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CONSTITUTION OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

As Adopted at the ANC National Conference, June 1991

PREAMBLE

Whereas the ANC was founded in 1912 to defend and advance the rights of the African people after the violent destruction of their independence and the creation of the white supremacist Union of South Africa; and

Whereas in the course of fulfilling this historic aim, the ANC has emerged to lead the struggle of all democratic and patriotic forces to destroy the apartheid state and replace it with the united, non-racial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa in which the people as a whole shall govern and all shall enjoy equal rights; and

Whereas through the struggles and sacrifices of its members over the generations the ANC has come to be recognised as the central organiser and inspirer of a vast popular upsurge against apartheid, involving a great array of social, cultural, religious, trade union, professional and political organisations.

Now therefore, the Forty-Eighth National Conference of the ANC, duly constituted and assembled, cognisant of the historic mission of the ANC and of the need to build a mass based democratic structure to enable It to fulfill its historic mission, hereby adopts this constltution

A. NAME

The name of the organisation shall be the African National Congress, hereinafter referred to as the ANC.

B. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aims and objectives of the ANC shall be

  1. To unite all the people of South Africa, Africans in particular, for the complete liberation of the country from all forms of discrimination and national oppression.
  2. To end apartheid in all its forms and transform South Africa as rapidly as possible into a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country based on the principles of the Freedom Charter.
  3. To defend the democratic gains of the people and advance towards a society in which the government is freely chosen by the people according to the principles of universal suffrage on a common voter`s role.
  4. To fight for social justice and eliminate the vast inequalities created by apartheid and the system of national oppression.
  5. To build a South African nation with a common patriotism and loyalty in which the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the people is recognised.
  6. To promote economic development for the benefit of all.
  7. To support and advance the cause of national liberation, women`s emancipation, development, world peace, disarmament and respect of the environment.
  8. To support and promote the struggle for the rights of children.

C. CHARACTER OF THE ANC

  1. The ANC is a non-racial and a democratic liberation movement.
  2. The ANC is a democratic organisation whose policies are determined by the membership and whose leadership shall be accountable to the membership in terms of the procedures laid down in the Constitution.
  3. The ANC shall in its composition and functioning be non-racial, anti-racist and anti-sexist and against any form of tribalistic exclusivism or ethnic chauvinism.
  4. While striving for the maximum unity of purpose and functioning, the ANC shall respect the linguistic, cultural and religious diversity of its members.
  5. The ANC shall support the emancipation of women, combat sexism and ensure that the voice of women is fully heard in the organisation and that women are properly represented at all levels.
  6. The principles of freedom of speech and free circulation of ideas and information shall operate within the ANC.
  7. Membership of all bodies of the ANC will be open to all men and women in the organisation without regard to race, colour or creed.
  8. The ANC co-operates closely with religious bodies in the country and provides, on an interfaith basis, for the recognition of the spiritual needs of its many members who are believers.

D. MEMBERSHIP

  1. Membership of the ANC shall be open to all South Africans above the age of 18 years, irrespective of race, colour and creed, who accept its principles, policies and programmes and are prepared to abide by its Constitution and rules.
  2. Spouses, or children of South Africans who have manifested a clear identification with the South African people and its struggle, may apply for membership.
  3. All other persons who have manifested a clear identification with the South African people and their struggle are resident in South Africa, may apply for membership.
  4. The NEC may, acting on its own or on the recommendation of branch or regional executive committees, grant honourary membership to those men and women who do not qualify for membership under Clause D1, 2 and 3, but who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the ANC and its programme.
  5. Applications for membership shall be considered by the branch committee where such exists, and by the regional executive committee if no branch committee exists. The branch committee, the regional executive committee, or such interim structures as the REC or NEC may create from time to time to decide on applications, shall have the power to accept or refuse any application for membership provided such acceptance or refusal shall be subject to review by the next higher organ of the ANC.
  6. Membership cards shall be issued to registered members of the ANC and to persons whose application for membership has been accepted, subject to review as aforesaid, and, in all cases, subject to payment of the prescribed subscription.
  7. On being accepted in the ANC, a new member shall, in a language he or she knows well, make the following solemn declaration to the body or person who received the application:
  8. I, ......., solemnly declare that I will abide by the aims and objectives of the ANC as set out in the Constitution and the Freedom Charter, that I am joining the organisation voluntarily and without motives of personal gain or material advantage, and that I will participate in the life of the organisation as a loyal, active and disciplined member.

