< Back

51st National Conference: Conference Update 1

September 2002

Discussions on national conference underway across
the country

Preparations for the 51st National Conference are on track, with the
completion of close to 92 regional and sub-regional workshops throughout the
country on the Conference discussion papers. These workshops brought together
delegates from branches, the Leagues, Alliance structures and ANC public
representatives (MPs, MPLs, councillors), to prepare to lead extensive
discussions in branches on the issues before Conference.

Discussion documents have been produced on the Strategy and Tactics, the
balance of forces and a number of policy-related issues. These are contained in
Umrabulo 16, a special conference edition. Branches will discuss and adopt draft
resolutions, which will be consolidated and discussed at the Provincial and
National Policy Conferences.

The Electoral Commission appointed by the NEC held its first meeting
on 4 September 2002 to decide on a work programme towards National Conference.

Members of the Commission are comrades Barbara Masekela (Chairperson),
Raymond Mhlaba (Deputy Chairperson), Reginald September, Adelaide Tambo, Henry
Makgothi, Essop Jassat, Brian Bunting, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Josiah Jele,
Yoliswa Modise and Gertrude Shope.

Logistical preparations for National Conference are going well, with
national and provincial task teams working with the University of Stellenbosch
– where the conference will be held – to ensure that the venue is properly
prepared for conference. Various working groups are looking at accommodation,
catering, transport, administration and information technology and

The National Executive Committee (NEC) has adopted the Credentials,
which determines who should be represented at Conference. There will be 3,400
voting delegates at conference. Of these, 90 percent – or 3,060 – will be
branch delegates. There will be 72 delegates from the NEC, 162 delegates from
Provincial Executive Committees, and 53 delegates each from the Women’s League
and Youth League. In addition, there will be around 340 non-voting delegates,
including cadres deployed in different sectors; around 140 observers from
fraternal organisations; and 180 local and international guests.

An audit of branch membership is currently underway. Branch delegate spaces
will be divided up among provinces and branches in proportion to their paid-up
verified membership. This process should be completed by the end of September.


• 21/22 September: Provincial Policy Conferences

• 27 September: Special NEC Meeting

• 27-30 September: National Policy Conference

CONFERENCE UPDATE is produced by the Secretary General’s Office
to keep structures informed
of preparations for National Conference. This
edition contains draft resolutions and documents
not included in the
special edition of Umrabulo.

Draft Resolution on Sports and Recreation

The Social Transformation Committee convened a national workshop on Sports
and Recreation on 31 August 2002, and adopted a draft resolution on this
matter for discussion in branches and at the policy conferences.

Preamble: Prior to the formation of the National Sports Council (NSC),
sport in South Africa was an accurate reflection of the broader racial, economic
and social divisions wrought by apartheid. The emergence of the NSC was a key
factor in changing the face of South African sport as an integral part of the
overall process of social transformation in the country.

It was a conscious political decision taken by the ANC to ensure that sport
would be embraced in the country as a vehicle of change. The gains made from the
isolation of apartheid South African sport were transferred into a powerful
instrument to bring South African sports people together.

Under the guidance of the ANC, the NSC set in motion a process that would
result in the disintegration of apartheid sport and lead to the formation of
unified sports structures throughout the country. This marked the first time
ever that South African sport could speak with a single voice.

It now remains a priority for this unity in sport to be consolidated through
an ongoing process of transformation.


  • The ANC was charged in 1994 with the responsibility of transforming sport
    and recreation as part and parcel of the overall transformation of South
    African society;
  • That sport and recreation, as a national asset, remains an important
    vehicle through which to ensure a better life for all our people;
  • That sport and recreation can be a dynamic agent of change in our quest
    for social and economic change;
  • That the pace of transformation in sport and recreation often does not
    come up to expectation;
  • That with very few exceptions, South African and provincial teams fail to
    reflect the demographics of the country.

Further noting

  • The limitations placed on women, rural communities and people with
    disabilities with regard to participating in sport and recreation;
  • The centrality of school/youth sport in the sports continuum;
  • The tremendous backlog in the development of sports facilities in
    disadvantaged communities, especially facilities suited to the needs of the
    disabled and women;
  • The discrepancies still prevalent between disadvantaged and privileged
    communities in the provision of sport and recreation;
  • The need to facilitate the mobilisation of resources in both the public
    and private sectors to address inequalities and enhance participation in
    sport and recreation;
  • The need to build capacity and develop skills in the sports industry;
  • The need for good corporate governance in sport and recreation;
  • The need for a coordinated national sports plan to address the structural
    inequities resulting from the apartheid legacy;
  • The value of the media in the transformation and commercialisation of
    sport; • The evolving era of professionalism in sport and its rapid
  • The value of mass participation and the need for a well-coordinated and
    resourced programme of talent identification directed at high performance
    and competitiveness within the global arena;
  • The elements of racism and sexism that still remain prevalent in sport.


