THE YEAR OF UNITY, SOCIO-ECONOMIC RENEWAL AND NATION BUILDING
STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 108TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 8 JANUARY 2020
Today, the African National Congress celebrates 108 years since its formation.
We mark this occasion in the historic city of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, a place of resistance and struggle, and home to heroes of our people like Sol Plaatje, Frances Baard, Mittah Seperepere and many others.
This is a decisive moment for our country as we begin a new decade of hope and expectation, of promise and opportunity despite the many challenges we face and when many South Africans continue to endure much hardship. Notwithstanding the hardships we face the nation remains united in its resolve to overcome the challenges of the present and realise the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030.
We are encouraged and inspired by the resilience of many South Africans and especially our young people who are forging a new path of progress and achievement. We congratulate the matriculants of 2019 for their excellent results that have for the first time exceeded an 80% pass rate, and the
Springbok Rugby Team for being the 2019 world rugby champions, Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, the Ndlovu Youth Choir that have displayed their outstanding musical talent internationally and many others who have shown the world what young South Africans are capable of.
It is our shared responsibility to realise the enormous potential of our youth by embarking on united action to significantly reduce joblessness, poverty and inequality; to end hunger and homelessness; and to develop the skills that our people and economy need.
We must act with urgency and purpose. While we dare not ignore the depth of the challenges we face, our programme of transformation must remain ambitious and our determination to succeed must be unwavering.
This is a pivotal period in the history of the African National Congress as it strives under challenging conditions to build on progress since the attainment of democracy and pursue the ideals of social and economic emancipation.
We stand at one of the most challenging and fraught moments since our movement’s historic Morogoro Conference of 1969. The depth of organisational and leadership divisions at all levels of our great movement betray striking parallels with the conditions that necessitated the deep organisational reflection that was undertaken 50 years ago in that groundbreaking conference.
Just over two years ago we emerged from the ANC’s 54th National Conference tasked with the responsibility to unify and renew our organisation. Much progress has been made, but this task remains far from complete.
In the year ahead it is essential that we make clear and irreversible progress in building a united, cohesive, ethical and strong ANC – an ANC that is able to continue effectively serving the people of South Africa.
The fundamental goal of the ANC remains the creation of a united, nonracial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. It has a historic mission to unite all the people of South Africa for the complete liberation of our society, and of blacks in general and Africans in particular, from all forms of oppression and economic exclusion.
We must unite our society in order to transform it; and we must transform our society in order to unite it.
In identifying and executing the tasks necessary to confront these challenges we must know our past and understand our present and to be able to chart a better future for the people of South Africa.
We must honour and pay tribute to those whose struggles and sacrifices brought us freedom and democracy. We must draw guidance and inspiration from their examples.
As we reflect on significant milestones in the history of the ANC, the broad liberation movement and the country we must continue to learn and implement the lessons they teach us.
This year, we celebrate the centenary years of several great leaders of our nation:
- Isithwalandwe Seaparankoe Raymond Mhlaba. A stalwart of the ANC, the Communist Party and Umkhonto we Sizwe, Oom Ray was an outstanding leader, a Rivonia Trialist and the first democratically elected Premier of the Eastern Cape.
- Isithwalandwe Seaparankoe Harry Gwala. This dedicated fighter of our movement was a leader of the ANC, SACP, SACTU, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the ANC Youth League. Teacher, committed leader, freedom fighter, unionist and organiser, Harry Gwala worked for the people throughout his life.
- Vuyisile Mini. A dedicated freedom fighter, unionist and Treason Trialist, Vuyisile Mini was among the first ANC members to be executed by the apartheid regime in 1964 for armed activities carried out as a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
- Rusty Bernstein. A member of the Communist Party of South Africa and the Congress of Democrats and a defendant in both the Treason Trial and the Rivonia Trial, Rusty Bernstein worked tirelessly throughout his life for democracy and freedom.
- Robert Resha. A prominent member of the ANC Youth League in the late 1940s and 1950s, Resha was frequently targeted by the apartheid authorities for his activism. After his acquittal in the 1956 Treason Trial, he went into exile, representing the ANC on several international platforms.
This is also the centenary of the birth of Eduardo Mondlane, the founder and President of Frelimo. The close relationship between Mondlane and former ANC President Oliver Tambo laid the foundation for joint military operations between Umkhonto we Sizwe and Frelimo fighters in Portugueseoccupied Mozambique.
We also mark the following milestones:
- 200 years since the arrival of the 1820 British Settlers in the Eastern Cape, an event that accelerated the process of colonial occupation and deepened the contest for land and natural resources in the region.
- 100 years since the black mineworkers strike of 1920, when thousands of black mineworkers went on strike over a period of more than ten days for better wages and conditions.
- 100 years since the introduction of the job reservation policy, which reserved certain skilled, professional and managerial jobs for whites only. The so-called ‘Civilised Labour Policy’ and the Apprenticeship Act entrenched disadvantage for black workers, particularly Africans who were relegated to the bottom of the skills ladder.
- 70 years since the introduction of the Group Areas Act, which resulted in the displacement and destruction of black communities across the country, and whose effects continue to be felt to this day.
- 65 years since the adoption of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in Kliptown. Representing the views and demands of the South African people, the Freedom Charter sets out the fundamental vision of our democratic nation and is the foundation of our Constitution.
- 60 years since the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 peaceful protesters were killed by the apartheid police, ushering in a new period of repression and resistance.
- 60 years since the ANC and PAC were banned in the wake of the Sharpeville Massacre, driving opposition to apartheid underground and the leadership of the movements into exile.
- 60 years since the Pondoland Revolt, which saw the Mpondo people rise up against the bantu authorities and the broader apartheid system in the wake of the Ngquza Hill Massacre, in which 11 people died and scores were injured.
- 60 years since the Year of Africa, the spread of Pan Africanism when 17 African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Congo, DRC, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Somalia and Togo – gained independence.
- 60 years since the formation of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain, which began by calling for sanctions against the apartheid regime and which grew into one of the most effective international voices against apartheid.
- 45 years since the liberation of Angola, Comoros and Mozambique, 40 years since the independence of Zimbabwe and 30 years since the attainment of freedom by the people of Namibia, events that were fundamental to the liberation of the entire Southern African region and contributed to the end of apartheid.
- 40 years since the massive student protests that started in ‘coloured’ areas in Cape Town and drew masses of young people into struggle for better education and political freedom.
- 35 year since the Langa Massacre in Uitenhage, where at least 35 mourners attending a funeral of anti-apartheid activists were killed by police, 25 years to the day after the Sharpeville Massacre.
- 30 years since the unbanning of the ANC, PAC, SACP and other organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, which set the stage for negotiations and the transition to democracy in South Africa.
- 25 years since the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which heard first-hand accounts of the atrocities of apartheid and initiated a process of reconciliation and healing that continues to this day.
These are but some of the milestones along a 108 year road of struggle characterised by courage, commitment, sacrifice and selfless service to the people of our country.
The 108 years of our existence have been marked by advances and setbacks, progress and detours, mistakes and corrections, the ability to unite and heal divisions, the ability to analyse changing conditions and adapt strategies and tactics, as well as the resilience to stay the course and keep the ANC, our glorious movement, alive under the most trying circumstances.
During the year ahead it is our duty to consolidate unity, renewal and radical socio-economic transformation as key milestones on the road to a National Democratic Society.
2. SOUTH AFRICA AND THE WORLD IN 2020
The ANC and the broader Alliance are called upon to advance the struggle for radical social and economic transformation under conditions that present both great challenges and significant opportunities.
The ANC is the oldest liberation movement on the continent. The principles and the values the ANC has espoused over the past 108 years have inspired and continue to be a symbol of hope for people across the world. This places an enormous responsibility upon us to continue fighting for progressive solidarity and build a strong, global alliance in the face of resurgent right-wing nationalism in many corners of the world.
A young, vibrant and democratic South Africa must continue to espouse progressive and humane values. We must use our position on the international stage to advocate for democracy, peace and a renewed commitment to multilateralism.
At a global level, humanity is facing the greatest challenge to its existence with the unrelenting advance of climate change. Despite international agreements, global carbon emissions have not decreased and the atmosphere steadily continues to get warmer. This is already having a devastating impact on millions of lives with extreme weather conditions affecting all regions of the world. Countries in the developing world, women, children and poor communities are most adversely affected. Unless drastic and urgent action is taken by the global community to halt this process and mitigate its effects, the direction of human development will be reversed.
The climate crisis takes place at a time of heightened geopolitical tension among the world’s leading powers. Old and emerging rivalries for political, economic and military superiority are contributing to increased instability. This is being encouraged by the rise of narrow nationalism in various parts of the world and the erosion of rules-based multilateralism as a means of managing global relations.
