ANC conference resolution: On the legislature and governance

Party rejects call for single elections, provinces must be reformed and reduced by 2019

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


"Towards More Integrated Cooperative Governance as Part of a Developmental State"

1. Policy Framework

1.1. The transformation of the state issues dealt with in this Commission on Legislature and Governance have to be understood against the background of the Strategy and Tactics document and the NDP (National Development plan) and NGP (New Growth Path).

1.2. To deepen the NDR (National Democratic Revolution), and accelerate service delivery and development, we need a stronger developmental state and a more integrated cooperate governance system. The more we build a developmental state, the more we create the conditions for a more integrated cooperative governance system. And the more we strengthen the cooperative governance system, the more we create the conditions for a developmental state.

There is a mutually reinforcing relationship between a developmental state and cooperative governance.

1.3. It is within this framework that the Commission dealt with the issues below.

2. Report in Context

2.1. There was general agreement with the positions set out in the Policy Discussion Document prepared for the ANC's June 2012 Policy Conference. The issues reported on below should be understood in terms of the Policy Discussion Document.

2.2. The resolutions below mainly do not cover decisions taken at previous National Conferences of the ANC - unless it is necessary. Previous decisions are endorsed.

The Commission calls for their effective implementation.

3. Need for More Integrated Cooperative Governance

3.1. The Commission noted the need for more effective cooperative governance to advance service delivery and development.

3.2. And resolved:

3.2.1 The powers and functions of the 3 spheres of government should be reviewed to provide greater clarity and facilitate more effective service delivery and development.

3.2.2 National and provincial government should monitor and support local government in ways that strengthen municipalities, not erode their powers and functions.

3.2.3 There should be greater integration of planning across the spheres and public entities, with alignment between the NDP, PGDS (Provincial Growth and Development Strategies) and IDPs. Such planning should seek to address spatial segregation, including through an integrated urban development framework and more effective rural development policies. Municipalities should be encouraged to develop explicit spatial restructuring strategies as part of their IDPs. Municipalities should develop effective land-use management policies to achieve their spatial objectives. They should strengthen the link between public transport and land-use management.

3.2.4 Decisions taken at Intergovernmental Forums should be implemented effectively.

3.2.5 There should be greater cooperation of legislatures.

3.2.6 All 3 spheres of government should work closer with SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises), DFIs (Development Finance Institutions) and other public entities, and with civil society.

3.2.7 The NEC should provide guidelines to government on its draft Bill on national government interventions in provincial government and provincial government interventions in municipalities as soon as possible.

This Bill should take into account the experiences of recent national interventions in provinces; the need for national interventions in provinces to be in synergy with provincial interventions in municipalities; and the need for the Bill to be in synergy with relevant financial and public service legislation.

3.2.8 Outstanding issues relating to the creation of a single public service should be finalized through taking into account:

■ The complexities of the issues that need to be addressed

■ The need to ensure greater coherence and cohesion of the local government public administration as an important part of ensuring a single public service.

■ The need to take into account the NDP.

■ The need for the ANC NEC to further consider the implementation challenges and take a final decision on the viability of a single public service within 6 months.

■ The issues be discussed within the Tripartite Alliance and finalized within 9 months.

3.2.9 The proposal by the Education and Health Commission that the President appoints a Remuneration Commission for public servants in general.

4. Future of Provinces

4.1. The Committees noted the decisions of the December 2010 ANC Summit on Provincial and Local Government, and the options in the L&G Policy Discussion Document.

4.2. The Committees resolved:

4.2.1 Provinces be reformed, reduced and strengthened.

4.2.2 A Presidential Commission be appointed to review the provinces, and make proposals on, among other issues, the role of provinces and the number the country should have and their possible boundaries.

4.2.3 The Report of the Presidential Commission be presented to the next ANC NGC and any changes that have to be made to the provincial system be given effect to in the 2019 national and provincial elections.

5. A Differentiated Local Government Model

5.1. The Commission noted the significant differences in the character of municipalities that belong to the same category, and the previous decisions in this regard.

5.2. And resolved that there should be a differentiated local government model which should include:

5.2.1 Municipalities exercising different powers and functions from a common list, with differences based on such criteria as human settlement types; spatial characteristics;

economic activity; revenue base;

finances; and capacity.

5.2.2 Differentiation in scope of IDPs, funding support and capacity building.

5.2.3 Devolution of certain provincial functions to stronger municipalities.

5.2.4 New revenue raising powers for some municipalities.

5.2.5 Strong local municipalities not being located in Districts.

5.2.6 Government developing a policy and regulatory framework on differentiation.

6. Role of District Municipalities

6.1. The Commission noted the proposals in the Policy Discussion Paper.

6.2. And resolved:

6.2.1 District municipalities should 29 focus on coordinating, planning and support to local municipalities functions.

6.2.2 District municipalities should exist only in areas where there are weak local municipalities.

6.2.3 There should be a new funding model for District municipalities.

6.2.4 The government's massive new infrastructure development programmes should be used to strengthen District municipalities.

7. Municipal Governance

7.1. The Commission noted the lack of clarity on the role of different functionaries in the governance of municipalities and the need for more effective governance of municipalities.

7.2. The Commission resolved:

7.2.1 There should be greater separation of the executive and legislative arms of municipalities

7.2.2 There should be more effective oversight of the executive committees by council and council committees. The council oversight committees should be properly resourced and capacitated. Where affordable, Chairs of Council committees should be full-time.

7.2.3 The plenary type of municipalities should be abolished.

7.2.4 The roles of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Speaker and Chief Whip should be clarified.

7.2.5 A policy paper be developed on the greater separation of the executive and legislative arms of the municipalities, taking into account the need for a differentiated model of local government.

8. Strengthening Ward Committees as Part of Community Participation

8.1. The Commission noted the vital importance of ward committees and community participation in ensuring that municipalities function effectively.

8.2. The Commission resolved:

8.2.1 Ward committees should be made up of a diversity of community interests, not be dominated by political activists.

8.2.2 Ward committees should comprise up to 30 people in geographically large wards, in which there could also be area structures of the Ward Committee.

8.2.3 Within an incremental framework, some powers should be delegated to the more effective ward committees.

Ward committees could take responsibility for fixing potholes, pavements, street lights and similar issues.

8.2.4 Municipalities should be obliged to consider proposals from ward committees and inform them of their responses.

8.2.5 To the extent possible, municipalities should provide resources to ward committees and provide members with some financial support.

8.2.6 To consider whether a CDW (Community Development Worker) is attached to each ward committee as a field worker.

8.2.7 Consider whether School Governing Bodies, Community Policing Forums, Health Forums and other structures should be part of Ward committees.

8.2.8 Ward Committees should engage more with Thusong Centres.

8.2.9 Ward committees should be linked to other forms of community participation.

8.2.10 A spirit of volunteerism should be encouraged so that residents take more responsibility to improve the communities in which they live without expecting a material reward for this.

8.2.11 Municipalities should also respond more effectively to community participation outside of the state structures.

8.2.12 Municipalities should engage more 30 with community organizations in ways that reduce the prospects of service delivery protests.

9. Local Government Finances

9.1. The Commission noted the major challenges in the local government financial system.

9.2. The Commission resolved that there should be major review of the local government financial system, which should include:

9.2.1 A review of the equitable share formula.

9.2.2 Municipalities to maximize their own revenue.

9.2.3 Improving the capacity of municipalities to spend more effectively.

9.2.4 Unviable municipalities to be addressed.

9.2.5 Further research into the viability of a local business tax for municipalities.

9.2.6 Lowering the cost of borrowing from DFIs for municipalities.

9.2.7 Greater transparency in procurement processes and ensuring better value for money.

9.2.8 Avoiding over-regulation of local government finances.

9.2.9 Greater alignment between national and provincial government with local government in view of differing financial years.

9.2.10 Greater recognition of the importance providing electricity to local government finances.

9.3. Consideration needs to be given to the following:

9.3.1 An insurance scheme or some other way of catering for councillors' houses and other properties that are destroyed because of the position they occupy as councilors. The national budget meets the cost of this.

9.3.2 A once-off grant to municipalities to offset the backlogs in service delivery backlogs.

9.3.3 A transitional restructuring grant for municipalities whose boundaries were changed following the May 2011 local government elections.

9.3.4 A review of the remuneration of councilors and the resources allocated to them, taking into account the enhanced role of ordinary councilors in the new model of municipal governance proposed in section 7 above. The National Fiscus should contribute significantly to the remuneration of councilors.

10. Role of Municipal Demarcation Board

10.1. The Commission noted several challenges in the role of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) and previous decisions in this regard.

10.2. And resolved:

10.2.1 There should be a review of the role, scope and composition of the MDB.

10.2.2 The government should appoint a Panel of Experts to assist with this.

10.2.3 The MDB should take into account the financial implications of its redemarcation for municipalities; the challenges of unviable municipalities;

the need for ward boundaries to break down racial barriers and a reduced frequency of re-demarcations.

10.2.4 The ANC should develop its capacity to engage with the demarcation process.

11. Relationship Between ANC Structures and Municipalities

11.1. The Commission noted that for municipalities to be effective, the ANC and Alliance need to be stronger, more cohesive and stable. Many of the tensions within the ANC get translated into municipalities and vice versa.

11.2. And resolved:

11.2.1 ANC structures, especially RECs and BECs, should exercise political and strategic oversight without seeking to micro-manage municipalities and use them as sites to wage internal party struggles.

11.2.2 The ANC should develop a policy framework for how structures, from BEC upwards, should relate to municipalities, councilors and officials.

