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Statement of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on the occasion of the 98th Anniversary of the ANC

8 January 2010

Comrades and Compatriots

It is now 98 years since the founding of our movement - the African National Congress. It has been 98 years of principled struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

We commemorate our anniversary two years since the ANC 52nd National Conference and nearly a year since the inauguration of the fourth democratic government, led by the African National Congress. This occasion provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in the implementation of the programme outlined in our January 8th Statement last year, regarding the transformation of our society and the renewal of our organisation.

Under the banner of "WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN DO MORE", we have particularly emphasised in our 2009 Election Campaign that faster change, faster improvement in the conditions of all our people will be a defining feature of the new ANC administration. We re-committed ourselves to make the ANC government more caring, more responsive and more interactive.

Informed by the decisions of the Polokwane National Conference, we set ourselves the task of further strengthening the ANC, deepening organisational democracy and ensuring that the ANC discharges its responsibility as the leader of the process of social change and consolidating national unity. We committed ourselves to strengthening the Tripartite Alliance and our relations with SANCO, and at the same time building a broad front of forces of change.

On this occasion of our anniversary, we are called upon to honestly assess our progress with regard to these tasks, and very clearly to outline the major tasks facing our movement within and outside of government.

CELEBRATING 98 YEARS OF PROUD TRADITIONS

Ever since its founding in 1912, the ANC has dedicated itself to the historic mission of uniting our people in the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed black majority in general and Africans in particular. South African revolutionaries have been fighting, one generation after another, to fulfil this mission. Countless patriots sacrificed their lives inspired by this ideal. ANC members today continue on this mission.

We draw great inspiration from these decades of unbroken struggle and re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of the National Democratic Revolution. Where then are we as a movement?

  • We are today proudly a fast growing mass political movement, with more than 600,000 members. We are confident that our historic goal to achieve 1-million membership before our centenary in 2012 is within reach. We are found in each township and village, rooted amongst the masses of our people: the rural poor, the workers, professionals and business-people - young and old, male and female, black and white.
  • We have consolidated our rich traditions of internal-democracy. The ANC belongs to its membership; and throughout its history it has sought to uphold the practice of democratic participation by its members. We subscribe to the principle of democratic centralism in which internal democratic discussion and debate flourish and collectively agreed decisions bind all our members. Racism, tribalism, regionalism, sexism and other aberrations have no place in the ANC.
  • We have once more put the task of political education at the top of our agenda. Out of hundreds of thousands of our members, we seek constantly to develop cadres of high quality with a high level of revolutionary consciousness, organisational discipline as well as moral and political integrity.
  • We are a movement that has repeatedly been entrusted by our people with the task of governing our country and implementing a programme of social and economic transformation. In the last 16 years we have accumulated experience in governing. We have embarked on a journey never travelled by anyone in this country, registering many achievements as we strive to change the lives of our people for the better. Our electoral mandate has now been popularly and democratically renewed for the fourth term. We thank our people and are deeply humbled by their ongoing confidence in our movement. We once again salute all cadres of our movement and our allies - the workers, the youth, the women and the mass organisations - for the major contribution they made towards the ANC`s electoral victory. Cognisant of the challenges we face, we are determined to forge ahead with the task of reconstructing and developing our country, by creating more jobs, decent work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods, providing quality education and health for all our people, transforming the countryside and combating crime and corruption.
  • We are a movement that constantly seeks to connect with the people. We have improved the practice of listening to the people, understanding their concerns, and practically taking up the issues they have raised. We refuse to act merely as a conventional political party, whose only interest is to win votes during elections. We aim to work together with our people, and to ensure that our actions are not only people-centred, but also people-driven.

We are proud of these progressive traditions; and we commit ourselves to improve our work as we approach the centenary of the ANC, and beyond.

KEY MILESTONES AND ANNIVERSARIES

The year 2010 is a seminal year for the country.

Our country will be hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. Let us unite the country and ensure that this opportunity leaves a lasting legacy that will endure for generations to come, both for our country and our continent. Besides the physical infrastructure attached to this global spectacle, we must emerge from the Soccer World Cup more united as a nation and as a continent, and having changed the opinions of the world about our capacity and our humanity.

2010 is also critical because we will in earnest start preparations for the local government elections due in 2011. This means that we must work harder than ever to transform local government and strengthen its contribution to the cause of improving the lives of our people.

2010 brings us closer to the ANC centenary celebrations in 2012. We must work hard towards 100 years of struggle by showcasing the proud traditions of this oldest national liberation movement in Africa. As we prepare to mark this monumental milestone, we should mobilise the whole of our society to celebrate their struggles, their heroes and heroines, their resilience and their victories. Younger and future generations in our land and beyond must know and appreciate the story of the decades of the long march to freedom. Preparations for the centenary will also offer us an opportunity to rekindle and consolidate contacts with many international friends who were part of our struggle, and who wish not only to join us in celebrating this historic moment, but also to contribute in speeding up change for the better in our country, our region, our continent and the world at large.

The National Executive Committee has established a Centenary Task Team to prepare and coordinate activities towards the celebrations. Provinces, working together with the National Centenary Task Team, must establish centenary task teams to coordinate this work and ensure broader participation by all ANC structures, the alliance, mass democratic organisations and local communities.

We are also holding our National General Council this year, which will also act as the platform for a mid-term review of the work done since the 52nd National Conference in Polokwane.

Eight years ago, we declared this decade as the decade of the Freedom Charter. As we begin with a new decade this year we shall be commemorating the 55th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter, adopted in Kliptown in 1955. The Charter represents the strategic vision of the ANC and the kind of society we seek to build in South Africa. This vision is shared by our allies and indeed by the great majority of South Africans. The progress in realising this vision can be found in the very constitution of our country and the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which embody the tasks we have set ourselves to meet the aspirations of our people.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, when innocent civilians were killed by the apartheid state, merely because they dared to express their democratic right to protest against oppression and discrimination.

We shall also this year be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the founding of COSATU, which is the successor to the revolutionary traditions of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, whose 55th anniversary we are also celebrating. Together with COSATU and the SACP, we have built an alliance that has become an example of solidarity across class, race and gender - informed by the shared objectives to liberate our people from the shackles of oppression and super exploitation.

We will this year also mark the 25th Anniversary of the ANC Second Consultative Conference, held in Kabwe, Zambia. Among others, Kabwe reasserted the democratic nature of the ANC despite the difficult conditions in which it was operating; it entrenched the theory and practice of non-racialism in the organisational culture of the movement; and it set out clear tasks on the intensification of all forms of struggle to speed up the demise of the apartheid crime against humanity.

2010 also marks the 20th Anniversary of the re-launch of the ANC Women`s League, which continues to be the platform to ensure that the objectives of gender equality remain at the centre of our struggle for democracy, equality and the prosperity for all. In this regard, we will also be celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

It is 20 years since President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released from prison and in the same period the apartheid regime was forced to unban the ANC, the SACP and other liberation movements. These were momentous developments, which were, above everything else, a consequence of the people`s struggle.

BUILDING A DEVELOPMENTAL STATE

In order to advance the present phase of our National Democratic Revolution, to ensure that we successfully implement the 5 priorities of the 2009 Election Manifesto, we need to take forward the major tasks of building a developmental state.

This means that we must build a state that is democratic, people-driven and people-centred, and we must pursue a sustained development based on an inclusive growth path. It should be a state that unites South Africans around a vision of sustainable development and mobilises them to act as midwives to the birth of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.  

In pursuit of such a vision, our movement decided in 2009 to focus on five strategic developmental priorities, namely: the creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, improving quality education and health care for all, promoting rural development and combating crime and corruption.

The key immediate tasks in building such a state involves, but is not limited to the following:

  • Building a strategic planning capacity. Central to the building of a developmental state has been the process towards the creation of a National Planning Commission and monitoring and evaluation capacity within the Presidency. The ANC initiated these developments in order to build strategic coherence within government and ensure that the state provides effective and strategic leadership to the economy and society. This year we expect that all elements of national strategic planning as well as monitoring and evaluation are put in place.
  • Strengthening government structures to provide effective and efficient services to the people. One of the immediate tasks of the ANC government after the 2009 elections was the reconfiguration of government structures at Cabinet and departmental levels, to ensure effective provision of services to the people. We have also seen progress in the strengthening of Cabinet systems to ensure better coordination and integration. A lot of progress has been made in this regard, and the new structures are already finding their feet. Much more needs to be done in aligning the mandate of the state-owned enterprises, development finance institutions and other state agencies with the priorities of the ANC government. More work will also be needed to strengthen government structures at the level of provincial and local government to ensure faster implementation of effective service to our people.
  • Combating corruption in the public and private sectors. Corruption poses a serious threat to our struggle to build a caring society and it erodes the moral fabric of our society. It is a threat that must be fought both inside and outside the state. The ANC will never tolerate corruption. Resolutely punishing and effectively preventing corruption is therefore a major political task the ANC must attend to at all times. All ANC members should be aware that combating corruption is a battle that can be won. We will see to it that all cases involving violation of discipline are thoroughly investigated and dealt with and that all involved in corruption, regardless of their position or status in the organisation and society, are severely dealt with in accordance with the laws of our land. We applaud the establishment of a Ministerial Task Team which is seized with the task of developing measures to root out corruption at all levels of the state. We will ensure that there are consequences for incompetence, corruption and lack of accountability.

