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Alliance programme of action for 2005

23 April 2005


Introduction

The overwhelming victory of the African National Congress in the 2004 general election marks a decisive moment in the advance of the National Democratic Revolution. Not only did the ANC increase its majority at national level and in every province, but also the unity in action of the entire Alliance enabled the single most significant mobilisation of the South African people since the democratic breakthrough in 1994. As a result, the ANC now leads the governments of all nine provinces, creating the potential for accelerated implementation of the NDR.

Cadres of the Alliance were at the vanguard of this mobilisation in every province, in every community. In countless face to face meetings with masses of our people the Alliance was able to identify problems that ordinary South Africans face, and listen to the solutions that the masses themselves put forward. Through Iimbizo and outreach to numerous structures of civil society the message of our movement`s election manifesto was given life and the quality of democratic participation was deepened. As election observers, sometimes deployed to the most hostile environments, members of all four organisations were able to extend the frontiers of democracy and further advance the consolidation of the NDR.

The extent of this mobilisation was premised on a renewed sense of unity of purpose within the Alliance that emerged out of a series of engagements over the last few years. Amongst the most important milestones were:

  • The Ekurhuleni Summit of the Alliance in April 2002
  • The 51st Conference of the African National Congress in December 2002
  • The Growth and Development summit June 2003
  • The 8th Congress of COSATU in September 2003

This unity of purpose, as well as the broader national unity and popular support signified by the outcome of election 2004, represents a new and decisive shift in the balance of forces in favour of the democratic movement. In order to consolidate and advance it is vital that the Alliance build upon the legacy of 2004, and intensify popular mobilisation in order to further advance the goals of the NDR.

2005 presents our movement with another 365 days in which to advance and consolidate the people`s advance towards a non-racial, democratic, non-sexist, united and prosperous South Africa.

The People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty

The Alliance remains united around a common vision of a better South Africa articulated in the Freedom Charter, which remains the foundation stone for our common programme. Having assessed the last ten years of freedom, the partners in our Alliance have advance a clear set of perspectives on our programmes in the second decade of freedom.

The vision of 2014 which is outlines in manifesto 2004 identifies tangible targets for the end of that second decade, including:

  • Reduce unemployment by half through new jobs, skills development, assistance to small businesses, opportunities for self-employment and sustainable community livelihoods.
  • Reduce poverty by half through economic development, comprehensive social security, land reform and improved household and community assets.
  • Provide the skills required by the economy, build capacity and provide resources across society to encourage self-employment with an education system that is geared for productive work, good citizenship and a caring society.
  • Ensure that all South Africans, including especially the poor and those at risk - children, youth, women, the aged, and people with disabilities - are fully able to exercise their constitutional rights and enjoy the full dignity of freedom.
  • Compassionate government service to the people; national, provincial and local public representatives who are accessible; and citizens who know their rights and insist on fair treatment and efficient service.
  • Massively reduce cases of TB, diabetes, malnutrition and maternal deaths, and turn the tide against HIV and AIDS, and, working with the rest of Southern Africa, strive to eliminate malaria, and improve services to achieve a better national health profile and reduction of preventable causes of death, including violent crime and road accidents.
  • Significantly reduce the number of serious and priority crimes as well as cases awaiting trial, with a society that actively challenges crime and corruption, and with programmes that also address the social roots of criminality.
  • Position South Africa strategically as an effective force in global relations, with vibrant and balanced trade and other relations with countries of the South and the North, and in an Africa that is growing, prospering and benefiting all Africans, especially the poor.

As part of the process to realise this objective we have advanced the slogan of "A People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty", which speaks to the fact that achieving these ambitious goals cannot be left to government alone. Rather, the broad mobilisation of the masses of our people behind practical activities to achieve these objectives is vitally necessary. This is the mandate that lies at the heart of our Alliance programme for 2005.

This programme, which should consolidate the unity in action of our Alliance, is build on five pillars.

