< Back

ANC National Conference

Durban July 1991

Adopted resolution on Building the ANC

Having examined in depth and critically tile strength and weaknesses of
the Movement; having identified the opportunities and threats to the ANC,
the Commission, therefore,


1. On the Youth League membership

1.1. A special commission should be set up to investigate our inability
to draw in all the Youth League membership over 18 years of age into the

1.2. The ANC Department of Arts and Culture should initiate sports and
cultural activities in consultation with the Youth League Department of
Sports and Culture, to generate excitement that will attract the youth

1.3. Clarity must be given by this Conference on the implications and
meaning of the concepts "autonomous and independence" with regard
to the ANC Leagues.

2. On the Tripartite Alliance

2.1. A joint commission with the two other members of the Tripartite
Alliance should be set up to investigate the reasons for the inability
of the Alliance to function effectively at the grassroots level, and make
recommendations for the redressal of the situation. The investigation should
include reasons for our inability to attract Cosatu membership into the

3. On the Civics and Local Government

3.1. The ANC should develop a clear policy on local government with
special reference to the roles of Civics and branches in this regard,
bearing in mind that the Civics have been the formations occupying this
terrain of struggle

3.2. The Department of Local Government should establish clear structural
and functional relations with the Civics to avoid tensions and resultant

4. On strategic campaigns

4.1. The ANC should conduct door-to-door campaigns and house visits,
especially in the middle classes in all communities - preferably by the
highly disciplined and politically clear leadership - to explain the history
and policies of the ANC

4.2. That the ANC should develop a coherent strategic programme of action
with clear goals which is actively pursued despite the obstacles that may
be encountered such as outbreaks of violence.

4.3. That the ANC should draw on the experience of the UDF in reaching
the masses of our people

4.4. That the ANC should put over the message in accessible languages
to all the oppressed and exploited masses

4.5. Noting, that: there is a need to link our campaigns for an Interim
Government, a Constituent Assembly and against violence to the concrete
issues affecting the lives of the people; Conference resolves therefore
that the incoming NEC should start a national campaign on the following
three crisis areas that affect our people:

  • housing
  • unemployment
  • education

4.6. That the ANC should, in preparation for a Constituent Assembly
and an Interim Government embark on a massive Literacy Campaign, jointly
with the NECC, and this should be linked to massive Intensive I earning

5. On political education

5.1. The Department of Political Education should develop a comprehensive
national political education programme, with special focus on the
gender question and the history and policies of the ANC, in the languages
understood and spoken by the people

5.2. Where commissars, whether from abroad or internally based, are
present, they should be deployed to do political education work amongst
the oppressed

5.3. An extensive political educational campaign/programme should be
started to explain the need for, and the nature of a liberation front with
other organisations like PAC, Azapo

5.4. The Department of Political Education should draw up a national
calender which will serve as a guide for all regions and branches on timeframes
according to which issues like current state of political developments,
policies of the ANC, should be discussed.

6. On the public image of the ANC

6.1. A mechanism, constitutional if needs be, should be established
to ensure that inter-departmental co-ordination, particularly at national
level, takes place to avoid individualism and incoherence in public pronouncements
on policy matters.

6.2. A strong disciplinary code should be formulated and be strictly
enforced on all members and employees of the ANC, at all levels, to avoid
conduct that could tarnish the image of the ANC

6.3. The incoming NEC should order all ANC marshalls to wear a standard
uniform and carry appropriately designed identity cards at all functions
of the ANC

6.4. All marshals should receive a standard training that must incorporate
lessons on the expected conduct of a marshall

7. On the diverse strands within the Movement

Conference should order the incoming NEC to develop a national programme
to integrate the rich, but diverse, political and cultural experiences
of our membership, to overcome a "them and us" syndrome which
might have adverse political consequences on the image and unity of the

8. On International Contacts

8.1. The ANC should utilise its extensive international contacts to
access skills and resources for educational and developmental purposes.

8.2. As interest and support for the anti-apartheid cause diminishes,
due to the De Klerk regime`s initiatives, the ANC has to examine ways and
means of becoming self-reliant as quickly as possible

9. On Employment/Administrative practices

9.1. The incoming NEC should evolve a staff code to ensure professionalism
in the regulation and co-ordination of staff conduct in all offices of
the ANC, at all levels.

9.2. The Secretary General`s Office should develop a comprehensive basic
administrative skills training programme to enhance the skills-quality
of our office operatives

9.3. The Organising Department should establish simple procedures to
deal with lost membership cards and the renewal of membership, with special
reference to what the ANC`s membership year is.

9.4. To tackle the gross administrative inefficiency (especially in
regard to the telephone service at national and regional

9.5. The NEC should work against the concentration of leadership at
the Head Office, and should ensure that delegated responsibilities to the
regional formations is implemented.

10. On relations with supportive professionals and

Proper canvassing and consultations must precede mass actions, where
these will affect supportive professional and business persons, for both
logistical and political reasons provided that no relationship is built
with these businesspeople at the expense of the employees and the implementation
of mass actions.

11. On the rural areas

11..1. The incoming NEC should start a development programme on rural
areas based on strong democratic organs of people`s power and accountable

11.2. Conference recommends that henceforth, the ANC NEC make it a practice
that whenever leadership meet Bantustan leaders, local leadership be part
of such talks/meetings/consultations

11.3. Further, that Conference instruct the incoming NEC to convene
a consultative inter-regional workshop to discuss the many issues affecting
mobilisation, relationship, demarcations in the rural areas.

11.4. Conference instructs the incoming ANC NEC to avail maximum resources
for rural mobilisation, organisation and campaigns.

11.5. Conference empowers the incoming NEC to appoint a special commission
to urgently investigate the extent and the effects of the glaring lack
of resources in rural areas - report back to the NEC within three months
and advise on practical and significant steps to be undertaken in order
to redress the appalling situation which obviously is the major factor
contributing to the weakness of the movement in such areas.

11.6. Noting that the structures of the ANC are weak in the rural areas
and noting further that practical steps need to be taken to redress the
situation, conference therefore recommends that the incoming NEC should
set up a commission to investigate the causes of this weakness,
and report back not later than three months after the commencement of the

11.7. In the light of problems in recruiting membership in the hostile
Bantustans, the negotiating task force should include in the process of
talks about-talks the removal of obstacles as posed by repressive Bantustans
as well as commitment to the dissolution of these structures.

These efforts will reassure ANC members and encourage non-members to join
the organisation in these Bantustans.

11.8. Noting that there are serious problems in membership recruitment
ill the hostile Bantustans and noting further that there is a dire need
to re-assure ANC members and to encourage non-members to join the movement
in these Bantustans Conference therefore resolves that the incoming NEC
should order its negotiating task force to include the repression of ANC
members in these Bantustans as an obstacle to negotiations and that the
incoming NEC should demand a total dissolution of these Bantustans.

11.9. NEC is directed to convene a meeting of all regions to consider
inter alla a strategic approach to the Bantustans and political parties.
Such a meeting to take place within 60 days.

11.10. There is urgent need to disseminate a questionnaire to all regions
requesting information on:

  • organisational difficulties and level of repression locally and regionally
    - what political parties have been established? what role do they play/or
    relationship with the ANC branches in the region
  • to what extent are youth wings being established and for what purpose?
    (unemployed youth appear to be the target for recruitment into Bantustan
    para-military forces)

12. On consultation and communication

12.1. Noting that at the National Consultative Conference in December
it was resolved that mechanisms be established for purposes of consultation
between the leadership and membership, particularly with regard to negotiations
and noting further that such mechanisms have not been established conference
therefore resolves that the incoming NEC should order that the Organising
Committee develop such a consultation mechanism, in co-operation with regions
and branches, as a matter of urgency for implementation during the next
three years.

That progress thereof should be evaluated on an on-going basis, and
that the Secretary General should include this evaluation in his report
to the next National Conference.

12.2. NEC is to improve two-way communication between Head Quarters
and Regional Executive Committees and Regional Executive Committees
and branches.

13. On organisational restructuring

13.1. Noting the changed circumstances in which the ANC operates
today and having received and accepted the reports of the work of the ANC
in exile and over the past 18 months within the country and recognising
the necessity of ensuring a minimum of bureaucracy, clear lines of communications
and accountability nationally, regionally and at branch level now therefore
instructs the NEC to immediately appoint a commission to examine the organisational

Further that the commission should assess and redefine the authority,
responsibility and accountability of the inter-relationship between and
amongst the ANC`s restructured departments. This commission should be required
to report not later than 30th October 1991.

14. On Women

The incoming NEC should establish a mechanism that will specifically:

  • concentrate on the recruitment of all women from all sectors and levels
    in our society both urban and rural
  • consolidate and strengthen the participation of women within the organisation
  • assist to strengthen the ANC Women`s League

15. On minority groups

Conference instructs the NEC to convene a National Consultative Conference
of persons drawn from the different minority groups who are not
ANC members to consider ways and means of drawing these communities
closer to the ANC.

16. On countering state propaganda

The DPE in conjuncture with the Department of Information and Publicity
should look into the viability of establishing a weekly newsletter which
the ANC can use to counter the state and commercial media`s propaganda
aimed at undermining the ANC in the minds of the masses of our people.