Trade tensions have contributed to a global economic slowdown. Inequality between and within countries continues to limit the capacity of the global economy to foster inclusive growth and employment.
The economic, technological, climatic and political changes and insecurities affecting all regions of the world have contributed to migration and displacement of people, with an increase in the scale of international migration. This has manifested itself in large numbers of internally displaced persons, refugees and economic migrants. This calls for a coordinated response by all countries on the African continent and in the broader international community.
The past few years have seen the rise of forces in parts of both the developed and developing world that depend on narrow nationalism and protectionism to pursue their interests. The global progressive movement has not been able to successfully challenge chauvinistic mobilisation. However, instead of despondency, this movement must see this as an opportunity to critically reexamine its mission, role and strategic approach and to forge new alliances for greater equality, social justice and human progress.
The current global environment calls for alternative approaches to international relations, including through greater South-South cooperation and among developing economies more broadly. The Non-Aligned Movement and the BRICS formation, for example, provide increasingly important platforms to develop and advance just, equitable and peaceful global relations.
While Africa is by no means immune to the effects of global uncertainty, particularly in its economy, the continent continues to benefit from greater political stability, implementation of national development plans, the AU framework Agenda 2063, more gender equality and welcome advances in democratic forms of governance. However, ongoing conflict in places like Libya, South Sudan and the Sahel region threaten the African Union goal of ‘silencing the guns’ by 2020. Since peace and stability are a necessary condition for economic and social development, it is critical that the countries of the continent intensify efforts to end all conflict this year.
The operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises great opportunities for industrialisation, infrastructure development, economic growth and intra-Africa trade. It will enable Africa to take advantage of its significant economic potential as it removes the barriers to trade among countries on the continent, and ensure the promotion of regional value chains and the development of Africa’s manufacturing capabilities.
An increase in urbanisation in Africa and the continent’s youthful population present a potential competitive advantage that can launch Africa as the new powerhouse of global production. This requires that African countries invest in skills development, economic infrastructure, health, social development and greater participation and inclusion of its young people.
South Africa will have a great responsibility in 2020 as it assumes the Chair of the African Union to help lead the process of African economic integration, advance peace and stability, and promote good governance. South Africa will also need to use its term as AU Chair to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The ANC’s approach to international relations continues to be guided by its commitment to the African agenda, human rights, equality, social justice, human solidarity and peaceful relations between all nations. We remain resolute in our solidarity with all peoples suffering under the yoke of oppression, occupation and colonisation. We support the transformation of all global multilateral institutions to ensure that they are more representative and democratic and act in the interests of all humanity.
Despite progress in several areas over the last 25 years, South Africa is still defined by severe inequality in areas such as ownership and control of assets, income, employment, skills, health care, education, housing, land, transport and spatial access to economic opportunity. This inequality still reflects the racial and gender fault-lines of our apartheid past.
Given the challenges of slow global economic growth, the depth and extent of the legacies of apartheid and patriarchy, as well as our own missteps over the last decade, our economy has been performing poorly and poverty and unemployment have worsened. The prolonged drought in several parts of the country, including the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga, has severely affected communities, agricultural production and broader economic activity.
All of these have had a devastating human toll with many parents struggling to feed their families and people being forced to move to informal settlements on the outskirts of cities and towns to look for work. This is particularly difficult for the many young people who do not have the skills, experience or know-how to get jobs.
It is to address these fundamental social and economic challenges that the ANC’s 2019 Election Manifesto presents a radical programme to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce inequality.
As demonstrated by our 6th national and provincial elections in May last year, democracy and constitutionalism are well-entrenched in South Africa. The institutions that we have established since 1994 are strong, durable and enjoy the confidence and support of the South African people.
The elections reaffirmed the ANC’s popular mandate to accelerate the social and economic transformation of our society. The people of South Africa also signaled their clear expectation that the ANC undergo a process of renewal. We have fully internalised the message that the people’s continued support for the ANC is conditional on the revitalisation of the organisation as an effective instrument of fundamental change.
The elections also signaled the appeal of populist mobilisation on both left and right. The results suggest that, unless addressed, simmering impatience and discontent could drive voters towards parties that present simplistic, impractical and unsustainable approaches to the challenges our nation faces
– policies that can only result in the scorched earth of mutually-assured destruction.
The ANC’s 2019 Manifesto provides an ambitious and credible programme to grow South Africa and build a more equal society. As instructed by the people of South Africa, the ANC government has proceeded with the implementation of the Manifesto. The ANC will ensure that it is fully and effectively implemented over the five-year term of this administration.
3. PRIORITIES OF THE YEAR
As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Freedom Charter this year, we must give effect to the profound statement that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. Our priorities this year will be informed by the weighty injunctions contained in that historic document which continues to be our lodestar in everything we do.
3.1 Building a capable state that serves all the people
‘The People Shall Govern’
South Africans must be proud that we have consistently held free and fair elections since 1994 and that these elections continue to reflect the will of the people. We should actively defend and encourage citizens performing their civic duties, such as taking part in elections and other forms of participatory democracy, community building and development. An active citizenry is vital for our country to succeed.
Holding elected representatives accountable is a task for each and every one of us. The ANC will become more vigilant in screening its candidates and ensuring that these comrades meet the highest standards of ethics, morality and service to the people. Once elected, the movement must ensure that ANC public representatives serve the people with distinction. Where this does not happen, there must be consequences – and there will be consequences.
Public institutions have borne the brunt of state capture, corruption and mismanagement. Many of these institutions have lost capable personnel and become incapable of fulfilling their crucial constitutional functions. We will restore our public institutions to a higher standard of accountability and service. We have begun the work of turning around institutions, such as the National Prosecuting Authority, State Security Agency, South African Revenue Service, the Public Investment Corporation and others.
Several of our key state owned enterprises (SOEs) are facing great difficulties. This has a severe impact on broader economic growth and transformation. The crisis at Eskom has contributed to load shedding over the last year, further subduing economic activity. Eskom’s new leadership team will need to address the entity’s financial, operational, structural and human resource challenges. The fact that South African Airways has been put under business rescue to enable it to be restructured and returned to financial sustainability is a demonstration both of the depth of the crisis and the determination of our government to decisively address it.
The movement must undertake a thorough and sober assessment of the state of our SOEs and take clear decisions about what must be done to place these entities back on a sustainable path.
Local government is the sphere of government closest to where people live and work. It is therefore vital that local government performs its functions efficiently and consistently.
As part of the measures the ANC has adopted to address weaknesses in local government, we are beginning to implement the District Development Model to integrate planning, coordination and budgeting across all three spheres of government to drive local development. This means that national, provincial and local government must develop one plan and one budget for each district across the country.
More importantly, citizens must be consulted about the development needs of their communities and need to be actively involved in the implementation of programmes. We urge ANC members to support the district development model and be integrally involved with community processes that will drive local development. ANC public representatives will give greater attention to constituency work and ensure that report-back meetings are regularly held.
A crucial area of focus is on the capabilities, commitment and integrity of councillors and local government officials. Already steps have been taken to disrupt networks of corruption in local government, and we are determined that no public servant or elected official should get away with stealing from the poor.
Poor financial management, weak billing systems and non-payment for services seriously undermine the capacity of local government to provide quality services to all residents, especially the poor. Communities need to work with municipalities in line with the approach of the District Development Model to ensure that services are delivered efficiently and sustainably. Among other things, this means that residents need to pay for the services they receive.
3.2 Building a united and cohesive society
‘All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights’ ‘All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights’
We must work with greater effort to bridge the divides between South Africans, whether economic, social, political or cultural. We must also work to end all forms of racism, sexism, tribalism and chauvinism.
To build a united society requires that we recognise the injustices of the past and agree on the tasks we must undertake to achieve proper redress. It means that we must recognise the equal right of all South Africans to share in this country’s wealth and its land, and work to realise this right.
The task of building a non-racial society remains fundamental to the work of our movement and to broader society. Through our policies, programmes and practices, we need to advance non-racialism, ensuring that every South African appreciates their equal and irrevocable right to call this country home. All South Africans must feel that they have a future here.
We need to build a non-sexist society in which all forms of gender discrimination, oppression, exploitation and violence are eradicated. This requires the achievement of full gender equality in all areas of life, from the home to the workplace, from the economy to the sports field. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform of Action for advancing women’s rights, we need to ensure that we have effective policies and programmes in place to advance the empowerment of women.
We must recognise that gender-based violence and femicide is a national crisis and we need to mobilise all the energy and all the resources of society to end it. In particular, we should support the National Strategic Plan against GBV that has been developed by government and civil society.
