ANC's 52nd National Conference resolutions-a summary

In the last Numsa Bulletin published in December 2007 we summarised the proposed resolutions to the ANC's 52nd National Conference in Polokwane and showed how they differed from Cosatu's.

Over the next few pages, Alex Mashilo extracts key decisions from the Polokwane Conference's adopted resolutions.

General assessment of resolutionsThe ANC’s 52nd National Conference (Polokwane, December 2007) took resolutions that:* effectively transform the internal workings of the ANC in recognition of contemporary challenges, continually changing conditions and the need to pay attention to new weaknesses while building on strengths;* reform the ANC’s post-1996 style of work vis-à-vis the Tripartite Alliance; and * cement government's progressive socio-economic policy shifts post the Growth and Development Summit (GDS), 2003.

Summary of resolutions:

ANC’s candidate for the president of the republic and term of office for ANC president* The ANC President shall be the candidate of the movement for President of the Republic. 

There is general agreement that the ANC President should serve no more than two terms of office. A discussion paper on this matter should be initiated by the incoming NEC as part of the overall challenge of improving the ANC's ability to manage leadership transition.

Deployment of cadres The NEC must review the political management of the deployment process and ensure the implementation of the 1997 Resolution on Deployment, with a view to strengthening collective decision-making and consultation on deployment of cadres to senior positions of authority.

This includes strengthening the National Deployment Committee. The conference further decided on the following specific approaches with regards to deployment, as discussed at the National Policy 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 the 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 made. *

At provincial government level, the PEC should recommend a pool of names of not more than three cadres in order of priority who should be considered for Premiership, and the NEC will make a final decision based on the pool of names submitted by the PEC.

Those members of either the PEC or NEC who are being considered for deployment should recuse themselves when decisions affecting them are made.

The provincial leadership, especially officials, should be afforded space to make an input on the deployment of MECs.

The prerogative of the President, premiers and mayors to appoint and release members of cabinet, executive councils and mayoral committees should be exercised after consultation with the leadership of the organisation.

The Alliance, Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) and civil society:* Conference confirms the relevance of the alliance, united in action for the joint programme of social transformation, using its collective strength to continue to search for better ways to respond to the new challenges.

To achieve this, we must continue to enhance coordination amongst alliance partners, and to strengthen the organisational capacity of each individual component.

Conference confirms the Policy Conference assertion that we should respect the right of individual Alliance partners to discuss and arrive at their own decisions on how they seek to pursue their strategic objectives.

Consistent with this principle, the ANC will continue to determine, in its own structures and processes, how best to advance its own strategic objectives.

Understanding this resolution in context

This, like all other resolutions must be understood in context. At the time of the National Policy Conference it was connected to a debate in the SACP about the Party’s relationship to state power, and given this, the electoral tactics.

One of the issues in this debate was whether the SACP must contest elections directly or in a reconfigured alliance or continue with 'business as usual'.

This meant support for the ANC, no independent voice in the democratic institutions of the post 1994 dispensation and remain marginalized from both governance and policy-making.

As such, the assertion that “we (the ANC) should respect the right of individual alliance partners to discuss and arrive at their own decisions on how they seek to pursue their strategic objectives” cannot be looked at in isolation from a separation between the NDR and struggles for socialism as it transpired in the National Policy Conference.

President Mbeki in his opening address to the conference, said that the NDR was the task of the ANC and a socialist revolution that of the SACP. From this it followed that the SACP retained a right, which cannot be imposed over the ANC, to contest elections separately in order to pursue a socialist revolution whereas the ANC will carry on determining its own decisions how to lead the NDR.

Those in the broader movement who understood the distinction and interrelationship between the NDR and socialism, the positions of both the SACP and the ANC to these struggles, and the origins, development and workings of the alliance, identified the above pronunciation to be one of the seeds towards the dissolution of the alliance.

However, the ANC’s 52nd National Conference placed the alliance back in its rightful position vis-à-vis the NDR.

It agreed that there must be an urgent alliance summit with Cosatu and the SACP within three months of the conference to address bad relations amongst alliance partners.

At this Alliance Summit in May 2008, partners committed to work together in pursuit of the NDR, in mass struggles, in governance and related policy-making.

