Parliament must fast-track Hate Speech Bill – ANC NEC
Gwede Mantashe |
27 March 2017
Gwede Mantashe says where people refuse to be educated on their wrongs, they must be punished by the law
Statement of the African National Congress following the meeting of the National Executive Committee Meeting held from the 24th to the 26th March 2017
27 March 2017
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) met in an ordinary, scheduled meeting from the 24th to the 26th March 2017 at the St. George Hotel, Irene in Gauteng. The NEC is the highest organ of the ANC between National Conferences and has the authority to lead the organisation, subject to the provisions of the ANC Constitution.
The NEC met, as it does every two months, to supervise and direct the work of the ANC and all its organs. It also gives due consideration to the work of the ANC led government. This meeting therefore received the Political Overview delivered by the President, the report of the National Working Committee and a report on the State of Readiness for the National Policy Conference to be held from the 30th June to the 5th July 2017.
The meeting deliberated at length on the national grievance encompassing in the main land, racism and crime. We have said before and reiterated in the January 8 statement that our liberation remains incomplete without the return of the land to the people. As President Tambo asserted “to allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy”.
The masses of our people demand faster action on land restitution and redistribution. To give practical expression to this historic mission of the ANC, the ANC must accelerate land redistribution within the existing legislative framework. We must also then practically identify areas which are an impediment to effective and speedy land redistribution. Consequently, the NEC resolved to convene an urgent Special NEC meeting which will look at these matters and clarify itself on what must be done to strengthen our policy framework. Achieving this will require that, amongst others, we endeavor to unite former liberation movements and the dispossessed black majority to whom the resolution of the land question is central to their existence.
The NEC also reflected on recent incidents which have brought sharply to the fore once again the spectre of racism. Our nation’s scars from apartheid colonialism remain deep. The re-emergence of racially based superiority and privilege, if left unchecked, will derail our advance to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, founded on basic human rights and the dignity of all. The racist onslaught has become more direct, racists in our society are getting even more emboldened entrenching anger amongst the people.
For the past 22 years we have been in dialogue with our erstwhile oppressors, however in many sectors of society the olive branch offered by our people has been met with disdain and disregard. This has become even worse following the August 3 setback suffered by the liberation movement. A party representing white privilege emerged to lead government in a number of municipalities thus creating a feeble hope amongst the most ardent racists that come 2019, they will once again be in power - this time with the support and blessing of black people whom they had oppressed.
The ANC calls on Parliament to fasttrack the promulgation of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which criminalizes racism and metes out harsh consequences for those in our midst who continue to perpetuate it. Where people refuse to be educated on their wrongs, they must be punished by the law. Such include opposition leaders who make utterances praising colonialism. This demonstrates clearly that ours remains a struggle between progress and reaction. It is clear that we have hardly moved an inch from the ideological positions of the past which viewed colonialism and apartheid racism as having been good for black people.
The NEC further considered the escalating and rampant levels of crime, especially violent crimes perpetrated against women. Our people are terrorised by taxi gangs that rape women as well as gangs and taxi violence in Delft, Mthatha, Lusikisiki, Libode and elsewhere. The entire nation is tired of co-existing with criminals. The NEC calls on all ANC structures to speak out and lead campaigns and programmes against crime, supporting government. We must also be on the ground fighting crime with the people, and providing support to victims and survivors of crime. The NEC has resolved to spend more time on programmatic action to deal with this scourge against our people. We welcome the focused attention on crime by the Presidency. As the ANC we will have committed ourselves to convene a National Summit of Community Policing Forums (CPF) scheduled for later this year. This will go a long way to strengthening CPFs as organs of people’s power, fighting side by side with our people against criminal elements in our society.
The NEC had a candid and honest discussion on the state of the NEC and our ongoing pursuit for unity in action. We recommitted ourselves to work to unite the organization towards the 54th National Conference. Unity of the ANC is not just about the organization but the future of our country. Amongst others, members of the NEC were cautioned against being part of and fueling divisions in provinces and regions. This includes failure to correctly interpret and clarify ANC policies and decisions. In this regard, the NEC reaffirmed its position that nobody elected to a structure of the ANC may contest for positions in a structure lower than were they are saying. This is a principled decision of the NEC which was reaffirmed by the NEC meeting. A member of the ANC elected to higher organs shall resign in all lower structures and therefore cannot and should not stand for election in lower structures.
As it relates to the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay, the NEC directed the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC in the Eastern Cape to deal with the matter in line with the NEC decision.
The NEC has called for strict enforcement of discipline in the organization and unbiased, consistent application of disciplinary measures in all matters of ill-discipline. This includes public statements in the traditional and social media which are to the detriment of the organization. These distractions and our preoccupation with ourselves and our internal challenges defocus us from dealing with the real issues our people expect us to deal with in leading society. In this context, the ANC NEC SubCommittee on Communications will soon finalize a Communications and Social Media Policy which will guide all structures and members. At all times, we must balance organizational issues with the responsibility to lead our people and work with them to solve challenges facing them and the country.
Our responsibility is not to unite only the ANC structures but the broader mass democratic movement. This starts by unifying the Alliance at all levels. The NEC expressed its concern about the unfortunate public utterances attacking the ANC from some Alliance components. The ANC takes all matters raised seriously and will be discussing them with our Alliance partners in bilateral and Alliance meetings, hence the meeting with the South African Communist Party (SACP) currently underway.
The capacity of the state to deliver against the resolutions of the African National Congress was raised as a matter of serious concern by the NEC. It is the view of the NEC that many challenges currently experienced are a direct consequence of the glaring lack of capacity within the state. The very fact that the courts are playing a more interventionist role in governance is reflective of our role in abdicating our governance responsibilities to the judiciary. Judicial overreach occurs in instances where the Executive and the Legislature fail to deal adequately with matters before them. NEC resolved to develop an accountability framework for all ANC cadres deployed in government. This will ensure that the ANC is at the centre of giving strategic guidance to government and stronger oversight on the implementation of ANC resolutions in government.
The NEC reaffirmed our position that the provision of social grants is the most critical aspect of our social security net alleviating poverty for the most vulnerable in our country. NEC called on government to intensify the insourcing of critical services in the State. In this context, the NEC calls on government to immediately increase state capacity to deliver social grants uninterrupted.
NEC also acknowledged that the ultimate aim is to move people out of the social security net into productive employment thus the need to accelerate the programme of radical economic transformation. The NEC noted and welcomed the ANC and ANC Youth League submissions to the Heher Commission in furtherance of our objective to attain free higher education for the poor.
NEC condemned the collusive behavior of the banks and called on government to strengthen regulations intended to deter anti-competitive behaviour. No discussion on radical economic transformation can be complete without a thorough interrogation of the need to change the patterns of ownership in the financial services sector. Government must also fast-track the establishment of the State Bank which must be the primary transaction bank of government.
The NEC welcomed back to South Africa Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma following her deployment to the African Union. NEC resolved to redouble its efforts to participate and strengthen multilateral institutions committed to a world in peace, with equality and solidarity.
The African National Congress sends our condolences to the family of Comrade Ambassador Aubrey Nkomo who passed away yesterday. Comrade Nkomo was a committed activist and internationalist who dedicated his life to the movement. We also express our deepest sympathies to the family of Mr. Petrus “White Head” Molemela, a legendary South African and founder of Celtic Football Club. May their souls rest in peace.
Issued by Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General, ANC, 27 March 2017