50th National Conference: Strategy and Tactics - as amended by conference
22 December 1997
South Africa enters the new millennium having achieved her
formal political liberation. The struggles of the people, supported by the international
community, brought to an end the abhorrent system of apartheid colonialism and ushered in
a new era of democracy, peace and justice. The foundation has been laid for our society to
develop into a truly united, non-racial and non-sexist nation.
These developments take place in a world in which the system
of capitalism enjoys dominant sway over virtually the entire globe. But it is a world too
in which the agenda of the working people and developing nations can find creative
expression in pursuit of a humane, just and equitable world order. At the same time as the
new technological revolution and globalisation of economic relations narrow the time and
space among nations, so too do the realities of inequality, poverty and under-development
become the more obvious and demanding of joint international efforts. It is an
international epoch in which Africa enjoys the unique opportunity to extricate herself
from the vicious cycle of these scourges, and to strike forth in a continental
We have only started along a long road towards justice and
true equity. The new constitutional order and the government based on the will of the
people express both the immediate and long-term interests of the overwhelming majority of
South Africans. They accord with the world trend towards democratic, open and accountable
government. But the balance of forces both within South Africa and internationally is such
that these interests can be subverted by capitalism`s rapacious license. In this sense
therefore, the basic framework of our democratic achievement in South Africa is
irreversible: but it can be derailed, leaving us with a shell of political rights without
real social content.
2. RESISTANCE TO COLONIALISM
The struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa was
essentially an anti-colonial struggle. Beginning in 1652, Dutch and British colonialists
waged wars of conquest against the indigenous population, to usurp their land and its
riches and to establish an outpost which would act as a source of natural resources, as a
terrain of expansion and settlement, and as a market for their goods. Great Britain
finally established its colonial authority over the full extent of South Africa at the end
of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.
African communities from the Cape to the Limpopo waged heroic
resistance to colonial occupation. Despite being outgunned, they showed rare stoicism in
many battles spanning over two-and-half centuries. However, their resistance was
fragmented among and within various ethnic groups, and it could not stand the tide of
superior armed force backed by a developed economic and political base of the imperial
powers. The defeat of the Bambatha Rebellion in 1906 marked the end of the wars of
Colonial authorities also imported slaves and indentured
labour from Asia. These communities became part of South African colonial society,
essentially denied constitutional rights and subjected to varying degrees of oppression.
Most of the white settlers resolved to make this country their home and, in their world
view, an "independent" extension of the colonial metropolis. This found formal
expression in the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910, when Britain ceded
political power to the white settler minority. This gave rise to a situation in which both
the "colonial power" and the colonised shared the same territory, characterised
by the liberation movement as "colonialism of a special type".
For both the reproduction of the colonial state and the
reproduction of the homestead, the productive role of women was vital. As such, one
feature of the evolution of the colonial system was the coincidence of patriarchal
controls embedded in customary laws and practices, with the objectives of the colonial
state to restrict women to inferior roles in society, including their access to employment
and their movement out of the homestead.
It is thus in the very intersection between colonialism,
capitalism and traditional authority that the added oppression of women became embedded,
and assumed various forms with the development of colonial society. The manner in which
patriarchy asserted itself, within both the coloniser and oppressed communities, also
depended on the different classes, races, religions and cultures to which women belonged.
As colonialism took new forms, so did new forms of resistance
start to emerge. The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 with the purpose
of uniting the African majority against the colonial Union in pursuit of non-racial
democracy. A product of the local and international historical period, the ANC developed
over the years to forge fighting alliances with organisations of the Coloured and Indian
communities, as well as white democrats. Industrialisation also meant the emergence of a
working class from traditional communities, as well as their proletarian organisations in
the form of the Communist Party of South Africa and the trade union movement. All these
organisations coalesced into a national democratic alliance against colonial domination.
From 1912 until 1961, the ANC pursued peaceful forms of
struggle in the form of petitions, demonstrations, strikes and boycotts. Hand-in-hand with
its allies, the movement developed to place mass involvement in struggle as a central
plank of its programme. As the South African economy developed and urban life started to
assert its pre-eminence, the working class became central to the mass resistance, and the
liberation movement acknowledged the leading role of this class as an essential part of
its approach to struggle.
From the early stages of colonialism, women resisted the new
evolving relations of patriarchy directly, including oppressive traditional practices, as
part of the struggle against class and national oppression. Over many decades, their
resilient struggles against colonial and gender oppression helped entrench the cause of
gender equality as an essential element of the liberation struggle, be it in mass and
armed action, underground and international work, or negotiations.
After it was banned in 1960, the ANC mobilised from the
underground for a popular uprising against apartheid colonialism. Apartheid repression had
intensified, and by 1961, it had become manifest that peaceful mass resistance on its own
would not shake the resolve of the colonial rulers to use armed force to defend apartheid.
The ANC thus decided to adopt the armed struggle as part of its arsenal of resistance.
This led, over time, to the adoption of a strategy which combined four basic pillars:
- the organisation and mobilisation of the mass of the people
against any and all manifestations of oppression;
- the establishment of underground structures of the ANC to work
among these masses and create conditions for the organisation to give leadership to their
- the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961, and the conduct of
armed actions against the machinery of oppression; and
- the mobilisation of the international community to support the
struggle of the South African people and isolate the apartheid regime.
Within these pillars of struggle and sometimes
unacknowledged, was the activism of women who saw national freedom as but one aspect of
overall freedom. By the seventies, the intersection of class, national and gender
oppression was firmly identified and simultaneous struggle against each of these were
intensified. These activities influenced and were themselves impacted upon by the
international gender struggles.
All these forms of struggle developed over the years to
dovetail in skilful combination. As the decade of the 1980s drew to a close, it became
more and more difficult for the regime to rule, as the people acted en masse to make the
system unworkable and the country ungovernable, and as the cumulative pressures of
all-round struggle started to isolate the ruling clique even from elements in its own mass
base. The liberation movement`s strategic objective of the popular seizure of power had
been placed firmly on the agenda.
3. CHARACTER OF NEGOTIATIONS
In this period, elements within the South African ruling
class and its international allies started to weigh the implications of continuing popular
revolt - and its culmination in the overthrow of the regime - on their interests within
the country and the region. On the part of the liberation movement, while it had always
accepted the human and material cost of protracted struggle, it had, as a matter of
abiding principle, sought a more humane resolution of the conflict without compromising
the basic objectives of struggle. Combined with the end of the Cold War, these factors set
the stage for the beginning of negotiations.
What then was the balance of forces when the ban on political
organisations was lifted in 1990? How did this balance change over the period of
negotiations? These questions are critical in understanding the final outcome of the
negotiations process; the opportunities and constraints that the ANC and its allies faced
at the instance of victory in the democratic elections of April 1994; and the form, if not
part of the content, of the transformation which we are now undertaking.
The ANC entered negotiations with the aim of attaining its
strategic objective of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. These
principles were elaborated in what became known as the OAU Harare Declaration, with the
fundamental understanding that negotiations were not about a compromise between democracy
and apartheid, but about the process towards attaining universally accepted principles of
justice and human rights.
The regime sought to use negotiations to retain as much of
white minority rule and privilege as possible. Under the guise of so-called minority
rights, federalism and orderly transition, it pursued an outcome in which whites would
have the right of veto over both the content and the process of change.
Negotiations however entailed compromises on the path to be
followed to the final objective. This was influenced by the prevailing balance of forces.
In the first instance, at the beginning of negotiations, neither the liberation movement
nor the forces of apartheid had emerged as an outright victor.
On the one hand, the liberation movement enjoyed the support
of a people in political motion, ready to sacrifice for the attainment of freedom. Its
objectives enjoyed the support of virtually the entire world. And it had the capacity to
intensify all forms of struggle.
On the other hand, the apartheid regime commanded huge
resources - military, economic and otherwise - to delay its demise at huge cost to the
country. While its mass base was somewhat divided, many of its supporters and particularly
the direct beneficiaries of apartheid still had the capacity to support resistance to
Internationally, there were powerful elements who were
prepared, at least secretly, to assist the regime in preventing an insurrectionary
Negotiations were therefore as much a platform to find a
resolution to the conflict, as a terrain of struggle to shift the balance of forces. The
liberation movement continued to mobilise the people and the international community to
this end. On the other hand, the regime used its state power to frustrate the negotiations
process, seek to prolong it as much as possible, and, in the meanwhile, regain lost ground
through security force violence, propaganda and other means.
As a result of the work of the liberation movement, and at
the same time as the regime made tactical blunders, the resolve of the mass of the people
and the ground-swell of local and international public opinion shifted decisively in
favour of a speedy resolution of the conflict. In the end, the regime conceded the basic
outlines of a democratic settlement that accorded with universal principles of democracy,
including gender equality.
The adoption of the interim constitution, the first
democratic elections in April 1994, and the establishment of a new government led by the
ANC were major landmarks in this process. And so was the work of the elected
Constitutional Assembly which adopted the new constitution based on the principles of
democratic majority rule.
4. VICTORY OVER APARTHEID
April 1994 was therefore a historic breakthrough in the
struggle for democracy. A consequence of active support to the course of democracy by the
mass of the people, and a cumulative result of decades of struggle, this victory signified
a decisive departure from a colonial system spanning over three centuries. The accession
of the ANC to government was therefore not merely a change of parties in political office.
The interim constitution and the formation of a government based on the will of the people
was a revolutionary break with the past. A qualitative element of the National Democratic
Revolution (NDR) had been accomplished.
We use the words "element of the NDR" guardedly,
precisely because the balance of forces that we referred to earlier dictated that the path
to full transfer of power, let alone the strategic objective of a united, non-racial,
non-sexist and democratic society, would be protracted and tortuous.
When the new government was formed, the extra-parliamentary
power of the democratic movement was strategically complemented by the attainment of
elements of state power. In this sense, it represented a strategic defeat for the forces
of white minority rule.
Firstly, the constitution accorded the democratic forces the
framework within which to start implementing programmes of transformation. And by assuming
the leading position in government, the democratic movement took formal control of the
state machinery, with the possibility of starting, in earnest, to transform it to serve
the new order.
Secondly, as a national political organisation with a
programme for the attainment of peace, democracy, human rights, socio-economic development
and lasting security for all South Africans, the ANC enjoyed legitimacy far wider than its
Thirdly, the mass of the people who fought against apartheid
valued this achievement, a victory that was not easy and too soon to attain. They were
prepared to reconcile with their erstwhile oppressors, but also to defend this victory
with all the means at their disposal. At the same time, there is a sense in which this
change was, to the white minority, the lifting of a heavy burden that they had carried for
Lastly, the international community hailed the change-over,
both in terms of its relatively peaceful nature as well as its significance for race
relations across the globe.
But the victory was itself constrained by the same
considerations that coloured the final settlement, some of them codified in the
constitution. What were these constraints?
In the first instance, the fact that the liberation movement
had not achieved an outright victory on the battlefield meant that it had to accept
compromises in negotiations which would allow the ruling clique to ease itself out of
power without undue resistance. The perspective of the Government of National Unity, and
the entrenchment of some of the rights of the existing public service, including the
security forces, the judiciary and parastatals, were major elements of this approach.
Secondly, what this also meant is that the democratic
movement took over an apartheid state machinery that was intact, orderly within its own
rules, and with the majority resolved to continue in their positions. While the
constitutional framework allowed the new government to transform this service, this was to
be a long drawn-out process which would also meet resistance from within.
Thirdly, the majority of public servants, especially at
senior level, the captains of industry, and editorial rooms in most of the media shared
the perspectives of the former government or its white opposition, including racial and
gender stereotypes - all of them strategically placed to influence the agenda of
transformation in favour of the privileged classes.
Lastly, the networks used by the regime, especially in its
"dirty war" both within and outside South Africa remained intact, either
burrowed within the state machinery, or concealed in front companies and other private
In brief, the democratic movement had achieved only elements
of power. This gave it immense possibilities to use the new situation as a beach-head to
fundamentally transform society. The final settlement, codified in the constitution
adopted in 1996, contains the framework for democratic majority rule and the platform to
build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. However, the
constraints outlined above have a direct bearing on the pace of transformation; on the
route towards the strategic objective, as well as on the extent of the danger of this
process being derailed.
A proper understanding of a given balance of forces is
critical in defining the tactics that the liberation movement should adopt at each stage
of transformation. To ignore this would be to fall victim to voluntarism and a
revolutionary militancy that has nothing to do with revolution. Such "populism"
can in fact lead to the defeat of the revolution itself. Historic moments are few and far
between, where revolutionaries are called upon to throw caution to the wind.
On the other hand, a fixation with balance of forces as an
immutable phenomenon results in a malaise of stasis, and it can in fact become the
swan-song for indecision, and even reaction, to preach caution where bold action is
required. Objective circumstances are not carved in stone. Any balance of forces is
dynamic, influenced by changing endogenous and exogenous factors.
5. CHARACTER OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
The strategic objective of the NDR is the creation of a
united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. This, in essence, means the
liberation of Africans in particular and black people in general from political and
economic bondage. It means uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, especially
the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.
April 1994 constitutes a platform from which to launch this
programme of social transformation. What this revolution still has to accomplish, is to
overcome the legacy of a social system that was based on the oppression of the black
majority. Political freedom constitutes an important part of this mandate. However,
without social justice, such freedom will remain hollow, the pastime of those who can make
The symbiotic link between capitalism and national oppression
in our country, and the stupendous concentration of wealth in the hands of a few
monopolies therefore render trite the vainglorious declaration that national oppression
and its social consequences can be resolved by formal democracy underpinned by market
forces to which all should kneel in the prayer: `everyone for himself and the Devil takes
the hindmost!` While formal democracy may present opportunities for some blacks and women
to advance, without a systematic national effort, led by the democratic government, to
unravel the skewed distribution of wealth and income, the social reality of apartheid will
How then should the strategic objective of the National
Democratic Revolution find expression, in broad terms?
A fundamental condition for liberation is democracy and an
abiding culture of human rights. All citizens should be guaranteed the right to elect a
government of their choice, freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, and other
rights entrenched in the constitution. They should have a government not only formally
based on their will, but one that is open and transparent, and one that consults and
continually involves the people in policy formulation and implementation.
Consistent with these principles is the task of ensuring
equality among the racial, ethnic, language, cultural and religious communities; and
equality between women and men: to build a united nation of free individuals with the
right to associate with whomever they wish on the basis of equality.
Critical to nation-building is the de-racialisation of South
African society and the elimination of patriarchal relations. It means creating a society
in which the station that individuals occupy in political, social and other areas of
endeavour is not defined on the basis of race, ethnicity, language, gender, religious,
cultural or other such considerations. It means integrating communities in residential
areas, at the work-place and within the trade union movement, in sports and other areas.
It also means a consistent programme of affirmative action to eradicate the disparities
created by apartheid.
The ANC recognises that individuals within such a nation will
have multiple identities, on the basis of their physiological make-up, cultural life and
social upbringing. Such distinctive features will not disappear in the melting-pot of
broad South Africanism. Neither does their association on the basis of one social
attribute or the other constitute a denial of their other identities. But it is critical
that the over-arching identity of being South African is promoted among all those who are
indeed South African, as part of the process of building an African nation on the southern
tip of the continent. The affirmation of our Africanness as a nation has nothing to do
with the domination of one culture or language by another _ it is a recognition of a
geographic reality and the awakening of a consciousness which colonialism suppressed.
Apartheid colonialism also meant the systematic suppression
of the talents, creativity and capacity of women to play their role in the ordering of the
nation`s affairs. Much more than any other sector, colonial oppression and a universal
patriarchal culture, including socially constructed "gender roles", conspired to
degrade women and treat them as sub-human. These gender roles permeate all spheres of
life, beginning with the family, and are entrenched by stereotypes, dominant ideas,
cultures, beliefs, traditions and laws.
Critical to the NDR is not only the affirmation of gender
equality, but also ensuring that it is lived in practice by all South Africans, and finds
conscious expression in all the policies and programmes of the nation. Concerted efforts
will have to be made to educate citizens to change their attitudes and practices regarding
the roles of women and men in society, and to assert an approach to issues of race and
class which consistently recognises the gender imprint within and among these races and
classes. This includes creating the necessary spiritual and material conditions to
facilitate women`s advancement in all spheres of life.
In the same vein, the youth, the disabled and others have
borne the brunt of apartheid`s hierarchy of denial, and affording them the requisite
conditions for their advancement demands a united national effort.
Addressing these matters is not merely a concern for this or
the other "sector" of society. It is in actual fact a matter of principle, an
expression of our humane values, without which liberation would be neither genuine nor
Democracy and development are intertwined, and one cannot be
separated from the other. In particular, the notion that economic progress can be attained
through some kind of benevolent dictatorship does not hold any water. It is in fact
dangerous for it assumes that some self-declared elite can deliver social liberation from
on high to a meek and grateful mass that does not participate in its own advancement. This
goes against the grain of the history of struggle, in which the masses were in reality
their own liberators. On the other hand, mass participation does not imply paralysis or
wilful inaction in the name of endless consultation. Decisive, bold and speedy action
should always be pursued, without derogating from the need for the people themselves to
facilitate such promptness in meeting their needs.
The new democratic government derives its character from
these challenges. These tasks are made the more urgent and the difficulty of implementing
them further compounded by the massive social disparities that we have inherited. The
apartheid state was set up, and it operated precisely in a manner, to entrench racial
disparities. Its bloated, repressive and corrupt bureaucracy was tasked to serve the
interests of a minority. Its fiscal expenditure and the operations of its parastatals were
structured along apartheid lines, including its war effort against anti-apartheid forces
within South Africa and abroad. It incurred huge debt in pursuit of these objectives,
together with attempts at creating a buffer, from among the ranks of the oppressed,
between the white minority and the revolutionary masses.
Because it was illegal and illegitimate, the apartheid
state`s practices eroded the moral fibre of South African society. The state relied more
and more on criminal actions to shore up its fortunes and in the process, it pulled the
rest of society into a maelstrom of corruption and crime. As such, apartheid political and
economic relations were not only a break on the development of the economy, they were also
an albatross on the moral sensibilities of society.
The new democratic government is faced with the challenge of
changing all this, as part of its strategic task of creating a united, non-racial,
non-sexist and democratic society. In the first instance, this government derives its
legitimacy and legality from the democratic processes which saw to its birth. However, the
state machinery we inherited contains many features of the past. Formally, it is a state
based on a democratic constitution, a state which is obliged to serve the aspirations of
the majority. However, the emergence of a truly democratic state depends on the
transformation of the old machinery, a critical part of the NDR. Such transformation
should see the location of the motive forces of the revolution at the helm of the state,
as the classes and strata which wield real power.
The challenges that face these forces in this phase is to
ensure that the elements of power they have captured are utilised rapidly to transform the
state, while at the same time placing it at the centre of the transformation of South
Africa`s political, economic and societal relations.
The new South African state is one in which formal
expressions of democracy and human rights should be backed up by mass involvement in
policy formulation and implementation. It is a state which should mobilise the nation`s
resources to expand the wealth base in the form of a growing economy.
It is a state which should continually strive to improve
people`s quality of life. Such a state should ensure that all citizens are accorded equal
opportunities within the context of correcting the historical injustice.
We seek to create a social order in which the many positive
elements of the market dovetail with the obligations of citizens one to the other. Through
its elected representatives and other avenues, society should ensure that those who are
indigent are accorded a humane and respectable quality of life.
In this sense, such a society is neither a clone of an
idealistic capitalist order which is hostage to rampant so-called market forces
(particularly in an economy dominated by a few conglomerates), nor an egalitarian utopia
of mechanical social parity. Indeed, within the context of a mixed economy, in which
market forces have an important role to play, the state has the critical task of ensuring
economic growth and development, of meeting people`s social needs and of providing the
requisite environment for political stability and the safety and security of citizens.
In carrying out these tasks, the emergent democratic state
relies on the formal instruments available to it; but, above all, on the active
involvement of members of society in changing their lives for the better. Both as
individuals, and organised in political formations and various structures of civil
society, the citizens are the bedrock of fundamental change.
We are confident that consistent implementation of these
principles will go along way in resolving many of the basic contradictions of South
African society. However, we cannot claim that this is a panacea. Nor can we predict all
the new challenges that the process of transformation will bring forth. For instance, the
creation of a new society will not eliminate the basic antagonism between capital and
labour. Neither will it eradicate the disparate and sometimes contradictory interests that
some of the motive forces of the NDR pursue. These secondary contradictions among the
motive forces are inherent to the NDR, and properly managed, they can serve as a source of
Our task as the ANC, the task of the NDR, is to eliminate the
basic causes of the national grievance wherever and in whatever form they manifest
themselves, and to manage the multitude of contradictions within society in the interest
of this objective. Indeed, as we succeed in doing so, new social dynamics will play
themselves out, redefining the challenges of the given moment as well as the political
permutations that are consonant with these new challenges.
6. CHALLENGE TO TRANSFORMATION
The smooth change-over of government in 1994 was one of the
most outstanding achievements of liberation struggles this century. The understandable
euphoria that this development occasioned reflected the sense of achievement of a people
who had endured centuries of bondage, as well as appreciation by both black and white
South Africans that they share a common destiny, and that none would benefit from mutually
debilitating conflict. This was reinforced by the deliberate policy of reconciliation
adopted by the liberation movement, helping to narrow the space for those forces which
might have had plans to subvert this process by violent and other means.
However, the notion that South Africans embraced and made up,
and thus erased the root causes of previous conflict, is thoroughly misleading. April 1994
was neither the beginning nor the end of history. The essential contradictions spawned by
the system of apartheid colonialism were as much prevalent the day after the inauguration
of the new government as they were the day before.
The fact that the ideas and influence of the previous ruling
classes still predominated in the civil service, in the security forces, in the economic
sector and in the media - primary centres of power in any social formation - meant that
the capacity of the democratic movement was in many respects circumscribed. This was
further aggravated by the compromises that were made to ensure a smooth transition. All
this presented opportunities for those fundamentally opposed to change to mobilise against
Are there active counter-revolutionary forces in
Over the past years in government, we have learnt that we
should not be blinded by form: the fact that blacks are, for the first time, occupying the
highest political offices in the land; as distinct from content: the reality that colonial
relations in some centres of power remain largely unchanged.
However, in examining the forces bent on undermining
transformation, a word of caution is necessary. It is always tempting for revolutionary
organisations in political office to characterise all opposition to their programmes as
acts of counter-revolution. In general terms, an opposition that pays allegiance to the
constitution and the country`s laws and seeks to modify the programmes of transformation
or even to express a retrogressive school of thought shared by a given constituency, is a
legitimate actor in the contradictory process of change. Indeed, such forces should be
treated as legitimate expressions of the country`s social contradictions.
The new constitution and its various institutions provide the
framework within which individuals should exercise their democratic rights. They afford
parties with requisite support to attain representation in parliament, there to pursue the
interests of their constituents. Our democracy would have been shallow and incomplete if,
in the legislatures and even in the streets, the forces which benefited from the system of
apartheid did not seek to express their disappointment or genuine apprehension with the
process of change.
Both with regard to these political forces and the mass base
they exploit, the overriding aim will be to derail or reverse change so as to end up with
a system in which the social privileges of apartheid are retained in a somewhat modified
form. As long as this is carried out within the parameters of the constitution and the
law, it is a legal and robust (though, broadly-speaking, counter-revolutionary) expression
of the real contradictions within society.
These political forces consist, in the main, of those
elements which collectively constituted the white ruling bloc and its black appendages.
However, the fact that they represent views of a given
constituency does not subtract from the counter-revolutionary content of their programmes.
The defining character of the public platform of most opposition parties is to entrench
the social relations of black poverty and white opulence _ however modified - that were
engendered by the system of apartheid. To achieve this, they seek to imprison the
erstwhile beneficiaries of apartheid in that time warp when white and might were right.
They strive to maintain cohesion within a former ruling group now facing disintegration.
In this sense, these forces are, broadly-speaking, counter-revolutionary.
Further, the overwhelming moral and political legitimacy of
the new order, and of the ANC in particular, does draw some of these parties and other
elements - who have no hope in the near future of assuming political office - towards
finding clandestine and sometimes innocuous ways of subverting transformation.
In the narrow sense, counter-revolution can be defined as a
combination of aims and forms of action that are mainly unconstitutional and illegal, to
subvert transformation. These include setting up intelligence and armed networks parallel
to and within the state to sabotage change through direct political activity or
aggravation of such social problems as crime. They also entail underground efforts to
undermine the country`s economy, including investor confidence and the currency;
deliberate acts of corruption driven not merely by greed; sabotage of the programme for
delivery; wrecking the government`s information systems; illegal and malicious acts of
capital flight and so on.
Such efforts can be supplemented by open forms of
mobilisation, not least through legislatures and networks in the judiciary, the economy,
the media and other centres of power.
Uppermost in the immediate objectives of these
counter-revolutionary forces is to disorganise, weaken and destroy the ANC, the vanguard
of the NDR, both from within and from outside its ranks. It is in the interest of these
elements that the masses of the people should be left leaderless and rudderless, and thus
open to manipulation against their own interests.
In this sense, therefore, the democratic movement will be
committing a monumental blunder - a historical error of great proportions - to lull itself
into a false sense of security. Maximum vigilance is required. But even more critical, the
revolutionary movement needs to act with resolution in transforming the state machinery.
It needs to use those centres of power in which it has a foothold to widen and deepen
popular power. The nature of our transition also means that, rather than rely mainly on
revolutionary force (in a situation in which the instruments of force themselves require
fundamental transformation), the democratic movement should creatively employ the weapons
of transparency and openness to expose the machinations of counter-revolution and root out
their networks. It should ensure that the agenda in the battle of ideas is not set by
In addressing these challenges, the ANC will do well to
remember the adage of its own campaigns: "attack the enemy on all fronts".
Counter-revolutionary mobilisation can only take root if there are real grievances to
exploit, whether these grievances are deliberately engineered or not. The democratic
movement itself needs at all times to be vigilant that its own actions and omissions do
not assist such mobilisation
These then are the challenges we face in changing the balance
of forces in the interest of fundamental transformation. In the final analysis, the best
antidote to counter-revolution is confidence in the mass of the people, mobilised always
to be in political motion. They are the sure guarantee to the advancement and defence of
the cause of national liberation.
Who are these masses and what is the character of the
organisations required to lead their efforts?
7. THE MOTIVE FORCES OF TRANSFORMATION
In South Africa, where political oppression was so closely
linked to economic exploitation, where the social position that individuals occupied in
life was defined by writ in racial terms, it is critical to examine the motive forces of
change from both these angles.
The system of national oppression meant that the African
majority and blacks in general became, from their own experiences and actions, the main
motive forces of the struggle. At the same time, within the white community, individuals
of rare foresight and integrity did realise that all the people of our country shared a
common future, and therefore made common cause with the national liberation movement. This
is the array of national forces on whom the ANC relies for the continuing struggle to rid
South Africa of the legacy of apartheid.
They are made up of the African majority who were the main
victims of the apartheid system and who bore the brunt of the heroic struggle against it;
the Coloured and Indian communities, who, though accorded bigger crumbs from the masters`
table, were essentially excluded from the court of the privileged, and themselves played a
critical role in the struggle; and white democrats. This hierarchy of oppression was
devised as a tool of divide-and-rule, as an expression of the warped minds of the white
racist ruling clique and as a tactic to buttress the forces which would have a stake in
the system of apartheid to defend.
The African people were themselves nudged and coerced to
develop an ethnic consciousness that the system of colonial capitalism had undermined.
Some among them were rewarded with bogus positions of status in apartheid institutions.
The combination of all these factors does emphasise the
critical importance of building national consciousness as part of the process of social
In class terms, apartheid ensured that blacks occupy the
lowest rungs of the ladder of colonial capitalism: as the unemployed and landless rural
masses; as unskilled and semi-skilled workers; as professionals squashed between the rock
of poverty and the glass ceiling of job reservation; and as petty business operators
confined to spaza retail trade and a disorganised mini-bus sector...but never at the heart
of the country`s industry. Ranged against them, and yet feeding on their condition was the
collection of white classes and strata: workers, the middle strata, small business and,
particularly, the monopoly capitalists.
South African capitalism gave birth to a collective of black
workers whose class position and social existence placed it at the head of the struggle
for freedom. By dint of its activism and organisation, this class won the respect of all
the other motive forces as the leader of the NDR. Along with the poor rural masses, the
working class stands to gain most from the success of transformation. Because of its
organisation and role, and objectively because of its numbers and position in the
production process, the working class is critical to this process.
The formation of a democratic government has also set in
motion a rapid process of breaking the glass ceiling that blocked propertied and
professional sections of the black community from advancement.
Over time, the policies of government and the tactical
sensibilities of some white monopolists, have precipitated a situation in which some of
the black propertied classes are expanding their positions withinimportant sectors of the
economy. At the same time, the policies of government have opened up a wide array of
opportunities for small and medium enterprises. Other sections of the black middle strata
are also benefiting directly and indirectly from opportunities created by government.
Indeed, the rapid advance of these sections constitutes one of the most immediate and most
visible consequences of democracy.
Precisely because their progress is contingent upon the
achievement of democracy, these forces continue to share an interest in the success of
social transformation. Their interests coincide with those of the other sectors previously
denied political rights. Yet this cannot be assumed.
In some instances what is hailed in the private sector as
"black empowerment" is symbolic and devoid of real substance. There are
possibilities that some of these forces are dictated to by foreign or local big capital on
whom they rely for their advancement. There are possibilities too, that the path to riches
for some can be directly via public office, sometimes through corrupt practices. Though
such instances may be an exception to the norm, experience in other countries has taught
us that, without vigilance, elements of these new capitalist classes can become witting or
unwitting tools of monopoly interests, or parasites who thrive on corruption in public
However, in the overall, the rising black bourgeoisie and
middle strata are objectively important motive forces of transformation whose interests
coincide with at least the immediate interests of the majority. They are, in this sense
and in this phase, part of the motive forces of fundamental change.
Yet, like with all other classes, their contribution to
transformation, as distinct from the gains they derive from it, is contingent upon their
mobilisation to pursue the interests of reconstruction and development, on such issues as
the strategic employment of investment capital, labour relations, workplace democracy,
style of management and so on.
Indeed, it is critical for the ANC and the government to help
guide these and other owners of capital to promote social transformation mindful of the
fact that such transformation will serve at least their long-term interests and those of
society as a whole. This applies as much to local financial, manufacturing, mining,
agricultural and other entrepreneurs as it does to foreign direct investors.
The occupation of positions of power by individuals from the
black majority, and the material possibilities this offers, does create some "social
distance" between these individuals and constituencies they represent. It should not
be ruled out that this could render elements in the revolutionary movement progressively
lethargic to the conditions of the poor. This is not a distant and theoretical
possibility, but a danger always lurking as we pursue fundamental change from the vantage
point of political office. Preventing it is not a small appendage to the tasks of the NDR.
It is central to the all-round vigilance that we should continue to exercise.
Examples abound in many former colonies of massive
disparities in the distribution of wealth and income between the new elite and the mass of
the people. In South Africa, this potential danger is made the more acute by the fact
that, at the end of the day, this class permutation will in substance reflect previous
racial disparities and gender inequality, with a coterie of mainly black men co-opted into
the white courtyard of privilege. This will then be a continuing potential source of
instability and insecurity for all of society, deriving from the same social grievances
that underpinned the anti-apartheid struggle.
While the majority within the white community harboured
misconceptions about democratic majority rule, experience since April 1994 is showing
that, loss of ill-gotten privilege aside, the new system affords them the kind of freedom
and security which is legitimate, long-term and therefore more meaningful. This is a far
cry from the fear and psychological coercion that the autocratic and securocratic system
of apartheid engendered. Even the white owners of large corporations enjoy opportunities
both within and outside South Africa that apartheid could not afford them.
Indeed, many of these and other sectors of society who
benefited from apartheid harbour a positive ambivalence or even critical support towards
the process of change. These sectors, and indeed the white community as such, are
therefore not an exclusive terrain of parties opposed to change. It is the task of the
democratic movement to try and liberate them and, where possible, their political
representatives, from the prison of fear, hatred and antipathy towards the process of
transformation. The benefits they enjoy deriving from the new order, and the new sense of
proud belonging they nurture, are among the elements that should be harnessed.
8. CHARACTER OF THE ANC
The ANC is a product of a given historical period, formed to
unite the African people in the struggle for equality. Over the years, it developed to
embrace non-racialism both as a principle and as a guide to its composition and day-to-day
practice. Driving its approach to struggle was the fundamental national contradiction
represented by the oppression of black people. Combined with the evolution of South
African capitalism, and the ANC`s interaction with liberation and other progressive
movements over the world, all these factors helped shape the character of the ANC as a
truly progressive national liberation movement.
The primary mission of the ANC was, and remains, to mobilise
all the classes and strata that objectively stand to gain from the success of the cause of
social change. Indeed, the fact that a particular group, class or stratum stands to
benefit from such transformation does not necessarily mean that it will automatically be
aware of it. Thus, the task of education, organisation and mobilisation is critical at all
stages. This is as important in this period as it was in the past; for, in as much as the
people were their own liberators, success today is contingent upon transformation being
people-centred and people-driven.
The ANC is also called upon to win over to its side those who
previously benefited from the system of apartheid: to persuade them to appreciate that
their long-term security and comfort are closely tied up with the security and comfort of
society as a whole. In this sense therefore, the ANC is not a leader of itself, nor just
of its supporters. History has bequeathed on it the mission to lead South African society
as a whole in the quest for a truly non-racial, non-sexist and democratic nation.
Given the common interests that various classes and strata
have in the success of the NDR, it is the task of the ANC to channel the energies of these
forces towards that goal. It should be able to identify those common interests and unite
the motive forces and others in joint action.
Yet among these forces, each sector promotes its own narrow
interests. Even within the African majority, the object of vicious racist policies, their
stratification then, and even more so now, dictates that they will hold differing views on
critical matters of transformation. On the factory-floor, a black employer and a worker
will not be immune to the class contradictions that the capitalist system of social
The nature of democracy that the ANC pursues leans towards
the poor. This arises from its experience in struggle, from its humane and progressive
outlook, and from the on-going contribution of the various class forces to change. The ANC
recognises the central and leading role of the working class in the project of social
transformation. Its approach to democracy is also informed by the principle of consistent
equality which not only recognises unequal gender relations, but also acknowledges that
the overwhelming majority of the poor are African women, especially in the rural areas.
The ANC is therefore a broad multi-class, mass organisation,
uniting the motive forces on the basis of a programme for transformation. It must strive
to remain a broad democratic movement by accepting into its ranks all those who accept and
abide by its policies and objectives. This character of the ANC derives from its strategic
tasks in the current phase.
While at this stage we define ourselves as a liberation
movement, it is trite to counter-pose this to being "a party" in the broad sense
or as understood by adherents of formal bourgeois democracy. It is our strategic
objectives, the motive forces of the revolution and the character of the terrain in which
we operate such as mass work, parliament and government as a whole which are central in
defining our organisational character, irrespective of the formal label attached to it.
Transformation will only have real meaning if it addresses
the plight of triple oppression suffered by women. The ANC must lead the efforts aimed at
eradicating these oppressive power relations in our society. Within its own ranks, it must
entrench gender awareness and appropriate practices.
The ANC Women`s League (ANCWL) is tasked with the
responsibility of helping the ANC to broaden its mass base, as it champions the
aspirations of a section of our society which over the decades, has been oppressed and
exploited as "a nation", as a class and as women. It should continue to be the
voice of ANC women members, but it should also be at the cutting edge of the Broad Women`s
Movement, spearheading gender transformation and the advancement of a women`s agenda.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is a critical tool of South
Africa`s youth in pursuit of a better life for all. It should continue to function as an
organisational and political preparatory school of young activists of our movement. The
organisational autonomy of the ANCYL always provides organisational vibrancy and the
youthful political debate imperative to a revolutionary organisation. It should
continually broaden its base and deepen its political and organisational strength. It must
strive to galvanise, and place itself at the centre of, the broadest spectrum of youth
organisations for reconstruction and development.
The ANC has the responsibility to link up with various
political, community, sectoral and other formations that share its strategic objective,
and contribute to their orientation with regard to the major national questions of the
Among these forces are the organisations of the working class
- the South African Communist Party and the progressive trade union movement, represented
by COSATU, in particular. These organisations are committed to a united, non-racial,
non-sexist and democratic South Africa, and a system which pays particular attention to
the improvement of the conditions of especially the poor. They themselves took part in
defining this strategic objective, and, to the extent that the struggle to reach this goal
remains in place, they will always have a close partnership with the ANC.
This Tripartite Alliance is therefore not a matter of
sentiment, but an organisational expression of the common purpose and unity in action that
these forces share, and continue jointly to define and redefine in the course of
undertaking the tasks of the NDR.
While maintaining their independence, each component of the
Alliance has a responsibility to organise and mobilise its social base and any other
forces allied to it, for the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development
Programme, the defence of the NDR and the constructive engagement of the people as a whole
in the process of fundamental change.
Sectoral formations among the motive forces of transformation
pursue the same goals as the ANC, in the measure that they strive for the true interests
of these sectors. Among them are to be found student and professional organisations,
structures of the religious community, the youth, women, traditional leaders, business
associations, structures in rural areas, civic associations and others. These formations
are as important to transformation as they were to the heroic struggle against apartheid.
It behoves the ANC to work among them and join with them both in sectoral and
inter-sectoral campaigns to realise the aims of the NDR.
To the extent that other broader forces share some short- or
even long-term goals with the ANC, we should find ways of pooling efforts to achieve those
goals. In this period of complex transformation, maximum skill and tact are required to
bring the message of the ANC to these forces; not so much to convert them to its world
view, but to ensure that the overwhelming majority of South Africans pay allegiance to the
constitution and share in the national consensus and programme to build a new society.
The ANC is the vanguard of all these motive forces of the
NDR, the leader of the broad movement for transformation. Its leadership has not been
decreed, but earned in the crucible of struggle and the battles for social transformation.
It should continually strengthen itself as a national political organisation and ensure
that it is in touch with the people in their day-to-day life.
The ANC is acutely aware that the overwhelming majority of
South Africans, and indeed its own members, adhere to religious beliefs or are people of
faith who do not practice any religion. From this point of view, and indeed within the
context of the profound moral ethic, empathy towards those in need and human fellowship
that most religions preach, the ANC recognises the critical role the religious community
can play as a partner in reconstruction and development, nation-building and
reconciliation. We shall continue to promote joint efforts with, and sectoral contribution
by, the religious community in pursuit of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
The current phase of the NDR contains many new and complex
dynamics and the ANC should itself continue to be a vibrant organisation within whose
ranks there is constant exchange of ideas, however different such ideas may be. Its cadre
policy should encourage creativity in thought and in practice, and eschew rigid dogma.
However, it should exercise maximum discipline among its members, and ensure that, after
ideas have been exchanged and decisions taken, all its structures and members pursue the
same goal. In the composition of its membership and leadership, the class and national
content of the NDR should find broad expression.
The character and strength of the ANC must continue to reside
in its mass base. And, as the leading force in government, the ANC should continuously
improve its capacity and skill to wield and transform the instruments of power. This
includes a systematic approach to parliament as the forum to lay the detailed legal
framework for transformation, creative employment of public representatives in
organisational work, a cadre policy ensuring that the ANC plays a leading role in all
centres of power, and a proper balance in its day-to-day activities between narrow
governmental work and organisational tasks.
In all centres of power, particularly in parliament and the
executive, ANC representatives must fulfil the mandate of the organisation. They should
account to the ANC and seek its broad guidance. As a matter of political principle, and in
our structures and our style of operation, we proceed always from the premise that there
is one ANC, irrespective of the many and varied sectors in which cadres are deployed.
The fact of being in government has also thrown up challenges
which were either not pronounced in, or foreign to, the previous epoch. For instance, the
approach to deployment in the current phase cannot ignore mapping out career-paths for,
and with, ANC cadres to enable them to play the most effective role, and to advance in a
systematic way, in the varied terrain of transformation. This also entails the acquisition
of a multiple of political, organisational and technical skills.
Such cadre policy has nothing to do with careerism of the
opportunistic variety, which a governing party should always guard against. It also has to
be pursued without detracting from the mass character of the movement, with this mass
membership itself continually upgraded, and at the same time serving as a pool from which
cadres can be developed.
Positions in government also afford the movement and its
leaders powerful possibilities for patronage. There is nothing untoward per se in
advancing cadres who, by their selfless contribution to the cause, deserve such
acknowledgement. Yet this can easily lend itself to corrupt practices, undermining good
governance and destroying critical and independent thought and expression, and the
vibrancy of a truly revolutionary movement.
In pointing out these dangers, we should not lose sight of
the exciting and challenging period that the ANC has entered in its history to realise the
ideals that it has cherished since its foundation.
Yet we are also conscious of the fact that a fundamental
condition for our success is not merely sound domestic policies and programmes, nor our
determination to pursue them. Progress in our country depends on the regional and
international environment in which we operate.
How do we characterise this environment and what can the ANC
do to help improve it?
9. CHARACTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION
The liberation of South Africa was both a local expression of
a changing world and part of the catalyst to renewed efforts aimed at attaining
international consensus on the most urgent questions facing humanity. Our transition was
an element of a dynamic political process of a world redefining itself with the end of the
Cold War. To the extent that the new global situation has not resolved the contradictions
within and among nations between poverty and opulence; to the extent that ethnic,
religious and other tensions continue to ravage parts of the globe; to the extent that
some of these contradictions find bold expression in our own society; to this extent and
more, the transformation taking place in our country is closely intertwined with the
search for a new world order.
The ANC seeks to take active part in shaping this order, both
in the context of its relations with other parties and movements, and as the leading
organisation in government. In both these areas of operation, it will pursue the same
objectives. Yet we do recognise that, in their detail, party-to-party aims will not always
translate into inter-state relations. This is not to imply that inter-state relations are
devoid of principle. Rather, it is to underline that, in government, the implementation of
our principles will be tempered by the realities of world diplomacy and conventions
governing inter-state relations.
Today`s world is dominated by the capitalist system. Besides,
in the advanced capitalist countries, it is monopoly companies, particularly
trans-national corporations which set the greater part of the agenda. As such, the real
danger exists that political and economic policy of governments throughout the world can
be dictated to by these corporations. Already, the content and form of globalisation of
trade, investment and capital flows, and the operation of some of the critical
multilateral institutions reflect in large measure the wishes of these corporations.
Combined with this, is the danger that we can enter the new millennium with an approach to
international relations that reflects capitalism`s unbridled license, with particularly
developing countries having surrendered their sovereignty.
But contained within this situation, which characterises the
current process of globalisation, are opportunities that need to be creatively utilised.
It is the task of revolutionary democrats and humanists everywhere to recognise dangers,
but more critically, to identify opportunities in the search for a just, humane and
equitable world order.
The capitalist system has not resolved the disparities within
even the most advanced countries. Indeed, in most of them, the gap between the rich and
the poor continues to widen, reflected not only in the ever-rising floor of so-called
"natural unemployment", but also in poverty wages. It is a reality to which
politicians, if only for their own self-interest, cannot afford to close their eyes.
Among the nations of the world, the chasm between developed
and developing countries is as wide as ever. In addition, the iniquitous trail of
patriarchy manifests itself in the wake of capitalism`s evolution even more acutely in
developing countries. This includes vicious exploitation of female labour and the
degenerate trafficking in women and children as sex slaves. Given the communications
revolution, the spate of cross-border migration and organised crime, and the implications
of a default on international debt by countries that do not have the means to pay,
developed countries dare not ignore this chasm.
The current system of international finance was born in a
haphazard manner, releasing into international relations an unregulated and often
predatory sector of finance capital with the power to beggar whole economies and dictate
social and economic policy especially in the developing world. Currency speculation within
and across national frontiers, involving the flows of trillions of major currency
denominations, without any social purpose, is not only a threat to the developing
countries, but it is a Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of advanced capitalist
societies themselves. Indeed, international discourse on and the search for rational
solutions to this and related problems should and will continue, not so much to kill
"the market", but at least to find some order in the international financial
These objective realities are reinforced by the awakening of
a form of democracy and culture of human rights that transcends the ideological trappings
of the past. Government by the people for the people, an achievement of human civilisation
over the centuries, is finding new meaning in the growth of social movements on such
issues as gender rights, the environment and opportunities for youth, in addition to
organisations for workers` rights, for peace, and in mutual international solidarity.
These structures of civil society wield enormous and growing influence. At the same time,
common global threats such as the AIDS pandemic and global warming dictate that humanity
acts together to find common solutions.
The new technological revolution provides immense
opportunities for developing countries to creatively handle matters of development. In the
same vein, the emergent international trade regime and the flows of productive capital do
contain opportunities for these countries to improve their competitiveness and exploit
their comparative advantage. These possibilities are enhanced by the consolidation of
regional blocs among these countries allowing them to pool their resources, their markets
and broadly, their economic power.
The ANC seeks to expand and deepen these opportunities within
the context of promoting political, economic, social and environmental human rights, in
the fight for democracy and peace, and in ensuring that international relations are guided
by justice and international law.
Our foreign relations, including trade, investment and other
relations, mirror our deep commitment to the consolidation of democracy in our country.
But this can only be achieved in joint efforts in the Southern African region and on the
continent as a whole.
Our starting point therefore is the obvious: that South
Africa is an African country.
The integration of the Southern African region is therefore
critical, so as to bring our joint strengths to bear in the wider world, and ensure that
the region becomes one of the nodal growth points of the world. This applies to such
issues as the utilisation of our vast resources, the building of a common market, and the
promotion of the region as an important investment destination within the context both of
its political stability and its economic policies. Critical to this is the deepening of
democracy and human rights and the consolidation of peace in the region.
This approach is underpinned by our commitment to, and active
promotion of, the African renaissance: the rebirth of a continent that has for far too
long been the object of exploitation and plunder. Itrecognises in the first instance the
difficulties wrought on the continent by years of colonialism and unjust international
relations, including the debt crisis, underdevelopment, social dislocation, and in some
instances untenable political relations underpinned by forms of government that
imperialism encouraged for its own selfish interests. However, the essence of our approach
is not to mourn this treacherous past; but to find solutions to a complex reality.
Therefore, for us, this African renaissance is both a strategic objective and a call to
It must be underpinned by the mobilisation of the people of
Africa to take their destiny into their own hands: in the definition and consolidation of
democratic systems of government in which the people play an active role, in attaining
rapid economic growth that is based on meeting the basic needs of the people, in widening
and deepening the scope of economic, political and social integration on the continent,
and in joint efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts within and among African nations.
Africa`s rebirth requires that leaders and governments
recognise, and indeed act to bring to the fore, the centrality of individual citizens and
communities _ workers, peasants, professionals, the entrepreneurial class and others _ in
shaping the future of the continent. In particular, it also requires that the character,
content and programmes of the renaissance are infused with a gender-sensitive perspective.
The creativity and enterprise of all these classes and strata must be promoted, and their
intellectual and scientific capacity must be given free reign. Their ability to understand
the wrongs of the colonial past, but indeed, to also acknowledge and correct weaknesses in
the present and in themselves, should be nurtured.
Africa`s renaissance should consolidate her collective
sovereignty, both in the fight to change the current maldistribution of international
resources and power, and in the efforts of Africans themselves to improve the continent`s
standing in world affairs. Critical in the campaign to realise this renaissance is the
Organisation of African Unity and other continental and regional associations, which must
be continually strengthened to meet the challenges of the new age.
Our efforts on the continent form part of the drive of
countries of the South to improve relations among themselves in the process of shaping a
new world order. Bilateral relations, co-operation among the various regional blocs, and
the emergence of new ones across oceans is a prerequisite to a just and equitable system
of international relations. Among these countries are the least developed which require
special assistance from across the globe. But among them too, are countries which have a
vast pool of investment resources, advanced financial systems and a wealth of experience
in tackling the tasks of economic growth and development.
Indeed, if pursued with the seriousness and urgency it
deserves, co-operation among countries of the South will ensure that the new world order
is based not merely on the existing economic and political power of the current advanced
industrial countries. This needs to be complemented by creative bilateral and multilateral
engagement with the developed countries to help ensure that their approach to world
affairs benefits humanity as a whole.
The same applies to the challenge of restructuring
multilateral institutions, primary among which is the United Nations Organisation and its
agencies, both to reflect the intention to create a new system of international relations
and to regulate the process towards such a system. This is not merely a matter of
formality, but it issues from the understanding that these bodies are being called upon to
play a greater role in regulating the process of globalisation, and the emergence of a new
world order. The leadership role of these organisations must be strengthened, in a process
that should see to the pooling of sovereignty among all nations, rather than domination by
those who possess international political, military and economic power.
The ANC`s approach to international relations in the current
phase is guided by these objectives. We promote them proceeding from the premise that
developing countries, the working people across the globe, and those who command the
resources required for development, all need to be mobilised to achieve an international
consensus on a humane, just and equitable world order. In building party-to-party
relations, we are guided by these principles, particularly to forge strong co-operation
with parties and movements that share our views in the region, on the continent, in
countries of the South and further afield.
In these efforts, we should not overestimate ourselves as a
small middle-income country. Neither should we underestimate the relative influence we
enjoy deriving from our democratic project, the strategic location of our region and the
resources and potential it commands.
Through these efforts, we aim to contribute to the
restructuring of international relations in the interest of the poor. We are moved in this
regard by the conviction that, as long as injustice, poverty and conflict exist anywhere
on the globe, so long will humanity find within itself the individuals, movements and
governments to co-operate in their eradication. The ANC is a proud part of these
What then is the broad programme of the ANC for social
10. PROGRAMME OF NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION
IN THE CURRENT PHASE
It is one of the most central tasks of the ANC, at each stage
of transformation, to elaborate a programme of transformation in line with the strategic
perspective of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. For the current
phase, the framework of this is to be found in the Reconstruction and Development
Programme adopted by the ANC, the Tri-partite Alliance and the broad mass democratic
movement in the run-up to the first democratic elections.
The ANC will continue to work for national consensus on the
basic principles and the practical policies underpinning this Programme: for South
Africans to join hands in the task of improving our quality of life.
In essence, the current phase is characterised by transition
from apartheid government to democratic governance. 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. 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.
Pivotal to our programme in the current phase are a number of
Democratisation And Governance:
The ANC commits itself to the fundamental provisions of the
basic law of the land, which accords with its own vision of a democratic and just society.
We have set out to implement both the letter and the spirit of the constitution, including
such principles as multi-party democracy, the doctrine and practice of separation of
powers in a constitutional state, fundamental human rights to all citizens, respect for
the rights of linguistic, religious and cultural communities, and social equity within the
context of correcting the historical injustices of apartheid.
In order to ensure that government truly serves the interests
of the people, the ANC will strengthen co-operative governance among all spheres of
government _ national, provincial and local _ for each level to play its requisite role in
serving the people. The allocation of powers and functions, in essence the division of
common labour among these spheres, should be driven by this objective.
Our commitment to open and transparent government, and to
ensuring an informed and active citizenry, are more than just high-sounding phrases. They
are the life-blood of democratic governance, the core values of people-centred and
people-driven transformation. We shall therefore continue to strengthen relations between
government and civil society, including non-governmental and community-based
organisations, and promote their role in the process of transformation.
Transformation Of The State Machinery:
It is a dictum of all revolutions that, having laid its hands
on the state machinery - at local, provincial and national levels - the democratic
movement cannot wish this machinery to serve the purpose of social transformation.
The civil service, the judiciary, the army, the police, the
intelligence structures were all moulded to attain the opposite of what we intend to
achieve. Thus it is a critical part of the ANC`s programme to change the doctrines, the
composition and the management style of all these structures to reflect and serve South
African society as a whole. This includes the involvement of more and more of those who
were discriminated against, especially blacks, women and the disabled, and a particular
sensitivity to their needs and interests. The principles to guide this are contained in
the constitution and relevant new statutes.
Our programme includes changing the management and other
echelons of this machinery to ensure that they are efficient, effective and productive in
carrying out their functions. It entails introducing a new orientation in the provision of
service to society, rooting out corruption and introducing a new organisational culture
and motivational values.
Success in transformation will depend critically on the role
of the state. For this reason, we reject insinuations that our country needs "less
government", which is in essence, a ploy aimed at weakening the democratic state. Yet
efficiency and effectiveness require that the size of the public service is in accordance
with the needs and resources of the country. It also requires that, where appropriate, the
public sector should form partnerships with private companies to bring about efficient,
affordable and people-friendly service.
The centre-piece of the ANC`s programme for the economy is
the pursuit of growth and development. We need to increase the wealth base of the country
by producing more goods and services in the same measure as we improve the quality of life
of especially the poor, and effect, in a variety of ways, the redistribution of wealth and
income in favour of those previously excluded from the economic mainstream.
Economic growth requires the implementation of an industrial
policy which ensures more investment in such critical areas as infrastructure,
manufacturing of electronic, transport, telecommunications, textile and other goods,
efficient commercial agricultural production, eco-tourism, and housing construction.
Through the employment of appropriate technology and skills training, such investment
should improve productivity, affordability of goods and services in the domestic market,
and international competitiveness. It must help transform South Africa into a vibrant
In this regard, government must continually encourage the
growth and strategic commitment of investment capital, including private savings, fiscal
capital expenditure, investment from public corporations, and foreign direct investments.
This strategic commitment of investment capital should not only help address the general
industrial needs of the country, but also deliberately seek to direct resources towards
the rural and depressed areas.
One of the most critical areas of economic policy, and indeed
as critical a measure of income distribution, is the creation of jobs. This is a priority
that should form an integral part of government and private sector operations. We will
continually intensify the implementation of a variety of measures to ensure that rapid
economic growth is matched by the absorption of the unemployed and new job-seekers. And
government will itself intensify programmes such as public works and broader
infrastructural development with the creation of jobs as part of its central focus.
Our programme on the labour market and employment conditions
is aimed at cr eating a democratic work-environment, guaranteeing a living wage,
multi-skilling of workers, as well as civilised working hours and rights of women workers.
This is a matter of humane principle as well as a critical condition for productivity and
normal family life for all citizens.
The economy is not neutral, but reflects and is in turn
shaped by unequal power relations, including those between men and women. Economists have
traditionally ignored sectors such as subsistence farming, the informal sector, and
women`s unpaid labour performed towards the reproduction of society. Fundamental to
transformation is to enable women to move out of the so-called private and dependent
sphere into the public arena. The terrible conditions under which they live have to be
addressed not only through welfare interventions but, more critically, through viable
The ANC`s fiscal policy proceeds from the premise that as
much public resources as possible should be utilised to expand the country`s economic base
and provide affordable services to the people. In this regard, we shall continue to reform
the budget to allocate an increasing share of resources to capital expenditure and social
services particularly to those who were previously disadvantaged.
In this regard, monetary and exchange rate policy will be
guided as much by the imperatives of the country`s economic growth and development, as by
the dynamics of the market.
We will introduce and encourage measures allowing as much
competition within the economy as possible. In so far as the public sector is concerned,
government will consolidate its ownership of, and restructure, those enterprises that
provide critical services to the population, at the same time as it establishes
partnerships with the private sector, where necessary, to improve services and modernise
them. On a case-by-case basis, weighing the social and economic pros and cons, and in
consultation with all main role-players, some of the public enterprises will be shed.
Government will continue to play its part in creating an
environment for productive and profitable investment, for the advancement of black
entrepreneurs and for the expansion and growth of small and medium businesses. It will
continue to implement policies aimed at improving the income, skills and working
conditions of workers. And it will continue to promote a national social agreement for the
realisation of these goals.
Meeting Social Needs:
The central aim of transformation is to improve the
conditions of the people, especially the poor.
In order to deal with the crushing poverty to which millions
have been relegated, government will intensify its programme to provide food security and
basic nutrition to those in dire need. This has to be based on proper tracking,
improvement in efficiency and integration with community development.
Land reform programmes will be intensified both to provide
affected rural communities with a decent living and to encourage agricultural production.
Recognising that a major constraint to women`s efforts to overcome poverty has been the
lack of rights and access to land, we will ensure that land reform programmes specifically
reach out to women, and take their needs - such as information, training and resources -
The programme to construct housing and infrastructure will be
intensified, building on the foundation that has thus far been laid. Particular emphasis
will continue to be laid on the poorest of the poor, with parallel programmes to assist
others including by means of rental housing stock. Rural housing programmes will be
integrated with land reform and other measures to guarantee security of tenure.
Community water supply and sanitation projects, the
multi-billion infrastructure programme, road construction and electrification will
continue to receive particular emphasis, especially in the rural areas, informal
settlements, black townships and other areas which bore the brunt of apartheid neglect.
To continually improve the health of the nation, primary
health care remains the main plank of the country`s health programmes. Critical to this is
the intensification of the clinic-building programme and the construction of hospitals
where they are needed most. Campaigns of immunisation and against epidemics will be
intensified. The ANC will continue to promote, through legislation and other measures, the
programme to reduce the cost of medicines to all citizens.
The programme to restructure the system of pensions and
grants will continue, to ensure that all eligible citizens are afforded equal treatment
irrespective of race. Perhaps more than in most areas, restructuring of the state
machinery is even more urgent in this sector, given the manifestations of fraud and
corruption inherited from the past.
At the centre of all our programmes is the individual
citizen. As such, the development of our human resources is both an end and a means to an
end. This includes the implementation of measures in the educational system, in the
work-place, and in sport and leisure which will improve the health, the skills and the
cultural development of citizens.
At this stage, the phasing in of compulsory education, the
redistribution of educational resources, the consolidation of the culture of teaching and
learning, the introduction of a new curriculum in tune with the country`s needs and the
development of teachers are among the most critical tasks. This will be implemented along
with the democratisation of schools governance, transformation of higher education and
national adult education and skills development projects.
Built into all these projects is the appreciation of the need
to utilise the world technological revolution to our advantage, and as such to place added
emphasis on science and technology in research, in education and in their application to
the economy and other areas of life.
Safety and Security:
A rising quality of life also means safety and security for
But our starting point, without which we can descend into the
mire of authoritarianism, is premised on two considerations. Firstly, that the battle
against crime cannot be separated from the war on want. Secondly, that the deviant
activities of a few rotten apples in our midst should not be allowed to tempt us to
subtract from the human rights of society, the majority of whom are responsible,
Yet we should not underestimate the rot that set in within
all sections of society under apartheid. In its treatment of citizens and in its relations
with the wider world, that system encouraged greed and corruption, murder, the
proliferation of dangerous weapons in the hands of civilians, violation of its own
criminal codes and, particularly among the oppressed, the breakdown of the family unit.
Therefore, at the same time as we pursue socio-economic
change, one of the most critical tasks in this phase is to implement an integrated
national crime prevention strategy.
The challenges identified above regarding the transformation
of the state machinery apply even more acutely to the police, the justice system and
correctional services. These include management efficiency, effective utilisation of data
bases and other possibilities offered by new technology, effective employment of the
state`s intelligence capacity, training and a re-orientation towards working with the
people as partners in a common battle.
Co-operation with police services in the region and further
afield will be intensified and border control will be continually tightened. In
introducing these measures, we proceed from the premise that crime is a scourge that does
not respect borders, with syndicates that have made the entire globe the theatre of their
operations. This is also particularly relevant to Southern Africa, given its background of
apartheid destabilisation, popular resistance and ensuing social dislocation.
Eradication of women and child abuse is central to the fight
against crime. This requires deliberate programmes of education and other measures to
transform gender and family relations, the retrainingof justice administrators and the
police, and the provision of the necessary resources to ensure the safety and restore the
dignity of the victims.
Critical in fighting crime is the campaign to weed out
elements within the criminal justice system who are engaged in various acts of crime,
including corruption. Both within and outside these institutions, the state should expose
and deal with networks from the "dirty war" of the apartheid state which are an
integral part of the criminal networks.
In brief, our programme in this period consists of achieving
better policing, a better-trained and efficient criminal justice system, involvement of
the people in the fight against crime, and a campaign to refurbish the moral fibre of
South African society.
These measures will be accompanied by programmes to transform
the country`s defence force and its intelligence services, and to provide all security
agencies with the requisite resources and equipment to meet their obligations to the
At the core of this, our broad programme as we enter the new
millennium, is the obligation to improve the quality of life of all the citizens, for them
to exercise their freedoms and use their talents to help our society flourish. In doing
so, we shall give meaning to the objective of nation-building on the basis of true
equality, and we shall consolidate the advances that have been made in national
reconciliation. It is a programme that will see our country take giant steps towards being
a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
This then is the character of the country and the world in
which we live. The challenges we face, as a movement and as a people, derive from this
Our strategy is the creation of a united, non-racial,
non-sexist and democratic society. In pursuit of this objective, we shall, at each given
moment, creatively adopt tactics that advance that objective. Our fundamental point of
departure is that South Africans have it in their power, as a people and as part of
progressive humankind, to continually change the environment in which we operate in the
interest of a better future.
In this phase of transformation, we seek to expand and deepen
the power of democratic forces in all centres critical to the NDR, at the same time as we
improve the people`s quality of life. Our efforts, which are people-centred, people-driven
and gender-sensitive, are founded on five basic pillars:
- to build and strengthen the ANC as a movement that organises
and leads the people in the task of social transformation;
- to deepen our democracy and culture of human rights and
mobilise the people to take active part in changing their lives for the better;
- to strengthen the hold of the democratic movement on state
power, and transform the state machinery to serve the cause of social change;
- to pursue economic growth, development and redistribution in
such a way as to improve the people`s quality of life; and
- to work with progressive forces throughout the world to
promote and defend our transformation, advance Africa`s renaissance and build a new world
The struggle and sacrifices of the people over the past
centuries have presented our generation with the unique opportunity to take South Africa
into the new millennium with the overwhelming majority of its people organised, mobilised
and united around a programme of social transformation, premised on democratic majority
A new epoch has dawned, presenting the ANC with the
wherewithal to realise the ideals and aspirations of the generation which set it up when
the final destination was but a phantom beyond the horizon; of the militant and brave
cadres who sacrificed their lives in the face of an enemy that seemed invincible; and of
the mass of the people who put their trust in the organisation in the face of brutal
We call on all South Africans to join us in this march to a
better future. We are keenly aware that it will take time to realise the strategic
objective of a united, non-racial, non-sexistand democratic South Africa. But the
foundation has been laid, and the building has begun.