Senior delegations of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and Sanco met in the second Ekurhuleni Alliance Summit from 22-23 April 2005.
We have convened in a period that is characterised by important advances and major challenges.
On the one hand, as an ANC-led alliance, we have consolidated and expanded our overwhelming electoral majority, we have advanced and deepened democratic governance, we have entrenched extensive social and economic rights and we have rolled out significant social resource transfers. In the recent period, government has shifted to a more expansionary fiscal stance and has begun to implement a programme of significant public investments. As an Alliance we collectively salute and claim these achievements.
On the other hand, deeply entrenched poverty and inequality continue to characterise our society and, above all, we have an economy that is not generating nearly sufficient jobs. As we meet, another devastating wave of mass retrenchments is striking the mining and manufacturing sectors.
As an Alliance , we acknowledge our collective responsibility for addressing the unemployment and job-loss crisis. It is our Alliance that must provide the decisive strategic leadership to our country on these challenges.
One of the major achievements flowing out of our 2002 Alliance Summit was the convening of the Growth and Development Summit (GDS) in June 2003. Over the past two days we have devoted considerable time to reviewing the resolutions of the GDS, and assessing the degree to which there has been effective implementation.
Important progress has been made, but our Summit agreed that we have, as an Alliance working together with our government, not sufficiently mobilised our energies and resources to ensure that there is indeed a dynamic implementation of all GDS resolutions. In particular, we are concerned at the slow progress in reaching agreement on the GDS decision regarding 5% investible income, the Summit agreed that the Alliance should continue examining options that would encourage growth in fixed capital formation, including prescribed assets.
Our Alliance Summit has agreed that we need to take forward our discussion, debate and implementation of programmes that will help put South Africa onto a sustainable growth and development path that creates and protects jobs and that ensures decent work and livelihoods for all.
However, in the face of the current wave of job losses, we cannot look to medium and longer-term measures alone. Urgent intervention is required, and as an Alliance we are determined to ensure that decisive steps are taken in the short-term.
The Summit agreed that the Rand should be valued competitively. We need an appropriate and more competitive exchange rate that will assist South Africa to create and save jobs, and build and expand local industry. Appropriate monetary policy is only one part of urgent measures that are required. A package of short-term interventions should include local procurement, trade and industrial policy measures.
In regard to local procurement, we call on retailers to sign a code with the union movement addressing local procurement targets of up to 75%. Government at all levels should also strongly pursue local procurement policies. In regard to trade, focused and clearly defined safeguard measures on imports must be taken to give industries in crisis an opportunity to restructure and to link these measures to active industrial policy measures and to shift industries to a more sustainable growth path.
Business must treat retrenchment as the last and not the first option considered. Government should align all of its policies to support the retention and creation of decent work opportunities.
Our review of the work of our Alliance since our 2002 Summit suggests that we have functioned effectively in the midst of electoral campaigns, our local level structures unite dynamically and there is a general unifying sense of purpose. Outside of election periods, and despite a great deal of ongoing Alliance interaction, we have not always been able to consistently carry through our unity and our popular mobilisation. We acknowledge several problems and challenges. Unconstructive public attacks on each other have not helped and we have agreed to conduct our debates and air real differences, where they may occur, in ways that build unity, and enable the Alliance to provide leadership to our society in general. We have also agreed that each of us need to strengthen our organisations, especially at the community and shop-floor level so that we are able to strengthen each others’ campaigns.
The Summit has agreed that the Alliance secretariat will meet with Samwu and Salga to facilitate a progressive solution to their current disagreement that will promote transformation and safeguard worker rights.
In this year of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, a document whose radical democratic vision continues to inspire and unite our formations, we are determined as an Alliance to mobilise our forces around our common programme of action. At the heart of our 2005 programme of action is the ‘Know Your Neighbourhood’ campaign in the broader strategic context of building people’s power for local development. We will be deploying national, provincial and local level alliance cadres in door-to-door work to maintain ongoing dynamic contact with our mass base. We will popularise ward committees, school governing bodies, community policing forums and other mechanisms for popular participation at local level. We will seek to empower communities, civics and local government to ensure much more effective local development and the creation of sustainable households and livelihoods.
The Summit acknowledged the important interventions made by government into the “second” economy to address the challenges of underdevelopment – including land reform, support for SMMEs and cooperatives. We agreed that all of these and other measures needed to be intensified and that our Alliance formation need to engage actively on this terrain to ensure sustainable livelihoods, households and communities.
All Alliance partners committed themselves to throwing all their resources and efforts into ensuring an overwhelming ANC victory in the forthcoming local government elections.
Our discussions over these two days have confirmed for us a growing strategic convergence among our formations on the key challenges facing our society, and, above all, on the key short and medium-term measures that are required to address these. We reaffirm the 2002 Ekurhuleni Summit declaration that states that ours is a strategic alliance founded on the agreement that the primary task of the current period is the implementation of the national democratic revolution, a perspective that has been forged in struggle over more than seven decades. Issued by: ANC, SACP, COSATU and SANCO