Resolutions of the 53rd National Conference
1. ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL
1. Conference reaffirmed the emphasis of the 4th National Policy Conference on the urgent need for renewal, recognising that renewal is principally about building the ANC's resilience, enhancing its transformative and governance capacity and its ability to adapt to changing situations so that it can continue to serve and lead the people.
2. The continuous renewal of the ANC over the century of its existence has been guided by the nature and content of the struggle against apartheid colonialism and its legacy as elaborated in its Strategy and Tactics. The ANC has always understood that to lead the national democratic revolution successfully, it has to renew itself so that it remains relevant to the changing conditions of the struggle both locally and internationally.
3. Having agreed that the second phase in our transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society will be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to effect thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation, Conference concluded that this will require a renewed, united and more vibrant ANC, the Alliance and broad democratic forces.
4. This new phase will require maximum unity of the ANC and the Alliance, enabling us to sharpen our capacity to advance and defend the national democratic revolution.
It also requires that we build maximum unity of South Africa's people and the broadest range of sectors of our society around this programme.
5. Conference agreed that we must continue to learn from the reviewed the experiences of the past 100 years of selfless struggle, as well as the experiences of other progressive movements. The ANC has survived due to, among others:
■ Its deep roots and connection with the people;
■ Vibrant internal democracy and collective leadership;
■ Readiness and willingness of its members to make sacrifices in pursuit of the cause of the people as a whole;
■ Readiness to acknowledge its weaknesses and decisively address them in order to escalate and accelerate the people's struggle;
■ Ability to adapt to changing conditions and rise to the occasion at critical moments;
■ Ability to uphold and build unity a cross section of South Africans and progressive forces in the world in pursuit of the cause of humanity;
6. In this regard, the movement's strengths and weaknesses and priorities for organisational renewal were identified in order to reposition the ANC as we commence the revolutionary journey towards the second century.
7. The 53rd National Conference discussed the Recommendations of the 4th National Policy Conference and agreed with the overall thrust, while making some amendments and additions as follows:
On Cadre policy
■ Believing that the neglect of cadre policy is at the centre of most of the current weaknesses and challenges faced by our movement in the post-1994 era. The Policy Conference reaffirms the perspective that our revolution will only succeed if the movement continuously produces a contingent of cadres who are conscious, competent, committed, disciplined and conscientious.
■ Conference resolves that the ANC and the Alliance should, collectively and individually, should pay urgent and systematic attention to the task of developing a contingent of cadres who have attributes that accord with the tasks of the national democratic revolution in the second phase. Accordingly, 5 the Policy Conference further recommend that the 53rd National Conference should declare the next decade a Decade of the Cadre in which there will be a key focus on the ideological, political, academic and moral training of a critical mass of ANC members.
■ The One Million Members Campaign should be buttressed by a national programme to develop and transform most ANC members into activists and cadres who will be at the cutting edge of the on-going struggle fundamental political, social and economic transformation of our country. Accordingly, ANC members should understand fully what it takes for a member to go through the full cycle of becoming and remaining a tried and tested cadre. It must be clear that joining the ANC is the beginning of a long journey towards becoming a cadre.
■ In the new phase of the NDR, deployment should always be preceded by systematic academic, ideological, and ethical training and political preparation. Cadre Deployment should be underpinned by a rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation of the performance of cadres deployed and elected to leadership positions. This will avoid a situation wherein leadership assessment and evaluation take place only in the run-up to conferences.
■ It is in this spirit that the establishment and rollout of the ANC's comprehensive political school system - national, provincial, regional, sub-regional/zonal and branch level - is an urgent task during the Decade of the Cadre.
■ The ANC veterans and former combatant of MK should be deployed in the programme of rolling out the political education cadreship development programme. This applies to individuals whose conduct is beyond reproach. The proposal that cadre deployment should also consider academic qualifications.
■ The ANC should adopt a programme to raise the level of literacy, education and skills among its members as part of the nation-wide campaign to make education and training a national priority.
■ The ANC should be a specific focus on the recruitment, political and ideological training of students and young intellectuals 8. Conference further instructs the incoming NEC to develop and implement programme to give effect to the next ten years being declared a Decade of the Cadre
On safeguarding core values
■ Having noted that the gradual erosion of the core values of the ANC threatens its continuing existence in the second centenary, Conference agrees unanimously that safeguarding and promoting the core values of the ANC constitute one of the key tasks of second phase of the transition.
The promotion of our core values should be undertaken within the context the ideological struggle to cultivate progressive values among all South Africans as part of building a national democratic society.
■ Conference reaffirms the NGC resolution on the setting up of the Integrity Commissions at all levels of the organisation. More urgent steps should be taken to protect the image of the organisation and enhance its standing in society by ensuring, among others, that urgent action is taken to deal with public officials, leaders and members of the ANC who face damaging allegations of improper conduct. In addition, measures should be put in place to prevent abuse of power or office for private gain or factional interests.
The ANC can no longer allow prolonged processes that damage its integrity.
■ Conference supports the rules on lobbying and called on the NEC to ensure that they are form part of conference rules. However, the idea that those wishing to stand for election should be given an organisational platform to campaign was rejected.
■ Conference emphatically condemned factionalism as well as the practice of slates during conferences. In addition, delegates called for the ANC to tackle the underlying roots of these problematic practices which 6 undermine the unity and cohesion of the movement. A clarion call was made on the organisation to collectively develop new measures to stop these negative practices and not just condemn them while practically allow them to take root.
■ Conference reaffirmed that political discipline is a necessary ingredient without which no organisation can achieve its goals.
In this regard, Policy Conference reaffirms the NGC's call for firm and consistent action to instil discipline across all levels of the organization without fear or favour.
Instilling discipline is a process that includes political education, correcting personal and social conduct that impinges upon the integrity of the ANC as well as consistent disciplinary action against anyone who violates the ANC Constitution and Code of Conduct.
■ The Conference mandated the NEC to draft a separate booklet on the ANC Code of Conduct for discussion and adoption at the 53rd National Conference. While supporting the spirit of including veterans in the disciplinary processes of the ANC, the Policy Conference did not support the proposal that Disciplinary Committees (DCs) should be composed mainly by veterans because it is not practical due to the number of veterans required to be in DCs at all levels.
■ Branches should be given the full authority to take disciplinary action without applying to the PWC. Intensive training should be conducted in order to ensure that Branches will conduct disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the letter and spirit of the ANC Constitution.
■ The ANC members who are found guilty of wrongdoing in other institutions of society should also be subjected to internal disciplinary processes in line with the ANC Code of Conduct. This will send an unambiguous message in society that the ANC does not tolerate any wrongdoing, including corruption, among its members.
9. Conference further instructs the incoming NEC to:
■ Urgently develop the guidelines and constitute the Integrity Committee of the ANC within three months after this Conference; and
■ Develop a code of conduct booklet and circulated to all branches within the first quarter of 2013.
10. Conference rejects the automatic appeal of public representatives to NDCA because all members should undergo standard process.
Strengthening organisational design
■ Conference agrees that, as a matter of principle, the ANC organisational structure should be based on the ANC Strategy and Tactics. In particular, the pillars of the NDR should be the main basis on which our organisation is structured.
■ The number of the additional members of the NEC should remain 80. However, Conference resolves that in order to qualify for election into the NEC, a candidate should have been a member of the ANC for at least 10 years, with a proven track record of leadership at other levels or in other sectors of society. In addition, a candidate should have undergone training from the ANC political school system.
■ Headquarters should be restructured along five departments: Political Education and Cadreship Development; Organisation and Mass Mobilisation; Information and Publicity; Governance, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation; International Relations and should be headed by full-time NEC members. Such NEC members should be appointed by the NEC in its first sitting, in accordance with their skills, competence and integrity. Those appointed should serve the entire five-year term and not be allowed to opt for other deployments during the course of the five-year term of the NEC. Although the SGO coordinates all departments, policy will remain in the ANC Presidency.
■ The NEC and NWC should rotate their 7 meetings in different provinces, after which there will be direct interaction with local structures and communities.
■ The size of the PEC should be increased to 30. The number of full-time PEC and REC members shall be determined by the relevant structure empowered to do so by the constitution.
■ Branches should be re-organised to strengthen their work in communities and be the champion of political leadership, socio-economic transformation, local democracy and development. It was further agreed that the current ward-based model should retained, while sub-branches should be established at voting district level. The composition of the BEC should also be retained. The NEC needs to develop guidelines on the launch of branches and sub-branches.
■ The membership audits should be continuous and not just for elective conferences. Audits should be done by cadres of the movement who understand the ANC and not inexperienced comrades.
The audit should verify the functionality and activism of the branch and membership, not just the numbers.
■ Conference reaffirms the NGC resolution on the need to resolve the problems of the membership system as part of the modernisation of the ANC due to the failure of the ANC to issue membership cards discourages members from renewing their membership. There should be a temporary card for a new member before membership cards are issued.
■ Probation period should be extended from eight weeks to six months. During the probation period, the applicants should undergo six months political education and undertake community work as part of preparing them to understand and practically appreciate the role of ANC members as the servant of the people and leaders in society.
■ The practice wherein ANC members are elected to serve, simultaneously in more than one constitutional structure, should not be allowed. The ANC Constitution will be amended accordingly to prohibit this practice.
o In order to qualify for election into the PEC, members should have served for 7 years, 5 years for REC, 3 years for sub-region and 2 years for BEC.
■ Having noted that it is currently not feasible to have full-time branch organisers across the country, it was agreed that all regions should have full-time Regional Organisers who should service branches regularly.
■ People who are returning to the ANC after having joined other parties should be treated as new members who will have to serve six months probation, undergo political education and undertake community work.
On the Leagues, MKMVA, Young Pioneers and Volunteer Corps
■ Conference reaffirms the role and relationship of the Leagues with the ANC as stated in the ANC Constitution. However, Commissions agreed that the ANC needs to take active interest in ensuring that the Leagues understand and play their full role in line with the purpose for which they were founded. This includes making sure that the ANCWL and ANCYL undergo compulsory political training conducted by the ANC as part of cadreship development.
■ Conference disagrees with the proposal that Presidents of the Leagues should be referred to as National Chairpersons.
■ The resolutions of Polokwane Conference and the NGC on the status and role of MKMVA were reaffirmed. The status of the ANC Veterans League was also reaffirmed.
■ There is a need to re-establish the Young Pioneers (Masupatsela) and launch the Volunteer Corps.
Specifically on the ANC Youth League
11. Conference did not approve the recommendation of Policy Conference to change League Presidents to Chairpersons.
8 12. Conference reaffirms the twin tasks of the ANCYL as set out in the Strategy and Tactics and Constitution of the ANC to mobilise young people behind the vision of the ANC and to champion the interests of young people in society and in the movement.
13. Conference notes with deep concern the state of the Youth League and its increasingly antagonistic relationship with its mother-body, seemingly defining itself outside of the political framework of the ANC. It also notes the state of the NEC with key acting positions, and the emerging tendency in the League at different levels to recall and suspend members without due process. Conference further notes the call for the disbandment of the NEC of the YL.
14. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to urgently intervene to address the situation of the ANC Youth League. The incoming NEC must, amongst other things, engage with the leadership of the League at all levels in order to:
❏ Assess the state of organisation of the League and its role and activities, and work consistently with the League to strengthen it organisationally and politically;
❏ Engage the League on its relationship with the ANC;
❏ Take all necessary measures to ensure that the League plays its proper role and acts within the policy and Constitution of the ANC.
On the Alliance
■ Conference reaffirms the on-going relevance and role of the Alliance in the national democratic revolution. Commissions further agreed that steps need to be taken to enhance the unity of purpose of the Alliance through the diligent implementation of an agreed joint programme of action.
■ Conference further called for the development of a detailed programme of renewal in order to ensure that all Alliance structures are positioned to play a complimentary role in carrying the tasks of the NDR. In particular, a call was made to improve relations and programmatic cooperation sub-national levels.
■ The Alliance should also work together to build and revive structures of the mass democratic movement and progressive NGOs and civil society.
■ The Alliance should also work together to clarify the tasks of and relationship between of public sector unions and the democratic state and further ensure that the civic movement is strengthened to play a strategic and proactive role in community development and local struggles for transformation.
A Decade-long Programme of Action
15. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to develop a decade-long programme for organisational renewal that covers the priorities set out the Discussion Document on Organisational Renewal as follows:
a) Building the ANC's capability to act truly as the strategic centre of power organised along, and effective, in all the pillars of transformation. Central to this is the need to structure the core organisation around the pillars of the NDR and ensure we build capacity to carry out fundamental transformation in each pillar.
b) Building the ANC's capacity to act truly as a vanguard movement for transformation capable of leading a wide range of progressive social movements in transformative struggles to change the legacy of apartheid colonialism and overcome the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. The renewal of the Alliance and mass democratic movement, the revitalization and redesign of grassroots structures of the ANC movement and their reorganisation so as to enable them to focus on solving the problems of the people as well as the activation of the masses to take an active role in development and governance processes is central to the return to mass-based transformative politics - the people are their own liberators.
c) Fast-tracking the implementation of a coherent cadre policy: The ANC must revitalise all aspects of its cadre policy: recruitment, cadre development, deployment and accountability and cadre preservation. It must take urgent steps to take forward the institutionalisation of political education and consciousness by expanding the comprehensive political school system at all levels of the organisation in the next five years. The political education, general education, academic training and skills development of the membership and leadership of the movement will receive priority attention over the next decade. This includes a deliberate and extensive leadership programme at all levels of the democratic movement as part of giving effect to the call made in the 2000 NGC for a "New Cadre".
d) Taking our programme of economic transformation to new heights by fast tracking the development of entrepreneurs, small-medium entities, including large-scale infrastructure development and enhancing the capacity of the state to intervene in key sectors of the economy in pursuit of inclusive economic growth and development, employment creation and broad-based empowerment. For renewal to have a far-reaching transformative impact, it has to propel the process of eradicating unemployment, poverty and inequalities in our society by dealing with structural manifestations of colonialism of a special type. It must further ensure the mainstreaming of women in the economy across all sectors as a deliberate commitment to increase their access to finance, employment, and assets;
e) Taking urgent and practical steps to build the capacity of the democratic state, within the context of the National Development Plan so that it can act truly as a developmental state that has capacity to drive and implement our transformation agenda. Ensure that all spheres of government have the human resource capabilities and financial resources to contribute and implement the development and transformation priorities contained in the NDP. Ensure that all state institutions embark on massive training and re-skilling and develop a cadreship corps that has the strategic, ideological, political and technical skills to respond to national development priorities.
f) Urgent and practical steps to restore the core values, stem out factionalism and promote political discipline: As we mark the centenary, we are determined to enhance the ANC moral standing and image among the masses of our people, and address the sins of incumbency. In this regard, we shall combine political education with effective organisational measures and mechanism to promote integrity, political discipline and ethical conduct and defeat the demon of factionalism in the ranks of the ANC, Alliance and broad mass democratic movement.
g) Urgent and practical steps to place education and skills development at the centre of our transformation and development agenda: The ANC shall lead by example by being the champion of education and skills development in this phase of the revolution. In this regard, all ANC members and leaders are called upon to take practical steps to improve their literacy rate, skills, levels of education and general knowledge on matters relating to global and domestic socio-economic and political issues.
Every branch shall strive, through the education campaign, to improve the literacy rate and general level of education and skills among the people in the ward. Every ANC member should be involved in a project or programme to improve the quality of learning and teaching in all schools and raise the level of education, skills and literacy rate in a specific community. In 2012, each branch should begin the literacy campaign by focusing on eliminating illiteracy among the members and leaders of the ANC in each community.
h) Urgent and practical steps to deepen our contribution to the renewal of the African continent and the progressive forces of the world: The ANC will continue to strengthen its relations with sister parties in the continent and contribute towards strengthening the progressive forces and multilateral institutions on the continent. As an internationalist movement, we shall continue to work with other progressive forces in the world, towards a more just global social, political and economic order. As a disciplined force of the left, the ANC shall continue to influence and be influenced by the latest progressive ideas and policy about how best to improve the human condition and ensure the sustainability of the environment.
i) Urgent and practical steps to professionalise and modernise the operations of the ANC, with immediate priority to the membership system: As we mark the centenary, we are fully aware that the world in which the ANC was born hundred years ago is very different from that of today. We shall take full advantage of the advances in the information and communication technology and management sciences to continue to put in place a better membership system, communicate effectively with its membership, core constituency and society in general and put out its views and policy perspectives without let or hindrance. Progressive modern management methods should be introduced in the running of the ANC.
j) Urgent and practical tasks to do work amongst the new generations of young people, in all of different sectors and social strata: the ANC cannot leave the political and ideological task of winning over new generations of youth and nurturing them into being responsible citizens and active participants in social transformation.
Source: African National Congress. The full and original text of the resolutions can be accessed here - PDF.
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