STATEMENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS FOLLOWING THE MEETING OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE HELD ON THE 27TH – 28TH NOVEMBER 2015
The National Executive Committee of the African National Congress held its last scheduled NEC meeting for the 2015 calendar year on the 27th and 28th November 2015 at the St. Georges Hotel in Tshwane. The meeting received a Political Overview from the President of the ANC, and the following reports:
• Framework of the January 8 NEC Statement
• A presentation on the funding of the Post School Education and Training Sector
• An update on the National Health Insurance
• A report on Labour Relations and Wage Inequality with specific focus on the process towards the introduction of a National Minimum Wage
• Mitigation measures being introduced to deal with the current drought conditions in large parts of South Africa
• A briefing on Elections Work; and the
• Report of the NWC to the NEC
The NEC was unanimous on the need for urgent and far-reaching steps to accelerate the implementation of the resolution on radical socio-economic transformation. The NEC was unequivocal on the need for less talk and more action - our people must enjoy the material fruits of freedom. Government is expected to decisively address the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty and to deracialise our economy.
The focus is now on developing measures to restructure the economy
The NEC further confirmed that the NGC was a resounding success. The resolutions are being developed into a concrete programme that will guide the organisation into action. The ANC and the government must communicate the work they are doing and provide our people with information. Face-to-face engagement should be improved to ensure that our people are not wholly dependent on the media for information. Amongst the key resolutions of the NGC was for the leadership structures of the ANC to restore order and stability within our ranks. To this end, the organisation should continue engaging in the fight against negative tendencies like factionalism, ill-discipline and gate-keeping.
The NEC dedicated a lot of time to discussing the state of higher education in the country as both the political overview and the NWC report paid specific focus on the subject. These two reports were complimented by the detailed report on the funding of post school education and training. While the objective is clear, the funding and allocation of resources was lagging behind. The NEC further acknowledged that the commitment to finding the money to fund the no fee increase in 2016 was a correct and reasonable one.
The commission appointed by the President to look into the issues raised during the students’ protest and its scope, covering immediate challenges of no fee increases, the registration fees, the student debt, accommodation, food for poor students and institutional autonomy being used as a tool to block transformation, was supported. Concern was also expressed on the high drop-out rate and the high number of students who do not complete their degrees. It was agreed that a formula must be found to achieve free education for the poor up to undergraduate level, as resolved in the 52nd National Conference of the ANC.
The NEC reflected on heightened student activism during 2015 and applauded the increased conscientisation of students across race and political affiliation; a necessary precondition for the people to be agents of change. On the student protests, the NEC re-affirmed the view that the demand of no fee increase in 2016 was understandable and reasonable.
The swift response of government was appreciated. The NEC however expressed grave concerns about attempts to use genuine concerns of students for other objectives. The question of using students’ grievances to raise issues of collective bargaining was seen as opportunistic. Raising new demands when the original demands were met was seen as an effort to agitate and sustain discontent.
The destruction of property and facilities that are of service to the students themselves was condemned as the work of anarchists who are intent to destroy
the future of many students.
Blocking students from writing their year-end examinations after their demand was addressed positively and commitment to further engage was made, was identified as part of the programme to destabilise the country.
Early signs of counter-revolution were identified as follows: -
• Targeting the state and state institutions, particularly the attempt to storm Parliament and Union Buildings when the government was amenable to engagement.
• Slogans about regime change when issues were being addressed.
• Foreign funding that was channelled to various student accounts in a number of campuses.
• Provocation of police into confrontation with the pronounced desire to trigger a massacre, “another Marikana.”
• Setting up of units of destruction in the various campuses under the slogan of total shut-down.
• Undermining of elected Students’ Representative Councils and replacing them with student committees led by individuals from organisations that lost SRC elections.
In view of the above there was agreement that the people of South Africa should be more vigilant and appreciate that the broader threats of counter-revolution beyond the university campuses, as witnessed in other countries, are a reality of the day. The killing of police is part of the programme to undermine the state. The NEC appealed to all South Africans to support the police and encourage them to act decisively in instances of anarchy and blatant undermining of the state and its institutions. Police must be able to ensure the maximum safety and security of the citizens at all time.
The NEC received a report on the National Health Insurance and called upon government to accelerate the pace of implementation. We further considered expressed concern on the draught situation and supported the need for the introduction of measures to preserve water. The NEC reaffirms government’s call to all South Africans including domestic users, businesses, the mining sector, energy and agriculture to review their current water use and management practices.
On the National Minimum Wage, the NEC has received a detailed report on the engagements currently underway towards the implementation of the National Minimum Wage. The process is now at a stage where there are disagreements on the figure to be set as a Minimum Wage. We trust that stakeholders to the process will exercise the necessary wisdom and reach a speedy conclusion. South Africa must decisively towards reducing wage inequality. Such conclusion must be informed by multiple factors, which must include the impact on the working poor, employment, investment and poverty.
The ANC in Mpumalanga will be holding an early conference as decided by one third of its branches at its Provincial General Council held in March 2015. The NEC congratulated the newly elected leadership of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. The NEC further noted the unfortunate and developing tendency of appeals that arise based on the outcome of conferences. The African National Congress NEC congratulates the newly elected leadership of COSATU and wished them well on a successful Congress. The early signs of unity witnessed at the Congress must be built upon and stand them in good stead in discharging their task of representing workers.
Statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General, 30 November 2015