Second National Consultative Conference: Report of the Commission on Education, Health and Culture
Noted that our Commission consisted of sixteen comrades, three of whom are deployed in the Health Department. The meagre number of participants is attributable to the fact that our area of concern pertains to rear base activities and the majority of delegates are more attracted to discussions on forward bases and internal. Decided that our discussions will be based on the Secretary General`s report, recommendations and assessments of documents on structures, functioning and problems raised at the regional conferences. The following therefore represents deliberations incorporating the substance of these documents as well as our recommendations, which we present to Conference.
The discussion centred around the composition of the Health Secretariat, its administration and control of personnel, its efficiency in discharging its tasks of keeping the Movement`s cadres in good health. (A2, pl7). At the moment the Department has a Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Administrative Secretary and an undetermined number of members in its Secretariat. (BIA, p 6,16,18)
The various regions are served by health teams who are divided into sub-sections to serve particular constituents as dictated by the needs of each area. Thus, while there is a single Health Team serving Lusaka, in East Africa there are three units serving Mazimbu, Dakawa and Dar es Salaam. It was argued that there are enough comrades in the Secretariat, but that they needed to be based in Lusaka to discharge their duties effectively.
In the case of Secretariat members already based in other regional Health Teams, it was considered counter-productive to recall them to Lusaka, although the East African region has recommended that all members of the Health Secretariat be based in Lusaka. It is pertinent to note in addition that the Heath Secretariat is perceived as inadequate and that some measures have to be taken urgently to alter this perception.
Due to the absence of Secretariat members, our deliberations were bogged down by a lack of reliable information and documentation that would have given a perspective on all the problems. It is, however, noted that in his report the Secretary General refers to a joint meeting with leading personnel of the Department to sort out and eliminate some problems characterised as `basically problems of growth`. (A2/18).
We have no documentation as to the decisions and recommendations of that meeting, nor whether any implementation of the aforementioned has commenced. We are persuaded that the feelings on the question of Health Headquarters are so strong that the issue should be thrown open to Conference for discussion.
Achievements of the Health Department
The ANC Holland Solidarity Hospital, which was opened in May 1984 (See A3/17).
Screening of patients for TB, Malaria in the West
General check-ups of all comrades in the West has been completed.
The second phase is presently under way.
The West has embarked on a programme for the medical treatment of malaria, as a result the morbidity and mortality rates have tremendously decreased. The Commission also noted that since the establishment of the Department of Manpower Development, many doctors who have qualified have been successfully deployed, an improvement on the previous situation.
- Noted that `it is no longer possible for the army to function without complete control and authority over the medical teams in the military regions`. (D3/llalp3).
- The urgent need for specialists in the following fields:
- Psychiatric doctors and nurses
- Public health personnel
- Theatre nurses
- Paediatric doctors and nurses
It was further noted that our inability to open wards at the ANC Holland Solidarity Hospital at Mazimbu is attributable to this lack of specialists.
- The effective head of the Health Secretariat is not based at Headquarters.
- The `self-deployment` of qualified doctors (A2/ 17)
- Guidelines for the functioning of the departments are not available IA2118).
The Commission registers its regret that the leaders of the Health Department are not present at Conference. Their absence made the work of the Commission difficult, since we lacked documentation.
Recommendations on Health
- The Health Department should maintain dynamic contact with all medical students to orientate them towards service to the ANC on qualifying, and to give them guidance on a continuing basis.
- Guidelines for the Department must be submitted as soon as possible to the NEC and these should be urgently processed for implementation.
- There should be a commission of inquiry into the Health Department with a view to removing the glaring discrepancies in its functioning. (During discussion in Plenary Session, there was the strong feeling that the entire secretariat should be dismissed).
- The present structure of the Health Department should be reviewed in order to improve it.
- Conference directs, as a matter of urgency, that all members of the Health Department Secretariat be based in Lusaka. These do not necessarily have to be medical practitioners.
- Conference recommends that the Health Department be headed by a member of the NEC.
- In view of the special circumstances applying to medical personnel in the military, they should function as requested in Document 3/lla, i.e. under the jurisdiction of the military in order to overcome the problems currently faced by the army under the present arrangements. But the army should take immediate steps to train medical personnel to service the army in a manner fitting for their special needs. However, Conference deems it necessary that lines of communication, where possible, should be maintained between military structures and the Health Department.
- Health Council meetings should be held on a regular basis and follow up should be facilitated to enhance control.
- Noting the importance of striking a balance between doctors and nurses we recommend that the Movement take urgent steps to persuade individuals to come to the assistance of the ANC. (In plenary session there was an appeal made to the doctors to see it as their national duty to serve in the ranks of the national liberation movement without any expectations of monetary remuneration).
- Recommended that further study, training, workshops, conferences, including refresher courses be ensured, depending on the needs of the Movement and the availability of personnel.
- Opportunities of exchange with other members of the profession and peers should be open to all medical personnel on an equal footing. These are important for the self-esteem of the workers and helps him/her to feel on a par with their counterparts.
- The Health Department should develop a programme for the proper rehabilitation of mental patients.
- There should be a regular medical check up of all members, especially screening against mental illness, TB and malaria.
Conference resolved that the first, theoretical portion of the Commission report be temporarily withdrawn for further and deeper discussion throughout the ranks of the Movement, but that the recommendations be discussed and, after necessary amendments, be adopted.
Recommendations on Culture
- Regarding cultural policy, Conference calls on the Department of Arts and Culture to work on guidelines to be submitted to the NEC for endorsement, so that culture can become an integral part of the political, ideological programme of the ANC.
- On the question of indigenous languages, coordination between the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Education should be speeded up to ensure implementation of an integrated programme in this regard.
- Conference calls on the NEC to reaffirm the importance and meaningfulness of serving the organisation in all areas.
- It is recommended that the Department of Arts and Culture be headed by a member of the NEC so that the Department may have direct input in all the higher councils of the Movement.
- It is recommended that Regional Cultural Committees be formed.
- Conference directs the Department of Arts and Culture to make a direct input into internal structures. (A recommendation was made during the discussion of the Internal Commission Report that there should be a cultural specialist attached to the Political Committee of the PMC).
- Since the scope of Arnandla has broadened and present arrangements do not provide infrastructure services to run Arnandla`s affairs effectively, (e.g. in public relations, legal representation, artistic, educational and political development), the Movement must consider this urgent question. We have not exploited Arnandla sufficiently to promote our culture and to assist in mobilising against the racist regime or to generate much-needed funds for the Movement. Amandla can achieve all this and more if proper financial and other instruments are put into it.
- Conference endorses the project for a Cultural Centre at the ANC Development Centre Dakawa with the object of promoting traditional and modern arts and crafts; the performing arts; fine arts; graphic arts; entertainment and recreation both for the community and the ANC at large.
- We must ensure dynamic contact with the development of cultural streams at home through access to books, journals, poetry, films, video, records, tapes etc. at all levels of the Movement. In this regard the question of the cultural boycott should be clarified: progressive South African artists should be acceptable abroad.
- Cultural exchanges with progressive cultural formations should be encouraged and promoted by the Department .
- The Movement should support the modest achievements of the Department of Arts and Culture. the ANC Cultural Journal Rixaka, to ensure its proper dissemination.
- Our missions abroad should pay more attention to the need of isolating racist academics, scientists, cultural workers etc.
- Conference calls for the holding of National Cultural Council meetings on a more regular basis.
- The arts should be included in the curriculum at Somafco.
- The Department of Arts and Culture should be assisted in organising a cultural conference so as to draw up a programme of action.
- There should be a blanket ban on all foreign artists entering South Africa.
- Artists who have refused to perform in South Africa should be deliberately encouraged to perform in the Front Line States.
- Education Policy
Conference endorses the Education Policy as enunciated in Document F/7 - Extracts of the National Education Council, 1983. The senior organ of the Education Department is the National Education Council, which consists of the various education committees. It meets once in two years. Between meetings the highest organ in the Education Department is the Secretariat.
Structure of the Education Department
- Deputy Head
- Administrative Secretary
- Members of the Secretariat
On the basis of practical experience and in order to meet the immediate needs of the Department, Conference approves the practice of an Education Secretariat comprising personnel with functional responsibilities. These are defined as follows:
- Assistant secretary for regional committees and deputy head
- Assistant secretary for administration
- Assistant secretary for internal education and research
- Assistant secretary for curriculum development
- Assistant secretary for scholarships
- Assistant secretary for Somafco
- Representative of the Youth Secretariat as an ex-officio member
Conference endorses recommendations contained in Document F/7 (referred to above)
- Conference recommends that the Education Department should recruit and train specialists in career guidance, educational statistics, educational planning etc, to strengthen the department.
- Conference recommends that in line with the principles of ANC Education Policy, to ensure the full creative and democratic participation of students, teachers and the community in educational activity, a seminar be convened at Somafco to discuss the democratisation of education at Somafco.
- Conference recommends that a programme of adult education should be drawn up to improve the skills of older comrades in all relevant fields.
- Conference advises that academic upgrading should not be left to individuals to decide, but that the Education Department should embark on a programme to improve the skills and qualifications of all adults who have not had the opportunity to continue their education in exile.
- Conference calls for a commission of inquiry into the allegation contained in Document Cl/P7 (NPC Composite Report)
- Conference instructs the Education Department to retain a proportion of permanent staff at Somafco, avoid high staff turnover and promote continuity. Students should be advised when members of staff terminate their contracts for one reason or another