Is AMCU's strike political or wage related? - ANC NEC

Lekgotla also agrees that cadre deployment into local govt must be competence based


The National Executive Committee (NEC) met over the three days of June 5th to 7th, 2014, at St George Hotel, Tshwane. The meeting combined the scheduled May, 2014 NEC meeting, which was postponed due to the elections, with the NEC Lekgotla that was moved forward from July.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the normal business of the NEC, with particular focus on the 2014 elections. The other two days were dedicated to the Lekgotla, in preparation for the Cabinet Lekgotla that will precede the State of the Nation Address.

In its analysis of the 2014 elections the NEC expressed itself thus:

The ANC won an overwhelming electoral victory, which demonstrates confidence from the majority of South Africans. At the same time, it is a resounding mandate on the ANC to seriously and speedily move South Africa forward.

The ANC is thankful for this support from its leaders, members, volunteers, alliance partners and the broader society. This massive effort turned around what was expected to be a below 60% decline, which most pundits put at 53%. We, together, achieved it despite the onslaught from a combined opposition, including some in the media and various organisations in our society.

It is of significance to our mission that twenty years post independence we have achieved such a milestone. The determination is based on the historic trends of many liberation movements in the world finding it difficult to survive beyond twenty years.

Noting our performance in some of the metros, the NEC recognised that this requires that we put greater effort in maintaining contact with and addressing concerns of our support base. Also the ANC must reconnect with the black middle classes, which are a result of its progressive policies.

Against the background of decline is the upward trend in the four provinces of KZN, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape and the Northern Cape.

We have also recognised that the smaller opposition parties have suffered severely in these elections. The growth of the DA, on the other hand, is today exactly where the Democratic Party and the Nationalist Party were in 1994.

The attack on the IEC by some opposition parties, aimed at delegitimising the institution so as to discredit the outcome, concerned us. We are pleased that the elections were declared free, fair, transparent and credible.

The NEC adopted the programme of engagement with the various communities. Paramount in this is moving with vigour and speed to implement the commitments made in the manifesto.

The NEC Lekgotla accepted that the election victory is a mandate for the ANC to implement the radical economic transformation as decided by the 53rd National Conference. It therefore agreed that

The 0,6% negative growth for the first quarter of 2014 must be speedily arrested. The five months strike in the platinum belt was seen as the major contributing factor. Of concern was whether this was a collective bargaining strike or a political strike. This question arose having noted the following disturbing developments:

The articulation of AMCU position by white foreign nationals, signalling interest of the foreign forces in the distabilisation of our economy.

The direct participation of EFF in the negotiations, and thus collaboration with the foreign forces.

These two factors led the lekgotla into cautioning the Ministry of Mineral Resources in handling the facilitation with care. There were questions about the role of the state in workplace disputes where there are clear rules guiding it.

The security cluster was reminded that they have a duty of ensuring safety of citizens even when there are strikes of protests. The state cannot be helpless when citizen are killed almost every day. At least five workers have been killed in this strike.

The government was nudged to deal with the situation more decisively if the economic decline is to be arrested.

All the other interventions will not be taken serious if the state cannot deal with a strike that is not only putting pressure on the employer but starve workers to death.

The employers must be forced to do what they committed themselves to do. The provision of decent accommodation is a commitment in the mining charter.

Decent wages and salaries is not ideological but important for one's livelihood.

But all these must be negotiated with the rules and bargaining conventions.

Among the key priorities of the Fifth Administration is the implementation of an Energy Master Plan to unlock the economic potential of the country.

Public investment in this regard aims to crowd in private investment while simultaneously enhancing the role of the State and expanding black participation in the economy.

The Lekgotla gave close attention to issues related to improving the performance of local government. In this regard we agreed that deployment into local councils, especially in the Metros shall take full account of their strategic importance in the economic and social life of South Africa. We again agreed that appointments to key positions in the municipalities must be based on competence and that the tendency to interfere in the appointment processes by political structures in some areas should be eliminated.

The problem surrounding the billing system in some of the municipalities was acknowledged. Lekgotla was emphatic that all our metros must move with urgency to resolve this matter.

The Lekgotla also reaffirmed its commitment to youth empowerment. The 60% aside of youth initiative as contained in the Youth Accord should be implemented.

All our priority areas were emphasised; that of health, education, rural development and land reform and fighting corruption and crime.

This is the moment clearly and practically to demonstrate to our people that we have heard them; that we are humbled by the mandate they have given us; and that we shall move South Africa forward, faster.

To achieve this, we need to work with all sectors of society, to lift the economy to a higher growth path to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the state and improve people's lives.

We therefore expect government to concretise all the decisions we have adopted into practical plans that will inform both the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the State of the Nation Address.

Most importantly, our people expect a sense of urgency in what we do as the ANC and as government. We should not disappoint them!

Statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary general, June 8 2014

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter