STATEMENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESSS FOLLOWING THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD 18-20 MARCH 2016
The National Executive Committee of the African National Congress held its scheduled NEC meeting from 18th – 20th March 2016 at the St George’s Conference Centre, Irene.
The meeting received the Political Overview from the President, the report from the National Working Committee, a report on South Africa’s Economic Prospects and an in-depth briefing on the ANC’s state of readiness for the 2016 Local Government Elections.
The State of the Economy
The NEC received a detailed presentation from the Economic Transformation Committee (ETC) on the state of the economy. The presentation focused on measures to build confidence and stimulate growth. This was supported by a briefing from comrade Pravin Gordhan on the recent investor road-show undertaken by the National Treasury.
The ANC reaffirmed its commitment to a mixed economy with the public sector, private sector and social sector, including township, village and cooperatives all participating and the state playing a pivotal and catalytic role.
The NEC reiterated the ANC’s full commitment to implementing the National Development Plan (NDP) and the 9-point plan outlined by the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
South Africa is experiencing challenges of weak economic growth, unemployment, high inflation and inequality and such challenges are exacerbated by the current drought and water shortages. The ANC-government is committed to resolving these challenges through targeted programmes aimed at creating jobs, reducing inequality, fostering sound relationships with stakeholders and improving labour relations.
The ANC-government is taking decisive action to encourage ongoing investment in the economy. Some of the measures include addressing electricity supply issues, continued action to identify and reduce any regulatory processes that may impede or delay investments and enabling increased investment by South Africa in the rest of the continent.
The NEC urged government to continue to draw on the work of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency and its Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) in its efforts to reduce the unintended consequences of new laws and regulations before they come into effect.
The NEC agreed that fiscal sustainability remains a priority for South Africa and that we need to stabilize and lower our debt to GDP ratio. The ANC endorses the commitment of our government to the cost containment measures announced in the 2016 State of the Nation Address and the Budget.
The ANC is committed to mobilising the South African people around a common programme that prioritises spending on growth enhancing, job creating activities and protecting social services for the poor. The NEC agreed that the country must defend the integrity of our financial institutions and that the organisation must work to ensure continued macro-economic stability.
The NEC directs that there should be speedy resolution of the unseemly public spats between the Finance Minister and public agencies. It affirms its full confidence in the Minister of Finance and applauds the work of the President and the Minister to boost confidence in the South African economy, attract investments and avoid further downgrades.
The NEC welcomes the establishment of Invest-SA, overseen by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on investment and chaired by the President. Invest-SA is a one-stop shop meant to facilitate investment into South Africa.
The ANC expects all state-owned companies to perform optimally, adhere to principles of good governance and continue to pursue both financial viability as well as their developmental mandate. Accordingly, the NEC expressed particular concern about the financial viability of South African Airways, continued governance challenges that have undermined its stability and competitiveness as well as its ability to pursue its turnaround strategy as adopted by Cabinet in 2013. Consequently, the NEC urged the government to rapidly resolve challenges facing the Board of SAA.
The ANC is confident that our policies and practices, as well as government’s economic actions, will contribute to reversing our present economic challenges and will ensure that we continue to give leadership to our country’s economic turnaround. This will be done in partnership with all social partners, including labour and business.
Local Government Elections
The NEC also received an extensive report on the preparations and state of readiness for the 2016 Local Government Elections. The NEC re-affirmed its commitment to the Back to Basics Programme and is satisfied with the progress already achieved in addressing the challenges faced by and in municipalities.
The NEC is happy with the work done and progress achieved in activating our local structures, establishing its Volunteer Corps and training them in preparation for the vibrant campaign that will get underway immediately after the launch of ANC Manifesto by the President on 16 April 2016, in Nelson Mandela Metro.
Furthermore, the NEC applauds and salutes all South Africans who have re-affirmed their registration, re-register and those that registered for the first time. We call on all South Africans who still have not done so to visit the Municipal Electoral Offices in their respective municipalities or to verify through the IEC website so that nobody is left behind during the coming important local elections. The ANC also urges South Africans, who have not registered, to register during the next registration period of 9-10 April 2016.