  • That the ANC must give the lead in sport and recreation policy;
  • That the policy of transformation in sport and recreation is an integral
    part of ANC policy on social transformation;
  • That sport and recreation have an important role to play in the
    fundamental social and economic transformation of our society;
  • That the country has a responsibility to develop the full potential of its
    youth in sport and recreation and to promote patriotism and a common South
  • That sport and recreation policy must conform to the policies of the ANC;
  • That the ANC has a responsibility to transform sport and recreation to
    ensure good governance and to vigorously promote active lifestyles among all

Therefore resolves:

Organisational Tasks

  1. That an ANC Sports Desk must be the central focus of sport and recreation
    policy that will ensure access, equity, representivity, redress,
    accountability, transparency, integrity and fairness as well as the
    elimination of all forms of discrimination;
  2. That provincial, regional and branch structures as well as alliance
    partners ensure that policy monitoring mechanisms are put in place at their
    respective levels;
  3. That the ANC develops and adopts a Sports Transformation Charter;

Governance Tasks

  1. To ensure that a legislative/regulatory framework is put in place to give
    effect to policy initiatives;

  2. To facilitate the removal of obstacles that hinder the creation of a
    sports environment that reflects the demographics of a united South Africa,
    in particular to ensure meaningful opportunities for mass participation in
    sport, thus giving effect to achieving our national goals;

  3. To ensure that government continues to play a central and where
    necessary, interventionist role, ensuring that momentum is not lost in our
    continued quest for transformation of sport and recreation;

  4. To develop programmes and initiatives aimed at increasing the levels of
    youth participation in sport, thereby contributing towards the ongoing
    process of moral regeneration in our society;

  5. That government invests more in sport and recreation and actively seeks
    more private sector investment in sport;

  6. That government recognizes the contributions of sport and recreation
    towards economic growth and development;

  7. That government explores and promotes continental and international
    partnerships in sport and recreation; bearing in mind the rapid
    globalisation of the institution;

  8. That partnerships be pursued with the private sector in ensuring the
    sustainable growth and development of minor sport;

  9. To adopt mechanisms that will incentivise the media to ensure access to
    all South Africans to sporting events of national interest;

  10. That all tiers of governance actively cooperate in the pursuance of
    national goals, including the implementation of environmentally-sound
    practices for sport and recreation;

  11. That national government strengthens the policy of transparency and
    oversight in sport and recreation in a way consistent with its policies;

  12. To put in place a long-term events strategy aimed at hosting major
    international sports events in the country;

  13. To ensure support for government’s drive for good corporate governance
    in national federations and macro-bodies, including the rooting out of
    corruption in sport, the strengthening of regulations pertaining to
    anti-doping, gambling and gaming and the influencing of game results;

  14. To provide incentives to stimulate the growth of the sports industry and
    ensure the transformation of the commercial ownership and control of sport;

  15. That the Department of Education and Sport and Recreation South Africa
    jointly determine the placement and funding of school sport at both national
    and provincial level as a matter of urgency and that tertiary education
    sport be integrated into the strategy for mass participation and ultimately,
    high-performance sport.

Draft resolution on ANC policy and the collective moral

Noting that:

  1. South Africa is being challenged by anti-social attitudes and attacks on
    her moral fibre, which requires the attention of every sector of society and
    every structure of the ANC, and not only the religious sector.

  2. That the movement for moral regeneration must be seen in the broader
    context of the values that we seek to build as a democratic and caring

  3. That from its beginnings ANC policy was driven by a strong ideological
    motivation. A collective moral force ran through the
    organisations from the 1880s; drove the formation of the Native National
    Congress in 1912 and the many years of the ANC, which followed; and was
    spelt out in the Freedom Charter in 1955.

  4. That the struggle was anchored in this collective moral force,
    being political, economic, social and spiritual. People approached the
    struggle from the moral and spiritual base of the great ideological
    foundations of humanity; rooted in vision, commitment, honesty, and caring
    for people; and harvesting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
    loyalty, humility and self-control. This collective moral force overcame
    personal failures, subsumed personal preferences, traditional cultures, and
    differences of class, race, sex, age and religion. It became even stronger
    through suffering.

