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50th National Conference: Resolutions - Building the ANC

Political boundaries and structures

Noting that:

  • The boundaries of ANC structures below provincial level do not presently correspond with the boundaries of local government structures,thus creating problems of coordination and accountability;
  • The present boundaries of local government will be redrawn after the completion of the Local Government White Paper process and that there may be close to 400 local govern ment structures.

Believing that:

  • The ANC has the responsibility to transform society and ensure good governance, and that the ANC should be structured in such a manner to ensure effective coordination;
  • Therefore the boundaries of our structures should correspond with those of government and that this should be implemented as soon as the new local government boundaries are finalised.

Conference resolves to:

  • Instruct the incoming NEC to ensure that ANC structures correspond to government boundaries and set up an appropriate mechanism that will ensure effective coordination and interaction between ANC structures and the people who are deployed in government.
Elections

VOTER OUTREACH AND DEPLOYMENT

Noting that:

  • The victory in the 1999 elections is essential for sustaining the national democratic revolution; and that
  • the campaign for the 1999 elections must start now as part of our ongoing programme of transformation.

Conference resolves that:

  • The ANC immediately embarks on a coordinated voter outreach programme. All ANC MPs, MPLs and councillors must link their constituency work to this programme;
  • ANC constitutional structures must be driving this programme.

ID DRIVE AND VOTER REGISTRATION

Noting that:

The possession of ID documents and voter registration will be a key requirement for voter eligibility in the 1999 elections.

Conference resolves to:

  • Immediately embark on an ID acquisition drive;
  • Insist that the Department of Home Affairs begins immediately to make the application process for ID documents accessible, user friendly and efficient.
  • This should include using mobile units and keeping offices open on weekends;
  • Work hard to ensure that all our supporters are registered.

WINNING ELECTIONS WITH AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY

Noting that:

  • The transformation of South Africa is a task that requires a government with a clear and strong mandate from the electorate.

Conference resolves that:

  • The ANC gears all its structures and alliance partners to mobilise for an overwhelming majority in the 1999 elections. Greater emphasis must be placed on the provinces where the ANC is either in opposition or does not have a strong majority.

COMMUNICATIONS AND MESSAGE

Noting that:

  • There is a need for the ANC to consolidate its support base whilst seeking to win new ground and new support; Negative perceptions about the progress of transformation are created;

Conference resolves:

  • To once again utilise methods of communications such as people's forums, targeted meetings, home visits and door-to-door work;
  • To ensure that the ANC and the Alliance partners convey a common message throughout South Africa;
  • That all ANC structures develop strategies for using all forms of media; All provincial and national ANC media structures consciously develop and build a media capacity towards elections;
  • That the Secretary General's Office must drive and monitor this process.

National Question

This Conference notes that:

  1. The general approach of the "Nation-formation and Nation Building: The National Question in South Africa" Conference Paper is valid.
  2. The ANC reaffirms its irrevocable commitment to non-racialism. It recognises that the content and practical meaning of non-racialism will undergo change in a post-apartheid context.
  3. South Africa as an important country on the African continent that plays an increasingly important role in continental affairs, should appropriate its African identity and consistent with the historic traditions of our movement, propagate an inclusive meaning to the term 'African' that embraces all those who have made this continent their home.
  4. The national question is a complex of socio-economic and political power relations, which cannot be properly addressed except by attending to the material inequalities in our society which inextricably links it to the implementation of the RDP and the political and economic emancipation of the black people in general, and the historically most oppressed and exploited, conventionally referred to as the African people.

Acknowledging that:

  1. South Africa's nation-building project is unfolding in the context of globalisation, under circumstances in which national sovereignty and nationhood are increasingly under threat; and
  2. Owing to a host of historical reasons the identities accepted by the people of South Africa are rooted in ethnic, racial, linguistic, cultural and regional factors, accept that a fundamental re-ordering of the socio-economic and political power relations undergirding racial oppression will alter the form and content of the national question especially those aspects related to governance and the allocation of public goods and services in an equitable manner, can be substantially resolved. Other aspects, especially around identity, are far more elusive, and will constantly confront us in new contexts, contents and forms.
  3. It is important that we come to terms with the significance of ethnic and racial identities both in our movement and in the country as a whole. These identities are not necessarily divisive. They have progressive aspects that can certainly be harnessed as part of our nation-building project. As the ANC, we must seek to provide people with the space to express their multiple identities in ways that foster the evolution of a broader South Africanism as their primary identity.
  4. Increasingly we are beginning to use the term "African" in two senses in our movement. In the broad sense, "African" applies to all those who have a sense of identity with this country and the African continent and are committed to the upliftment of the people of this country, especially the poor. However, the term "African" as historically used in our movement to refer to the most oppressed under apartheid is also endorsed. We reaffirm the ANC's continuing commitment to the national liberation of Blacks in general and Africans in particular.
  5. Consistent with our view that the working class leads the national democratic revolution, we have to secure the greatest possible unity of the working class across ethnic and racial lines.

Conference therefore resolves that:

  1. The debate on the National Question must continue to be an important part of the political education programme within the general membership of the ANC, and particularly new members. This debate should be located within a political, social and economic context.
  2. The incoming NEC, as a matter of urgency, must develop policy on the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, which was established in terms of the Constitution of the country.
  3. Cosatu should be approached to more actively contribute to the nation-building project.
  4. While acknowledging the many difficulties, we have to continue to seek to draw Coloured, Indian and White people into the National Liberation Movement and ensure their maximum contribution to the national democratic transition. In reaffirming its commitment to non-racialism, the ANC recognises a need to expand its membership and support among all the communities that make up South African society.
  5. A workshop on developing a strategy on the issues in point 4. above should be held within three months in preparation for the 1999 elections.
  6. The ANC and government should develop a programme around Heritage Day which celebrates diversity and unity, and promotes respect for cultural identities in a manner that contributes to welding a sense of nationhood among our people.
  7. The Constitution of our country should be popularised in a way that contributes to creating a sense of patriotism. The national anthem and flag should also be used in this context. The NEC should review the acceptability of the current national anthem.
  8. A programme contributing to greater awareness of our unity in diversity and the need for common South African patriotism has to be sensitively introduced in schools after the fullest consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
  9. There is an urgent need for a campaign to ensure that television and other mass media more adequately reflect the use of all our official languages. Clear guidelines should be provided to the Pan South African Language Board so that it can more effectively promote the different languages of our country. Civil servants and other government representatives must foster greater respect for the different languages and this must be identified as an aspect of the delivery of services, particularly at local government level.
  10. Affirmative action should be more rapidly implemented. It should focus primarily on the poor and disadvantaged, who are mainly African and this should include the poor from other communities. Affirmative action can certainly be applied in a way that enhances nation-building and this should be our objective.
  11. The ANC must develop programmes to guide the evolution of the emerging black bourgeoisie in a way that fosters nation-building.
  12. Black economic empowerment should serve to benefit a range of different strata and should not be equated only with the creation of a black bourgeoisie.
  13. While recognising the significance of ethnic and racial identities, we unreservedly condemn mobilisation on ethnic and racial grounds in order to secure leadership positions in the ANC, government, state, civil society or any other arena.
  14. The employment patterns and practices within Ministries and government Departments should be monitored to ensure that they reflect the demographic aspects of our population and contribute to national building.
  15. As part of a human resources development programme, civil servants must be trained to deal with the public in a way that is sensitive to the diversity of our country and the need to weld national unity. Those working in the private sector who interface with the public should also be encouraged to develop similar skills.
  16. The determination of the boundaries of ANC branches and local government wards should take into account the need for integration and non-racialism.
  17. The development of the provinces has both negative and positive aspects. A narrow provincialism that serves to undermine national unity has to be discouraged.
  18. Gender considerations in our nation-building project are constantly underemphasised.
  19. This aspect of the national question has to be considerably strengthened.
  20. The proposals set out above must be implemented within four months and monitored by the NEC.

Organisational democracy and discipline

Conference notes that:

  • The ANC is a non-racial, democratic and nonsexist National Liberation Movement, whose policies are determined by its members and whose leadership is accountable as set out in its Constitution;
  • The ANC has a long and rich tradition of democratic debate and participation within its structures and that this is part of its mass character;
  • Developments of the past few years have had deficiencies, leading to weak organisational structures, lack of discipline, and the decline of vibrant organisational and political debate; there is a need for a clear Code of Conduct and the establishment of disciplinary structures at all levels of the organisation, especially at lower levels.

And Believing that:

  • In order to fulfill its historic mission of transforming South Africa, the ANC requires maximum political discipline of its cadres, leadership, members and structures to ensure unity of purpose and protect its integrity;
  • the principles of organisational democracy which have guided the movement, such as:
    • elected and collective leadership,
    • democratic centralism,
    • reaffirmation of National Conference as the highest decision making structure, mandates and accountability,
  • can only flourish in the context of a strong organisation and conscious cadreship and membership at all levels;

For vibrant political debate to flourish, the necessary climate must be created.

Conference resolves:

  • To reaffirm our commitment as members, cadres, leaders and structures of the ANC to actively work for the affirmation of the democratic and mass character of the movement, by putting in place a programme to educate our members about these principles and traditions, and to create the climate and forums for debate, free flow of ideas and political discussions, as the basis of broad political discipline within the structures of the movement.

Cadre policy

Conference notes:

  • The importance for the process of transformation and the mass character of the ANC, of having an army of conscious, committed and properly deployed cadres;
  • The advance made to put in place a national political education programme and the need to learn from programmes already being implemented in the ANC and the Alliance;
  • The need to continually seek to expand our cadreship and membership base, with ever growing numbers of people committed to transformation and change;
  • The critical role of political leadership in the transition period, and the need to deploy cadres to various organs of the state, including the public service and to other centres of power in society;

Further noting:

  • The degree of tension which may exist between senior political figures who occupy positions on the executive structures of the ANC and who also function as public servants;
  • The lack of a deployment strategy over the last few years, and the resultant lack of effective utilisation of our broad cadreship.

Believing that:

  • The attributes of cadres for this phase of our struggle should include discipline, humility, modesty, a commitment to serve the people, a commitment to all-round self-improvement, criticism, self-criticism, national and gender consciousness and commitment to the collective and organisational processes;
  • Our Cadre Policy and Deployment Strategy should directly relate to the National Democratic tasks as set out in our Strategy and Tactics document; and
  • Our Cadre Policy should actively contribute to the building of strong structures and programmes; thus recognising that a Cadre Policy can only flourish within the context of a mobilised, strong and active organisation.

Conference resolves:

On the development of our cadres:

  • A programme to raise general political consciousness in the organisation through:
    • mass campaigns,
    • compulsory induction of new members and executive committees at all levels, a programme of gender education,
    • support to the Youth League and Women's League as schools for generations of youth and women in the traditions of the movement,
    • support for the ongoing political education programme at all levels to sharpen our understanding of the issues of the day and develop common tools of analysis,
    • engaging in joint programmes of cadre development with the Alliance partners, and establishment of the ANC Political School to ensure a targeted, intensive programme of further training for cadres;
  • A programme to accredit participation in cadre development programmes which should assist in building the profile of our cadres and also assist when we elect leadership;
  • A programme to encourage cadres at all levels towards personal and professional development, to acquire and improve skills necessary for the challenges of transformation;
  • A deliberate programme of delegating work and giving responsibilities to as many cadres as possible to assist with their political and organisational development, and in the process learning through experience.

On the Deployment and Redeployment of our Cadres:

  • Put in place a deployment strategy which focuses on the short, medium and long term challenges, identifying the key centres of power, our strategy to transform these centres and the attributes and skills we require from our cadres to do so effectively;
  • The establishment of deployment committees in the NEC, PEC, REC and BEC, which in implementing the above strategy should:
    • discuss the deployment of comrades to areas of work on behalf of the movement,including the public service, parastatals, structures of the movement and the private sector;
    • such discussions of deployment of individual comrades be done with appropriate consultation with the cadre/s concerned;
    • ensure capacity building to prepare comrades for deployment and redeployment in various spheres;
    • do probity checks in all deployments and in general on appointments of staff;
    • provide support and forums for accountability for cadres so deployed;
    • refer disputes about the deployment or redeployment of cadres to the next highest structure for resolution;
  • Decisions of the organisation, after appropriate consultation with individual cadres,are final and a breach of this policy shall constitute a serious offence to be considered by the appropriate structure.

Strengthening branches

Conference notes:

  • The weak state of our branches, characterised by inexperienced local cadreship, a lack of understanding of the challenges of the new situation, an inactive membership, lack of programmes, poor communication and administration, inadequate membership system, lack of material and human resources, ongoing conflicts between our structures and traditional leaders and weak or nonexistent structures in minority areas;
  • That this state of affairs has resulted in an absence of mass mobilisation, with the ANC not giving sufficient leadership in the mobilisation of our people to be active participants in the process of transformation.

And Believing:

  • That ANC branches are important structures of mass mobilisation and the building blocks of our organisation; their relative state of weakness and the need for a coordinated program to ensure that they are strengthened and become effective;
  • That the branch is the basic unit of the movement, and has the important responsibility in local communities to mobilise people to participate in the transformation process and improve their quality of life, to explain the policies of the movement to communities and to ensure that the movement remains rooted amongst the masses of our people;
  • That the branch furthermore has the responsibility to ensure an active ANC membership and cadreship, who understand, explain and are committed to implementing the policies of the movement; That in order to have strong branches, we need a politically conscious cadreship and leadership of these structures, who understand the challenges of the current phase and develop programmes for taking forward these challenges in their local communities and sectors;
  • The need to build financial self-sufficiency at all levels and to incorporate fundraising into our general programme as a movement.

Conference resolves that:

  • BECs and branch cadreship should develop programmes which involve our members and the communities through local campaigns, people's forums and door to door work; The ANC ensures a dynamic programme of internal communication with our members and communities;
  • The ANC revamps its administrative capacity at all levels, and our membership system in particular, through skills training and development;
  • The ANC ensures that we mobilise and utilise all our human resources, including a conscious program of constituency work linked to the general programmes of our branches by all public representatives;
  • The ANC raises general political consciousness in the branch, through a well coordinated programme of cadre development, including the ongoing political development of the BEC and the induction of new members;
  • The ANC has an integrated political programme that involves BECs and elected councillors to ensure coordination of local governance and delivery.

Leagues of the ANC

Conference notes:

  • The importance of the Leagues of the ANC as mass sectoral formations of the ANC, aimed at the mobilisation of youth and women behind the vision of the movement;
  • Their relationship with the mother body as organisationally autonomous with their own structures, Constitutions, programme and leadership and guided by the overall policies, strategies and programme of the ANC.

Therefore resolves on the ANC Women's League, that:

  • We re-affirm the main objectives of the ANCWL to place itself at the centre of gender emancipation, to defend and advance the rights of women in the ANC and in society against all forms of national, social and gender oppression, and to ensure that women play a full role in the life of the movement, the people's struggle and in the national life of the country;
  • We urge the Women's League leadership, in pursuance of the above objectives, to:
    • lead and implement a programme of mobilising women around the issues facing them through local and national campaigns,
    • raise awareness in the ANC and communities about gender issues, have a programme of cadre development to contribute to the women cadreship of the Movement and the Alliance,
    • give direction and support to the structures of the state created to further the objectives of women's emancipation, such as the Gender Commission,
    • place itself at the centre of a broader women's movement and to work towards the unity of progressive women in the Alliance and mass democratic movement;
  • The ANC commits all structures and cadres of the ANC to assist with the strengthening of the ANC Women's League branches and other structures, and to encourage ANC women, including young women to play an active role in this process; and
  • The ANC improves coordination between itself and the League, so that they play a mutually reinforcing role.

Therefore Resolves on the ANC Youth League to:

  • Re-affirm the main objectives of the Youth League as uniting and leading the youth to deal with problems facing them as a sector; ensure that the youth makes a full contribution to the life of the ANC and the nation; to function as a political and organisational preparatory school for young cadres of the movement, and to provide the movement with organisational vibrancy and youthful political debate;
  • Urge the Youth League leadership, in pursuance of the above objectives, to:
    • develop clear programmes at all levels to mobilise the youth around their issues as a sector,
    • provide political education, organisational experience and educate new generations about the history of the movement and our struggle'
    • raise awareness in the ANC and society about the issues of young people and the need for programmes to address these; reinforce the ANC, its programmes and its unity, give direction and support to organs of the state whose programmes impact on young people, such as the National and Provincial Youth Commissions,
    • organise young people in all communities, students, working and unemployed youth; and place itself at the centre of a broader youth movement in the country;
  • Commit all structures and cadres of the movement to assist in strengthening the Youth League at all levels, and to improve coordination between the League and the ANC.

Veterans of the ANC

Conference notes that:

  • The ANC has amongst its ranks, men and women of advanced age, who have a long and proud history in the movement, with invaluable experience, which spans the long history and traditions of the ANC;
  • veterans have specific issues and problems facing them as a sector, and need to organise to address these, and to place it on the agenda of the broader movement;

Further noting:

  • That the Conference of the ANC in 1994 instructed the NEC to investigate the possibility of creating a Veterans League;
  • The initiatives by ANC veterans over the last three years to organise themselves and the resource and capacity constraints faced by them;

Believing:

  • That part of maintaining the essential character of the ANC, is for current members and leaders to understand our history and traditions; and that ANC veterans can play an important role in teaching the new generations about this, sharing their experiences and history.

Therefore resolves:

  • That the incoming NEC should take into account the constraints mentioned with the establishment of a fully fledged League; and
  • To instruct the incoming NEC, as a matter of urgency, to establish in the Office of the President and Provincial Chairpersons a standing Commission on Veterans, whose responsibility will be to mobilise veterans of the movement, to integrate them into the structures, cadreship development and other programmes of the movement at all levels, and to address the specific issues and problems affecting them.

Tripartite Alliance

Noting:

  • The historic role played by the revolutionary alliance under the leadership of the ANC in the struggle for national liberation;
  • that the Alliance components remain independent organisations, each having a legitimate right and obligation to define its own mission and programme;
  • That each component accepts the obligation to resort to processes internal to the Alliance to resolve differences;
  • The commitment of all partners of the Alliance to the strategic perspective of the National Democratic Revolution of fundamentally transforming South Africa into a non-racial, democratic, united and non-sexist society as contained in our call for 'All Power to the People' and our commitment to meeting the aspirations of especially the poorest section of our people.

Resolves:

  • To build and strengthen the Alliance at all levels, through a coordinated political programme around the current and concrete challenges of transformation of our society and to coordinate policy development around these issues as an Alliance.

Empowerment of women

Noting that:

  • The unequal relations between men and women still exist;
  • The inadequate representation of women in all levels of responsibility in the ANC entrenches the subordinate status of women.

Conference resolves that:

  • The ANC adopts the 33% quota for women in all elected positions, ensuring that our constitution reflects this and that its implementation is ensured;
  • Such a quota system is accompanied by a Capacity Building programme preparing women for leadership and also supporting them once elected;
  • Time frames and targets be set for achieving equal representation and participation of women in all structures of political decision making including parliament, the executive and party structures;
  • Massive education be embarked upon for educating society on the need to support women leaders elected for public office, by, among other things, providing child care facilities and sharing of domestic chores;
  • The process of transforming policies and parliament be stepped up so that women are enabled to participate meaningfully amongst others this transformation should include the changing of meeting times, style and language of debate;
  • Our education system must target young women for training in political leadership and that centres of adult education be encouraged to include training for women councillors, members of provincial legislatures and parliament in various aspects relating to their work.

Women's Movement

Noting:

  • The need to increase the mass base of the ANC especially amongst women;
  • That there are major concerns about gender inequality in society, around which women can unite;
  • That there is a need for a broad women's movement operating within the Broad Front for Transformation.

Conference resolves that:

  • The ANC should, in conjunction with its Alliance partners, convene a National Conference on gender and women which shall discuss the formation of such a broad women's movement. Such a conference would amongst others make proposals on the form that such a women's movement should take; how it will be formed; what its role will be; and where the funding will come from. Such a conference should be convened as soon as possible.

Women's National Coalition

Noting:

  • The importance of the Women's National Coalition;
  • The need to educate both women and men about the Women's Charter and Women's Rights;
  • The key role that was played by the ANC in the formation of the WNC.

Conference therefore resolves:

  • The WNC should be strengthened and that the ANC in general and the ANCWL in particular should play an active role at all levels of that organisation.

Other Gender Institutions

Noting:

  • The statutory gender structures such as the Commission on Gender Equality that have been set up, and which are important for transformation;
  • The commitments that have been placed on South Africa by the signing of CEDAW and the Beijing Platform of Action and other Conventions.

Conference resolves:

  • Government and society should give all the necessary support and resources to these institutions to make them effective in their role of promotion, development and protection of gender equality.

Gender Policy

Noting:

  • Our stated commitment to build a democratic, non racial and non sexist South Africa;
  • Our recognition that there are unequal relations between men and women;
  • Our adoption and commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Beijing Platform of Action.

And expressing our serious concern that:

  • Despite all these commitments, and our resolve to have a gender perspective, there is a continued failure to reflect on all these commitments in our strategy and tactics, policies and conference documents.

Conference therefore resolves that:

  • The Strategy and Tactics document should be adopted with a proviso that a gendered perspective is included in all its sections;
  • The intersection and the relationship between class, race and gender will be emphasised in the document;
  • The incoming NEC is therefore asked to ensure that a committee is immediately set up after conference to ensure that this task is completed not later than 8 March 1998;
  • All ANC policies should have a gender perspective that should also inform the Programme of Action and its implementation as well as all programmes of the ANC.

Violence against women and children

Noting:

  • Comrade Madiba's call for our moral renewal of our country and his analysis of the "disrespect for human life and the inviolability of individual person and the easy resort to the use of force in the ordering of inter-personal relations";
  • The endemic levels of violence against women within their families, workplaces and in society as a whole;
  • The efforts made by the ANC-led government to transform the criminal justice system so that it is better able to deal with crime against women and children.

Conference resolves that:

  • The ANC amends its Code of Conduct to treat violence against women and children as a "serious crime";
  • The Code of Conduct should include clear definitions of violence against women and children such as sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence which embraces emotional physical, sexual and psychological abuse;
  • The ANC creates investigative structures, and ensures that these and ANC disciplinary structures are gender representative (that is, at least 50% women) and gender sensitive;
  • The ANC ensure that our political education covers compulsory education for all ANC members on violence against women and children and urges that the sexual harassment code presently before NEDLAC should be adopted as soon as possible;

The ANC ensures that men who have:

  • interdicts against them because of abuse of women;
  • been convicted of child abuse or who had their conviction stayed because of technicalities;
  • outstanding maintenance for their children; will not be allowed to stand for or remain in public office in any ANC or government structures.

Discrimination on sexual orientation

Noting:

  • The ANC's support for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the equality clause of the Constitution.

Believing:

  • That all persons should be treated equally under the law.

The National Conference resolves to:

  • Reaffirm the consitutional position on the equality clause.

Customary Law

Noting that:

  • Inequality between men and women and an inferior status for women continues to be entrenched through customary law;
  • Women in traditional communities and under customary and religious law do not enjoy equal rights in areas such as community decision-making, marriage, divorce, inheritance and land allocation.

Conference resolves:

  • To campaign for the review of all laws, customs, traditions and any other discriminatory and oppressive practices which are totally against the equality clause in the Constitution;
  • That the ANC includes in its own political education programme a component to raise awareness among our people, especially in the rural areas, on these discriminatory customs, traditions and practices;
  • That the NEC gives policy guidance on the customary and religious marriages currently under review in legislation and by the South African Law Commission.