Statement of the Alliance Political Council
9 June 2021
The Alliance Political Council comprising the National Office Bearers or top six of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) held a virtual plenary on Friday and Saturday, 4–5 June 2021. The National Officials of the ANC were led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, SACP by the Party General Secretary Dr Blade Nzimande, and COSATU by the President of the federation Zingiswa Losi.
The Alliance Political Council is the strategic leadership organ of the Alliance. Its functioning is based on a consensus-seeking consultation model. It is responsible for developing and giving collective leadership to our shared strategy of struggle, transformation, and development, namely the national democratic revolution.
The Alliance Political Council attached great importance to the need to deepen Alliance ties, work together, and mobilise the broadest possible patriotic national unity to overcome the challenges our people find themselves faced with, the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), unemployment, poverty, inequality, and unequal development. Therefore, the Alliance Political Council discussed the following issues.
Accelerating COVID-19 vaccination
The COVID 19 pandemic still poses the greatest threat to our society and the economy. It is an immediate challenge that all South Africans need to unite to overcome, among others by observing the COVID-19 preventative measures, while at the same time the government is rolling out vaccination.
The Alliance Political Council welcomed the fact that approximately 1.2 million people have been vaccinated, in part or in whole. The meeting emphasised the importance of accelerating the vaccination rollout. The Alliance Political Council calls on all Alliance structures to mobilise citizens to register to be vaccinated.
The Alliance Political Council reiterated its condemnation of corrupt or unethical practices and called upon the government to enforce due processes and act decisively where such heinous practices are uncovered.
The Alliance Political Council further stressed the importance of working together to intensify national and international mobilisation against vaccine nationalism and imperialism. Certain Global North states have snapped up COVID-19 vaccines, and more than they need for their populations. This denies the Global South or developing countries populations access to immediate vaccination. With the backing of their nation-states or regional blocs, multinational pharmaceutical corporations involved in the research, development, and control of the manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccines impose conditions for access to the vaccines.
The conditions have the effect of undermining democratic national sovereignty and shielding those companies against taking responsibility for the vaccines. These and monopoly pricing practices, underpinned by profiting from the COVID-19 global disaster, are some features of vaccine nationalism and imperialism.
Some Western governments and big pharmaceutical companies refuse to lift intellectual property rights and thus make COVID-19 vaccines public goods in the interests of saving lives. This is one key impediment to the massification of COVID-19 vaccine production and vaccination.
The Alliance will intensify its support for the campaign for the waiver of certain Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to allow developing countries that have or can develop vaccine productive capacity to produce the vaccines. South Africa and India, with the support of an increasing number of countries, organisations and renowned individuals in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, to name but a few, are playing an important role in driving the campaign.
Economic reconstruction and inclusive growth
The Alliance Political Council expressed concern regarding the rise in the official unemployment rate by 0.1 per cent from 32.5 per cent to 32.6 per cent and the expanded unemployment rate by 0.6 per cent to 43.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
The meeting noted the government’s efforts and stressed the importance of a common Alliance economic and social policy framework and platform to radically reduce unemployment, poverty, and inequality, overcome uneven development, and achieve economic reconstruction, structural transformation, and inclusive growth.
To this end the Alliance Political Council noted the Alliance Secretariat report outlining preparations for the next Alliance Economic Summit. The key objectives of the summit will include a focus on tackling youth and women unemployment, inequality, poverty, and the crisis of social reproduction—in terms of which many households are struggling to support their lives—and associated with all this the scourge of gender-based violence.
State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) remain fundamental public instruments to deliver on our transformation and developmental objectives. The current governance and funding challenges affecting SOEs severely impact South Africa’s progress. The Alliance will critically engage with the proposals put forward by the Presidential SOE Council relating to the future role, developmental mandate, governance, and composition of South Africa’s SOEs sector. The outcomes of these engagements will be tabled for consideration by the Alliance Economic Summit.
Governance and Labour Matters
A capable and ethical state is a fundamental prerequisite for the accomplishment of the goals of our shared strategy, the national democratic revolution. Thus, the Alliance Political Council reaffirmed our shared determination to the fight against corruption and wrongdoing in the public and private sectors, including in public administration and service.
The Alliance Political Council will further its engagement to develop a political leadership role towards the resolution of the public service and administration collective bargaining agreement wage dispute, while fully safeguarding and upholding the legal standing of the hard-won collective bargaining system and authority of the bargaining partners, the trade unions and the government.
The Alliance’s efforts will include consultation with other relevant stakeholders towards finding a resolution to the dispute. This will be followed by an evaluation of progress within two weeks. The Alliance Economic Summit will further reflect on the dispute, which creates an unwanted atmosphere affecting collective bargaining across all sectors.
The budget shortfall affecting the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has created a massive backlog with adverse effects on workers, who continue to face the brunt of retrenchments, loss of wages, unsafe working conditions, and unfair labour practices. The government should make it a priority to solve this problem as a matter of urgency. To this end a report should be tabled for consideration within two weeks.
In addition, research must be conducted to resolve the challenges faced by workers in accessing CCMA services. A more detailed report covering responses should be made available for engagement by social partners. The Alliance at its Economic Summit should also consider that report to contribute to the way forward.
Local government elections
The Alliance Political Council received a report on the state of the local government election preparation process. The report also covered the COVID-19 implications.
It is important to protect our democratic gains, including holding regular elections as directed by the constitution and the other relevant laws of the republic. Elections should be postponed only under conditions where a severe health crisis or a disaster makes it completely impossible to hold the affected elections.
Alliance formations expressed support for the investigation to be headed by Judge Dikgang Moseneke mandated to look into the feasibility of holding the 2021 local government elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and against the background of the fact that South Africa has thus far been successfully holding local government by-elections.
The Alliance Political Council noted the work in progress to develop the local government manifesto. The Alliance will continue to work together in this regard. The scope of the work will cover an evaluation of progress on the implementation of the previous election manifesto. This should be completed by the time the Alliance Economic Summit takes place.
The Alliance as led by the ANC reaffirmed its commitment to ensure an inclusive candidate selection process reflecting the spirit of the Alliance and the integrity of community participation throughout the process and in its outcome.
The Alliance Political Council has tasked the Alliance Secretariat to engage with organisational structures towards safeguarding the integrity of the process and the achievement of inclusivity. This is also a key part towards the reconfiguration of the Alliance, a task the Alliance has resolved to continue and complete as part of the organisational renewal and unity of the Alliance, its formations, and the motive forces of the national democratic revolution.
Municipalities that dismissed workers or have not paid workers their wages, and intervention to ensure continuity of basic services
The Alliance Political Council noted with concern situations involving the dismissal of workers by certain municipalities or certain municipalities that have not paid workers their wages. These situations should be resolved as a matter of urgency. The Alliance will follow up on these situations through its organisational processes.
The Alliance Political Council agreed on the necessity of intervention in various municipalities to restore basic services where the provision of these services has been interrupted or stopped.
The Alliance Political Council discussed various international situations, including Mozambique, Swaziland, Palestine, Western Sahara, Cuba, and other Latin American countries.
Where possible South Africa should support the initiatives of the double troika of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to restore stability to Mozambique and prevent an escalation of the destabilisation of Mozambique in the region.
The Alliance Political Council noted with concern the dire situation in Swaziland and the conditions the people of Swaziland are subjected to in their quest for democracy. The Alliance reiterates its unwavering call for the right of all prisoners of conscience to fair trial and humane treatment, freedom of conscience and political views and the right to offer solidarity to all who suffer oppression or who are fighting for their dignity. The Alliance Political Council called on the government of Swaziland to release Amos Mbedzi and grant him access to medical care unconditionally with immediate effect.
The Alliance Political Council expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine against expropriation, occupation and apartheid segregation and oppression by the Israeli regime. The Alliance supports the just struggle of the people of Palestine to democratic national sovereignty and self-determination, peace, and development. The meeting reiterated the shared resolution to “give practical support to the oppressed people of Palestine and an immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA (South African) embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office” as resolved by the 54th National Conference of the ANC in December 2017.
The Alliance reaffirmed its support to the right of the last remaining colony on the African continent and the brave struggles, for self-determination, of the people of Western Sahara, known as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. The meeting expressed concern about the danger of Moroccan expansionism and its dollar diplomacy on the continent and beyond and resolved that something must be done to deal with this problem. Further engagements will outline the content of the programme.
The Alliance Political Council congratulated the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) and the SADC region for hosting a very successful Solidarity Conference with the people of Western Sahara and encouraged them to intensify the implementation of its outcomes.
Solidarity with Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and other countries
The Alliance Political Council noted the recent positive developments in some parts of Latin America that are fighting back against the United States imperialism. The meeting reaffirmed the Alliance’s support to the people of Cuba and Venezuela in the face of the US-driven blockade and sanctions, as well as other fighting peoples who are facing US interference, Nicaragua, Bolivia and other Latin American countries, as well as in the Middle East, in Syria, Iran, Kurdish people, and elsewhere.
Issued by Alliance Political Council, 10 June 2021