The ANC's original cadre deployment strategy of 1998

Document was intended to provide broad guidelines for deployment, was adopted at same time as committee established


1 December 1998

The ANC National Working Committee met on 30 November 1998 at Albert Luthuli House, 51 Plein Street Johannesburg.


The NWC discussed and adopted a document on the ANC deployment strategy. The deployment strategy will provide broad guidelines for deployment of ANC cadres to all areas which the movement regards as crucial for the transformation project. The deployment strategy will ensure that the movement deploys its cadres in accordance with their knowledge, skills, abilities and experience.

A deployment committee headed by ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma has been established and will advice the National Executive Committee on all matters of deployment.

[Other members were Nkosazana Zuma (NWC), Zola Skweyiya (NWC), Mbhazima Shilowa (head of Cosatu), Blade Nzimande (head of SACP), Thenjiwe Mthintso (ANC DSG), Max Sisulu and Mendi Msimang (ANC TG.) – PW]

The NWC received notices from Mac Maharaj, Joe Modise and Sibusiso Bhengu and Dave Darling indicating that they will not be available to serve as Member of Parliament after the 1999 election. All have indicated that they will continue to serve the ANC in their other capacities and have further indicated that they will accept other deployments. Future deployment for these comrades will be made on the advice of the ANC deployment committee.


By Secretary General - Kgalema Motlanthe

Issued by Thabo Masebe, ANC Department of Information and Publicity, 1 December 1998

Text of the deployment strategy document:

3. Cadre Policy and Deployment Strategy

Facing the Challenges:

1. Introduction

The 50th Conference in 1997 adopted a detailed resolution on Cadre Policy, with an emphasis on a Cadre Development and Deployment Strategy. In this discussion document, we will look at:

  • the key elements of our Cadre Policy;
  • evaluate our deployment strategy since 1994; and
  • reflect on what should guide a deployment strategy in the current phase.

2. Elements of Our Cadre Polity

The "Commission on Cadre Policy and Ideological Work" at the National Consultative Conference at Kabwe in June l985 identified the following as key elements of a Cadre Policy:-

a. Recruitment: Emphasis was placed on recruitment from those sections constituting the motive forces of the NDR and ensuring that potential recruits are made to understand and accept the basic policies and programs of the ANC;

b. Education and Training: this is divided into ideological, moral, academic, military (in the context of the armed struggle) and cultural education. Political and ideological training should enable cadres to exercise political leadership and be organisers. It should include patriotism and the inculcation of 'sterling' attributes such as loyalty, discipline, dedication and determination.
At Kabwe a call was made for the movement to set up its own Political School.

c. Deployment and Redeployment: this must be according to speciality, aptitude, qualification and capability. Though in principle a revolutionary must be ready to serve in any capacity, in practice the aptitudes and wishes of individuals should be taken into consideration wherever possible. Cadres should be correctly placed and promoted at the right time so that they may fully apply their talents and creativity.

d. Promotion and Accountability: The political performance of cadres, thorough knowledge of everyone's work ability and personal life should guide placement and promotions. We should guide against favouritism, opportunism, regionalism and ethnic or sex discrimination. Those in position of seniority should display keen interest in the performance of cadres under them, check on their performance, encourage them and monitor their participation in the political life of the movement. Those who perform badly at their tasks should be confronted with a view to improving their performance.

e. Preservation of cadres: The unity and cohesion of the movement and a spirit of togetherness is essential. Preservation should include considerations around working conditions, preservation of skills, health and security.

3. Learning from the post and new challenges

The implementation of our deployment strategy, in addition to the new tasks arising from the Strategic objective, will have to take in consideration the historical evolving of our cadre policy and the new issues and challenges facing our cadreship as collectives and individuals:

a. During the liberation struggle, ANC cadres were mainly professional activists whose entire lives centred around the struggle. All other aspects of their lives (family, personal ambitions, etc.) were subjected to the pursuit of this struggle. This was particularly true for those who were in exile; the movement was their family, employer and community. Activism inside the country tended to take on the similar dimensions. During the repression of the 70's and 80's activists inside the country were often victimised in their work situation and their family lives interrupted.

The Kabwe Consultative Conference in June 1985 had a commission on Cadre policy, where it dealt with a number of issues, some not unlike what we are facing today.

b. The movement during the early 80s started a process of preparing for governance with the establishment of policy departments. The Department of Manpower (DMP) was responsible for the human resource development of ANC cadres. It stepped up the programme to send cadres for academic and professional training.

As the movement grew in stature internationally, many more countries offered to train our cadres at their institutions of learning. A significant number of black students From within the country were also recruited for overseas studies through programs by the British Council and the United States Information Services.

The Kwabe Cadre Policy Commission, for example, noted that flee US government had set aside $6-9 million for scholarships for black students and resolved that the movement should appoint a full-time organiser to do work amongst these students.

c. The legalisation of the ANC created the possibility for the movement to rapidly increase its membership. Naturally, many patriot.s seized this opportunity to join the organised forces of the NDR. Inevitably, many new members were people who were not steeped in the policies and organisational culture of the ANC. The process of instilling the policies and organisational culture among these new cadres could only take place as a result of a gradual exposure to the traditions of the movement.

The great advantage the movement had was that it nevertheless had policies, a strategy and tactics, an organisational culture and programme of action which all activists could relate to, whatever their depth of understanding.

We also had a large core of experienced cadres who had been carrying out legal activities as well as underground political and military work in the country or had been in prison or exile.

d. The reality of our mass entry into government in 1994 has also thrown up challenges which were either not pronounced ha, or were foreign to the previous epoch. For example, being a member of the ANC before 1990 meant persecution and even death.

Being a member of the ANC today is perceived as opening up possibilities of material and social advancement, either in the form of public or civil service positions or opportunities for enrichment through government economic empowerment programmer.

Under Apartheid, a limited range of career possibilities were opened to black people and women. The advent of democracy and the commitment of the new Constitution to affirmative action, opened a much larger choice of career paths to cadres -at least in theory. This does mean greater scope for the realisation of individual preferences and ambitions.

e. The other side of the coin is the limits which are being placed on career options in a context where the majority of our people have been deprived of quality education, experience and skills. This is compounded by civil service and private sector rules which do not recognise prior learning and experience.

This can result in competition for positions as elected public representatives within our structures where the requirements for qualifications are not same. This was compounded in the context of our high unemployment figures and the absence of a co-ordinated deployment strategy.

f. The advent of the democratic order also means different expectations in the context of the family lives of our individual cadres. In the past, families may have understood why our comrades could not contribute towards their financial and emotional well-being whilst in prison, exile or in hiding. Today, we are expected to be an integral part of our family rituals and gatherings -extended, nuclear or otherwise.

g. This has implications for our deployment strategy, because decisions about individual comrades impact on the financial contributions and demands on time of their families. For women cadres (because child-rearing is still mainly women's responsibility) it means choices about have children, and when they do have children, to maintain the balance between the demands of work/deployment and their family responsibilities.

4. Evaluation of our Deployment Strategy

Some components of our Cadre Policy have been implemented over the last few years. These include our political education and cadre development programme, our journal Umrabulo, the piloting of the Political School and the recently introduced compulsory induction for all newly elected PEC's and REC's.

Initial steps taken on the deployment component of our Cadre Policy are:

  • locating the responsibility for the deployment and accountability of public representatives in the Office of the Secretary General;
  • decisions on deployments to key positions in different centers of power by the Officials and/or the NWC;
  • guidelines for the List conferences;
  • provincial discussions papers on deployment; and
  • the decision by the NEC in August this year on the deployment of Premiers.

However, we have often lacked a coherent strategy which links the different elements of our Cadre policy in a programmatic manner consistent with the changed requirements of the NDR, especially after the 1994 elections.

Thus Cde Nelson Mandela at the opening of the 49th Conference in December 1994 remarked that "ours was not a planned entry into government. Except for the highest echelons, there was no planned deployment of cadres. We were disorganised, and behaved in a manner that could have endangered the revolution."

The most common of the weaknesses of our deployment strategy during this period include:

a. There was an over-concentration of our best and most talented cadres into legislatures and the executives, at the expense of other sectors of social activity. This has resulted in:

- a fairly large percentage of our MP's and MPL's being redeployed to other sectors during the course of their term.

- a weak tier of local government, with many ANC councilors being fairly inexperienced.