  1. Coordination and Leadership to Society
  2. The year of the Freedom Charter
  3. Advancing the GDS agreements
  4. People`s Power for Local Development
  5. Solidarity in Africa and the World

1) Coordination and Leadership to Society

The Ekhuruleni Summit agreed that the strategic mandate to all our organisations in the current phase derives from our commitment to the NDR as enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Strategy and Tactics documents of the ANC. This requires the Alliance to coordinate its activities and give leadership to social transformation in all spheres of society, including civil society and the state.

With respect to government policy, the Ekhuruleni Summit agreed that the ANC governs on the basis of a broad mandate elaborated in the RDP and Election Manifesto. The policies and programmes of the Alliance are aimed to give expression to these objectives.

It is critical that the process of policy development and implementation is informed on an on-going basis by collective endeavour. Consistent discussion in the Alliance and tighter co-ordination is important to give effect to our common programme of social transformation.

In order to provide a basis for this, as well as to ensure the implementation of the Alliance programme as a whole and maintain the unity of purpose of the Alliance during 2005, the following mechanisms are proposed:

  • Alliance Secretariat: The Secretariat of the Alliance is composed of the Secretary-Generals of the ANC, SACP, COSATU, SANCO. When necessary the secretariat will draw in participation from other organisations such as ANCYL, NCWL, YCL. The secretariat meets every two weeks to coordinate the implementation of this programme and address other issues that may arise from time to time. The secretariat is also responsible for preparing the agenda for all other Alliance meetings, at national level.
  • ALLIANCE 10-A-SIDE: The most senior leadership (i.e. officials/national office bearers) of each Alliance partner would participate in the ten-a-side. The primary purpose of the ten-a-side is to address policy matters of importance to the Alliance partners. The ten-a-side will meet each quarter for a full day to consider a specific policy matter advanced by the secretariat.
  • ALLIANCE SUMMIT: The Alliance summit will be held toward the end of the year in order to engage on policy issues, particularly those considered by the ten-a-side, review the implementation of this programme and plan for 2006.
  • PROVINCIAL ALLIANCE STRUCTURES: At provincial level it is expected that a similar format of implementation mechanisms should be convened. In particular, the Alliance Secretariat will lead the provinces in the holding of Provincial Alliance Summits during the course of 2005.
  • LOCAL STRUCTURES: Alliance structures should be replicated at regional (i.e. municipality) and local level (i.e. branch/ward).

2) The Year of The Charter

In 2005 we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter.

In 1980, then President O.R. Tambo declaring that year the `year of the Charter` said:

"The Freedom Charter contains the fundamental perspective of the vast majority of the people of South Africa of the kind of liberation that we all of us are fighting for. Hence it is not merely the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress and its allies. Rather it is the Charter of the people of South Africa for liberation. It was drawn up on the basis of the demands of the vast masses of our country and adopted at an elected Congress of the people. Because it came from the people, it remains still a people`s Charter, the one basic political statement of our goals to which all genuinely democratic and patriotic forces of South Africa adhere."

This point remains valid today. The clauses of the Freedom Charter will guide the themes of our programme of action throughout the year. During 2005 each Alliance partner will:

  1. Declare 2005 the Year of the Freedom Charter
  2. Hold a national event to commemorate the adoption of the Charter on 26 June 2005.
  3. Popularise and distribute thousands of copies of the Freedom Charter.
  4. Generate debate within Alliance structures, the MDM and broader civil society on the importance and relevance of the charter in a democratic South Africa
  5. Creatively link the content of the Charter, as well as the way it was drawn up, to the challenges we face today, and the creation of a People`s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty.

3) Advance the GDS Agreements

The Growth and Development Summit establishes the programme of joint action required to meet the vision of 2014. The Alliance must place itself at the vanguard of advancing this programme and ensuring that all signatories to the agreements do indeed implement them as envisaged. During 2005 the Alliance partners commit themselves to:

  1. Campaign for the rapid implementation of the GDS agreements both within their own ranks and amongst the other parties to the agreement;
  2. Lead in the convening of sectoral summits to realise the people`s contract and advance the GDS in key sites of the economy.
  3. Lead in the preparations for Growth and Development Summits at provincial level, to ensure that all provinces have held these summits by the end of 2005;
  4. Focus particularly on the issue of mobilising investment for social and economic development priorities identified by government;
  5. Mobilise for the extension of social grants by supporting through practical joint measures, the roll out of child support and pension payments

4) People`s Power for Local Development

The critical challenge over the next decade will be to ensure that democratic and developmental local government, which empowers our people to act as their own liberators and directs reconstruction at local level, becomes a reality. Amongst the important tasks that local government must address is the creation of Integrated Development Programmes which are the product of mass participation of the community, and which reflect the priorities identified by our people. The creation of one million jobs through the expanded public works programme, as well as many of the other commitments of manifesto2004, will require the solid foundation of popular local government to succeed.

During 2005 the Alliance partners commit themselves to:

  1. Act together to popularise ward committees, SGBs, CPFs and other mechanisms for popular participation at local level;
  2. Embark on an intensive know your neighbourhood campaign, in which national, provincial and local leaders of the Alliance engage in door to door work.
  3. Empower communities to demand better service delivery from government, through popular participation and focussed campaigns.
  4. Building cooperatives, CBOs and other mechanisms for the creation of sustainable livelihoods at the local level in the context of an overall campaign for sustainable development.
  5. Engage with government structures, CBOs, NGOs and civil society to simplify and popularise the processes of drawing up, implementing, reviewing and monitoring the IDPs.
  6. Convene `district conferences of civil society` in each of the 16 nodal areas identified by the ISRDP, in order to strengthen popular participation in the implementation of these programmes.

5) Solidarity in Africa and the World

Meeting South Africa`s developmental challenges cannot be separated from the quest to Peace and Democracy in Africa and the World. Each of our organisations is a pioneer in these struggles and an inspiration to many on our continent. These strengths need to be deployed to strengthen the progressive forces for peace, development and democracy on the African continent.

At the same time the forces of religious fanaticism, greed and militarism are on the rise in both east and west. It is incumbent on the progressive movement to intervene decisively in favour of multi-laterialism, democratic rights and national sovereignty. South Africa has a particular role to play in bringing to bear its experience of negotiated and peaceful solutions to the many conflicts that bedevil the world today.

During 2005 the Alliance partners commit themselves to:

  1. Strengthen the progressive movement on the African continent and assisting party, union and civil society formations to contribute meaningfully to peace, democracy and development.
  2. Build the women`s movement in Africa through, inter-alia, exchanges of women in popular organisations between South Africa and the rest of the continent.
  3. Lend material and moral support to the struggle of the Palestinian people for national self-determination. In particular the Alliance will campaign vigorously for the release of all political prisoners held in illegal conditions, particularly those Palestinian patriots held by the Israeli state, and others detained around the world in violation of the Geneva Convention.
  4. Participate in the global movement for development, democracy and social justice through solidarity with the struggles of the people of Cuba, Sudan, Haiti, Swaziland, Iraq, Myanmar and other parts of the world.

National Days, Commemorations and Events

In addition to and as part of the other activities identified in this programme, the Alliance partners agree to work together to maximize the mobilisation of our people around the following days:

  • January 8: 93rd Anniversary of the Foundation of the ANC
  • January 22: Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the death of
    comrade Joe Slovo
  • March 21: Human Rights Day
  • April 27: Freedom Day
  • June 16: Youth Day
  • May 1: Workers Day
  • June 26: Freedom Charter Day
  • August 9: Women`s Day
  • October 1: Red October Campaign
  • December 16: Day of Reconciliation and Anniversary of MK

Also of importance in the coming year are the following events:

  • The national general council of the ANC, scheduled for the end of June;
  • The twentieth anniversary of COSATU;

Conclusion

The Alliance fully aware of the critical responsibility we have to lead the process of transformation in our country and contribute to the strengthening of efforts to build a humane world order. Unity, a sense of common purpose, the depth of understanding of our historical mission, activism, loyalty to the people - especially the poor - and commitment to international solidarity and joint action are some of the critical attributes that have placed the Alliance at the head of the forces of change in our country. We are duty-bound by the realities of our history, the yearning of our people for a better life and the confidence that they have placed in the ANC and other components of the Alliance to ensure that these qualities continue to characterise the relationship among ourselves and our interaction with the motive forces of change, and with society at large.