A united and cohesive society requires also that we end the exclusion, segregation and marginalisation experienced by persons with disabilities. It is the responsibility of every ANC cadre, every citizen, every principal and teacher, to ensure that every child with a disability is in school. Every workplace must employ people with disabilities and far more goods and services should be sourced from businesses owned by persons with disabilities.
We need to confront discrimination, prejudice and violence directed against members of the LGBTQI community, giving real effect to the right to equality contained in our Constitution.
Every one of us must act in solidarity when we see injustice, and we must individually and collectively hold accountable those who choose to discriminate and exclude.
For far too long, the economy has excluded the overwhelming majority of the country’s population. The excluded majority are mostly black, female, young and rural.
This has meant that the country has not benefited from the enormous wealthcreating potential of these citizens, but more importantly, these citizens remain confined to eking out their living on the margins and do not enjoy the prosperity that democracy brought for many.
We need to address the way in which access to wealth, land, education, employment and opportunity remains severely and undeniably skewed according to race.
This requires that the ANC works with all sectors of society to change the structure of the economy to allow for broader participation by black people, women, the youth and those in rural areas. We must build an inclusive economy that allows everyone to prosper.
3.3 Investment, jobs and inclusive growth
‘The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth!’ ‘There Shall Be Work and Security’
The most direct and effective way to reduce inequality is to create employment and economic opportunities, particularly for young people and women. We reiterate that the creation of jobs is at the centre of our economic agenda, and it must remain the central priority for 2020.
To achieve a rate of employment creation that exceeds the growth in the number of people seeking jobs means that our economy needs to grow at a far greater pace. This requires the full implementation of the measures outlined in the 2019 Election Manifesto, including a substantial increase in investment, a massive infrastructure build programme, steps to improve the ease and reduce the cost of doing business, and the expansion of pathways for young people into the world of work. We welcome the significant investment commitments – totalling more than R600 billion – that have been realised through the first two South Africa Investment Conferences.
We will build on the progress made in enhancing our industrial strategy, developing, financing and implementing master plans in sectors with great potential for growth, unlocking the potential of small business, cooperatives and the township economy, and increasing competitiveness. We will promote sectors like manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and the oceans economy as major areas for employment growth. Through the development of suitable skills, by lowering the cost of data and improving access to broadband, we are working to embrace the opportunities of the new digital technologies.
We will focus on measures to promote beneficiation of our resource base and implement the next phase of the new competition policies, focused on addressing anti-competitive behaviour by dominant firms that keeps smaller enterprises out of the economic mainstream.
In undertaking all this work, we must give priority to the urgent and necessary work required to ensure the stability of electricity supply. This means that we must both accelerate the introduction of new electricity generation and complete the measures undertaken to ensure the financial and operational stability of Eskom.
We will work closely with neighbours to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area in the year ahead; and review trade relationships to promote South African exports particularly of value-added products; and we will vigorously defend the space for domestic producers against unfair trade practices and under-invoicing of imported goods.
We will strengthen measures to transform the economy. This demands that we implement our policies of economic redress in a manner that is truly broad-based, inclusive of workers and communities where our enterprises are located. We will also act with renewed determination to stabilise and rebuild state-owned enterprises, so they serve as catalysts to investment and provision of economic and social infrastructure.
We need to take decisive measures to reduce our carbon footprint, in line with our international commitments, in a manner that is sustainable and ensures a just transition for workers and communities that may be affected by a shift to a lower carbon economy.
We similarly need to act decisively to protect our scarce water resources, ensure that all have equitable access and respond to the devastating effects of successive droughts. Such action is essential to ensure the development of our economy and the realisation of the constitutional right of all South Africans to sufficient food and water.
In line with the resolutions of the 54th National Conference, we reaffirm the role, mandate and independence of the Reserve Bank, and will undertake the process towards full public ownership of the Bank in a manner and according to a timeframe that is prudent and affordable and that does not benefit private shareholder speculators.
We also welcome the work underway, including the drafting of the necessary legislation, towards the establishment of a state bank that will improve access for all South Africans to affordable financial services.
3.4 An effective land reform programme
‘The Land Shall be Shared among those who work it’
The struggle to return the land of this country to all the people of South Africa remains a historical and economic imperative. More than a century after its enactment, the Natives’ Land Act continues to define much of the landscape of our country.
We recall the words of Sol Plaatje, the first Secretary General of the ANC, who said at the time that the Act: “creates conditions, if not amounting to extermination, yet designed to enslave the Natives of this country. That tyrannical mandate is scattering multitudes of Natives from their homes… They may enter either into perpetual bondage on the farm, or spend a sunless life in the unwholesome mine.”
It is to address this persistent injustice, that we are proceeding with the implementation of an accelerated land reform programme – which includes the mechanism of expropriation without compensation – to provide land to those who work it and who need it, including young people and women. This will help to address asset poverty that is so prevalent among our people and improve the ability of many to engage in productive economic activity. Critical in this regard will be our focus on effective support to those who have acquired agricultural land.
The return of the land will happen and it will be done in a manner that promotes economic growth and sustains food security.
A committee of Parliament has released proposed amendments to section 25 of the Constitution for public comment. We urge structures of the movement to engage with this issue critically and to ensure that the relevant amendment is passed without delay. All legislative efforts to accelerate the return of the land to the people will be done lawfully and in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
Land reform needs to be closely tied to integrated spatial development to ensure that both rural and urban dwellers live in sustainable human settlements located close to economic opportunities and social infrastructure.
3.5 Eradicating poverty and improving people’s lives
‘There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!’
While job creation is central to our efforts to reduce poverty, we will intensify other measures to improve the lives of the poor.
This includes the provision of electricity, water, sanitation and other services to those South Africans who still do not have access to them. Government needs to reduce the cost of living for poor and working people generally, through better public transport and lower costs for electricity and other services.
Business has a shared responsibility to contain the cost of living and to promote economic growth and job creation. Big companies must not abuse their market power and dominance at the expense of consumers and small businesses.
Where companies collude to drive up the prices of goods and commodities, it is the people who suffer. Those companies that drive up the price of bread by agreeing among themselves not to compete are effectively taking bread from the mouths of the poorest of the poor. Some bigger companies abuse their power and dominance of the market to drive smaller companies out of business.
The amended Competition Act will be used to defend small businesses and consumers by acting strongly against greedy and unscrupulous companies.
Work to improve access for all to quality health care should receive priority attention this year. The agreement between government and various stakeholders in the health sector on measures to improve the quality of care in the public health sector needs to be fully implemented. This will facilitate the process towards the establishment of the National Health Insurance, which will fundamentally transform health care in South Africa. By establishing a single national health insurance fund to ensure all South Africans receive the necessary treatment and care regardless of ability to pay, the NHI will reduce the huge inequalities and inefficiencies in our health system.
3.6 Education and skills for a changing world
‘The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened!’
The 2019 matric results released this week, particularly those from township and rural schools, demonstrate that South Africa has made great strides in improving educational outcomes over the last 25 years.
Despite this progress, our education system must more effectively prepare South African youth for the society and economy of the future. We must continue to tailor our curricula and equip our educators to respond to an increasingly digitalised world with constant technological advances.
The country needs to undergo a skills revolution to break the cycle of poverty and grow an inclusive economy.
This requires that we continue to implement the measures identified in our 2019 Election Manifesto to prioritise the upskilling of educators and school management, change the curriculum to prepare learners for the 4th Industrial Revolution, increase resources for TVET colleges, expand access to early childhood development, and ensure that the private sector and other partners work with training authorities to develop the skills that our economy needs.
It requires an intensive focus on early reading, which is the basic foundation that determines a child’s educational progress, through school, through higher education and into the workplace. This is a task that should be undertaken across society, by parents, teachers, civil society formations and ANC structures.
We must speed up the implementation of the three-stream curriculum model of basic education to provide three educational streams – academic, technical-vocational and technical-occupational – for learners to make an easy transition from school to colleges and universities and to be educated and trained in a way that meets the skills and labour demands of the country’s economy.
3.7 Social cohesion and safe communities
‘All Shall be Equal Before the Law!’
This year, we will ensure that all the necessary support is provided to our law-enforcement agencies so that they can investigate thoroughly and prosecute effectively without fear or favour.
Taking our marching orders from the 54th National Conference, the ANC government has begun to fill critical vacancies in our criminal justice system, the National Director of Public Prosecutions has taken office, we established an investigating directorate to prosecute crimes arising from the various commissions of inquiry and other cases of corruption. Additional funds have been allocated to the National Prosecuting Authority to enable it to fulfil its role more effectively.
We will intensify our efforts to end state capture in all its forms, ensure those responsible are held accountable and that all money stolen from the government or public bodies is recovered. There should be no place to hide, anywhere in South Africa and the world, for criminals – whether in the public or private sector – who have stolen from our people.
In this regard, the ANC must take the lead. We will ensure the implementation of the 54th National Conference resolutions on corruption. We will work to strengthen the ability of the ANC’s Integrity Commission to act decisively, and without fear or favour, against those within our ranks who are implicated in corrupt activity. We will demand, as resolved by the National Conference, that every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediately or faces disciplinary processes. All ANC members and structures should cooperate with the law-enforcement agencies to criminally prosecute anyone guilty of corruption
We must work to make our streets, homes and communities safer through improved police visibility, more effective training of police and the greater involvement of community policing and safety forums in fighting crime.
We must sustain the momentum in the fight to end gender-based violence and femicide. We commend the work done in particular by the ANC Women’s League in consistently campaigning on this issue. The strong partnership that has been forged between government and civil society needs to be extended to include communities, faith-based groupings and others. Part of this effort requires that we must be more direct in reducing alcohol use and abuse – which is a major contributing factor in the perpetration of violence – through legislative and other measures and through community mobilisation.
3.8 Better Africa, better world
‘There Shall be Peace and Friendship!’
Despite the weaknesses in the world economy, Africa is poised on the threshold of a new era of integration, growth, prosperity and development.
To seize these opportunities requires a concerted effort to silence the guns. This will require courage and commitment from all African leaders and the cooperation of the international community. In advancing African unity and solidarity, the struggle of the Saharawi people for independence and self-determination should remain a priority for the continent, as should the resolution of conflicts in Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, the Eastern DRC and other regions that are affected by terrorism and unrest.
We commend our brother, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, affirming the determination of the people of Ethiopia and of the continent to strive for lasting peace.
We should also use the mechanisms of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament and regional bodies to support the strengthening of governance and the advancement of democracy across the continent. We will work in particular to strengthen the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a powerful instrument for economic integration, development and stability in our region.
The countries of Africa need to be united in support of multilateralism and in the reform of global institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council, to ensure that they represent the interests of Africa and the developing world. Efforts to undermine a rules-based multilateral approach to international trade should be resisted.
The ANC will deepen efforts to build relations with fraternal progressive organisations on the continent and beyond to forge a developmental agenda that prioritises the needs of the poor and marginalised. We will continue to work to strengthen the liberation movements of the region and the continent.
In line with the decisions of our 54th National Conference, we will find more effective ways to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and support the Kurdish people’s struggle for human and political rights, peace and justice.
The ANC is deeply concerned by the provocative military actions of the United States in Iraq that resulted in the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. We urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint. The international community is called upon to make every effort to ensure that the crisis in the region is resolved peacefully and justly, and to ensure that international laws and conventions are respected by all.
On the 30th anniversary of the ANC’s return from exile, preparations are in progress to bring back to South Africa the mortal remains of former ANC Secretary General Duma Nokwe and former ANC Women’s League President Florence Mophosho as well as to honour the bravery of the Luthuli Detachment during the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns.
Through consultative and inclusive engagements with other liberation movements, we are looking at establishing a National Liberation Heritage Institute.
4. TASKS OF THE ANC
The tasks of the ANC for 2020 are informed by the 54th National Conference resolutions, which identified two strategic priorities for the five years: organisational renewal and unity, and radical socio-economic transformation. They reflect the organisation’s commitment to implement the Conference resolutions. They also reflect the ANC’s response to the issues raised by South Africans in the 2019 elections.
Therefore, the tasks of the ANC for 2020 are as follows:
4.1 We will renew the ANC as the most effective force for social change. Branches will be rebuilt as centres for community development. Through the implementation of the new membership system we will empower members to engage in political work and tackle patronage, gate-keeping and vote-buying within our structures. We will roll out a mass political education campaign as part of a national effort to develop our cadreship throughout the organisation.
4.2 We will build a movement united in action. We will work to heal the divisions with our organisation and Alliance and end all factional activity through a cohesive programme of action that places the needs and interest of the people above all other interests. We will work to strengthen the ANC Women’s League, Youth League and Veterans’ League. We will take forward the engagement on strengthening and reconfiguring the Alliance. We will use preparations for the National General Council and the conferences of the ANC Women’s League and Youth League as well as the MK inclusive conference to forge unity and cohesion within the movement.
4.3 We will prepare for a decisive local government mandate. In addition to the implementation of our far-reaching resolutions to strengthen local government, we will undertake a radical review of our approach to this sphere of governance, the selection of candidates and the deployment of cadres to various positions. This will include the establishment of a permanent Electoral Commission. There will be intensive engagement with communities on their needs and concerns.
4.4 We will mobilise all social partners to grow and transform the economy. The focus of the efforts of all South Africans needs to be directed towards an economic recovery that creates jobs and opportunities. We will intensify all measures to increase investment, stimulate greater growth, deepen skills development and remove all impediments to greater economic activity.
4.5 We will strengthen governance and tackle corruption. The work to rebuild public institutions will continue, ensuring that all appointees are fit for purpose and demonstrate the highest levels of integrity. We will deepen efforts to root out corruption and tackle mismanagement, incompetence and wastage. The effort to end state capture and hold those responsible to account will receive priority.
4.6 We will work to end gender-based violence and femicide. Communities, civil society, faith-based organisations and others will be mobilised to confront violence against women and children in all its forms. Broader society needs to become more involved in the work of government and civil society formations to implement the National Strategic Plan on GBV.
4.7 We will work for peace, integration and development in Africa. We will support South Africa’s programme as AU Chair for 2020 by working with fraternal organisations across the continent for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, to advance peace and stability, and to promote sustainable growth and development.
5. CALL TO ACTION
The fundamental transformation of South African society and the economy requires the efforts, ingenuity and energy of all South Africans working together in pursuit of a shared vision.
We call on the workers of South Africa to be at the forefront of revolutionary change, to intensify the struggle for a living wage and decent working conditions, and to be partners in the urgent task of promoting investment, growing an inclusive economy and creating jobs.
We call on young people and students to lead the skills revolution, and to be the champions of innovation and entrepreneurship. Following in the footsteps of earlier generations, we call on the youth to take a leading role in building a better, peaceful country, Africa and world.
We call on women to remain at the forefront of struggles for equality and justice, to challenge patriarchy in whatever form it takes, and to consistently remind their male counterparts of their shared responsibility to advance gender equality across society.
We call on civil society formations to continue to champion the values of our democratic constitution, to fight for social justice and equality, to intensify the campaign for ethical governance and to hold those in positions of authority to account.
We call on faith-based organisations and leaders to continue to provide spiritual and moral guidance to society, to challenge crime, corruption and violence, and to care for the poor, the marginalised and the mistreated.
We call on all farmers, farmworkers and traditional leaders to work together in support of meaningful land and agrarian reform, to build relations of trust and respect within rural communities, and to significantly expand food production and ensure food security.
We call on business leaders to support the national effort to grow an inclusive economy through greater investment in productive sectors of the economy, by promoting ethical business practices and progressive labour practices, and by ensuring the advancement of black and women South Africans throughout the economy.
We call on public servants to diligently serve the people of South Africa, to fully implement the electoral mandate while remaining non-partisan, to ensure that public funds are not wasted or stolen or unused, and to build a state that is capable and developmental.
We call on cultural workers, artists and intellectuals to actively contribute to social cohesion and nation building by giving expression to the great diversity of views, traditions, cultures and practices of the South African people.
We call on the South African people to join us as we advance towards a better society founded on the principles of unity, democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism and equality.
6. TRIBUTES TO FALLEN HEROES
The ANC honours the courage, dedication and selfless service of those veterans, stalwarts and activists who passed away over the past year.
We dip our banner in honour of His Majesty King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, Ben Turok, Rhoda Joemat, Bavelile Hlongwa, Ebrahim Moola, Dumisani Kumalo, Mfengu Makhalima, Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe, Eddie Nair, General Isaac Lesiba Maphoto, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Johnny Clegg, Mam Agnes Dlamini, Magang Mmereki Phologane, Thandi Ndlovu, Thobile Mhlalo, Mam Joyce Jili-Mkhize, Duma Ndleleni, Sindisiwe Ndlovu, Andile Gumbi, Rose Nkondo, Sandile Dikeni, David Koloane, Dorothy Masuku, Hugh Lewin and Richard Maponya.
We join the people of Zimbabwe and the continent in mourning the passing of President Robert Mugabe, an icon of African liberation.
In recognition of the tasks set by the 54th National Conference of the ANC and the ideals for which our movement was founded, and in recognising the challenges we face and the tasks we must undertake, the National Executive Committee declares 2020 as THE YEAR OF UNITY, SOCIO-ECONOMIC RENEWAL AND NATION BUILDING.
Let freedom reign!
The ANC lives!
The ANC leads!