50th National Conference: Resolutions - Building the ANC
Political boundaries and structures
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
VOTER OUTREACH AND DEPLOYMENT
- 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
- ANC constitutional structures must be driving this programme.
ID DRIVE AND VOTER REGISTRATION
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
- 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
COMMUNICATIONS AND MESSAGE
- 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;
- 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 Conference notes that:
- The general approach of the "Nation-formation and Nation
Building: The National Question in South Africa" Conference Paper is valid.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Cosatu should be approached to more actively contribute to the
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The ANC must develop programmes to guide the evolution of the
emerging black bourgeoisie in a way that fosters nation-building.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- The determination of the boundaries of ANC branches and local
government wards should take into account the need for integration and non-racialism.
- The development of the provinces has both negative and
positive aspects. A narrow provincialism that serves to undermine national unity has to be
- Gender considerations in our nation-building project are
- This aspect of the national question has to be considerably
- The proposals set out above must be implemented within four
months and monitored by the NEC.
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
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.
- 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.
- The importance for the process of transformation and the mass
character of the ANC, of having an army of conscious, committed and properly deployed
- 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
- 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;
- 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.
- 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;
- 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.
On the development of our cadres:
- A programme to raise general political consciousness in the
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Empowerment of women
- 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
- 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.
- The need to increase the mass base of the ANC especially
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Our stated commitment to build a democratic, non racial and
non sexist South Africa;
- Our recognition that there are unequal relations between men
- Our adoption and commitment to the United Nations Convention
on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Beijing Platform of
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
Violence against women and children
- 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
- 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
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
- The ANC's support for the inclusion of sexual orientation in
the equality clause of the Constitution.
- That all persons should be treated equally under the law.
The National Conference resolves to:
- Reaffirm the consitutional position on the equality clause.
- 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.
- 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