  5. That this collective moral force withstood the heresies of the
    oppressors, shamed their false values, and proved stronger than the arsenal
    of violence thrown against it. 1994 was the triumph of that collective
    moral force.

Further noting

  1. That although apartheid was overthrown, the forces against change and in
    pursuit of the apartheid colonial ideology sought to subvert the process of
    transformation. This subversion at the level of ideas, on the one hand plays
    on the fears of sectors of our society who see in the project of social
    transformation, an immediate challenge to their material conditions and way
    of life. Running across the mindset is therefore the common fear of ‘black
    majority rule’, conjuring images of collapse of the rule of law,
    dispossession and vengeance.

  2. On the other hand, it is manifested in the viewpoint of the supremacy of
    market forces to which all should kneel in prayer: ‘everyone for himself
    and the Devil takes the hindmost!’ Greed and the pursuit of personal
    wealth as a priority are thus accepted as gods to be worshipped. The world
    of the have and have-nots, in South Africa and in the world, is presented as
    a fact of life.

  3. Our hard-won freedom is therefore interpreted as freedom to develop
    individualistic self-enrichment, even if it is against the common good.
    Instead of discovering a positive role to transform the country in critical
    cooperation with the democratic government, we are reduced to asking what is
    in it for me. This dictatorship of rampant self-centred individualism
    undermine the sense of a common moral purpose and the vision and power
    of the people in which the strength of the ANC is vested.


  1. That all revolutions – political, social and religious – can blunt
    their cutting edge, and move from a stage of high moral values to a loss of
    vision on the common good. That the slogans may survive, but they lose their
    strength. That revolution is not irreversible, and needs to be pursued with
    vigilance less it loses its priorities.

  2. Such vigilance should include ensuring that our people’s struggle is
    not subverted to move from a social struggle to a personal struggle, from
    community to individual, from commitment to entitlement and a vision of a
    new world to the quest for power in that world.

  3. That although the quest for possessions and personal advancement is a
    legitimate part of the struggle, but are balanced with the common good.

  4. That oppressive and exploitative forces are never defeated: they regroup.
    They call themselves by a different name and adopt the slogans of
    liberation, but their aim is still to manipulate its internal collapse.

Further Believing

  1. That transformation means rebuilding the ideology of a collective moral
    force, and the pursuit of the collective common good. The ANC’s initiative
    of a new vision for today’s world requires a specific programme to

  1. a struggle for transformation which is collective not individualist,
    united not sectarian, and spiritual but not necessarily religious.

  2. a dominant vision of a new country and a new world in which the focus
    is on a better life for all which banishes poverty and its attendant

  3. a commitment beyond ourselves to a new Africa.

  4. enjoyment of a collective solidarity in which generosity replaces
    greed, service replaces the lust for power, transparency replaces
    corruption, and the ANC takes the lead the people have given it to
    establish a collective moral force.

It is therefore proposed that Conference considers the practical
import of moral regeneration within the
parameters of every policy
For example, in Economic transformation

  1. Noting: That the South Africa of 1994 inherited an economic
    system, which was immoral, exploitative, racist, sexist, unequal and thus
    fundamentally unjust, that this legacy continues to impact on the human
    dignity of millions of our people, relegating them to poverty, hunger,
    neglect and abuse.

  2. That our policies since 1994 have sought to proactively address this
    situation, but that much more needs to be done to change our people’s
    lives for the better and restore the human dignity of all.

  3. Believing: That the moral principles and vision of the Freedom
    Charter, and our new Constitution, endorsed by all progressive and moral
    movements, are just and achievable.

  4. Resolves: To continue our efforts to ensure that our economic
    policy is just, democratic, contributes towards greater equity and
    fundamentally addresses the scourge of poverty and inequality.

On Social Transformation

  1. Noting: That the apartheid colonial legacy is one of violence,
    abuse, intolerance, and divisions and encouraged the preying on the most
    vulnerable in our society. It meant the deliberate underdevelopment of the
    majority and privileges in all areas of human endeavour for the few.

  2. That our policies of social transformation are therefore aimed at
    building a caring society that addresses the needs of all, but in particular
    the most vulnerable.

  3. That failures to transform society are fundamentally moral and spiritual
    failures, whether this is seen in terms of internal reconstruction and
    development, or in terms of international sustainable development.

  4. Believing: that social transformation requires persons of moral
    integrity to empower its policies and programmes, and that human beings
    experience fulfilment of body, mind and spirit in community and not in
    individualistic isolation.