- the weakening of ANC constitutional structures and its political centre, for example there was only one member of the NEC working full-time at headquarters during the last NEC term of office.

b. There was no comprehensive and co-ordinated plan to deploy cadres to other critical centers. This has led to a situation where individuals deploy themselves, thus undermining the collective mandate. Another consequence is that experienced cadres are sometimes displaced, de-activated or at best, under-utilised. This has contributed towards the slow pace of transformation in some critical areas.

c. Insufficient preparations for governance at all levels, due to the objective reality of Apartheid excluding the majority of competent and skilled black people from senior positions, as well as lack of information about what really went on in the different organs of the state under the apartheid government;

d. Weak mechanisms to support cadres deployed with little supervision and monitoring of their work performance and ongoing political and professional development.

e. Insufficient criteria in the first place for the type of competencies (politically and otherwise) we need for different positions, leading to a number of reshuffles in important areas. For example, there has been a high overturn in most provinces of MEC's for Education; and

f. The absence of clear guidelines for redeployment or recall, with the result that redeployment is often met with resistance and seen as demotion or punishment.

Challenges and Tasks

1. Short end long-term tasks

The Commission on Cadre Policy, Political and Ideological Work at the Kabwe Conference in 1985 noted that "...the Cadre Policy of an organisation is determined by the tasks which are short and long-term in the revolution." In the discussion document 'Is the NDR still on Track?' (1996), we said that the first and most visible act o any revolution is the transfer of political power. This entails taking control of the state machinery and introducing new political and social relations. It will be a long process, but the motive forces should have both the capacity and the intention to begin implementing fundamental change in all areas.

One aspect of this is balanced deployment of cadres for effective intervention on all fronts, including the governmental, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary, with proper co-ordination amongst all these levels, to ensure that we act as one movement, united around a common policy and bound by a common programme of action.

The document identified six areas of power, which are echoed in the recent Strategy and Tactics document, when it elaborates the programme of the NDR and the five pillars as immediate tasks in the current phase of the NDR. These centres of power relate to the following tasks. namely

a. building and strengthening the ANC as a movement that organises and leads the people in the task of social transformation;

b. deepening democracy and the culture of human rights and mobilising the people to take an active part in changing their lives for the better;

c. strengthening the hold of the democratic government on state power, and transforming the state machinery to serve the cause of social change;

d. pursuing economic growth, development and redistribution in such a way as to improve the people's quality of life; and

e. working with progressive forces throughout the world to promote and defend our transformation, advance Africa's renaissance and build a new world order.

2. Centers of Power and Deployment

2.1 Our first responsibility in developing an approach to deployment in the present phase, is to establish what the principal tasks of the revolution are. This must then lead us to decide what forces we have (or have to prepare to deploy) to accomplish each of these tasks. In addition, we must have a clear understanding of the system of supervision and decision-direction we need to put in place, to ensnare that our army of cadres discharges their responsibilities in accordance with decisions which the movement have made

2.2 In doing so, we should therefore look at the programme and pillars of the NDR set out in our Strategy and Tactics, and identify the strategic and deployment tasks in each center of power. The detail of this should done with the relevant NEC subcommittees, responsible for different areas of work over the years. These strategic centers of power relate to the following areas:

a. Deepening democracy, human rights and governance

b. Transformation of the State Machinery

c. Economic Transformation

d. Meeting social needs

e. The content and depth of national debate - hegemony

f. Mass work, the mobilisation, education and organisation of the motive forces

g. International arena

h. Safety and Security

2.3 Accordingly, we must therefore strengthen the political and administrative control and supervisory structures of the ANC at:

a. national headquarters of the ANC

b. provincial offices of the ANC

c. regional offices of the ANC

d. constituency offices of the ANC

e. national parliament

f. provincial legislatures

g. metropolitan councils

h. metropolitan executive councils

i. the civil service

2.4 We must strengthen our leadership of all parastatals and statutory bodies, in order of importance and the priorities and programme of the NDR.

2.5 Strengthening our leadership in all other sectors of social activity, including:-

a. the economy

b. education, science and technology

c. sports, recreation, arts and culture

d. mass popular organisation; and

e. mass communication.

Implementing our deployment strategy

1. Our Approach to deployment

Maximal or minimalist?

After engaging in the process of identifying the key strategic tasks, the institutions and the deployment issues in each center of power, we should then agree on our broad approach to deployment.

On the one hand, a maximal approach would argue that in order to push forward our transformation agenda, we need our cadreship in all key positions.

A minimalist approach would argue that all the movement should do is to concern itself with the deployment of its cadres to its party lists as public representatives (MP's, MPL's, Councilors). With this approach, deployment in other areas will depend on individual choice. Although there may be a process of consultation with the constitutional structures, this will merely be to say that "comrades have generally agreed to my taking this position because its strategic!"

Clearly both of the above positions have its dangers. Although we have a responsibility as a registered political party to contest elections and thus field candidates, we are a mass movement which should drive the process of transforming our society. To approach this with a laissez fair attitude would be tantamount to adopting a triumphalist position that we achieved all the goals of the NDR in 1994!

Winning hegemony

We should therefore in our deployment strategy find a middle road. This will include recognising that in order to change institutions you need the correct policies, a legislative and institutional framework and programmer, but also the correct people to make a difference. Our programme of prioritising key centers of power for deployment should therefore continue. However, this should not be a mechanical process of simply deploying your troops, but should go hand-in-hand with the movement having a programme of engaging with the institutions we seek to transform - hence the importance of our decision for the continual mass presence of the ANC.

What this means for individual cadres deployed to various institutions or sectors, is that they are not merely towing the party line. They are organisers who must ensure that the policies and programmes of transformation are carried out in the context of an environment where there are people who don't share our vision.

The responsibility of our cadres (e.g. those located within the state) in such circumstances is to use whatever power they have to ensure that transformation policies are accepted and implemented.

As a movement, we are committed to participatory governance and creating the space for everyone to make their submissions (for example through the parliamentary processes of public hearings) and engaging with civil society organs on key policies.

Although we can use our majority in parliament or elsewhere to drive through transformation, this does not mean that we should not - every step of the way and even when we are implementing our policies - shy away from engaging in the battle of ideas about our policies.

In our participation in institutions - whether of the state or civil society - as cadres of the movement, we should have respect for the internal processes of the structures and institutions we are part of.

Hence comrades who were part of the ANC underground in the unions during the 80's argued that they must respect and are bound by the democratic processes within the unions, even if the unions took a position different from the official line of the movement. Their responsibility was to pursued and win hegemony for ANC positions within the unions, not to impose those positions.

On the other hand, cadres deployed to different sectors have a responsibility to brief the movement about key issues in their sectors and sensitise it when its policy or tactical positions with regards that sector may need re-examination, given their concrete experience of that sector.

2. Practical steps

The 50th Conference resolution instructed us to set up Deployment Committees and to develop and implement a deployment strategy for the movement at all levels. What are the immediate tasks which we need to take on towards implementing this mandate? We need to do the following:-

a. Elaborating the strategic tasks, institutions and deployment implications for each power center.

b. Setting up the Deployment Committees at all levels.

c. Skills audit of all our cadreship and developing a database.

d. Audit of all positions available in different centers, prioritise and identify areas where we lack sufficient cadres with experience and thus need to have a development programme.

e. Immediate priorities for the Deployment committee:

- those who serve in elected public positions (MP's, MPL's) during this term of office and those nominated to serve in such positions through our list process; this should be done in co-ordination with the List Committees;

- those from the broad democratic movement who are already place in managerial positions in various areas of social activity;

- experienced and loyal cadres who might have been demobilised from active struggle for one reason or the other;

- those falling outside of these categories, but are members, supporters and fellow nationals (who may be apolitical, but who are democratically minded and want to contribute to the country) who have required skills and experience.

f. Ensure at all times an ongoing link between the recruitment of members (through our branches and within the centers we are deployed), our political education and cadre development programme and our deployment strategy.

g. Guidelines on accountability, supervision and co-ordination for cadreship deployed to different centers.

h. A human resource development approach which includes the following dimensions:-

- the mobilisation of youth and students in higher education, so that they embrace our perspective of transformation and therefore form part of the pool of qualified cadres for deployment;

- making use of our international relations to encourage placements and further professional development of cadres in key areas of our society, contributing towards our short, medium and long-term succession plans.

Source: Umrabulo, 1st Quarter 1999