Claims.
Freedom Charter and other seminal texts of our movement.
The ANC therefore has a historical responsibility to respect. uphold and advance our country's Constitution.
Members of the ANC are expected to live according to the values of social justice, respect for humanity, equality, selfless service and adherence to the rule of law.
The NEC reaffirmed the ANC's commitment to advance the objectives of the Constitution to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist. democratic and prosperous South Africa.
The NEC therefore reiterated the foremost priorities of the organisation for 2021:
Firstly. to act together with all South Africans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondly. to place our economy on a path of renewal and recovery.
Thirdly, to forge ahead with the fundamental renewal of the ANC in line with its core mandate and values.
Fourthly, to strengthen developmental and participatory local government, and achieve a decisive win the upcoming local government elections.
Fifthly, to build a better Africa and a better world.
The NEC applauded the continued dedication by those on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.
It commended South Africans for their continued adherence to prevention measures. and in taking responsibility for their own health and the health of others.
The meeting noted worrying signs of escalating infections in some areas. and the need for society to remain vigilant to prevent a devastating third wave of infections.
The meeting welcomed the report on the second phase of the Alliance's COVID-19 campaign. This campaign encourages adherence to the public health protocols, especially wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene; and we call on all adults in South Africa to participate in the mass vaccination campaign that will begin during May 2021.
We reaffirmed positions adopted at previous meetings and by the Alliance that South Africa needs to seek vaccines and treatment from all available sources, including BRICS partners, and that this should be undertaken in conformity with our country's laws and regulations.
We have welcomed the initiative by South Africa and India to fight for a TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organisation so that there is equitable access to COVID vaccines.
This proposal is now supported by the World Health Organisation, the African Union and more than 100 countries, including the United States.
We will continue engaging other countries that are still reluctant to offer their support to a vaccine patents waiver.
We will also continue to promote a pan-African approach to fighting the pandemic, including access for the continent to sufficient vaccines and capacity to produce its own medical equipment, medicines and vaccines.
ACCELERATING TRANSFORMATION AND BUILDING A CAPABLE STATE
On land reform and redistribution
As part of its commitment to tackle the historical injustice of land dispossession, the NEC had a discussion on the process of amending Section 25 to explicitly make provision for the expropriation of land without compensation.
This is informed by the direction of our National Conference that land reform must take place in a manner that strengthens the agricultural sector, improves economic growth and significantly tackles inequality, poverty and unemployment.
The NEC welcomed the progress that has been made in the Parliamentary process and urged government to bolster resources and capacity to effect land reform and restitution at a faster pace.
Local government remains a key sphere of government, and in the context of the District Development Model, we must continue to strengthen its capacity to meet its obligations to communities, to deliver basic services, to ensure popular participation in decision-making, and to drive local economic development.
This should also enable empowerment of cooperatives and SMMEs, the empowerment of women and youth, and the promotion of skills development.
Given the critical role of this sphere, the ANC has revised and adopted guidelines for the selection of candidates, which allows for the best candidates to emerge with the support of local communities.
We have stressed that all ANC members and structures must ensure that we are deliberate in selecting candidates with the necessary capacities, experience and skills.
These candidates must be the embodiment of hard work, service to the people and ethical conduct.
This NEC has stressed the importance of the principles of continuity, gender equality and the representation of young people.
UNITY, RENEWAL AND THE STATE OF THE ANC
The Special NEC meeting discussed in detail the state and cohesion of the organisation.
It noted with deep concern the continued factional divisions and divisive public pronouncements, which give the impression of an organisation in crisis.
Fundamental to these challenges is the critical process of implementing the mandate of the 54th National Conference to build unity of principle and unity in action, combined with the task of ensuring organisational and societal renewal.
At the same time, the meeting recognised that the work of the organisation is continuing.
Contrary to impressions created in some public discourse, the work of the organisation is continuing.
Since the last NEC meeting, over 2,000 Branch general meetings have been held, and regional conferences have started.
Local structures and regions are also continuing the campaigns against COVID-19, as well as other organisational programmes and campaigning for by-elections.
As this leadership, we have recommitted ourselves to the mandate of the 54th National Conference to restore the unity, renewal and integrity of the ANC, despite the very difficult and complex challenges of the current period.
In the spirit of criticism and self-criticism, we reflected on the way we work and on our conduct as NEC members.
We agreed to adhere to organisational protocols and practices, including collective leadership, the promotion of unity and
renewal, and strict adherence to the ANC's communications protocol.
We have agreed to hold a retreat as soon as conditions permit to address varying perspectives among the leadership and develop a practical action plan to strengthen the process of unity and renewal.
Members of the NEC have expressed concern about a concerted and well-resourced campaign to sow division and confusion in the ANC, with the ultimate aim to destroy the movement as an instrument for progressive transformation and change.
It noted that this campaign is actively aided by a few individuals from within the NEC, through leaks, deviant public pronouncements, protests and misinformation on social media.
The NEC agreed to take urgent steps to investigate the leaks from the NEC and any organised campaign to subvert the movement and to take appropriate action.
Implementation of step-aside guidelines and procedures
During this meeting, we received a report from the National Working Committee on the implementation of the resolution that all ANC members indicted for corruption and other serious crimes should step aside or be temporarily suspended pending the finalisation of their case.
The report indicated that, in line with the decisions of the NEC meeting of 26-29 March 2021, a number of ANC members had stepped aside and others had been served with notices of suspension.
These include our Secretary General Ace Magashule and NEC member Bongani Bongo.
This meeting has confirmed the terms and conditions for elected office bearers and public representatives who have stepped aside or temporarily suspended.
These include that during the step-aside period, such an individual may not:
- carry out the duties and responsibilities of their office;
- represent the organisation publicly or in any other forum;
- make public pronouncements on matters related to the organisation;
- engage in the mobilisation of ANC structures, any other organisations or individuals;
During the step-aside period a public representative may not occupy any executive office or other position of responsibility in the legislative to which they belong.
During the step-aside period, they will be entitled to remuneration and other benefits.
The decision to step aside must be reviewed by the relevant structure of the organisation every six months.
The NEC confirmed that in the light of the temporary suspension of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte will, in accordance with the ANC Constitution, "carry out the functions entrusted to the Secretary General by the National Conference, the National General Council, the NEC or the NWC..."
Members have condemned the unwarranted attacks on the Deputy Secretary General and ANC staff members at Luthuli House for carrying out decisions of the NEC, NWC and Officials.
These attacks have taken the form of threats, insults, unfounded allegations and misinformation.
We have also noted with great concern death threats made against the ANC NEC Coordinator Cde Andries Nel, and agreed that this be reported to the relevant authorities.
The NEC reaffirms its full confidence in the Deputy Secretary General, and supports her in carrying out her duties as per the ANC Constitution.
The NEC discussed the 'letter of suspension' written by the Secretary General to the President, for which the Secretary General had no authority or mandate from any structure of the movement.
The NEC agreed that such conduct was completely unacceptable and a flagrant violation of the rules, norms and values of the ANC.
The NEC furthermore instructed the Officials to advise the Secretary General to apologise publicly to ANC structures and members within a set timeframe.
If he fails to do so, the ANC will institute disciplinary procedures in accordance with the ANC Constitution.
Commission of Inquiry into State Capture
This meeting also discussed the ANC's submission to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The ANC reaffirms its support for the work of the Commission and its role in determining the nature and extent of state capture, and of holding those responsible to account.
While the ANC has come under great scrutiny at the Commission, we believe that this is a necessary part of the national effort to end state capture in all its forms and ensure that it can never happen again.
Update on BBGMs, Regional and Provincial Conferences
We must appreciate the work by ANC structures to convene Branch Biennial General Meetings — or BBGMs — where new branch leadership is elected.
Over 2,000 of these meetings have been held and the process is ongoing.
This is the first time that the majority of BBGMs are held on the basis of the new membership system.
While there have been some technical glitches, the system has helped to protect the integrity of the movement's key organisational processes.
Local Government Elections Campaign
We should welcome the tireless work being done by our local government elections teams at all levels on by-elections and preparations for the forthcoming election campaign.
While we must welcome the advances in some by-elections, where the ANC won wards from the opposition, we must also recognise that there were areas where the ANC lost some ground.
We know that citizens and communities expect decisive action to renew the organisation and, critically, to address the service delivery challenges afflicting many localities.
The ANC will continue to correct these weaknesses, and take measures to prevent the current failures from carrying over into the future.
This relates both to policy content, implementation mechanisms and the selection of appropriate community leaders and activists as candidates in the ANC's list.
National General Council
This meeting has noted the countrywide discussions on the National General Council discussion documents, and urged that these be consolidated at branch levels, so that the contributions can be processed for submission to national structures. The NEC mandated the Secretary General's Office to prepare a comprehensive report to the NEC, with proposals regarding the nature, form and timing of the NGC.
This must take into account the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the local government elections campaign, and the need to hold a National Policy Conference before the next National Conference in December 2022.
In light of the Ramakatsa vs ANC judgement, we have agreed that priority must be given to pursuing a political solution that will build a united and vibrant ANC in the Free State.
We need to intensify the efforts being led by Cde Kgalema Motlanthe to achieve a political solution.
To avoid a political vacuum in the province, we have therefore mandated the NWC to establish an inclusive interim structure to take the province to an elective conference in due course.
Integrity Commission Reports
The NEC adopted a number of reports from the Integrity Commission and recommendations as presented and further noted where appeals have been lodged.
The NEC urged NWC and the Officials to ensure speedy processing of the appeals.
ANCYL National Youth Task Team
The NEC welcomed the report that the newly appointed National Youth Task Team has started its work towards building a vibrant ANC Youth League that champions the interests of young people and as a preparatory school for new cadres of the ANC.
It further noted processes to strengthen the Progressive Youth Alliance in dealing with matters affecting young people, including financing of higher education.
The NEC Noted work in progress to ensure that all NYTT members meet the age requirements of the ANC Youth League Constitution, which is that they should be below 35 years of age.
All NEC members and other leaders were urged to support a vibrant and active League.
Task Team on Mpumalanga Violence
The NEC noted and adopted the report of the National Dispute Resolution Committee led by the Deputy Secretary General into the violence at BBGMs that broke out in the Ehlanzeni region in Mpumalanga, Nkomazi subregion wards 4 and 32.
The NEC noted the progress made by the task team led by cde Zweli Mkhize to further look into these and previous incidents of violence.
It authorised the NEC deployees to the province to refer matters of serious misconduct to the National Disciplinary Committee, and to ensure cooperation with law enforcement agencies with respect to criminal matters.
The NEC agreed that, except for the Nkomazi subregion, branches should resume BBGMs and BGMs in May 2021, so as to do away with parallel structures and branches.
The NEC expressed concern regarding the ongoing instability in the North West and the impact that this is having on organisation, governance and service delivery.
It reiterated the decision of the NEC meeting of 26-29 March 2021 that the Interim Provincial Committee must continue to discharge the mandate given to it by the NEC in accordance with the powers that it has in terms of the ANC Constitution.
Unity of MK veterans
As we approach the 60th anniversary of the founding of the people's army Umkhonto we Sizwe, we are deeply concerned at the slow progress in convening a unified conference of its veterans.
We have agreed to establish an inclusive committee to start preparations for an appropriate celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Umkhonto we Sizwe in December 2021.
We support the Deputy President and the Deputy Secretary General in the processes they lead to unite former MK combatants, and call on the MK Military Veterans Association and MK Council to cooperate.
Addressing patriarchy and misogyny
The ANC Women's League has raised the existence of gender-based discrimination and misogyny in our structures on several occasions.
We need to give further consideration to this matter so we ensure all female comrades enjoy full participation in organisational life.
Support for the rights of LGBTQI persons
The ANC reiterates our complete support for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons and condemns the apparent rise of incidents of hate crimes against this community.
No-one has the right to discriminate against or attack anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The NEC welcomed the report on the Alliance Political Council held since the last NEC meeting.
It noted work in progress on the matter of non-trading holidays by the Department of Home Affairs and urged Officials to continue engagements with the Alliance on the issue of the public sector wage negotiations.
BUILDING A BETTER AFRICA AND WORLD
The NEC supports the initiatives by SADC to assist Mozambique to resolve the conflict in the province of Cabo Delgado and further encourages party to party engagement between the ANC and Frelimo.
The NEC welcomed the process to strengthen the bonds between the ANC and Sinn Fein and further pledges to deepen communication, sharing and exchanging expertise on various issues.
The NEC resolutely reiterates its solidarity with Cuba and reaffirms its demand for an immediate end to the blockade and the wanton aggression against Cuba.
The NEC calls for further strengthening of bilateral relations between our countries.
The ANC reaffirms our support for the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom and self-determination.
We repeat our condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the unlawful evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh al Jarrah and the brutal attacks on Palestinian protestors at Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
We reiterate that the expansion of settlements by Israel has already been condemned by the United Nations and urge the international community to stop Israel from expanding its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and property.
The NEC reaffirms our commitment to strengthen and intensify South Africa's support for the Saharawi people in their quest for self-determination.
We call on the progressive movement within the continent and the international community to accelerate its efforts in this regard.
It is apparent from all the reports we received in this meeting that the work of the ANC is proceeding despite our internal and
We need to be more pro-active in communicating these aspects of ANC life to counteract this false impression of an ANC on the
verge of collapse.
We must remember that the trust and support of the South African people should never been taken for granted.
For as long as we are divided as a leadership, for as long we fail to act against corruption, and unless we put the needs of our
people first, we will struggle to restore the credibility of the ANC.
The people of South Africa are looking to this leadership to provide direction, to decisively respond to the challenges in the
country, and to accelerate the radical economic and social transformation of our society.
This NEC meeting has provided a firm foundation for this work.
Our task now is to build on the progress we have made and fulfil the expectations that our people have.
I thank you.
Issued by the African National Congress National Executive Committee, 10 May 2021