  5. Resolves: To commend and support those who have collectively
    committed themselves to establish new patterns of social development, such
    as the uniquely South African cross-cultural National Religious Leaders
    Forum (NRLF), and the multi-sectoral Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM).

  6. To persist in such developments as the Alliance to bring together moral
    commitments from different backgrounds and translate them into practical
    policies of transformation.

  7. and calls on all structures of the ANC to set their commitment to social
    transformation within this context.

In a similar manner, in all spheres of policy, Conference is requested
to set both its intellectual
consideration and practical implementation
within the
context of the collective moral force which empowered us
throughout the liberation struggle, and is vital to the
struggle in which we are now engaged.

Future electoral systems for South Africa

Discussion document for National Policy Conference

"We conceive of our country as a single united, democratic and
non-racial state, belonging to all who live in it, in which all shall
enjoy equal rights, and in which sovereignty will come from the people as a
whole, and not from a
collection of Bantustans and racial and tribal
groupings organized to perpetuate minority power"
[O.R Tambo,
"Message to the Fourth Congress of the Frelimo Party", Sechaba,
London, July 1983]

  1. These words from the late Cde Tambo are essential foundational principles
    of any modern South African state and must continuously enforce our thinking
    in defining national debate.

  2. There are a number of elements that require close examination by the
    organisation in determining the nature and extent of any new electoral
    system to be adopted by government in the coming months. The mandate of the
    Slabbert Commission, established in 2001 by Cabinet in accordance with the
    Constitution, calls for an urgent re-look at the present model and where
    necessary to make proposals in line with a more efficient system of
    elections, but more importantly one that reflects best the will and
    expressions of the electorate both during elections as well as after many
    months have passed.

  3. Any sober review of an electoral system should therefore include a
    detailed analysis of our objectives in the transition period, including the
    nature of the transition state and the policy objectives of government in
    the coming decade. We must approach these issues in a frank and open manner,
    with a view to develop the best system that meets the core objectives of the
    transition, namely building a united nation, enhancing and deepening
    democracy and advancing the developmental agenda to create a better life for

  4. Our starting point is the strategic objective of the NDR, the creation of
    a non-racial, democratic, nonsexist and united South Africa. The Strategy
    and Tactics (1997) recognises that we are in a phase in which we have
    started to change society at the same time as we transform the instruments
    required to effect that change.

  5. These twin objectives have to be pursued simultaneously. Social change
    cannot await the transformation of the state machinery and other instruments
    of power. But, as experience has taught us, we cannot expect to proceed with
    the desired pace without changing these instruments"

Context of the debate about the electoral system

  1. The 1996 final Constitution does not have detailed prescriptions about
    how elections for national and provincial legislatures should be run. The
    constitution provides only a number of broad principles for the election. It
    also contains transitional arrangements, which specified that the present
    system only applied until 1999 and that new legislation for new electoral
    systems could be made subsequent to the 1999 election.

  2. The Electoral Task Team (ETT), chaired by Prof Van Zyl Slabbert, has been
    appointed to make recommendations about future electoral systems. The ETT
    meets at a time when there is heightened debate in the media about whether a
    constituency or proportional representation system better serves democracy.

  3. The NEC discussed the ANC position at its regular meeting in July 2002
    and decided that we should continue to support a PR system for national and
    provincial elections. We adopted this system during negotiations before
    1994, because we wanted an inclusive system and the representation of
    minority views, in the interest of an inclusive transition. The movement
    believes that eight years later, we still need to harness our inclusive
    political system in the interest of nation-building and national unity.

  4. The Electoral Task Team will make recommendations about changing or
    improving the present system before the end of this year and the NEC will
    have to consider the specific recommendations before we adopt a final

  5. 10. The following five criteria are proposed for evaluating systems:

  • Does it deepen democracy and reflect the democratically expressed will
    of the people?

  • Will it contribute to nation-building and maintain political stability
    and peace?

  • Will voters feel effectively represented by the elected

  • Simplicity in terms of voter understanding and

  • Practicality in terms of implementation

This document summarises the current ANC position on different electoral

Different Electoral systems

There are three main systems that we must consider:

  1. The present proportional representation system with possible
    All MPs and MPLs are drawn from candidates lists selected
    by their parties. Each party gets a proportion of the seats according to
    their proportion of the votes. Presently each provincial legislature has one
    list. Parliament has two lists – 200 seats from a national list, 200 seats
    from provincial lists.