It was made clear that no single alliance partner can claim sole responsibility for the NDR, let alone lead it – these were now the tasks for alliance partners acting jointly and effectively using their respective locations to do so. Alex Mashilo

* Conference further confirms that the leadership role of the ANC places on it the primary responsibility to unite the tripartite alliance and all the democratic forces. * Conference mandates the NEC to: – Within three months after Conference, convene an Alliance summit to discuss a joint programme of action, including strengthening local structures of the alliance, and an approach on how the alliance manages with differences and discipline. – Continue to assist Sanco to convene its National Conference and help to define its role in the current phase.

Resolutions on social transformation, education, health and housing

Child support grants* Gradually expand the child support grants to the age of 18.

School fees, further and higher education fees* Expand no fee schools to 60% by 2009. * Progressively introduce free education for the poor until undergraduate level

Housing * In order to deal effectively with the challenges of human settlements, land acquisition be accelerated through a dedicated Housing Development Agency.

Health* Accelerate the roll-out of the comprehensive health care programme, such as through the provision of ARVs at all health facilities. At the same time we should strengthen capacity to monitor the side-effects of ARVs.

There will be no need to adopt a special HIV and AIDS grant as this will be catered for by the comprehensive social security system. 

The ANC should explore the possibility of a state-owned pharmaceutical company that will respond to and intervene in the curbing of medicine prices.

Land and agriculture * The state must, with immediate effect, regulate but not prohibit ownership of land by non-South Africans.

This regulation should take into account the country's commitment to land reform, restitution, redistribution and access to land. * The state and mandated entities must exercise their legal right to expropriate property in the public interest for public purpose.

Compensation shall be awarded in accordance with the constitution with special emphasis on equity, redress and social justice.

All legislation pertaining to expropriation must be aligned with the constitution. * We should discard the market-driven land reform and immediately review the principle of willing-seller, willing-buyer so as to accelerate equitable distribution of land.

Youth development* Implement a National Youth Development Agency that will ensure seamless integration, sustainability and responsiveness to the demands and aspirations of South Africa's youth.

Merge the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu during the course of 2008. * As per the ANC NGC's adoption of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, that this be made government policy to be implemented by the National Youth Development Agency.

Women’s ministry* assess current instruments and their relevance, strategies and areas of focus and programmes on matters of women and the impact these programmes made with a view to establishing a Women's Ministry.

These assessments should then advise on the form and content of whatever institutional mechanisms to be put in place in pursuit of women emancipation and broadly addressing gender matters.

Economic transformation, the tasks of the developmental state* The developmental state should maintain its strategic role in shaping the key sectors of the economy, including the minerals and energy complex and the national transport and logistics system.

Intervene strategically in these sectors to drive the growth, development and transformation of the structure of our economy.* A developmental state must ensure that our resources like land, water, minerals and marine resources are exploited to effectively maximise the growth, development and employment potential and not purely for profit maximisation.*

Strengthen the role of state-owned enterprises and ensure that, whilst remaining financially viable, SOEs, agencies and utilities – as well as companies in which the state has significant shareholding – respond to a clearly defined public mandate and act in terms of our overarching industrial policy and economic transformation objectives.

Build and strengthen development finance institutions, as well as non-financial institutions, which are accessible to the people, and which are able to effectively channel financial and institutional resources towards a variety of economic transformation objectives, including industrial diversification and development, small businesses and cooperatives, small-scale agriculture, micro-enterprises and local and regional economic development, and the empowerment of youth and women. 

The creation of decent work opportunities must be made the primary focus of economic policies. This central objective should be reflected in the terms of reference of development finance institutions, bodies such as the Competition Commission, the terms of public procurement and public incentives, the sequencing of industrial and trade policy reforms and our sustainable macro-economic policy stance.

The structures of production and ownership must be transformed through:- an active and well-resourced industrial and trade policy that will create decent work through expanding labour absorbing sectors, diversifying our industrial and services base, pursuing an active beneficiation strategy, building sustainable export industries, and expanding production for domestic and regional consumption. Industrial policy should lead our overall approach to sector development.

Trade policy should play a supporting role and be sensitive to employment outcomes. – The use of natural resources (minerals, water, marine resources) to promote the sustainability and development of local communities and realise the economic and social needs of the whole nation.

Strengthen the implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), which seeks to realise some of these goals.

Deepen the linkages of the mineral sector to the national economy through beneficiation of these resources and creating supplier and service industries around the minerals sector.- Macro-economic policies that support and sustain growth, job creation and poverty eradication on a sustainable basis.

Alex Mashilo is Numsa's national education and training secretary

Find the complete resolutions on www.anc.org.za or get a copy from your local office.


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