We do not support call for Zuma to step down – ANC NEC

Gwede Mantashe says it is more urgent to direct energies of the party in its entirety to working towards the unity of the movement

Statement of the African National Congress on the outcomes of the National Executive Committee held 26 to 28 November 2016

29 November 201

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African Nation Congress (ANC) met in an ordinary meeting at St. George’s Hotel, Irene. The meeting initially scheduled for the 26th and 27th November 2016 was extended to the 28th November 2016, owing to the fact that it was the last meeting of year and needed an extra day to conclude its business.

The NEC received the Political Report delivered by the President, the report of the National Working Committee and discussed amongst others the roadmap to the 54th National Conference to be held in December 2017.

The NEC resolved to continue with and intensify its programme of engagement with various sectors of society and structures of the ANC. To this end, the NEC welcomed the report of meetings held by the ANC with business, faith based organisations and the veterans and stalwarts of our movement.

In these engagements we have encountered many differing views. The meetings with churches and the veterans in particular, without exception, have advised us to work for the unity of the movement as a critical element of the programme of renewal and have made a commitment to contribute towards finding solutions. 

The NEC further committed itself to accelerate work in progress to resolve problems created by the manipulation of candidate lists in various branches across the country. We have further resolved to invest even more in unifying the ANC; driving a programme that is underpinned by political education. 

We have been encouraged by the growing interest of our branches to make greater use of the ANC’s base documents, Through the Eye of the Needle and the Strategy and Tactics. These assist to politically and ideologically anchor members of the ANC. The stability of the ANC can only be assured with the improved ideological clarity of the membership.

The NEC cautioned itself and the ANC at large, that the biggest danger to the unity of the ANC is engaging each other through the lens of the upcoming 54th National Conference, where everyone is suspicious of one another. In the words of Cuban revolutionary, Cde Jose Marti -

Once the candidates are nominated, pails of mud are dumped upon their heads. Lies and exaggerations are knowingly spread. Bellies and backs are polished. All manner of infamy is considered legitimate. All kinds of blows are good as long as they stun the enemy. Whoever invests an effective villainous act struts about like a peacock. Even prominent men believe themselves excused from the more trivial duties of honour”. It is critical for the unity of our movement that we disabuse ourselves of this posture.

The meeting held with the veterans on Monday, 21st November and continued on Friday, 25th November, affirmed that we cannot be stronger unless we work together for unity and cohesion of the ANC.  We resolved that together, we would work for effective solutions to the challenges confronting the ANC and society.

To this end, the veterans committed themselves to work closely with structures of the movement and availed themselves to participate in programmes of the ANC. We further agreed that the veterans would form part of the process that will culminate in the Veterans League’s Conference; and working with MKMVA, convene an assembly of all ex-combatants.

These initiatives are all part of our framework of broad societal consultation and intended to consolidate the unity and cohesion of the movement. We remain committed to working together with all stalwarts of our movement who wish to use their capacity and experience, gained over many years and different epochs of the ANC and the struggle, to contribute positively to the life of the organisation.

On the call for a Consultative Conference, the NEC resolved to extend by one extra day the National Policy Conference scheduled for the 30th June to the 5th July 2017. The first two days of Conference will be utilised to assess the state of the organisation as envisaged in the veteran’s call for a Consultative Conference. In that way, the Policy Conference is able to deal with issues that were raised as necessitating a Consultative Conference.

The NEC further adopted the ANC NEC Calendar for 2017. Accordingly, the 105th Anniversary celebrations will be held on Sunday, 8th January 2017 in Gauteng. All members of the NEC are expected to arrive in Gauteng no later than the 3rd January 2017 to take part in build up programmes towards January 8. On the 4th January 2017, there will be a special meeting of the NEC to consider and adopt the NEC Statement for the 105thAnniversary Celebrations of the ANC.

The roadmap to the National Policy Conference to be held 30th June to 5th July and the 54th National Conference on the 16th to the 20th December 2017 was also adopted.

2017 further marks a centenary since the birth of Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo, a doyenne of unity and ANC’s longest serving President. The NEC has committed itself to a rolling year-long programme in celebration of this colossal icon of South African liberation struggle.

The NEC congratulated Cde Parks Tau for being elected President of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG). The UCLG is the world body of local government with membership from one hundred and forty-eight (148) countries, constituted of more than one thousand (1000) leading cities in the world.

His election is recognition of the strategic importance of the contribution of South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in general and Cde Tau in particular, to global governance, having been affirmed by a resolution of the Afri-Cities Summit and endorsed by the African Union. Having noted the requirement for the continued presidency of the UCLG, the NEC agreed to engage ANC deployees that are delegates to the SALGA Conference to support and confirm Cde Parks Tau as Chairperson of SALGA.

On economic policy, the ANC adopted a framework on “Turning South Africa into a construction site” with specific focus on township and rural communities. The framework is intended to challenge the untenable and unsustainable situation of a “two-worlds country”, which continues to define the South African landscape. It speaks to the design and implementation of a massive ten-year socio-economic infrastructure build programme, focusing on township and rural communities, with meeting basic human needs as the underlying perspective. This policy framework will be further deliberated and consolidated in the January 2017 Lekgotla.

The NEC appreciated the commitment made by the President during the question and answer session in Parliament where he reiterated that no child would be denied the right to access higher education at the start of the academic year as a result of financial factors. The NEC called on all stakeholders to continue engagement to realise this very important commitment.

The NEC has repeatedly said that introspection and self-correction is a process not an event. This NEC meeting placed at the centre of its discussions, the question whether the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is still on track. This entailed the extent to which the ANC is leading transformation to deal with the political and socio-economic manifestations of apartheid colonialism. This also meant assessing how far we are in the task of nation building, which is the consolidation of a single, collective South African nation, dispelling of narrow ethnic, tribal and racial nations.

The discussion was also guided by, amongst others, the principles for choosing the best cadres to lead transformation as outlined in Through the Eye of the Needle.

During the course of these discussions, a call was made for ANC President, Comrade Jacob Zuma, to consider stepping down as the President of the Republic of South Africa. The NEC decided that even though the issue was neither on the agenda nor in the Political Report, the debate should be allowed without any suppression.

After extensive deliberations, the NEC came to the conclusion that the NDR remains on course, however the revolution is facing serious threats being racism, ethnic nationalism and monopoly capital.

Ethnic triumphalism is beginning to emerge and becoming emboldened, expressed in factions and certain unrests in society. We must defeat narrow ethnic nationalism and all residual contradictions, which formed the basis of apartheid colonialism.

On the call for the President to consider stepping down as President of the Republic, the NEC took time to elaborate on what we have previously identified as a negative narrative directed towards the President.

The essence of engagement and discussion is persuasion in order to arrive at consensus. As such, the NEC of the ANC always seeks to persuade one another through argument. It does not seek to conclude matters through voting. Following robust, honest, candid and at times difficult discussions, the NEC did not support the call for the President to step down. The NEC resolved it was more urgent to direct the energies of the ANC in its entirety to working towards the unity of the movement.

All members of the NEC had an opportunity to raise, in the meeting, the issues they feel are hurting the movement and the country. All these are very important and are being given due consideration by the NEC.  

The National Executive Committee, on behalf of the ANC, sent its sincere condolences to the Cuban people on the passing of former President and leader of the Cuban revolution, El Commandate en Jefe Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz. We express our immense gratitude for their selflessness and sacrifices during our liberation struggle as well as their continued support in the reconstruction and development of our country. After holding a moment of silence for Commandante Fidel Castro, the NEC adopted a Special Resolution in his honour, which is attached.

Issued by Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General, ANC, 29 November 2016