  2. A pure constituency system: Parties and independents nominate
    candidates for each of 400 constituencies. The candidate who gets the most
    votes, wins the seat. This is called the first-past-the post system. If
    there are many candidates, the winner could be supported by a minority of
    the voters.

  3. A mixed system: Some MPs come from a national PR list and some
    come from multi-member constituencies. For example about 50 constituencies
    could be set up according to district and metro council boundaries. They
    would then be allocated a number of seats according to the number of voters.
    If a constituency has 5 seats and we win 60%, we will get 3 MPs for that
    area. Parties will get PR seats in the same way as in our local elections
    – a top-up system to restore overall proportionality.

Criteria for choosing an electoral system

  1. We will briefly look at each of the criteria as they apply to each
    system, and then summarise conclusions:-

  2. Does it deepen democracy and reflect the democratically
    expressed will of the people?
    The PR system is the most democratic in
    that no votes are wasted or lost. In terms of capturing the will of the
    people, it is the most effective. It ensures that the urban poor and rural
    voters participate fully and have a powerful impact on results. Minority
    parties also get fair representation and can express their needs as part of
    the democratic process. It limits the ability of powerful and well-resourced
    interest groups to buy power through sponsoring individual's campaigns.

  3. The constituency or first past the post system is undemocratic, since the
    government can be formed by a party that received less than half the
    national vote – as has happened with the Conservative Party in Great
    Britain a number of times. Constituencies where four parties are standing,
    can sometimes be won by getting only 33% of the vote.

  4. A mixed system is democratic because the PR list is used to restore
    overall proportionality. It does however create two classes of public
    representatives and small parties will be unlikely to have any constituency
    MPs. If a constituency has 5 members, you would need 20% of the vote to get
    a seat. Constituencies will range from 3 - 20 members. Only large metro
    areas would have up to 20 seats. It is likely that only two parties will be
    able to nationally contest constituencies, with two other being successful
    only in KZN and Western Cape. This effectively means that most parties would
    not really participate in a constituency system and their voters would
    derive no benefit from it.

  5. Will it contribute to nation-building and maintain political
    stability and peace?
    The present PR system enables parties to draw up
    representative lists that include all elements of their constituencies. It
    also accommodates even the smallest party in a parliamentary democratic
    system since 0,25% of the vote will secure a seat. This accommodation
    contains some extremist political groups that could otherwise be threat to

  6. A pure first past the post system will lead to the ANC having 80% of the
    MPs with the DP, IFP and NNP sharing the rest. All smaller parties will
    disappear or be limited to one or two seats. Voters in each constituency
    will be polarised when only the winners will be effectively represented.
    Instead of bringing our society together it will bring not only greater
    polarisation, with special interests supporting particular MPs who would
    reflect their interests only.

  7. A mixed system will have some of the benefits of the PR system, but these
    may be watered down by the constituency element where parties will have very
    few seats to allocate and will find it more difficult to have a
    representative list. The ANC will win a disproportionate number of
    constituency seats and will therefore have a smaller part of the PR list to
    use for balancing its own representation.

  8. Will voters feel effectively represented by the elected parliamentarians?
    The strongest argument advanced against a pure PR system is that voters
    feel removed from their elected representatives and feel that they are not
    accountable to them. This notion ignores the fact that alternative systems
    do not in practice remedy the problems. In a PR system voters vote for a
    party with a clear national programme. They tend to identify with the
    national and provincial leaders of that party. In local elections where the
    representatives are much closer to the people, there are still complaints of
    distance and lack of accountability. We have a ratio at local level of one
    ward councillor to about 5 000 voters. There may well be ways to improve
    accountability and communication and we should also look at our own
    selection and constituency deployment processes.

  9. In a pure constituency system there would be about 1 MP to 50 000 voters.
    Constituencies would be geographically vast and in provinces like the
    Northern Cape which constitutes 30% of the land mass of the country, only
    about 8 MPs would be elected. Constituency candidates are still selected by
    and accountable to their parties. The belief that they will represent the
    interests of a vast and diverse population, with competing interests, rather
    than toe the party line, seems a little naïve. It may be an appropriate
    model in a more homogenous society.

  10. The mixed system will allow for more direct identification between MPs
    and a geographic area. It may be a slight improvement on a pure PR system in
    terms of this criterion. In reality most parties would not have any
    constituency MPs. The MPs elected will have vast area to cover and if there
    are, for e.g., 200 elected this way, they would each relate to an average of
    200 000 voters. In diverse and divided constituencies there is the danger
    that strong and well-resourced interest groups can become more influential
    than the democratic process itself.

  11. Simplicity in terms of voter understanding. The PR and pure
    constituency system are both simple and familiar to voters because of the
    present systems for national and ward elections. The mixed PR and
    multi-member constituency system is more complicated and may hinder the
    full-scale participation of illiterate and marginalised voters.

  12. Practicality in terms of implementation. The PR system is the
    simplest to implement since only two ballots will be used in each province.
    The nomination system, disqualification of candidates, printing of ballot
    papers and results can easily be centrally coordinated. Remaining with this
    system will need no re-demarcation or changes to the electoral legislation
    or system. This will limit the preparation, training of officials and voter
    education that has to be done. Both the other systems would require
    extensive changes in law and procedures.


  1. The current system in place affords a great degree of stability. It
    allows for fair representation and gives a voice to all. It has certainly
    allowed for a greater degree of participation of women, people with
    disabilities and other targeted groups than any other system could. The
    system is also simple and familiar to voters.

  2. Our preference for this system in no way diminishes the need for
    constituency-based consultation and communication. We remain committed to
    deploying MPs/MPLs to constituencies. We should continue to find ways to
    improve this practice. We should also look at better ways for our elected
    representatives in all spheres of government to work together to serve a
    constituency effectively.

  3. Modern parliaments are mostly directed by party positions rather than
    individual MPs views. Therefore political parties are the main vehicles for
    the representation of various interests. The trend is for voters to find a
    home in the ideology and policies of a particular party and to vote for the
    party or its candidate at all levels.

  4. This debated will be continued when the ETT presents it proposals.

Sustainable Development in South Africa

Discussion document for Provincial Policy Conferences

"We do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children"

The WSSD in Johannesburg took place ten years after the Earth Summit held in
Rio, Brazil in 1992. The Rio Summit was important because it brought a new
understanding of development, called sustainable development. Sustainable
development means joining together economic growth to provide
decent jobs for workers and greater prosperity for the world as a whole; social
to eradicate poverty, especially for women, the elderly, the
youth and the disabled; and environmental protection, so that as
we grow and develop we should not destroy the environment, which also belongs to
our children and our children's children.

The definition of sustainable development adopted at Rio was:
"Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs." At Rio the leaders of the world agreed on this concept and also on
a programme of action to achieve sustainable development called 'Agenda 21'.

Ten years later, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations,
said, "progress towards the goals established at Rio has been slower than
anticipated and in some respects conditions are worse than they were ten years

Among the main problems are:

Levels of poverty and inequality continue to be unacceptable, particularly
in Africa. At Rio it was agreed: "All States and all people shall
cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable
requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease disparities in
standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of
the world."

But today, over one billion people worldwide live on less than one dollar a
day (or R10-00 a day). At the same time many countries of the North have the
highest levels of economic prosperity in the history of the world. Also, the gap
between rich and poor has grown wider. In 1993 around 25% of the world's people
got 75% of the world's income. In that same year, the US population (which is
250 million) had an income greater than the poorest 43% of the world's people
(which are 2 billion).

Kofi Anan says that: "During the 1990's, the overall poverty rate in
developing countries, based on an income poverty line of $1 per day, declined
from 29 per cent in 1990 to 23 per cent in 1998. The total number of people in
income poverty declined slightly from about 1.3 billion to 1.2 billion. There
has been substantial progress in reducing poverty through rapid economic growth
in East and South-east Asia, and some progress in reducing the poverty rate in
South Asia and Latin America. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, where almost half
the population live in poverty, there has been no progress in reducing the
poverty rate, and the number of people in poverty has increased

The rich developed countries have not gone far enough in fulfilling
promises they made in Rio -either to protect their own environments or to help
the developing world defeat poverty. Poor countries are still unfairly
denied access to the markets of rich countries.

The problem of debt has not been resolved and the rich countries have not
increased their financial assistance to poor countries - instead it has

At discussions on global finance and the economy, the environment is still
treated as an unwelcome guest.

At the same time the rich countries did not want the WSSD to discuss issues
related to the global economy.

Instead they want it to focus only on environmental problems. The United
States has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for the
reduction of pollution. This is an example of how the rich countries are
refusing to change the way they produce and consume the world's resources.

Environmental injustice continues: It is the poor who suffer most from
environmental problems since it is they who have inadequate access to natural
resources, and live in degraded environments. More than 1 billion people are
without safe drinking water. Twice that number lack adequate sanitation. And
more than 3 million people die every year from diseases caused by unsafe water.
The biggest cause of death in children under the age of five is now acute lung
diseases, caused largely by our world's pollution problems.

The state of the world's environment is still fragile. It is predicted that
by 2032, half the world will be short of water, 70% of our land surface will be
urbanised, and there will be another 2 billion mouths to feed. Already at least
33% of the planet's fish stocks have been depleted.

So, although the Rio Earth Summit agreed on the Agenda 21 programme, the
world continues to face the problems of poverty, inequality, unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption and environmental injustice. This was the
context in which we hosted the WSSD in Johannesburg in 2002. The issues on the
agenda at the Summit were preceded by some other key international agreements,
in particular:

  • The creation of an African Union and the adoption by the AU of NEPAD as a
    programme for sustainable development on the African continent.

  • The decision by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 to halve world poverty
    by the year 2015;

  • The World Trade Organisation's Doha decisions to embark on a development
    round of negotiations, which will give better access to the markets of the
    rich North, for the producers from the South.

  • The adoption of the Monterrey Consensus by the United Nation's Finance
    for Development conference which provides a framework for development

The WSSD in Johannesburg provided a unique opportunity for governments, UN
bodies, business, civil society and the Development Finance Institutions to
agree on the mechanisms and resources required to meet sustainable development
targets at global, regional, national and local level.

The issues of development in an international context cannot be 'won' or
'lost' in one meeting. Building international consensus around progressive
concepts of sustainable development is a long-term project - a long climb of
which the WSSD is one stage. That is why we need to maintain our own momentum
towards sustainable development well beyond the summit - for decades to come.

Eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today
and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, particularly for
developing countries. The WSSD was concerned with how to take forward these
actions and is therefore an important forum, especially for the poorer countries
of the world.


The Summit was attended by representatives of 185 governments, with at least
100 of the delegations led by Heads of State and Governments; major
intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU, the Commonwealth and the NEPAD
Secretariat. The Summit was also attended by representatives of indigenous
people and the major social sectors in all societies, including women, the
youth, workers, and others. Present also were major players in the global
economy, including industrialists and other business people, the trade union
movement, farmers and workers.

Major international, regional and national nongovernmental organisations,
which focus on the central issues of socio-economic development, poverty
eradication and the protection of the environment, were also at the Summit.

The WSSD after much negotiation adopted the Johannesburg Declaration
committing all those who attended the summit to effective implementation of
Agenda 21, the Millenium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation. It represented a global commitment to a number of clear targets
and practical steps to tackle poverty and environmental degradation, especially
in areas such as water and sanitation, energy, waste and pollution, agriculture,
biodiversity and eco-system management and economic development. The world also
threw its weight behind the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, making
specific commitments to assist the continent as part of the implementation plan
of the WSSD. One of the major achievements of the Johannesburg summit, was that
we managed to shift the world’s understanding of sustainable development, away
from a narrow focus of environmental protection, towards a greater understanding
of social and economic development.

The Summit did not achieve all the results that we sought. Accordingly, we
should not treat its outcome as a ceiling, the maximum of what we, and the rest
of the world, are required to do to promote sustainable development. For our
movement, which knows how a united front and negotiations among contending
forces work, it constitutes a positive, but minimum programme. We must defend
and implement this programme, being honour-bound to respect the international
agreements into which we enter. Such is the historical morality of our movement.


The ANC remains committed to the principles of sustainable development.
Agenda 21 served to encourage and inspire our own democratic movement in South
Africa to draft the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Therefore,
many of the policies and programmes that we have put in place since 1994 are
directly inspired by the outcomes of the Rio Earth Summit.

Global inequalities and patterns of poverty, perpetuated by unsustainable
economic practices, are reflected in South Africa. We are one of the most
unequal societies in the world and these inequalities reflect the racial and
gender divisions created by apartheid.

The poorest 40% of our people receive 11% of the national income, while the
richest 10% receive 40% of the total national income. Many South Africans
continue to live without adequate water and sanitation.

The majority of women in South Africa are unemployed, 48% of the women who
are employed earn less than R500 per month and as many as 60% of female-headed
households are classified poor.

The growth of about 23% of children under the age of 6 is stunted, indicating
a lengthy period of undernutrition.

The most seriously affected children are those in rural areas whose mothers
have relatively little education. The infant mortality rate is 8-10 times higher
for Africans than for whites.

But what has this got to do with the environment?

There are complex links between poverty, wealth and environmental degradation
in South Africa, and this impacts directly on the quality of life of people.
These include the following:

It is the wealthy who produce the most waste, and consume the most resources
- in particular water and energy. It is the poor who live close to waste dumps,
who live in areas close to mine dumps, are forced to drink unpotable water from
lack of choice, experience poor waste management, live with air pollution in
their homes from smoky imbhawulas and who have raw sewerage running down

Much environmental degradation is a result of overconsumption of resources
and over-production of waste by a minority of rich consumers, most of whom are
white and live in urban areas.

The contrast between those who consume and waste too much, and those who have
too little, is apparent in South Africa with its high levels of inequality. We
are a striking example of the concept of environmental injustice where, as a
consequence of unbalanced power relationships, the poor often largely bear the
costs of unsustainable and unjust practices.

The relationship between poverty and environment often appear as
self-perpetuating cycles. For example: many poor rural South Africans are living
on inferior land; in their attempt to make a simple living they contribute to
the downgrading of their environment; the impoverished environment makes their
poverty worse, which in turn puts more pressure on the environment. Such cycles
are hard to break and even more difficult to reverse, and they move us away from
sustainable development.

Our Provincial and National Policy Conferences must therefore understand the
relevance of sustainable development to addressing issues of poverty, democracy
and quality of life. And we cannot address our development challenges in
isolation of the global system.


South Africa is not just a country where the problems of sustainable
development are easy to observe. In addition, we are a country that, since 1994,
has shown the world many innovative solutions to these problems. President Thabo
Mbeki recently said: "The nations of the world elected to come to
our country because they
understand and appreciate what we have done in
last seven-and-a-half years to address within our own borders
precisely the same questions that constitute the
global agenda. They
choose to convene in South Africa
because they are convinced that we have
something of
value to contribute to the building of a new and more equitable
world order that must surely emerge."
Since 1994, we have been
implementing the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which reflects
the objectives of Agenda 21. We have many practical examples to draw lessons
from that speak to the objectives of Agenda 21:

South African law defines sustainable development as "the integration of
social, economic and environmental factors into planning, implementation and
decisionmaking so as to ensure that development serves present and future
generations." This vision has been taken forward in our programmes We
embarked on a major social programme so as to progressively achieve universal
access by all to adequate housing, energy, education, health, water and
sanitation. Through these programmes, living and livelihood conditions have
improved for millions in a short space of time. The delivery of basic services
aims to reduce inequality and poverty.

Perhaps the most successful anti-poverty initiative since 1994 has been the
investment in infrastructure.

Much of this investment has directly benefited the poor, improving access to
electricity, safe water, new schools and health clinics. The mass
electrification programme has been one of the most successful examples.
Initiated in 1991, and included as a key government programme after the 1994
elections, the programme has brought electricity to more than 3.3 million homes.
The water programme has also made great progress and by 2001 had provided basic
water supply to more than 7 million people living in rural areas and 400 000
people with basic sanitation services, as well as large numbers of new
connections in urban areas. One of the most remarkable achievements is the
building and transfer of low-cost housing through the National Housing
Programme. As of June 2001, over 1.1 million units had been delivered,
accommodating 5.7 million people. This represents a phenomenal 14% of the total
population of the country.

The goal of equity and poverty eradication has also been pursued through
providing more equitable access to natural resources, with significant changes
made in the areas of water, fisheries and land. South Africa is implementing a
land reform programme in order to right historic wrongs, develop agricultural
productivity and provide a basis for sustainable livelihoods. Secure land tenure
is important for the success of attempts to lever investment into previously
underdeveloped areas through the Spatial Development Initiatives, and to improve
local resource management and economies through community-based natural resource
management (CBNRM) programmes.

At the more local level, South Africa has made significant strides in the
achievement of sustainable development objectives. Our system of democratic and
non-racial local government is only 18 months old, and in many areas it is still
finding its feet. But we have established the structures for democratic
participation of local communities in the preparation and implementation of
plans for sustainable development, through the process of drafting integrated
development plans (IDPs)

While South Africa has achieved much, we continue to face huge challenges of
poverty and environmental degradation. These worsen with economic development
that is not sustainable. In order to move forward on a sustainable basis, we
must reflect on how we are consuming (depleting) and polluting (degrading) our
natural resources. These are limited. Sustainable development means ensuring
that we meet our natural resource needs whilst ensuring that out children will
be able to meet theirs.

Our Policy Conferences must address this, and ensure that we continue to
integrate this approach to sustainable development in all our policies.