Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 95th Anniversary of the ANC
8 January 2007
On the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the formation of the African National Congress, our movement salutes the people of South Africa and the world.
We salute the hundreds of thousands of ANC members, as well as our supporters, who have worked with dedication and determination over the last year to advance the historic mission of our movement of the all-round liberation of all the people of our country.
We salute the millions of voters who turned out in the March 1st Local Government Elections once again to affirm the principle and practice that indeed the people shall govern and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people. We thank these millions that, once again, they reaffirmed their confidence in our movement.
We salute too the millions of Africans throughout our continent who have continued to work in concert with their leaders to advance the cause of peace, stability, democracy and development across the continent. We salute, in particular, the people and leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo who, in successfully holding their first democratic elections in more than 40 years, have filled the peoples of Africa with great hope and inspiration.
This year, 2007, we enter into the last five years at whose conclusion we will celebrate the centenary of the birth of the African National Congress, an occasion whose significance will surely resonate across our land. We, who are today`s custodians of the movement whose life will soon have spanned ten decades, have a deep and profound responsibility to ensure that the organisation that turns 100 years old on January 8th 2012 truly lives up to the noble ideals on which it was founded and continues to respond to the high expectations of the South African masses, while remaining loyal to its internationalist obligations to the peoples of Africa and the rest of the world.
This means that as we gather to celebrate our 95th anniversary, we must identify those tasks that we must undertake to realise our centennial vision.
In this regard, we would like to emphasise right from the very beginning of this Annual Statement that as we identify these specific tasks, we must be informed by the two strategic considerations that:
- to discharge its responsibility as the leader of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), our movement must ensure that it remains united around its Strategy and Tactics, its culture and conventions, and the Programmes agreed by our constitutional structures and further elaborated by our government; and,
- in addition to our continuing task to defend our revolutionary gains, our central task during this phase of the National Democratic Revolution is to liberate our people from the scourge of poverty in all its manifestations, and eliminate all its offshoots.
During 2007 we will also commemorate a number of important historic milestones in the history of our movement and in the struggle of our people for liberation.
We commemorate these milestones not only because they have each played a significant role in shaping our movement and people, but also because they each remind us of the difficult path we have travelled and urge us to act with the same resolve and determination as we confront the challenges ahead.
We commemorate these milestones to pay tribute to those outstanding sons and daughters of our people who have served, struggled and sacrificed so that we may be free. We mark these milestones to honour the memory of those who have passed away, many at the hands of a racist and tyrannical regime.
We celebrate the achievements of our heroines and heroes, and pledge to pick up the spear where it has fallen, to advance the vision of a free, democratic, equal and prosperous society for which they fought. We also recall these milestones because they constitute an important part of the foundations on which our movement rests and must forever serve as a school that helps to prepare all cadres and members of our movement to honour their obligation to serve the people.
The historic milestones to which we have referred include:
- the 90th anniversary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo, a giant of the liberation struggle whose inspiring and visionary leadership of the ANC over three decades of illegality was central to the achievement of our democracy;
- the 60th Anniversary of the `Three Doctors` Pact`, signed in 1947 by Dr AB Xuma, Dr GM Naicker and Dr YM Dadoo, then presidents of the ANC, the Natal Indian Congress and the Transvaal Indian Congress respectively, calling for cooperation among all democratic forces for the attainment of basic human rights and full citizenship for all South Africans;
- the 50th Anniversary of the independence of Ghana, a watershed moment in Africa`s history, giving impetus to the process of decolonisation on the continent and engendering a renewed sense of a common African destiny;
- the 50th Anniversary of the Alexandra Bus Boycott, when the people of Alexandra walked nine miles from the township to town and back every day for three months to protest against an increase in bus fares, demonstrating the determination of the people to resist the appalling economic conditions forced on them by the apartheid system;
- the 40th Anniversary of the start of the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns, during which combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) crossed into the then Rhodesia and took on the military might of white domination in fierce combat, symbolising the real and concrete solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and giving expression to the ANC`s Pan-Africanism and internationalism;
- the 40th Anniversary of the death of ANC President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli, an outstanding representative of the struggling masses of South Africa and a beacon of hope and freedom during the darkest days of apartheid tyranny;
- the 30th Anniversary of the banning of The World and Weekend World, alongside the banning of several organisations and individuals, particularly those belonging to the Black Consciousness Movement, as the apartheid regime tried in vain to resist its defeat;
- the 30th Anniversary of the death in detention of Steve Biko, the dynamic and outspoken leader of our people whose intellect, fearlessness and organisational ability earned him the love and respect of the people and the brutal wrath of the apartheid regime;
- the 25th Anniversary of the SADF raid on Maseru, in which 42 people were killed, including seven women and children and 12 citizens of Lesotho;
- the 20th Anniversary of the meeting in Dakar between the ANC and a delegation of prominent Afrikaner intellectuals, writers and opinion makers that signified the failure of the apartheid regime to demonise our movement, isolate it from the masses of our people, and deny our people the possibility for them, together, to decide the future of our country;
- the 5th Anniversary of the launch of the African Union (AU) in Durban, replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and giving a further impetus towards the realisation of the goals of African unity and the African renaissance; and,
- the 5th Anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, which further enriched the global agenda for the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable manner.
These milestones all convey the important message that ours is a struggle with national, continental and global dimensions. They convey the message that, as a movement, as a nation and as part of a global community, we have travelled a long and challenging road to attain many of the objectives for which previous generations struggled.
They also convey the message that whatever the difficulties of the present, and whatever the challenges of the future, we can succeed in achieving our historical mission of the all-round liberation of the people of South Africa, including freedom from hunger and want.
They convey the message that to achieve this objective, we need to learn from our predecessors the lessons of service, sacrifice, resolve and determined struggle. They also convey the message that in all our work we must emulate their continuous efforts to forge a strong, coherent, united front across all strata and classes within society, led by the ANC and the Alliance, to defeat the legacy of apartheid - of racism, sexism, poverty, unemployment and inequality.
They convey the message that we bear on our shoulders a profound and humbling responsibility to act always in pursuit of the interests of our people, and to defeat any tendencies towards division, factionalism, tribalism or any attempts to appropriate for personal enrichment the resources that rightly belong to the people.
As we said after the ANC received an unequivocal and decisive mandate in the 2004 elections, the ANC will not disappoint the expectations of the masses of our people. This has been and must continue to be the guiding tenet of our movement.
SIGNIFICANCE OF 2007
This year we will hold the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress, which will be preceded by the National Policy Conference. It is also important to note that this will be the last ordinary National Conference before the ANC centenary, as well as our last ordinary National Conference before the 2009 General Elections.
Therefore, 2007 is a year for a critical assessment of both our movement and our programme, a time for the ANC to review the roadmap to its centenary, assess progress in implementing Conference and NGC decisions, and focus on building an ANC capable of meeting the challenges of the Second Century of its existence. Clearly, the guiding principle of this roadmap must continue to be to move forward decisively to eradicate poverty and all other elements of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.
The key questions that we have to answer is how much impact have we made as a movement in changing the lives of the people and advancing the ANC`s strategic objectives we outlined as we acceded to power; and what it is that we need to do in the last five years before our centenary to intensify and accelerate our work to push back the frontiers of poverty.
In this regard, we must ensure that the ANC continues to represent the interests of the great majority and persists in its effort to educate and mobilise the people to be their own liberators. This means the ANC will have to dig deeper into its culture of volunteerism especially since it will be celebrating five years since "the year of the volunteer" in 2002, building on the outstanding work done by our volunteers during the 2006 Local Government Election campaign.
PROGRAMME OF THE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT IN 2007
As we prepare for the centenary of our movement, and as we strive further to advance towards the realisation of our Vision 2014, we will have to reflect on the progress we have made, the challenges we have faced and the tasks that remain in terms of implementing the popular mandate we received in 2004 to build a people`s contract to create work and fight poverty.
At the same time, during the course of 2007, the ANC will have to continue its leadership of the democratic movement to unite and mobilise the South African people for decisive and qualitative progress towards realising the objectives arising from our commitment to achieve a better life for all our people.
As we do so, we must identify those areas where we have fallen short with regard to our own, and the people`s expectations, and determine what needs to be done to address any shortcomings and further build on what has been done. We should not be timid about acknowledging and celebrating the important strides we have made as a nation. Nor should we shy away from critically examining our record in terms of the popular mandates we received in 1994, 1999 and 2004.
Accelerated and shared growth
At the ANC`s National General Council (NGC) in June 2005, the commissions on the Theory of Development reported that, "the central challenge our movement faces in the Second Decade of Freedom is to defeat poverty and substantially reduce the level of unemployment. This means that the ANC and government must produce a coherent development strategy... identifying where we need to move to and what strategic leaps we need to get there".
In 2004, we received a clear mandate to lead the country to lift our economy to a higher growth trajectory, and position it more effectively to create work and push back the frontiers of poverty. In 2007, we must work even harder, together, further to implement this mandate.
The key economic challenges that faced the country in 2004 - and therefore the key concerns of the democratic movement - included: the rate of investment, the rate of economic growth, and the rate of job creation. We therefore had to focus on all elements relevant to these issues, which include improving the performance of government.
In our election manifesto for 2004 we were proud to proclaim that: "Government is running a low debt and is therefore able to introduce real increases in spending on health, education, housing, social grants and other services.
"Before 1994, economic growth had ground to a halt. Since then, our economy has grown by 2.8% a year. It has become more competitive, with increasing volumes, diversity and destinations of exports, and it has created two million net new jobs between 1996 and 2003.
"Workers` rights are protected, the trade union movement is playing an important role in society, and employers and workers are increasingly finding better ways of resolving problems as industrial relations improve. Vulnerable workers such as domestic workers and farm workers have been given greater protection.
"More and more black people are becoming professionals, managers and technicians; laws have been put in place and funds made available for black people to own businesses as one aspect of Black Economic Empowerment."
If we look at progress since 2004 we have even more to be proud of. The programme to provide social grants to benefit the poorest in our society has been extended beyond the approximately 9 million recipients to about 11.5 million. Independent research shows that the grants are having an important impact in terms of reducing poverty.
We were proud that in the period up to 2003 the economy grew on average at about 2.8%. In fact, after corrections to our GDP data, we later found that our average growth rate in the first ten years of democracy was about 3%. Since 2004 the rate of growth has risen to over 4.5% a year. The real increase in the income of individual South Africans is now growing at over 3% a year, whereas it grew at about 1% a year during the first decade of freedom.
We were proud in 2004 that the economy had created about two million net new jobs in the first decade of freedom. Since 2004 we have created jobs at a more rapid pace. On average jobs grew by about 200,000 a year in the first decade of freedom. Since 2004 we have been creating jobs at a rate of over 500,000 a year. The job creation rate has more than doubled. If we maintain our job creation rate at current levels we will meet our 2004 election manifesto target of halving unemployment and poverty by 2014.
In 2004, we were proud of our record of protection of workers. We remain proud of our achievements in improving the conditions of workers, and restoring dignity to workers. We have continued to strive to improve the conditions of unprotected workers in sectors like farming and domestic work.
We have also improved the training environment for workers through improvements in the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the National Skills Fund; the introduction of the second stage of the National Skills Development Strategy; in the recapitalisation of the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges; and in the successive increases in financial support for poorer students within our system of tertiary education.
Empowerment has made great strides since 2004 with the introduction of a range of progressive empowerment charters and the finalisation of the Codes of Good Practice for broad-based economic empowerment.
Improvements in our economy are driven by an increase in the rate of investment. Investment was as low as 15% of GDP in 2003. Since 2004 it has steadily improved to 18.5% of GDP. Fixed investment is now growing at a rate of 11% a year, by the most recent quarterly data. This is due to increases in public sector and private sector investment.
The improvements we have experienced are partly a result of favourable conditions in the international economy and good demand and high prices for some of our traditional exports. But it is also a result of good policies. Steady macroeconomic management has led to the longest period of growth in recorded history in South Africa - we have now been growing continuously for more than eight years. This is more than twice as long as any previous boom in South Africa`s recorded economic history.
Key targeted initiatives from government, including the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (AsgiSA) and the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), will give further impetus to the improvement of the performance of our economy, including the critical area of job creation. These initiatives, introduced after discussion within the ANC and with Alliance partners, are aimed to address the binding constraints on the South African economy.
We need to acknowledge that youth empowerment must remain a central feature of our developmental focus. Initiatives that relate to putting in place sustainable platforms for economic growth cannot succeed without the massive participation of South Africa`s youth. This participation is not only critical towards the empowerment of young people, but also serves as a bridge between the first and second economies.
We need to respond to the fact that our youth experience more acutely than other sections of the population the barriers to entry to mainstream economic activity, including a lack of access to capital, skills, and experience. We must continue to address the role and function of institutions like the Umsobomvu Youth Fund within the broader ambit of further elaborating a cohesive and integrated youth empowerment model.
We must also take care to ensure that women are integrally involved and targeted in the design and implementation of our economic empowerment programmes. As a section of society who, despite comprising more than half of our people, continue to confront additional economic disadvantages, all our programmes need to have a capacity to benefit and empower women. This will only be achieved by involving women in the process, and ensuring that they are able to help direct and monitor all the work in this regard.
Through our joint efforts as a nation we have built up momentum for stronger economic growth and development. But we need to act with even greater determination and focus to realise the potential of our economy to meet the needs of the poor in urban and rural areas. We need to act in unity, in a people`s contract, to ensure that this progress is not only sustained, but elevated to a higher level during the course of the year.
This places a responsibility, first and foremost, on the cadres of our movement, wherever they are deployed, in taking the lead in ensuring that growth is both accelerated and shared. Our key challenge is to sustain this growth, broaden participation in the economy and extend opportunities to all to deepen the quality of social development. Sustained and broad-based growth depends on additional progress in our industrial sector, on export growth and trade performance, and on improving education, skills and productivity.
For those in government and in the legislatures, it requires that policies and programmes are effectively implemented and coordinated, continually monitored and evaluated, and always informed by the needs, interests and views of the masses of our people. It requires a mobilisation not only of the substantial resources and capacity of the state, but also the mobilisation of the most important resource within our communities - our people - behind this central task.
Economic growth and development is at heart about empowering the masses to take control of their own lives, ensuring that they have the means and opportunity to enjoy the freedoms for which they have fought for a long time. They must therefore be an integral and driving force behind this effort. In this respect there is a clear role for participation by the non-governmental organisations and civil society structures. There is also a profound need for sustained cooperation between the government and its social partners - labour, business and civil society.
We must therefore take care to ensure that all our policies and programmes involve the people in their design, implementation and evaluation. We must therefore work hard during the course of 2007 to ensure that forums exist and are effectively used to link government with the various stakeholders in our economy.
In particular, we must focus on the involvement of the masses at a local government level. We should not take a purely technical approach to the development of the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). The approach must involve communities in a meaningful way, and it must be used, additionally, to empower, educate and develop these communities.
Branches and other structures of the movement have a particularly important role in ensuring that we succeed in this task of the mobilisation and involvement of the youth, the women and communities to achieve the objectives we have indicated. We must benchmark progress in this regard against the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and the programmes we have put in place to ensure the realisation of its objectives.
This task has additional significance this year, as the organisation prepares for the National Policy Conference in June and the 52nd National Conference in December. These important gatherings of our movement will need to reflect in detail on the policies and programmes of the organisation and take the necessary decisions about how we further accelerate our progress towards the realisation of the vision of the movement.
A particular area of focus in 2007 must be the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (AsgiSA). For it to succeed in removing the binding constraints to faster and more equitable growth, AsgiSA needs the support and participation of all South Africans. At all times we must also strive to ensure that our development is people-centred and people-driven.
Intensifying the fight against poverty
In concert with the task of growing the economy and creating new opportunities for work, we have been hard at work since 1994 to push back the frontiers of poverty, recognising that no people can be truly free until they have cast aside the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment.
It is for this reason that the eradication of poverty has been at the centre of our policies and programmes since the first democratic elections. Drawing on the experience of the first ten years of freedom, and building on the firm foundation laid by our people, in 2004 we identified the goal of halving poverty in South Africa by 2014.
In 2007, we must do everything possible to make certain that we achieve further advances towards the achievement of that goal. We will be able to do this thanks to the progress already made in undoing the devastating legacy of colonial and apartheid oppression, dispossession and deliberate underdevelopment. We will also be able to do this because of the steps we have taken to redirect state expenditure towards meeting the needs of the poor, and to free up resources previously used to service our inherited public debt for spending on service provision and infrastructure.
Thus we have seen the frontiers of poverty steadily being pushed back. Between 2001 and 2004, it is estimated that the number of households living below the poverty line dropped from 4.1 million to 3.6 million. These and other gains in addressing poverty can be attributed to improving economic conditions and a wide range of government interventions spe-cifically aimed at the various forms in which poverty is manifested.
We welcome the progress made over the past year towards the establishment of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), and trust that it will make a significant contribution to ensuring that social grants are received promptly and regularly by all South Africans who qualify to receive them.
Branches of the ANC, working together with communities and non-governmental organisations, have an important role to play in ensuring that all eligible community members are able to access these grants. This must include assisting people to obtain the necessary documentation, specifically ID documents and birth certificates.
Another of the key programmes aimed at reducing poverty, while simultaneously providing work experience and skills, is the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The programme is on course to reach its target of one million job opportunities in five years. By June 2006, it had surpassed its employment creation targets across four sectors, with more than 300,000 work opportunities created.
The number of projects within the EPWP is constantly expanding, reaching more people in terms of work opportunities, services provided and infrastructure built. Branches need to ensure that communities receive information about local EPWP projects, are able to participate, and that they have mechanisms to provide feedback to government on the effectiveness and suitability of these projects.
Poverty has also been reduced by expanding the access of poor people to assets that improve the quality of their lives and provide them with a greater degree of financial security.
Between 1994 and mid-2006, 2.8 million housing subsidies were approved, a quantity of housing provision unprecedented in South Africa`s history. To build on this foundation, government has adopted an integrated housing programme for the next decade. In addition to speeding up the delivery of housing, the programme aims to make new developments more sustainable, integrating them with other social infrastructure, and improving the access of residents to economic opportunities. Work is also being done to expedite delivery of shelter to the most vulnerable and those under distress.
Taken together with land restitution, land redistribution and tenure reform, the housing programme has seen the transfer of billions of Rands worth of assets to the poor. Still much work needs to be done, reaching all those who have not yet benefited from these programmes, and ensuring that the provision of housing and land is undertaken in consultation with communities in an integrated and sustainable manner.
We have reason to be pleased that by June last year, 85% of all poor households were receiving their water free of charge. Again we will have to accelerate our progress to reach those who still have no access to clean water, as well as focus in particular on speeding up provision of sanitation services.
The electrification programme has seen 3.5 million homes electrified since 1994. Government has established the Free Basic Electricity Programme where people earning below a certain income bracket receive a free monthly allocation of 50kW. Of the national total of indigent poor households, over half with infrastructure have access to free basic electricity.
Yet again, we must work in a focused manner in the coming year to expand the number of households that receive these essential services, as we expand the number of households receiving a free basic quantity of water and electricity.
Ward Committees and other community-based structures must be able to track the progress made in providing these services through engaging with local government. They also need to ensure that communities are kept informed on progress and timeframes. ANC branches should feed information to regions and provinces to allow them to monitor implementation, identify areas of greatest need, and assist all spheres of government speedily to respond to these needs.
As we monitor progress on these and other fronts, we must be ever-mindful of the commitments we made in our 2006 local government manifesto. By the end of this year, 2007, we need to ensure that no community is still using the bucket system for sanitation. All communities must have access to clean water and decent sanitation by 2010, and all houses must have access to electricity by 2012.
The struggle to push back the frontiers of poverty needs also to pay due attention to the health of the nation, ensuring, in particular, that the poor are able to access quality health care.
We know that between 1994 and 2005 more than 1,300 clinics were built or upgraded; childhood immunisation programmes were extended to cover over 80% of children; and health services received 101 million patient visits a year. Over the next three years, 46 hospitals will undergo physical rehabilitation and administrative overhaul as part of the nationally coordinated Hospital Revitalisation Programme.
The National School Nutrition Programme provides school meals for children to improve their health, enhance active learning capacities and improve attendance patterns at targeted schools. In this financial year, provision was made to provide meals to about 5.5 million learners at 17,000 schools.
We welcome the work done by the Department of Health, other arms of government, individuals, organisations and health workers across the country to intensify the battle against HIV and AIDS. We look forward to the finalisation within the next two months of the HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa, 2007-2011. This plan, which builds on the progress of the national strategic plan from 2000-2005, must necessarily galvanise our people and our national resources to turn the tide in our efforts to tackle this epidemic.
We need to forge partnerships across society to bring together the collective wisdom, energy and skills of all our people to prevent the spread of HIV and to maintain the health and quality of life of those already infected. We need also to redouble our efforts to combat stigma, ignorance and prejudice, and to empower communities to care for those infected and affected by AIDS.
We need at the same time to redouble our efforts to tackle other threats to the health of our people, including tuberculosis (including Multi-Drug Resistant TB), malaria, diabetes, hypertension and deaths from unnatural causes.
We remain acutely aware that central to any effort to overcome poverty is the development of the human potential of our people through education and skills development. Drawing on the short-term interventions envisaged in AsgiSA and those being coordinated under JIPSA, we need to step up the ongoing work to ensure access to affordable, quality and economically-relevant education for all.
Again, we can draw attention to some valuable improvements in this area. Progress has been made in school enrolment; 64,467 classrooms were built between 1996 and 2006; 114,000 study awards were made by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme in 2005; and by early last year, over 200,000 young people had registered for learnerships since the introduction of the skills development programme.
We look forward to the increase in the number of no-fee schools to approximately 14,000 in 2007, significantly improving access to education for the poor. Communities need to be actively involved in the implementation of this new policy, ensuring that the designated schools are able to make use of this opportunity for the benefit of all learners.
There is a special place for communities in the general improvement of the quality of schooling. Communities need to take greater responsibility for the effective functioning of School Governing Bodies (SGBs); the maintenance and care of school infrastructure; the attendance of learners at schools; and support to teachers and learners from professionals and retirees within communities. ANC branches should be providing impetus and support to this work, located, as they should be, at the heart of the life of the community.
People-centred and people-driven development
Government alone cannot resolve the challenges of inequality and poverty. Rather they require that we unite South Africans in a `peoples contract to create work and fight poverty`. We must seek concerted action on our development approach, involving the whole of our society.
As the RDP White Paper said, "the birth of a transformed nation can only succeed if the people themselves are voluntary participants in the process towards the realisation of these goals they have themselves helped define". It is therefore important to build a vibrant and continued integration between decision makers from the public-private and voluntary sectors and the intended beneficiaries of development - the people.
And therefore in all our efforts as we advance with our mission to eradicate poverty we have to ensure continued participation of the masses of our people in the struggle against poverty.
Building safer communities
In the decade before the democratic breakthrough of 1994, the devastating impact of apartheid social and economic policies and the use of the police services as instruments of repression gave rise to a dramatic growth in levels of crime and violence in our society.
This scourge has continued to bedevil our young democracy. Though progress has been made in gradually reducing levels of most categories of serious crime, crime continues to impact severely on the quality of life on our people. Without decisive action to curb crime, it could undermine our efforts to ensure the country is able to realise its social and economic potential.
As we have consistently said, our response to crime must be based on a clear understanding of the causes of crime and the various forms that it takes across society. Our response needs to be well-considered, effectively coordinated and comprehensive. It also needs to be sustainable and its progress measurable.
To this end, we have worked since 1994 to transform the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other institutions of the criminal justice system to serve all our people more effectively and to work to safeguard their safety and security. We have increased the numbers of police personnel, improved systems of coordination and management, and improved the efficiency of our courts and prosecution services.
Yet we have recognised from the birth of our democracy that these efforts will not succeed unless we make tangible progress in addressing those socio-economic conditions that feed crime and violence. We have recognised that the police service and government agencies cannot fight crime alone, and that it requires the involvement and active participation of all communities and all sections of society to meet this challenge.
During the course of 2007, we need to make every possible effort decisively to tackle this challenge, drawing on the resources and capacity of all sectors of society in a united front against crime.
As the ANC we will therefore undertake an extensive mass campaign to mobilise communities to assume leadership in the struggle for peace, stability and safer places to live. This campaign will seek to strengthen partnerships between communities and the police services, and between the public and private sectors.
Critically, this campaign will pay particular attention to crimes of violence, especially as they affect women and children. As part of the effort to extend our campaign of activism against women and child abuse to be a year-long effort, we will need to draw on the experiences and lessons of the 16 Days of Activism.
In this regard, we salute the hundreds of government departments, organisations and companies, and the thousands of individuals, who participated in the 16 Days of Activism campaign from 25 November to 10 December 2006. We join all South Africans in looking forward to the day when the campaign will have been so successful as to render it unnecessary.
Infusing the spirit of ubuntu
The task of building a new society founded on the vision of the Freedom Charter extends beyond improving the material conditions of the people and ensuring the masses continue to play a role in determining their own future. Underlying the clauses of the Freedom Charter lies a set of values and principles that stand in stark contrast to the social values and norms which were able to take hold during the centuries of colonial and apartheid capitalism.
We are bound to acknowledge, in the 13th year of our democracy, that many of those values and norms are still pervasive in our society, dominating many - though not all - areas of social interaction. We have spoken in the past about the destructive effects of the relentless pursuit of individual self-enrichment at the expense of the broader development and progress of society. Our people are daily told - through the media, through advertising, through forms of cultural expression - that their sole concern should be the accumulation of personal wealth and the display of the associated trappings of affluence.
As millions of our people seek, understandably and correctly, to escape the cycle of poverty by improving their material conditions there are some who suggest that the natural extension of this important social objective is the exclusive activity to amass as much personal wealth as possible. There are similarly some who continue to suggest that such avarice arises from efforts to deracialise the economy and specifically the benefit that black economic empowerment is purported to have brought to a small group of black business people.
We need to counter both of these contentions. The pursuit of personal wealth to the exclusion of all else is not an unavoidable corollary of the efforts of our people to lift themselves out of poverty. Similarly, the pursuit of personal wealth to the exclusion of all else is primarily a consequence of the social and economic relations that developed under colonialism apartheid, a goal that was inherent within the system of white minority domination.
Yet existing alongside, and contrary, to the values and norms that we inherited from the apartheid past are values and norms that have also resided among our people and which have held together our communities from ancient times up to the present. These values contained in the worldview we known as ubuntu, succinctly expressed in the phrase `Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu`, emphasise society, community and family as critical elements of personal development, security and fulfilment.
Ubuntu acknowledges the truism that no person is an island, but an integral part of broader society and humankind, and therefore that our individual fortunes are intimately connected to the fortunes of the whole.
These are the essential values that informed the formation of the African National Congress 95 years ago today, and which have underpinned its existence over the intervening nine-and-a-half decades.
These essential values have sustained our people over centuries of oppression, and enabled them to emerge united to defeat white minority rule. They continue to inform our engagement in the monumental task of the regeneration of our Continent, and lie at the heart of our continued commitment to the principle and practice of human solidarity.
Yet we remain burdened with the responsibility of ensuring that in the contest between these two contrasting value systems, the values associated with the notion of ubuntu achieve ascendancy in our society and among our people. We need to engage, with neither shame nor timidity, in an intensive struggle to engender progressive social values among our people and within all social institutions as part of a broader moral regeneration.
This intensive struggle must begin within the ranks of our movement. The values of selflessness, social consciousness and solidarity are what define the cadreship of our movement. But, as we have noted before, cadreship does not begin and end in the formal activities of the organisation - they must necessarily extend to all facets of life. It is not sufficient to be a revolutionary cadre in ANC meetings, but to disregard such practices in other social situations.
This challenge is particularly relevant in the situation that has accompanied the transition to democracy and the emergence of opportunities for members of the ANC to occupy positions of responsibility and influence, many with access to resources. We have spoken at length about the debilitating effect that abuse of membership of our organisation to gain access to such resources can have on the integrity, cohesion and effectiveness of the democratic movement.
All genuine members of the ANC must understand that they have a responsibility to resist all such tendencies. They must understand that all cadres of our movement, no matter what positions they hold, must always act as servants of the people.
We have also pointed to the corrosive role of corruption in the erosion of democracy, public confidence, good governance and social stability.
We must vigorously counter all corrupt practices not merely through effective rules and regulations, and scrupulous monitoring, detection and, where appropriate, prosecution, but also through the strengthening of political consciousness and the values associated with ubuntu.
Similarly, these values must infuse the work of all those who provide a public service. Among other things, ubuntu should give content to the Batho Pele campaign, ensuring that at all times and all instances, the interests of the people are prioritised, and that any impediments to optimal public service are identified and removed.
Five years ago, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of our movement, we called on all our members and on all our people to emulate the volunteers of the 1952 Defiance Campaign in freely and voluntarily making themselves available for the development of their communities.
Today, we salute the hundreds of thousands of South Africans who, understanding and appreciating the spirit of ubuntu, took up this challenge and have continued, without material compensation, to offer their time, skills and energies within their communities. In doing so, they have given practical form to the values and norms that we need to infuse across society.
We need to consolidate and deepen this effort, drawing on the experience of the last five years, to ensure that we mobilise a great army of volunteers to build our communities and develop our society. In that way we will succeed, far more successfully than even the most articulate and moving of speeches, to infuse across society the values, principles and spirit of ubuntu.
Building a Better Africa and World
The ANC and the South African people have a long tradition of international engagement and solidarity. This arises, as we have already mentioned, from the understanding that our fortunes as a nation are intimately interconnected with the fortunes of our neighbours, our continent and indeed all of humanity. It is therefore on the basis both of moral responsibility and collective self-interest that we continue to be actively engaged in the effort to build a better Africa and world.
Africa`s fortunes are changing. Dubbed the `forgotten` continent by so many for so long, tangible signs of improvement can now be seen across the continent. This progress has a number of elements. Most importantly, Africa is dealing with its own problems. This effort includes the work the African Union is doing to bring peace and stability to our continent and expedite our advance towards African integration and unity, as well the turnaround in terms of economic growth and development.
Initiatives such as NEPAD provide a blueprint and a programme for coordinated progress across the different states of Africa in crucial areas of social and economic development. The growing optimism about Africa is accompanied by the growing confidence among the African masses that we have the capacity to solve our own problems.
The ANC congratulates the government and people of South Africa on the country`s election to a two-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council (UNSC), which we took up at the beginning of this month. In 2007, South Africa needs to use this important position to advance the cause of Africa in international affairs, in particular, and confirm that Africans occupy the front ranks in the world struggle for peace, security and stability.
Our non-permanent membership of the UNSC will require of all South Africans that we become familiar with the many challenges confronting the globe the better to engage those matters to which our representatives on the UN Security Council will need to attend. The two-year term that began this month offers all of us an opportunity to adopt an outlook and perspective which takes account of the various international events and forces that impact on our future as a nation, as well as the global community of nations.
The end of apartheid has radically altered South Africa`s position on our continent. The previous white state was `in Africa` but not `of Africa`. Today we are very much `of` Africa and we carry a great responsibility and loyalty towards the continent. Even as far back as 1993 we stated that one of the foreign policy priorities of the post-apartheid government would be "a belief that our foreign policy should reflect the interests of the continent of Africa".
The African Union should further develop its capacity to guide our Continent during this era of globalisation, and enhance its capacity to serve as an instrument for unity, stability and progress within Africa.
As we join with the people of Ghana, and all the peoples of Africa, in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana, we are bound to recall the significance of this signal event for the process of decolonisation and the birth of an independent and united Africa. We are bound to acknowledge that, half a century after this historic moment, we are still striving to achieve the vision of a new continent that the independence of Ghana inspired among our people.
During the course of 2007, in the year of the fifth anniversary of the formation of the AU, we must work further to ensure that the AU lives up to the objectives for which it was created. We should therefore work to:
- achieve greater unity and solidarity among the African states and the peoples of Africa;
- accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
- promote and defend common positions on issues of African interest;
- promote peace, security and stability on the continent;
- establish conditions necessary to enable the continent to become a recognised player in the global political economy; and,
- coordinate and harmonise the policies between existing and future regional economic communities.
The ANC must continue to contribute to the functioning and successful operation of the African Union. We must use our past experience of struggle and successful and peaceful transition to a democratic government to guide our relations with our fellow African people. We must take the responsibility both to contribute to the economic advance of our continent and help ensure that it takes its rightful place in the world.
As an important part of this effort, we must continue to work for the success of the NEPAD initiative. In terms of its own vision, NEPAD represents a "pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politic".
At the NGC in 2005 we noted that "the global situation characterised by a unipolar world and socio-political globalisation does pose many difficulties for the cause of national liberation and social equity; but it contains within it many possibilities to address the fundamental question of improving the human condition all round".
We need to develop our own critical analysis of the process of globalisation, properly understood within the context of a long history of global trade and international movement of capital, people and technology. We need to understand its various facets and currents, to respond to the challenges it poses, and take advantage of the opportunities.
As we do this, we must continue our work to build stronger links with the progressive forces on the continent, in other parts of the developing world, and in the developed world. In a time of great global risk and important new opportunities, it is essential that a strong, coherent progressive international movement exists to act in concert to advance the interest of the poor and marginalised.
Building the Alliance
As we work to undertake these weighty tasks, we will be called upon to marshal all our resources and mobilise all available forces to progress decisively to improve the lives of our people and carry out our continental and international responsibilities.
Now more than ever before, we are called upon to build and strengthen the Alliance that remains the leading force for the national democratic transformation of South Africa. Now more than ever we need to demonstrate unity of purpose and action in advancing the goals we set ourselves in the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
As we do this, we will continue to encounter a barrage of opinion that the Alliance has outlived its usefulness and should be disbanded. These views reflect just one point of convergence of, on the one hand, those forces that seek to halt the democratic transformation of South Africa and reverse its gains, and, on the other hand, those who believe that the achievements of democracy would be sufficient to propel society into a new stage of development were it not for the perceived `conservatism` of the national liberation movement.
We should resist both strains of thought, and instead articulate more clearly the continuing historical basis of the Alliance, the shared objectives of its component organisations, its shared obligations to the people of South Africa, and its common programme to achieve the objectives of the national democratic revolution.
During the course of the last year, the Alliance partners have continued to engage each other and within their own structures on these important matters. In 2007 we need further to discuss and debate these issues, drawing on the deliberations and outcomes of the two Ekurhuleni Alliance Summits, in 2002 and 2005.
Further to strengthen the role of the Alliance as the leading force for social transformation, we must ensure that we share a common view among all components on the strategic objectives and programme of the Alliance, as well as its core values, principles and organisational culture.
It is important that we pursue that common view in keeping with the time-honoured and tested traditions and practices of the Alliance, respecting the independence, integrity and bona fides of each Alliance partners. As in the past, we will need to engage in this discussion in a politically mature and sober manner, seeking to advance particular arguments not by closing space for debate, but by demonstrating a superior logic, based our understanding of objective reality and the combination of theory and practice.
As it celebrates its 95th anniversary, the ANC recommits itself to strengthening the Alliance, enhancing its unity, and maximising its effectiveness as the leading force of the National Democratic Rev-olution.
Broad front for development
When it was formed, the ANC undertook the mission of forging the broadest front possible in the fight against white minority rule. Throughout its history, our movement has sought to organise and mobilise all social forces and organisations that share the broad vision of a democratic South Africa.
Now that the reviled system of apartheid has been overturned, we should continue to seek the mobilisation of the broadest range of forces in society to overcome the poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment that continue to afflict many of our people.
As we resolved at the 2002 Stellenbosch Conference of our movement, one of our key tasks for 2007 should therefore be to continue to work to bring together as many people and groupings as possible into a common struggle to build a better life for our people.
In embarking on this work, we should reflect on the experiences and processes which led to the formation last year of the Progressive Women`s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA). Once again, the women of this country have shown the lead in forging a united front of organisations and individuals organised and mobilised to pursue an agreed programme of action.
We salute the women`s organisations and individual activists involved in launching this historic movement, 50 years after the 1956 women`s march to the citadel of the apartheid regime. We salute the ANC Women`s League in particular for the critical contribution it made in bringing this long-awaited movement into being.
As we work to bring into being a broad front for development, we should continue to support the work to build and strengthen the Progressive Women`s Movement as a powerful force against sexism and patriarchy.
TASKS OF ANC BRANCHES IN 2007
A number of specific tasks for ANC branches arise from the programme and tasks of the ANC for 2007. As the most basic, and most important, structure of the ANC, our branches must receive the support and assistance of all levels of the organisation in undertaking their important work.
Importantly, this requires the involvement of all cadres of the movement, wherever they may be located or deployed, in the activities of the branch. As we said in our 2006 election manifesto, `All cadres to the front`! We are now calling on all leaders of the organisation, all public representatives, deployees, veterans and former activists to return to undertake work in their branches - All cadres to the branch!
During the course of 2007, there are three areas that branches need to focus on in particular. These are both part of, and in addition to, the broader tasks of the movement arising from our programme of action.
Following the 2006 local government elections, ANC provinces embarked on campaigns to revitalise our branches and improve political work within communities. Though described in different ways across the country, these campaigns became known nationally as the Imvuselelo Campaign.
During the course of 2007, all branches of the ANC - assisted by regions, provinces and the National Executive Committee - need to intensify the implementation of the Imvuselelo Campaign. Making use of the Imvuselelo Handbook, branches need to engage in:
- regular, structured door-to-door interaction with every household in every ward;
- the development and implementation of local programmes of action;
- local cadre development programmes;
- targeted recruitment and induction of new members;
- involvement of national, provincial and regional leaders in branch work; and,
- strengthening links between community, ANC branches and councillors.
Linked to the Imvuselelo Campaign, and in order to advance the mandate we received in the 2006 elections, branches need to work to ensure the establishment and effective functioning of Ward Committees. Branches should also work to establish other local development structures that can serve the various needs of communities, and which work together with government structures and agencies in responding to local needs.
ANC branches need to work to ensure that community members participate in such structures, and that all sections of the community are adequately represented. These structures should neither be seen nor become extensions of the ANC branch.
As we have already said, the ANC will be holding its 52nd National Conference in December this year. As in the past, the National Conference is primarily a meeting of ANC branches, with branch delegates comprising 90% of all voting delegates. In preparation for the National Conference, we will be holding our National Policy Conference in June, where delegates from all structures will be called upon to reflect on ANC policies in the light of our experiences so far, and the tasks and challenges ahead.
It is therefore important that branch delegates to conference are empowered to determine the direction of the organisation in line with the views and wishes of the membership of the organisation.
As in the past, branches will be the starting point for thorough-going debate and discussion of ANC policy, Strategy and Tactics and organisational tasks and challenges as we prepare for these important conferences. Our branches are uniquely positioned to reflect on which organisational strategies are most effective at grassroots level, and what policies and programmes have the greatest impact on the lives of the people. The branch is therefore the site from which the interaction of theory and practice is best observed.
During the course of 2007, branches will need to attend to this task with the seriousness and maturity expected of the structures of the movement as they work to determine how best to strengthen the movement and advance the struggle in preparation for the centenary of our movement in 2012.
ANC ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
The progress we have made over the past year in advancing the historical mission of our movement would not have been possible without the dedication, political consciousness and hard work of a great many revolutionary activists, all of whom ask for nothing more for their efforts than to have an opportunity to contribute to building a better South Africa. These genuine members of our movement seek neither material gain nor personal recognition.
Yet, every year at this time, we highlight those collectives within our organisation that have excelled during the course of the past year, demonstrating through their actions the high standards of organisational capacity, dynamism and integrity that we seek from all our structures.
We are therefore pleased to announce the winners of the ANC Achievement Awards for 2006:
- The Sol Plaatje Award, conferred on the best performing ANC branch, goes to Bram Fischer Branch, Greater Johannesburg Region, Gauteng. The runner-up is Rosedale Branch, Siyanda Region, Northern Cape;
- The Charlotte Maxeke Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Women`s League branch, goes to Ward 56 Branch, eThekwini Region, KwaZulu Natal. The runner-up is Ward 20 Branch, Ehlanzeni Region, Mpumalanga;
- The Anton Lembede Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Youth League branch, goes to Percival Jas Branch, Francis Baard Region, Northern Cape. The runner-up is Ike Maphoto Bendo Branch, Capricorn Region, Limpopo Province; and,
- The ZK Matthews Award, conferred on the best performing group of ANC councillors, goes to eThekwini Metro Council, KwaZulu Natal. The runner-up is Nelson Mandela Metro, Eastern Cape.
The National Executive Committee warmly congratulates the comrades who worked together to win these distinguished awards. They receive them in recognition of their own achievements, and on behalf of the many more ANC cadres who work tirelessly and selflessly in support of the vision, policies and programmes of the democratic movement.
SALUTE TO THOSE WHO PASSED AWAY IN 2006
We take this opportunity to pay tribute to the patriots who passed during the past year. Among those who made an outstanding contribution to the struggle for freedom and dignity for all in South Africa who left us in the last year are Cdes Stella Sigcau, Ellen Kuzwayo, Vish Supersad, Dan Mohapi, Julius Baker, Paul Mahlatsi, Uriah Maleka, Kingsley Sithole, Mama Abigail Asimina Champion, Vincent Mabuyakhulu, Hilda Bernstein, Robert Manci, Thozamile Gqwetha, Freddy Reddy, James Kati and Timothy Maseko.
We mourn their passing, and once again pass on to their families, friends, colleagues and comrades the heartfelt sympathies and condolences of the African National Congress.
In honouring these heroes of our revolution, and to deepen and accelerate the struggle to advance the vision to which they dedicated their lives, the ANC National Executive Committee declares 2007, "The Year To Intensify The Struggle Against Poverty As We Advance In Unity Towards 2012 - Phambili"