  9. Members shall pay an annual subscription fee as determined by the National Executive Committee.
  10. Non-earning members or those on reduced incomes will pay a flat fee at a low amount fixed by the NEC.

E. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE MEMBERS

  1. Rights:
  2. A member of the ANC shall have the right to:

    1. Take a full and active part in the discussion, formulation and implementation of the policy of the ANC.
    2. Receive and impart information on all aspects of ANC policy and activities.
    3. Offer constructive criticism of any member, official, policy programme or activity of the ANC within its structures.
    4. Take part in elections and be elected or appointed to any committee, structure, commission or delegation of the ANC.
    5. Submit proposals or statements to the branch, region or NEC provided such proposals or statements are submitted through the appropriate structures.
  3. Duties:
  4. A member of the ANC shall:

    1. Belong to and take an active part in the life of his or her branch.
    2. Take all necessary steps to understand and carry out the aims, policy and programme of the ANC.
    3. Explain the aims, policy and programme of the ANC to the people.
    4. Deepen his or her understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic problems of the country.
    5. Combat propaganda detrimental to the interests of the ANC and defend the policy aims and programme of the ANC.
    6. Fight against racism, tribal chauvinism, sexism, religious and political intolerance or any other form of discrimination or chauvinism.
    7. Observe discipline, behave honestly and carry out loyally decisions of the majority and decisions of higher bodies.
    8. Inform his or her branch of movement to any other area and report to the branch committee secretary on arriving at any new area.
    9. Refrain from publishing and/or distributing any media without authorisation which purports to be the view of any organised grouping, faction or tendency within the ANC

F. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

  1. The ANC shall consist of the following organs:
    1. The National Conference which elects the NEC.
    2. The Regional Conference which elects the regional executive committees.
    3. The Regional General Councils.
    4. The branch meetings which elect the branch committees.
  2. Branches may be grouped together in zones and may be subdivided into small units such as street committees, and zones may be grouped into sub-regions.
  3. The ANC Women`s League shall be open to women who are members of the ANC and shall have the same basic structure, namely, national, regional and branch. Its objectives will be to defend and advance the rights of women, both inside and outside the ANC, against all forms of national, social and gender oppression and to ensure that women play a full role in the life of the organisation, in the peoples` struggle and in national life. The Women`s League will function as an autonomous body within the overall structure of the ANC, of which it will be an integral part, with its own Constitution, Rules and Regulations, provided that these shall not be in conflict with the Constitution and policies of the ANC.
  4. The ANC Youth League shall be open to all persons between the ages of 14 and 35. It will operate on a national, regional and branch basis. Its objectives will be to unite and lead young men and women in confronting and dealing with the problems that face the youth, and in ensuring that the youth make a full and rich contribution to the work of the ANC and the life of the nation. The Youth League will function as an autonomous body within the overall structure of the ANC, of which it will be an integral part, with its own Constitution, Rules and Regulations, provided that these shall not be in conflict with the Constitution and policies of the ANC.
  5. Members of the Youth League over the age of 18, shall be expected to play a full part in the general political life of the ANC.
  6. A member of the Youth League shall not be eligible for any position as office-bearer of the ANC or to attend ANC conferences, members` or executive meetings of the ANC (unless specially invited), unless he or she is a full member of the ANC.

G. UMKHONTO WE SIZWE (MK)

  1. Pending the creation of a united defence force representing the whole of the South African nation and defending the principles of a new non-racial, non-sexist democratic constitution, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) shall continue as an honoured and integral part of the ANC under the political guidance and control of the NEC.
  2. The NEC shall from time to time determine MK`s tasks and functions.
  3. Membership of MK shall be drawn from ANC structures and shall be on the basis of free and voluntary choice.
  4. The NEC shall be responsible for the general welfare and interests of the cadres and, where appropriate, ex-cadres of MK who continue to be members of the ANC.

H. THE HEADQUARTERS

National Headquarters shall be in Johannesburg.

I. REGIONS

For purposes of ANC structures the country will initially be divided Into the following regions:

Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Border, Transkei, Southern Natal, Natal Midlands, Northern Natal, Northern OFS, Southern OFS, Northern Transvaal, PWV, Western Transvaal, Eastern Transvaal.

The regional headquarters will respectively be:

Cape Town, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, East London, Umtata, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Empangeni, Welkom, Bloemfontein, Pietersburg, Johannesburg, Klerksdorp, Nelspruit

The National Conference may from time to time alter the number of boundaries of the regions.

J. THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

  1. The National Conference shall be the supreme ruling and controlling body of the ANC.
  2. It shall be composed of:

    1. Voting Delegates:
      1. At least 90% of the voting delegates at conference shall be from branches which shall be represented by elected delegates - the number of delegates to be in proportion to paid up membership.
      2. The number of delegates to be elected to National Conference by each region shall be fixed by the NEC in proportion to the paid up membership of each region.
      3. The remaining 10% of voting delegates at Conference shall come from the REC`s, ANC Women`s League, ANC Youth League, MK and departments and/or missions of the ANC.
      4. All members of the NEC shall attend ex-officio as full participants in the conference.
    2. Non-Voting Delegates:
    3. The NEC may invite individuals, who have made a special contribution to the struggle or who have special skills or experience to attend the conference.
  3. The NEC shall appoint a conference organising committee which will circulate conference information in advance, determine the precise procedure for selection of delegates and indicate how the membership can ensure their concerns are on the agenda.
  4. The conference shall determine its own procedures in accordance with democratic principles.
  5. Voting on key questions shall be by secret ballot if at least one third of the delegates at National Conference demand it.

K. DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The National Conference shall:

  1. Decide and determine the policy, programme and Constitution of the ANC.
  2. Receive and discuss the reports of the NEC which shall include the Presidential Address, the Secretary General`s Report which shall include a report on the work and activities of the Women`s League and Youth League, the Treasurer General`s Report.
  3. Have the right and power to review, ratify, alter or rescind any decision taken by any of the constituent bodies, units or officials of the ANC.
  4. Elect the President General, the Deputy President, National Chairperson, the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, the Treasurer General and the remaining 50 members of the NEC.
  5. Have the power to elect or appoint any Commission or committee and assign specific tasks and duties to such Commission or committee.

L. NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

1. Powers The National Executive Committee is the highest organ of the ANC between Conferences and shall have the authority to lead the organisation, subject to the provisions of this Constitution.

Without prejudice to the generality of its powers, the NEC shall:

  1. carry out the decisions and instructions of the National Conference;
  2. issue and send directives and instructions to and receive reports from the regions;
  3. supervise and direct the work of the ANC and all its organs generally;
  4. ensure that the regional and branch structures of the ANC function democratically and effectively;
  5. oversee the work of the Women`s League and the Youth League;
  6. establish departments and set up committees as it considers appropriate;
  7. manage and control all the national and international property and assets of the ANC;
  8. receive reports, supervise the work of, and delegate such functions to the NWC as it considers necessary;
  9. issue documents and other policy directives as and when it deems fit;
  10. confer such honours as it may deem appropriate.
2. The National Executive Committee (NEC), except where otherwise stipulated, shall be elected by secret ballot by the National Conference and shall hold office for three years and shall be constituted as follows:
  1. The President, Deputy President, National Chairperson, the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and the Treasurer General who shall be elected separately by the National Conference.
  2. Fifty (50) members of the NEC shall be elected by secret ballot by the National Conference.
  3. The Chairperson and the Secretary of each elected ANC Regional Executive Committee who shall be ex-officio members of the NEC.
  4. The National President and Secretary of the ANC Women`s League who shall be ex-officio members of the NEC.
  5. The National President and Secretary of the ANC Youth League who shall be ex-officio members of the NEC.
  6. Two (2) members of the military headquarters of MK appointed by the NEC who shall be ex-officio members of the NEC.
  7. The NEC shall have the power to co-opt not more than three (3) additional members at any time during its term of office in order to provide for a balance representation that reflects the true character of the South African people, provided that such co-option enjoys the support of the Regional Executive Committee and the branch from which the proposed person comes.
  8. Should a vacancy occur on the NEC for any reason, the NEC shall have the power to co-opt a replacement.
3. Nominations for the NEC members referred to in 2(a) and (b) above shall be by the following procedure:
  1. -
    1. Nominations for the post of:

    President
    Deputy President
    National Chairperson
    Secretary General
    Deputy Secretary General
    Treasurer General

shall be made by any region and placed before the National Conference.

  • A delegate to the conference shall, however, have the right to nominate any person whose name has not been proposed in terms of sub-section (i) above. In such event the presiding officer shall call for seconders to the nomination. If such nomination is seconded by a minimum of ten percent (10%) of conference delegates, then such nomination shall be regarded as having been duly seconded, in which event the name of such nominees shall be placed on the ballot paper. If the nomination fails to secure a minimum of 10% of conference delegates, such nomination shall fall away.
  • Nominations of candidates for the National Executive Committee other than the above positions shall be carried out by the following procedure: