ANC conference resolution: On economic transformation

What the party decided to do about the NDP, nationalisation, mining and the land question

Resolutions of the ANC's 53rd National Conference, Mangaung, December 16-20 2012


1. The ANC's economic vision rests on the Freedom Charter's call that the people shall share in South Africa's wealth. Through economic transformation we intend to build an equitable society in which there is decent work for all.

2. Over the last 18 years significant progress has been made in meeting the basic needs of our people, including through the growth of the social wage and the provision of social infrastructure. However, the redistribution of economic assets, and the growth of job creating industries have not met the expectations we had in 1994.

3. Therefore, as an integral part of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society, we need to accelerate growth and intensify our programme of economic transformation.

Over the next five years, the ANC will take decisive and resolute action to overcome the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, which are at the heart of South Africa's socio-economic challenges.

We intend to transform the structure of the economy through industrialisation, broadbased black economic empowerment, addressing the basic needs of our people, including women and youth, strengthening and expanding the role of the state and the role of state owned enterprises.

4. Our most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work, and creating work requires faster and more inclusive economic growth. The challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality require that accelerated growth takes place in the context of an effective strategy of redistribution that builds a new and more equitable growth path.

Progress and Challenges

5. The resolution taken by of the 52ndNational Conference of the African National Congress continues to define our perspective on economic transformation. The fifteen pillars of Polokwane resolution are:

i. Creating decent work is the primary focus of economic policy.

ii. Accelerating shared economic growth by overcoming obstacles to growth and intervening to promote equity.

iii. Transforming the structures of production and ownership.

iv. A comprehensive and clear rural development strategy.

v. Reversing apartheid settlement patterns in both urban and rural areas.

vi. Expanding the opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, through support for cooperatives and micro-enterprises.

vii. Programmes that directly absorbs the unemployed, including public works programmes.

viii. Expanding the social wage with universal and subsidised access to basic social services.

ix. Investing in priority skills and education, and improving the performance of South African learners in maths and science.

x. Using South Africa's natural resources in a manner that benefits the nation as a whole.

xi. Ensuring energy security and promoting clean and renewable sources of energy supply xii. Integration on a fair and equitable basis with the economies of Southern Africa and building stronger economic linkages across the continent as a whole xiii. Participating in world trade, pursuing strategic partnerships with countries of the south and agitating for a fairer world trade system xiv. Macroeconomic policies that support growth, job creation and poverty eradication on a sustainable basis.

xv. Building the capacity of government to act as a democratic developmental state and implement the programme of economic transformation.

6. Significant progress has been made in implementing aspects of the Polokwane resolution, but much work still needs to be done to put the resolution into action, and implementation of its pillars is only just beginning. Amongst the key achievements of the last five years has been:

■ The creation of the national planning commission and the development of a national plan as the basis for mobilising and uniting all South Africans around a common vision.

■ The New Growth Path has defined our medium-term policy imperatives, while industrial and trade policies are increasingly active and well resourced.

■ We launched an ambitious infrastructure programme, which is gathering momentum every day. Large public investments in energy, ports, railways and roads, will help alleviate supply bottlenecks in the economy, while social infrastructure will improve the living conditions of our people.

■ The social wage has continued to expand, with greater government resources allocated to education, health and other basic services.

■ Macroeconomic policy remains sustainable and supportive of growth.

7. However, there remain huge challenges and areas where we have not made sufficient progress. These include the following:

■ Structural unemployment remains unacceptably high, particularly amongst the youth. Women, especially black women, continue to bear the brunt of structural imbalances in the economy.

■ The global crisis of capitalism asserted itself with vengeance from 2008.

Despite concerted counter-actions on the part of our movement, the global shock led to the loss of more than 1 million jobs in South Africa, a tragedy from which we are yet to fully recover.

■ We have not succeeded in accelerating growth, and even as the global crisis has subsided somewhat, South Africa's growth rate is still below what it was in 2007.

■ Government has added greater resources to the social wage and service delivery, but there is increasing concern that these resources are not reaching the right people and are not having the expected impact on the ground.

8. These shortcomings reflect the fact that the constraints to South Africa's growth are deep and structural. Despite macroeconomic stimulus, our recovery from the 2008 crisis has been weak. Investment, trade and employment growth remain hesitant.

These structural problems require structural solutions that transform the trajectory of economic growth, reindustrialise the South African economy and accelerate social development. The second phase of the transition should thus mark a decisive break with unemployment, exploitation, inequality and poverty.

9. As we noted in Polokwane, the changes we seek will not emerge spontaneously from the ‘invisible hand' of the market.

People acting collectively in the spirit of human solidarity must shape the patterns of economic development. In this process the state must play a central and strategic role, by directly investing in underdeveloped areas and directing and incentivising private sector investment, including through the effective deployment of state owned enterprises and development finance institutions.

10. A democratic developmental state, capable of intervening effectively to transform economic relations, is therefore at the centre of our economic agenda. At the same time, our objectives cannot be achieved by the public sector acting alone. It will also need South African citizens and firms who are motivated to invest in the future. This requires confidence in the future and a shared belief that tomorrow will be better than today.

Believing that:

1. The destination we are heading towards is a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth. The process of overcoming unemployment poverty and inequality and building a national democratic society will be complex, and requires a long term planning blueprint that creates certainty about where we are going and how we intend to get there.

2. Global developments have created new challenges and opportunities for our economic agenda. Despite its obvious dangers, the crisis indicates that the world is at a crossroads where taking decisive charge of our national destiny is even more important. Our responsibility to act in unity - duty bound to protect the livelihoods of the poor and enhance the welfare of our people with care and forethought - is greater than ever.

3. Despite the challenges facing the global economy, growth in Africa is strong and robust. In this context building intra-African trade is a key economic policy objective, and is in the vital interest of the people of South Africa and the entire African continent.

4. South Africa's endowment of mineral resources belongs to the people as a whole through state custodianship, and should be governed by the democratic developmental state in the interests of all South Africans.

Exploitation of minerals must optimise their developmental impact, especially job creation, across the economy. Mining must catalyse broader industrialisation through the realisation of all the potential backward and forward linkages, including a much greater degree of beneficiation.

5. Through industrialisation South Africa should seek to construct a new comparative advantage based on our natural resources, in the context of stronger regional integration. This requires us to ensure the competitive pricing of key resource inputs to our downstream beneficiation activities, including on-going measures to address import parity pricing.

6. Government's ambitious infrastructure programme will support the growth of our supply sectors, unlock key bottlenecks in the economy and underpin the structural transformation that we seek.

It is a programme based around strategic integrated projects that will have a catalytic impact on job creation, unlocking resources, developing the poorest regions of our country, overcoming spatial inequalities and developing the region.

7. There are far too many young people who are out of work, and this is a growing problem.

Urgent and extra-ordinary measures are required to address youth unemployment.

Moreover, the structural gender imbalances in the economy impact negatively on women, especially black women and need to be addressed.

8. A radical improvement in the outcomes generated by our education system is required if we are to change the structure of opportunities in our society, stimulate growth and ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and income.

9. In addition to creating jobs, eradicating poverty and overcoming extreme inequality, our transformation agenda also embraces the creation of a non-racial entrepreneurial class. SMME and BEE policies should focus on the development of entrepreneurs providing productive inputs into the real economy, rather than shareholder transactions, and should seek to build cooperative institutions and other forms of social ownership.

We therefore resolve:

The National Development Plan

1. The ANC must take the lead in mobilising and uniting all South Africans around a common vision of economic transformation that puts South Africa first. The National Development Plan is a living and dynamic document and articulates a vision which is broadly in line with our objective to create a national democratic society, and should be used as a common basis for this mobilisation.

The ANC will continue to engage with the plan, conscious of the need to unite South Africans in action around a common vision and programme of change.

2. Within the NDP vision, critical instruments and policy initiatives will continue to drive government's medium-term policy agenda.

These include:

■ The national infrastructure plan, which is an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, apartheid spatial distortions, support beneficiation and industrialisation and contribute to facilitating intra-African trade. As a flag-ship programme of the state, all departments and spheres of government must join in taking forward this programme.

■ The New Growth Path is the economic strategy designed to shift the trajectory of economic development, including through identified drivers of job creation.

■ The industrial policy action plan, which guides the reindustrialisation of the South African economy.

3. We reaffirm our commitment to promoting local companies, entrepreneurs and cooperatives through public procurement and infrastructure spend, and our intention to fully utilise the trade and industrial policy space available to South Africa. Our commitment to localisation extends to the materials used and distributed at ANC conferences. In this regard, the paraphernalia ordered for all ANC conferences and meetings, at whatever level must be made in South Africa.

4. We will continue to construct an inclusive, democratic and fair system of workplace relations that builds on the constitutional right to collective bargaining and enables South Africans to work together in their common interests. Marginalised workers that are outside the current system of labour relations must be mobilised to realise their constitutional rights and join trade unions affiliated to COSATU. The ANC must campaign to ensure peace, stability and respect for the rule of law in the conduct of industrial relations.

The Minerals Sector

5. The ANCs policy with respect to the further development of the minerals sector is based on the following elements:

■ South Africa is endowed with abundant mineral resources, including the following strategic and important assets:

❏ Minerals for manufacturing: Steel (iron ore), polymers (coal or oil/ gas), base metals (copper, zinc, nickel), Platinum group metals, chromium, vanadium, manganese, alumina-silicates.

❏ Minerals for energy: coal, uranium (also limestone for washing emissions), natural gas, including shale gas and coal-bed methane gas.

❏ Minerals for agriculture: NPKnitrogen (gas), phosphates, potassium, conditioners (sulphur, limestone)

❏ Minerals for Infrastructure: Steel (iron ore) cement (limestone, gypsum), copper.

■ Within this list of minerals, those strategic minerals that require special public policy measures will be identified

■ State intervention with a focus on beneficiation for industrialisation is urgently required. Instruments are required to support beneficiation and competitive pricing of these strategic resources include the use of targeted management of exports of minerals. In addition, SA's share of some resources offers possible producer power which could be used to facilitate backward and forward mineral economic linkages.

■ At the forefront of state intervention should be the strengthening of the state mining company which will capture a share of mineral resource rents and equity.

It should support, where appropriate, vertically integrated value chains that strengthen strategic industries, by ensuring that adequate amounts of raw materials are made available to them at affordable prices.

■ The state must capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents through the tax system and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation.

■ Mining should create safe and decent work, and mineral extraction should not compromise local communities or the environment. Government should urgently conduct a comprehensive review of whether mining companies are meeting their obligations regarding social and labour plans, including those stipulated by the Mining Charter and MPRDA. Social plans must be effectively integrated with community and municipal development programmes.

■ There is a need to develop mineral knowledge linkages by encouraging youth to study science and engineering, and providing incentives for this including free education up to first year university level for these subjects. We must also expand investment in research and development that contributes towards innovation that supports beneficiation.

Youth employment, small business and cooperatives

6. Urgent action is needed to get more young people into the work-place. The private sector, public sector, youth organisations and trade unions must unite in action to address youth unemployment through interventions that do not jeopardise the jobs of existing workers, or undermine workers' rights more generally. Government must act to improve the quality of active labour market policies, and create incentives for absorbing the young unemployed, so that young, unskilled job seekers can gain entry into employment more easily. The expansion of vocational training, linking the skills development with industrial growth and job creation and expanding the support for youth, especially black youth, in accessing and developing skills are also critical ingredients of our response. The effective working of our system of basic education is critical to economic growth and development.

7. We must continue to encourage the creation of new businesses, cooperatives and the expansion of small business, by reducing the costs of compliance with government regulations, making it easier for companies to ‘do business' with government, making sure that government pays its invoices on time and strengthening the role of our development finance institutions.

Developmental state

8. We must make our government a more capable and effective state, with the technical and political capacity to lead development and transform the economy. This will require us to:

■ Ensure bold forms of state intervention, including through:

❏ Financial regulation and control, including through a state owned bank.

❏ Progressive and redistributive taxation

❏ Wage and income policies that promote decent work, growth and address poverty and inequality.

❏ Progressive competition policies that promote growth and employment, and address poverty and inequality

❏ A well-resourced state-led industrial and trade policy

❏ Increased state ownership in strategic sectors, where deemed appropriate on the balance of evidence, and the more effective use of state-owned enterprises.

■ Marshal our state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions taking account of recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission, with a view of transforming them to be one of the key instruments of the developmental state. This will require a comprehensive transformation of the policy framework and institutional architecture governing SOEs and DFIs.

■ Ensure a proper balance between political leadership and a professional public service.

A critical objective for the next five years is to improve the quality of the social wage, by rolling back corruption, inefficiency and waste in the public service, improving the productivity of public servants and ensuring much tighter accountability, with firm consequences where there is a failure to deliver services.

■ Government should increase its own capacity to deliver on its core obligations, including the provision of social infrastructure, where appropriate. This will require eliminating an over-reliance on tenders where this is consistent with the delivery of effective services. Tenders must be issued in an open and transparent manner that 1does not compromise our objectives in respect of service delivery and economic transformation.

25 Macroeconomic policy

9. The starting point of our macroeconomic policy is the goals and objectives of the second phase of the transition to a national democratic society: confronting the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality directly. In this regard:

■ The ANC will continue to strive for macro-economic balances that support industrialisation, are biased towards job creation, ensure long term stability and sustainable growth and development that bolster the growth of domestic industrial capacity and in making policy tradeoffs will select those that favour productive sectors of the economy.

Macroeconomic policy must help to build an economy in which income inequality recedes.

■ Key objectives of the macroeconomic policy framework in the period ahead will be to counter economic volatility, support sustainable growth and a competitive exchange rate. In this regard we must ensure social dialogue on the coordination of fiscal, monetary and incomes policies to achieve these objectives.

■ South Africa requires a flexible monetary policy regime, aligned with the objectives of the second phase of transition. Without sacrificing price stability, monetary policy should also take account of other objectives such as employment creation and economic growth. In this regard, government should engage with the new wisdom developing on macroeconomic policy around the world in response to past failures and the global crisis.

Rural development and land reform

10. In the 52nd Conference, we identified land reform and rural development as a priority.

As we approach the centenary year of the 1913 Natives Land Act, the African national Congress recommits itself to urgently accelerate the pace of land reform in South Africa.

11. In giving expression to this urgency:

■ land reform must represent a radical and rapid break from the past without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security.

■ The state must mobilize resources to reverse both the human and material conditions of those displaced by previous land policies; and therefore resolves as follows:

■ Transformation imperatives, dealing with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality in rural areas ought to be addressed, without any further delay.

■ Equitable land allocation and use across race, gender and class, must be ensured.

■ Agrarian reform: Balancing land transformation with production discipline for food security must be implemented.

Land Audit

12. We re-affirm the Polokwane resolution that a comprehensive audit of state owned land be completed urgently.

Willing Buyer willing seller

13. We affirm the following proposals:

■ Replace willing buyer willing seller with the "Just and equitable" principle in the Constitution immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes.

■ Expropriation without compensation on land acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes having due regard to Section 25 of the Constitution.

■ Expedite the promulgation of the new Expropriation Act.

Land Tenure system

14. A four-tier system is recommended:

■ State and Public land: leasehold

■ Privately owned: freehold with limited extent.

15. Land owned by foreign nationals:

■ No ownership of land by foreign nationals as a principle.

■ Convert current ownership into long term lease after land audit has been finalized.

16. Communal land: communal tenure with institutionalized use rights.

■ Taxation of under-utilized land, in both communal and commercial areas.

■ Expedite the Tenure Security Policy and bill against farm evictions.

Institutions in support of land reform

17. Land is a fundamental feature of ownership and control and whilst racial, gender and class concentration of ownership of land still persists, the setting up of institutions to regulate land use, standardize land valuations and normalise land use and distribute is important.

18. We recommend the following institutions in support of the land reform:

■ Office of the Valuer General (OVG).

■ Land Management Commission (LMC)

■ Land rights management board

■ We resolve that land be recognized in the Constitution as a socio-economic right and that indigent households be allocated minimum landholdings.

Rural Development

19. We make the following recommendations with regards to rural development:

■ A rural development sustained by rural co-operatives bank.

■ Sustainable rural settlements, which could grow into rural town/cities.

■ Prioritize roll-out of bulk infrastructure in rural areas e.g. constructuion of new dams and irrigation, rail, roads, communications, ICT, energy and green economy.

■ Finalize without further delay the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill.

Food Security

20. We further implementation of the Freedom Charter's call to help those who work the land with implements, seeds, livestock, tractors, irrigation infrastructure and other material support:

■ Scale up the recapitalization and development programme and the comprehensive agricultural support programme, including in communal areas.

■ Rationalize various existing food security initiatives.

■ The commission reaffirmed land as socio-economic factor.

Re-opening Restitution

21. The commission recommends as follows:

■ Reopening of the lodgement date.

■ Provide for exceptions to the cut-off date of 1913 so as to accommodate the Khoi and San descendants, heritage sites and historical landmarks.

■ That this forms part of the 1913 Natives Land Act centenary observation.

Capacity of the State

22. Build the organization and capability of rural communities to be champions of their own destiny:

■ Various Cooperatives including a rural cooperative bank.

■ Rural development agency.

■ Strengthen the coordination amongst local structures.

■ Include local governments and traditional leaders in the local management of land administration.

■ Revive agricultural colleges and make agriculture a compulsory part of the curriculum in primary school.

Source: African National Congress. The full and original text of the resolutions can be accessed here - PDF.

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