Statement of ANC NEC subcommittee on legislature and governance ahead of 54th Conference
12 December 2017
The ANC goes to conference having reviewed its policies and to determine a new path that will ensure we live up to the hopes and aspirations of our people. The 5th National Policy Conference of the ANC was held from the 30thJune to 5th July 2017, at which detailed policy proposals relating to legislatures, governance and the macro-configuration of the state were discussed.
The South African State and its institutions over the past five years under review have been confronted with numerous challenges and competing interests. Of major significance has been persistent high unemployment, rising poverty, widening income in-equalities and unresolved land redistribution. These challenges have applied pressure on state institutions and called for a review of the manner in which we govern our state.
The mandate and scope of the Legislature & Governance Sub-committee is transformation of the State and the overall governance arrangements. This includes issues relating to cooperative governance, provinces and local government, public service & administration, institutions supporting democracy, basic service delivery, traditional leadership, legislatures, employment and economic development within the Public Sector; governance of state owned enterprises and the electoral systems and related matters. The work of the Sub-committee is informed by National Conference resolutions, the National General Council resolutions, Policy Conference proposals and the Annual NEC Makgotla.
The L&G Sub-committee is crucially concerned with the implementation of ANC policy and decisions, and notes that whilst many past conferences have adopted extremely progressive policies, some of these have not been fully implemented. We are determined to ensure that ANC has the requisite capacity to oversee and monitor implementation by our deployed cadres within the state.
Policy issues and proposals
1. Macro-configuration of the state: The ANC government established a constitutional framework within the architecture and configuration of a unitary state within a decentralized form of governance arrangement in three spheres of government. The constitution provides for principles of cooperative governance across the spheres of government that are distinctive, interrelated and interdependent, which binds and defines their interface.
2. Previous ANC policy conferences, NEC Makgotla, NGC's, National Conferences, and the NDP have emphasized the need for strengthening alignment in intergovernmental coordination and collaboration. We need a more predictable and coordinated system of how macro policies and priorities are set, and translated into integrated planning instruments and how budgets are developed, deployed and implemented, within and across spheres of government.
3. The overall configuration of the executive should be dictated by policy outcomes and the principles of good governance and efficiency in the configuration of departments.
4. Strategic center of governance: The Conference will give momentum to the strategic centre of governance deliberation. The President is the head of state and the strategic centre of government, and has the requisite powers and functions, including coordinating functions of state departments and administrations. The intention is to re-configure and build capacity to drive strategic coordination, resource planning and prioritization in line with the objectives of the developmental state and the National Development Plan. This will include alignment of the public service, administration, IGR, provinces, municipalities and state owned enterprises.
5. State planning: The centrality of integrated macro policy planning and coordinated implementation is affirmed and supported. Meeting these challenges requires a developmental state with modelling capability, planning and an ability to anticipate the future and thus plan for it.
The macro analysis of the state suggests that there is an uneasy intersection and confluence of socio-economic, demographic, biological and economic forces which portend a country at the crossroads. This calls for endeavours to shed light and assist in providing a line of sight into the future for those who are preoccupied with planning.
The planning and enforcement capability of the state needs to be streamlined. A strategic center in this regard has become urgent.
6. Provincial review: The Presidential Commission to review the powers, functions and number of provinces must be urgently established.
7. State Implementation capability: The ANC has observed and raised serious concerns about the implementation and enforcement of government policies and laws. There is growing evidence of weaknesses on the part of government to execute policy and legislation.
This challenge is due to numerous factors, among others, the absence of accountability and consequences for non-delivery, lack of political will, weak or poor administration capacity, rather than lack of financial resources.
Unfortunately this compromises the ability of the ANC government to deliver and denies our people better and quality services.
The 54th National Conference will examine the effectiveness of governance and accountability mechanisms, including the role of Parliament in providing oversight.
8. Cadre development policy: The several challenges of weak execution, accountability and effective governance points to the lack of and in-adequacies in our cadre development policy.
The ANC must review its policy on cadre development, and ensure that our deployed cadres have the requisite capacity to fulfill their mandates. This policy will apply to all ANC elected public representatives including members of cabinet, members of parliaments, and local government councilors.
The thrust of the policy will be to emphasize accountability, effectiveness, support and development. ANC elected representatives and deployees must be appointed with a clear mandate to execute specific ANC policies and tasks, and as such must be held accountable. This policy must be coupled with a clear accountability framework, which applies to all cadres deployed to lead the state at its various levels.
The overall resolution on supporting the development of an Accountability Framework, with effective monitoring and consequence management was supported. Through this we must reaffirm and where needed restore our values.
9. Relationship between party and the state: The conference will also examine the relationship between the party and the state. This examination should be able to mitigate and minimize the impacts of party challenges spilling into government and thus comprising the capacity of the state.
10. Oversight role of Parliament: The oversight role of parliament will be re-examined so as to ensure an ANC progressive consistent agenda is implemented in parliament. We want to ensure consistency and robustness of parliament's oversight role. In addition to exercising oversight over the Executive, Parliament must also turn its attention to matters affecting broader society.
11. The state of SOEs: The state of some of the SOEs calls for serious intervention to restore governance and prudential management. The conference will emphasize the governance and oversight protocols for SOEs. This will include how we empower the public to hold SOEs accountable, how legislatures play their role in tightening oversight and the executive taking full control in managing their portfolio of SOEs.
12. Traditional leadership system: Issues regarding the traditional leadership system in South Africa have not been fully resolved since the 1994 democratic dispensation. Various engagements and consultations have ensued with Traditional leaders represented by CONTRALESA in an effort to address this gap. The National Conference will make a specific concrete policy determination on the traditional leadership system, and the role of traditional leaders in land governance and administration.
13. Local economic development and unemployment: Unemployment levels in South Africa have remained chronically and exceedingly high, especially amongst the youth. South Africa's Multidimensional Poverty Index (SAMPI) Report has pointed to the contribution of unemployment as a driver of poverty. This has an impact on delivery and affordability of services. Public sector employment programmes must be improved to ameliorate these conditions.
The Local Economic development initiatives of municipalities become key in mitigating this challenge. Cities can play a vital role in building the local economy. Key to this is the provision of utility services for growing business needs. Reliability and supply of electricity remains a constraint. All cities have mechanisms to ensure municipal spending results in maximum economic impact.
14. Urbanization and spatial planning: Various studies estimate that nearly 80% of the total population will be living in urban areas by 2050. One of the biggest challenges of urbanization is the 'urbanisation of poverty', which is increasing, especially in townships, informal settlements and inner cities.
There is a large part of the population that lives in dispersed and impoverished rural settlements, many in the former apartheid homelands. In these areas poverty and unemployment are high and millions of people effectively rely on the state to meet their basic needs.
15. Governance in Cities: In cities we will focus on energizing our base and ANC strongholds. This is particularly the case in Joburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay which are under coalition governments.
The National Conference will examine strategies to respond to the reversal of transformation and racist delivery strategies implemented by the coalitions.
16. Outcomes of High Level Panel: The ANC has noted and appreciate the report of the High Level Panel, which the ANC mandated the 4th Parliament to establish. The challenges raised by the report and their implications on our society are taken very seriously. The High Level Panel has confirmed the core issues that confront our country, namely Poverty, Land, In-Equalities, Implementation and Governance. These issues will be discussed in detail at National Conference, and strategies to resolve the problems identified in the report must be articulated.
The main challenges of poverty, in-equality and land dispossession persist. The capacity and capability of the state is the most critical factor to the solution of this challenge.
The central focus of our commission will be on our ability to plan, implement, enforce, monitor and achieve the desired objectives. The core issues are governance, configuration of the state, the public service, efficiency and effectiveness of the administration, the framework for state owned entities and the cadre development policy, supported by a clear accountability framework.
Chairperson: ANC NEC SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNANCE