54th NC: Harsh action to be taken against any form of ill-discipline – Gwede Mantashe

SG says Conference will decide on any constitutional amendment affecting the election of leadership before elections

Statement of ANC on preperations towards the 54th National Conferences

5 September 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) will convene its 54th National Conference from the 16th to the 20th December 2017 in Gauteng. The National Conference is the supreme ruling and controlling body of the ANC and shall be comprised of at least 90% of the delegates drawn from branches, elected at properly constituted branch general meetings (BGM). The number of delegates per branch shall be in proportion to their paid up membership, provided that each branch in good standing shall be entitled to at least one delegate. The number of delegates allocated to each province shall be in proportion to the paid up membership per province. 

All National Executive Committee (NEC) members shall attend, ex-officio, as full participants in and as delegates to the Conference. The remainder of voting delegates shall be allocated to members of the Provincial Executive Committees (PEC), and the Leagues. An allocation for non-voting delegates will also be made.

The National Conference is called every 5 years by the African National Congress to:

Decide and determine the policy, programme and constitution of the ANC 

Receive and decide on reports of the NEC  including the Presidential Address, the Organizational Report delivered by the Secretary General, the Financial Report delivered by the Treasurer General and a report on the work of the Leagues

Exercise the right to review, rectify, alter or rescind any decision taken by any structure, committee or Officials of the ANC

Elect the National Officials and additional members of the National Executive Committee

The meeting of the NEC held in January 2017 adopted a roadmap towards the 54th National Conference. In terms of the roadmap, we would, amongst others, convene the National Policy Conference (NPC) which was held in June, conduct membership audits and thereafter branches would hold BGMs as part of final preparations toward the National Conference. 

 A minimum threshold of 70 percent of branches in good standing must pass the audit in order for the National Conference to be convened. The audit has now been completed in 6 of the 9 provinces being Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Free State and the Northern Cape. We are still to complete the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and parts of KwaZulu Natal.

All branches that have passed the audit, as per the audit report sent to provinces, may now commence with Branch General Meetings (BGM) or Branch Annual General Meetings (BAGM). The Regional Executive Committee (REC) will preside over the BGMs.  Members of Parliament (MP) and Members of Provincial Legislatures will be deployed by the National Office to all BGMs as observers. 

The BGM’s must do the following:

Further discuss and consolidate policy  proposals arising from the NPC to concretize their branch positions towards the 54th National Conference

Nominate branch delegates as per their allocation to attend as full participants the conference

Nominate candidates to serve as National Officials and additional members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)

Branches are encouraged to reflect gender parity in their representation to National Conference. 

In line with the 2015 National General Council (NGC) resolution to outlaw slates and reaffirm the role of the branch as the basic unit of the ANC, every effort shall be made to ensure that branch nominations are not tempered with and that the will of the branches is reflected and respected.

Rule 12.7 of the Constitution of the ANC enjoins us that nominations for the National Officials as well as additional members of the National Executive Committee shall be proposed by provinces.   Branch nominations will therefore be consolidated into a provincial position reflecting and respecting the will of the branches. This means that nominations from branches will be counted as received and, with no additional interference by the province, reflect the position of the province

In the next week, proposals for consideration for constitutional amendments will be circulated to branches. In line with Rule 28 of the ANC Constitution, a minimum of two-thirds of voting delegates at conference is required to pass any constitutional amendment. 

National Conference will deliberate and decide on any constitutional amendment affecting the election of leadership before elections take place at conference. Branches therefore must now conduct all nominations in line with the Constitution as amended and adopted by the 53rd National Conference.

The ANC directs all its structures to ensure that the business of the BGMs is conducted in an environment that is free from intimidation and intolerance. Harsh action will be taken against any form of ill-discipline and the ANC will not hesitate to speedily act to curb undemocratic and disruptive tendencies.

This 54th National Conference must be solely concerned with uniting the ANC and coming up with practical and urgent action to deal with the problems of the people, being landlessness, unemployment, poverty and inequality. In this regard the ANC welcomes the release of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the 2nd quarter which shows a 2.5% growth; pulling the country out of the technical recession. This growth has largely been attributed to the growth in primary industries, being, in the main, agriculture and mining. 

While we are making some improvements, much more still remains to be done. The National Conference must be seized with this work of advancing the strides we have made to improve the lives of our people. We must build on the foundation laid and prove the lies in the statements made by, amongst others, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Comrade Robert Mugabe, that the policies of the ANC have made “black South Africans paupers”. 

Independent research stands as proof of the work that has been done to create a better life for the majority in South Africa. This has been done in a responsible manner that has not brought our economy to its knees in pursuit of adventurism and populism. Our successes and challenges have been an outcome of the progressive, collective policy positions of the ANC and not individual leaders. The attack on the person and legacy of Comrade Mandela by Comrade Mugabe is unwarranted and extremely unfortunate. We must steadily and surely work to realize our aspirations as encapsulated in the National Development Plan. 

The African National Congress once again expresses its most sincere condolences to the family of Comrade Sindiso Magaqa, especially his mother, his wife Gugu and their three children on the loss of so fearless and courageous a revolutionary fighter. We condemn in the harshest possible terms the ongoing spate of political assassinations in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and call for the speedy conclusion of the Moerane Commission into this matter. Law enforcement agencies must act and act now to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The loss of the life of Comrade Magaqa and many other comrades in that province must not be in vain. 

Issued by Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General, ANC, 5 September 2017