Address by ANC Secretary General comrade Gwede Mantashe on Behalf on the ANC National Executive Committee
NUMSA Mini National Congress, 12 May 2009
Comrade President of NUMSA and National Office Bearers (NOBs);
Delegates of NUMSA Central and National Executive Committees;
Leadership from all NUMSA Regions and delegates to this Mini National Congress; and
Thank you very much for inviting the ANC to make an input in your discussions.
Although this was an aftermath as the invitation was only received on Friday 8 May 2009, we decided to honour it. The decision to honour it was informed by the desire to sustain the relations built during our election campaign.
The theme for our election campaign was “˜working together we can do more’. That “˜working together’ is more than relevant now that we must translate our manifesto into a programme and implement it. This is an invitation to the unions, other organs of peoples’ power and various sectors of our society to contribute ideas and occupy space where the contest of ideas is intensive. This imposes responsibilities on everybody – all the structures that we must take serious must not howl but engage. Issues can be discussed if they are raised directly. If comrades prefer talking to us through the media, they must expect to get their response through the same channel.
We have put together a team (Cabinet) that reflects our intention to implement our manifesto with the necessary vigour. It is a combination of experience and youthfulness. It is a serious attempt to put together a team of capable men and women. This team has been accepted by everybody as a team that instils hope for the country except Helen Zille of the DA who has no ability to see anything correct done by the ANC. She has elevated her role from that of opposition to that of the enemy, an offer from the DA that we must accept.
In the province the DA controls, Helen Zille has appointed a cabinet of ten men. In her view there is no woman with brains in the Western Cape except herself. In a province where the coloureds are 54 per cent, Africans 24 per cent, Whites 22 per cent and women 50 per cent, Helen Zille’s cabinet is 60 per cent, White males. It is actions of this sort that must be taken up. The racist and right wing content of the DA programme must be exposed on a constant basis. The DA snubbed the nomination of the mayoral candidate for Cape Town, Mitchells Plain.
When the DA criticises what we are doing we must always take it as a compliment. And we must be worried if they ever acknowledge anything as good.
Your congress takes place amidst one of the serious economic crises since the Great Depression. We must now move quickly to come up with strategies that are counter-cyclical so that the destruction of jobs can be arrested, and new jobs created. The commitment to continue with the infrastructure rollout programme, despite the global crisis underway, is one such intervention. In this regard important too is the strengthening of the planning capacity of government of which we are implementing. This is not just for the short term, but also for medium and long terms. The economic cluster is taking the task of coming up with job creation strategy seriously. The industrial policy must be operational sooner than later. From another angle, the education department has now been split into two. One will focus on the schooling system and the other on driving the skills revolution. This requires that we engage in a serious debate on whether or not the skills directorate in the department of labour should be moved to the department of higher and further education. The national health insurance must be in place within the first year of this term and continue to improve over the next five years. The newly set-up department of rural development is intended to deal with the plight of rural communities. Although rural development is not limited to food production and food security, it must be given priority if we are to defeat poverty in these areas. This emphasis is not intended to understate the importance of infrastructure development in these underdeveloped communities. The team that will run the department of Police has the energy to drive the fight against crime as a campaign. The criminal justice cluster has been together with the transformation of the criminal justice system in mind.
This programme was put before the people of South Africa and was the basis for the overwhelming majority and massive mandate we received from our people. The ANC received 65.9 per cent of the total votes but increased the number of votes from 10.8 million achieved in 2004 elections to 11.6 million now. This is a strong mandate from whatever angle one stands to look. We can therefore not disappoint our people. We should be more responsive to the concerns raised in whatever village however small it can be.
The emphasis on monitoring and evaluation is sending a clear signal that performance and delivery will be central to whatever we do over the next five years. Our evaluation should be scientific and not anecdotal so that when we talk of reshuffling and recall the basis would be concrete evaluation.
The trade union movement must define its role and refine what it already planned. It should be part of the monitoring agencies and report concerns and problems identified at any level of government. I must emphasise that unions should not appeal to the ANC when there is a deadlock in collective bargaining. The surest way of weakening the unions will be ANC or government intervening at the slightest provocation. The volume of requests for the ANC to intervene warrants that we should open a labour desk that will compete with unions in representing the workers. From where I come this will be undesirable. But unions themselves must realise this. Otherwise they are going to complain about neglect.
Local government elections are forthcoming. The programme for their mobilisation must start immediately. We have contested a number of by-elections and performed very well. Equally, we must analyse the results so that we can identify wards that need urgent attention. This means that the performance of ANC councillors must be monitored. Where there are weaknesses these must be corrected.