Declaration of the 54th National Conference of the African National Congress
20 December 2017
We, the nearly 5,000 ANC delegates, having met at NASREC Johannesburg, Gauteng from 16th - 20th December 2017, during the centennial celebrations of our longest serving President, Isithwalandwe/ Seaparankoe Oliver Reginald Tambo.
We convened under the theme of "Remember Tambo: Towards Unity, Renewal and Radical Socio-economic Transformation", to remind ourselves of Comrade OR's legacy of selfless service to his people and our duty to emulate him in working for the unity and renewal of our organization.
An ANC that is united and committed to the people's interests remains the best vehicle to bring about fundamental and radical socio-economic transformation of society to create a better life for all South Africans.
President Tambo called on the movement to ensure that the ANC remains a people's parliament. Delegates came from across the length and breadth of the country to discuss and adopt policies that affect the people's lives. Our debates were enhanced by the contributions from fraternal partners from across the world, our Alliance partners - the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African National Civic Organisation - as well as the broad Mass Democratic Movement.
Delegates confirmed their commitment to work tirelessly for the fundamental renewal of the ANC. We emerged from the 54th National Conference more united and determined to lead the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
In this regard, Conference agreed on the urgent tasks to strengthen the movement and modernize the way we function, both as a liberation movement and an electoral party.
We pay tribute to the patience of the thousands of ANC delegates who worked long hours, participating in the internal democratic processes and who never wavered from fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to them by their branches and other structures of the organisation.
Long before National Conference, across the country, ANC members met in branch general meetings and constitutional structures, making invaluable and robust contributions to the organizational and policy debates of National Conference.
The 54th National Conference reaffirmed that the ANC will guide the South African economy in accordance with the Freedom Charter's call that the people shall share in the country's wealth. We shall, as urgently as possible, bring together, government, the labour movement, business and communities in a social pact to accelerate economic growth and create jobs.
Conference resolved that the ANC should, as a matter of policy, pursue expropriation of land without compensation. This should be pursued without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security in our country and without undermining economic growth and job creation.
We have also committed to speed up programmes of providing basic services to all the people of our country; and in this regard we will ensure that all spheres of government are capacitated to meet their obligations.
The ANC commits to the people of South Africa that we shall isolate and root out corrupt tendencies in the public and private sectors.
International work remains a key pillar of social transformation for the movement. In this regard, 54th National Conference recommitted the ANCto work for a better Africa and a better worldand we commit to the strengthening of the African Union and SADC.
The ANC unreservedly condemns the resurgence of modern slavery, including the slave trade in Libya as a crime against humanity and calls on the South African government to continue working with the Libyan authorities, the African Union and international community to bring an end to this practice.
The ANC expresses its concern about the rise of right-wing nationalism and the growing trend towards protectionism which has the potential of worsening global tensions.
We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, Palestine and Cuba. Delegates endorsed the proposal that we must give practical support to the oppressed people of Palestine and resolved on an immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office.
Conference directs ANC branches to leadcommunities in furthering local development and service delivery and in building non-racialism and non-sexism. ANC cadres must develop programmes aimed at stamping out social ills, including gender-based violence, alcoholism and drug abuse and in building social cohesion.
Conference deliberated upon the plight of young people and agreed that a skills revolution is an absolute necessity if we are to fully exploit their energies for the greater good of society, it is for the reason that the ANC remains committed to the implementation of free higher education for children of the poor and working class at all public universities and TVET colleges starting from the 2018 academic year.
Delegates to this Conference were sharp in their criticism that our electoral processes, both as an organisation and as a country, do not always guarantee the full representation and participation of women in key decision making structures. We are resolute that the ANC will find sound, effective and sustainable structural mechanisms to ensure the full realisation of women's potential especially in leadership roles. It is our belief that the full participation of women in the leadership structures of society will constitute a giant leap towards the total emancipation of women.
We came to this Conference cognisant of the fact that the Movement was deeply divided and was tearing itself apart. Critically, our standing in society was declining as a result of our own subjective weaknesses. In the process of 54thNational Conference, we engaged one another robustly and frankly, addressing difficulties head-on and with a view to build consensus that is premised on the humane and revolutionary principles that define who we are as an organisation.
We depart from this conference fully aware that the work of restoring the integrity of our movement has just begun. We must all - from the National Executive Committee to provinces, regions and branches - work much harder, together to rebuild and unite this glorious movement of our people. Our fundamental task is to lead a concerted campaign aimed at addressing the persistent challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The ANC must take heed of the example of the life-long activist and disciplined member of our movement, Isithwalandwe/ Seaparankoe Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who said that "The struggle is my life" and commit ourselves to being life-long activists in the struggle to create a better life for all! In his words, we 'dare not linger.'
The struggle continues!
The ANC lives.
The ANC leads.