12. Strengthening the Legislatures

12.1. The Commission noted the challenges facing the legislatures in being more activist and developmental.

12.2. And resolved:

12.2.1 There should be a more activist people-centred model of legislatures should be developed.

12.2.2 Legislatures should be strengthened as part of building a developmental state.

12.2.3 The legislatures oversight model and capacity should be improved.

12.2.4 Constituency work should be used more effectively to link the legislatures to the people.

12.2.5 The legislatures should play a more effective role in shaping the national agenda.

12.2.6 The ANC as the majority party should play a more effective role in the legislatures' budgets, structures and human resource issues.

12.2.7 The Chief Whip's Offices in all 3 spheres should be the centre of decision-making and should be appropriately resourced.

12.2.8 The Chief Whips in all 3 spheres should work more effectively together.

12.2.9 The ANC Political Committees in the legislatures should be strengthened.

12.2.10 A Paper should be developed within 6 months to give more content to the above proposals, and provide a strategy and implementation plan, after having discussed the above issues with the legislatures.

13. Single Elections

13.1. The Commission noted:

13.1.1 Election campaigns give the ANC an opportunity to connect with the masses and renew our mandates - so we shouldn't reduce them.

13.1.2 Without separate local government elections, which open spaces in the state, it will cost the ANC more financially to reach our constituencies.

13.1.3 Elections help to build the organization and capacity of our cadres.

13.1.4 Provincial ANC leaders currently oversee the finalization of our local government candidates, and they will not be able to do so if they themselves are candidates to be public representatives.

13.2. And resolved:

13.2.1 That the current system of separate elections be retained.

13.2.2 However, in future, should conditions warrant it, consideration should be given to reviewing the issue of elections.

14. Allocation of Seats in Municipal Councils after Elections

14.1. The Commission noted:

14.1.1 The allocation of fewer PR seats to parties that win many wards.

14.1.2 The allocation of residual votes to parties that have not qualified to win a seat.

14.2. And resolved:

14.2.1 That the principle of "fair representation" in the allocation of seats in municipal councils after elections in the Constitution be retained.

14.2.2 However, the formula to give effect to this should be reviewed, including the way residual votes are allocated to parties as this tends to be unfair.

14.2.3 The L & G Commission undertakes research into this and prepares a position paper for the NEC to take decisions on.

15. Gender Mainstreaming

15.1. The Commission noted inadequate progress on gender equality in the public sector.

15.2. And resolved:

15.2.1 To more effectively implement resolutions on this taken previously.

16. Traditional Affairs

16.1. The Commission noted:

16.1.1 The significant progress on issues related to traditional affairs.

16.1.2 The need for greater clarity within the ANC on the role of traditional leadership.

16.1.3 The need for the L&G Sub- Committee and the NEC to give greater guidance on traditional affairs.

16.2. The Commission resolved:

16.2.1 There should be further changes to the system of communal land administration..

16.2.2 Relations between councilors and traditional leaders should be improved in the interests of service delivery and development.

16.2.3 The process of settling disputes and claims on traditional leadership should be expedited..

16.2.4 The ANC NEC L&G Sub- Committee should prepare a paper for the NEC to take decisions on outstanding issues on traditional affairs.

17. Corruption

17.1. The Commission noted that there is significant corruption in many sections of society, including in the private sector

17.2. And resolved:

17.2.1 As the leaders of society, ANC comrades in every sphere of activity, need to be the champions in the anticorruption campaigns.

17.2.2 The ANC should take tougher action against corruption.

17.2.3 Systems to detect and act against corruption should be strengthened.

17.2.4 There should be greater cooperation across the spheres of government in dealing with corruption.

17.2.5 Corrruptors should be punished as well.

18. Further Issues in Strengthening the Local Government System

18.1.1 The capacity of councilors and officials should be significantly improved.

18.1.2 SALGA needs to be properly resourced and strengthened.

Consideration needs to be also given to:

18.1.2..1. SALGA having permanent representatives in the NCOP with the right to vote.

18.1.2..2. SALGA having full-time office-bearers.

18.1.2..3. The national budget meeting the costs of the above.

18.1.3 Given the importance of the NDP and NGP, LED (Local Economic Development) should be strengthened.

18.1.4 There should be a more effective deployment policy, with a greater retention of councilors after elections.

18.1.5 There should be more full-time councilors.

18.1.6 Changing municipal boundaries alone, including by merging municipalities, will not solve the problem of unviable municipalities.

Other issues of the viability of municipalities should also be addressed, including the financial, economic, capacity and other challenges.

19. Implementation of resolutions Adopted at the 53rd National Conference

19.1. The Commission noted the challenges of the ANC NEC L&G Sub-Committee.

19.2. And resolved:

19.2.1 The L&G Sub-Committee should be strengthened, including through fulltime personnel and resources.

19.2.2 The Commission should hold members of the executive to account more effectively and should seek the assistance of the SGO's Office in this regard where necessary.

19.2.3 Within 3 months of the establishment of the new ANC NEC L&G Sub-Committee, a strategy and programme to implement the above resolutions should be developed.

19.2.4 There be an Annual Assessment of the work of the L&G Sub- Committee.  

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

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