The NEC noted with concern the recent Electoral Court ruling on the Tlokwe matter and has joined the IEC Constitutional Court appeal as an amicus curiae. The people of South Africa fought long and hard, and made enormous sacrifices in order to attain the right to vote, and the ANC NEC believes that this right must not be taken lightly. The NEC is thus concerned that the unintended consequences of this ruling may result in millions of eligible voters being disenfranchised.
The NEC resolved that the ANC will announce mayoral candidates for metro and some other municipalities prior to the Local Government Elections. This will be done in line with the resolution of the 52nd National Conference:
“ At local government level, the REC should make recommendations of not more than three names of cadres in order of priority, who should be considered for mayorship, and the PEC will make a final decision based on a pool of names submitted by the REC. Those members of either the REC or PEC who are being considered for deployment should recuse themselves when decisions affecting them are taken.”
The NEC is firmly convinced that the ANC will win the 2016 Local Government Elections decisively as South Africans remain confident in the leadership of the ANC and are fully aware of its record of delivery and its commitment to the people of South Africa and their wellbeing.
Alleged Business Influence on the State
The ANC NEC had frank and robust discussions on the serious allegations surrounding the Gupta family and its purported influence in the appointment of ministers, their deputies and other positions in key state owned entities in their interests. Such actions can have no place in the ANC or its government as they have the potential to undermine and erode the credibility and confidence of our people in the leadership of their organization, the ANC and its government. We reject the notion of any business or family group seeking such influence over the ANC with the contempt it deserves while also recognizing the need to act to protect the integrity of our government and our organization.
The appointment of ministers and deputy ministers is the sole prerogative of the President of the Republic, in line with the Constitution. To this end, the ANC continues to confirm its full confidence in our President. The ANC NEC mandated the Officials and the NWC to gather all pertinent information about the allegations to enable the ANC to take appropriate action on this matter. The ANC calls on all members who have information to approach the Secretary General’s Office.The NEC will develop a Code of Conduct for ANC members doing business with the state.
In addition, the NEC expressed its utmost disgust at the arrogance, disrespect and reckless journalism displayed by the New Age Newspaper (18, 19 March 2016), ANN7 News Channel (16-18 March 2016) and representatives of the Gupta-family. They have characterized the ANC as a group of factions for and against President Zuma. The NEC also condemns the reports in the City Press and other media outlets on 20 March 2016 containing similar allegations. The ANC reserves its full rights to take the necessary action in this regard.
The NEC reaffirmed the rule that all PGCs must be preceded by properly constituted Branch General Meetings (BGMs). Where this rule is not complied with, such a meeting will have the status of a Cadres’ Forum.
The NEC confirmed that public representatives of the ANC are not required to sign a post-dated resignation letter.
The NEC regrets the decision of the High Court to grant parole to Janusz Walus, the murderer of Chris Hani and welcomes the decision of the Minister of Justice to take this decision on review.
Human Rights Day
The ANC dedicates this Human Rights Day to the advancement and promotion of a non-racial South Africa. The NEC urges all South Africans to fight racism in all its manifestations and to build unity and cohesion in our country.
Good Friday and Easter Weekend
We wish all Christians well over the Easter Weekend and safety on their travels to the various church gatherings across the country.
The ANC urges all South Africans to observe the rules of the road during this Easter Weekend, be patient with one another and Arrive Alive at their various destinations.
The ANC is encouraged by the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) to resolve the question of the independence and self-determination of Western Sahara. The NEC calls upon all peace loving people the world over to support these efforts.
The NEC congratulates the Minister of Health, Comrade Aaron Motsoaledi on receiving the USAID-TB Award in recognition of South Africa’s leadership in the global fight against tuberculosis. The NEC further congratulates the newly crowned Miss South Africa, Ntandoyenkosi Kunene and wishes her well as an ambassador of our country.
Statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General, 20 March 2016