BUILDING A NEW PUBLIC SECTOR CADRE FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE TO OUR PEOPLE

The process of building a new public sector cadre forms part of the major tasks for creating a developmental state. There are those placed in positions of responsibility who do nothing, either through incapacity or unwillingness, to address the concerns of the people they are meant to serve. Where people are found to be incapable of performing the tasks assigned to them, we must work with speed to either capacitate such people or replace them with more capable people. To be a public sector cadre means service to the people and a caring attitude in dealing with citizens.

The ANC is committed to transforming the state in a manner that benefits our people. There is no room for using the resources of the state for self-enrichment and acting from narrow self-interest. Selfishness is alien to the values of our movement.

We expect the leading public sector cadre to earnestly listen to people`s concerns, truthfully reflect their wishes, sincerely help address their hardships and do more to speed up effective service to the people.

The ANC, working together with our allies, will engage public sector trade unions and clarify our respective roles in building a new public sector cadre for a democratic developmental state. Revolutionary trade unions must be at the centre of driving quality service to the people.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT - THE KEY FOCUS FOR SERVICE PROVISION

Local government is where most of our people have direct and frequent contact with government. The ANC will make sure that this is an effective and responsive sphere of government.

The ANC commends the majority of councillors, who continue to serve our people with integrity and dedication. We urge them to keep up this level of service and warn those councillors who provide shoddy service that they will bear the consequences of their laziness. We urge our ANC councillors to form and participate in community structures in their areas to ensure that there is a strong and sustained link with the communities that they serve.

The ANC is aware that 16 years into our democracy, there are still some areas where local government is not working effectively. Amongst the findings of the report of the State of Local Government are that systems in many municipalities are characterised by critical problems and challenges which include dysfunctional councils, ineffective professional administration, weak and/or absent mechanisms for local democracy and weak municipal performance management. Furthermore the role of the institution of traditional leadership in matters of local governance, service delivery and development is uneven.

The ANC`s primary mandate is to improve the lives of our people. We need to ensure that sufficient state and municipal resources and capacity are set aside to implement local government programmes. In doing this, Ward Committees have an important role in monitoring the quality and scale of service delivery.

Organisationally, building a strong and disciplined ANC with capacity on the ground is a necessary condition for turning around local government to make it effective and efficient. This includes the implementation of the ANC Councillors` Code of Conduct as well as the creation of standards and requirements for councillors in preparation for the 2011 local government elections. Strong ANC and Alliance structures must be at the forefront of building effective organs of people`s power at a municipal level. We are of the firm view that municipal employees should not hold officials` positions in political parties; and we will tighten our deployment procedures to ensure that we deploy comrades with political integrity and professional competence.

Above all, we need to identify clear roles for business, labour, non-governmental and community-based organisations, donor community and other development partners. We must build the broadest alliance and support base across all strata and groups in our society for local government turn-around programme.

OUR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES

Speeding up growth, creating more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods

To attain the objectives of creating more jobs, decent work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods, it is important that we clearly set out an inclusive economic growth path based on a comprehensive industrial strategy. This is a pressing strategic task vital to the national economy, especially in the context of the on-going global economic crisis.

The ANC is also very aware of the impact that the global economic crisis has on the pace and sequencing of delivery. We have taken, and will continue to take, bold steps to mitigate the impact of this crisis.

We are committed to the implementation of the Framework for South Africa`s Response to the International Economic Crisis, which was developed and agreed to at NEDLAC in February 2009 and sets out principles and programmes to tackle the crisis. The Framework has strong principles that seek to protect the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed and low-income workers. It aims to strengthen the country`s capacity to grow decent work in the future, to maintain high levels of investment and to intervene in a timely, tailored and targeted manner.

Among the programmes that should be intensified are:

  • ensuring expenditure of the budgeted R787-billion on improving public infrastructure;
  • tailoring fiscal and monetary measures in a manner that complements trade and industrial policies and contribute to the achievement of our overall development objectives;
  • preserving as many jobs as possible, through an extended training period as an alternative to retrenchment; and
  • ensuring that the funds meant to assist companies in distress flow to deserving enterprises.

There are some early indications that we may be recovering from the worst of the crisis. But it should be borne in mind that this recovery may be slow and perhaps even temporary. As such, we must remain vigilant. It should also be expected that the creation of new jobs on a massive scale will lag behind the economic recovery.

One opportunity provided by the crisis is that it has opened up space for a fundamental transformation of the economy, globally and domestically. There is near-universal recognition that an unfettered, free market system does not have the capacity to address the serious social and economic inequalities in the world. Global financial markets must be regulated and governments must play an active role in the economy. The ANC is determined to use this space strategically to put in place a more inclusive economic growth path that addresses the major structural flaws in our economy.

Apartheid deprived our people of ownership and control of wealth in such a manner that our communities were deliberately impoverished and turned into reservoirs of cheap labour. Thus, for the ANC, fundamental to the transformation of the economy, is the need to eradicate apartheid production relations and to bring about a more equitable ownership and distribution of wealth and income.

The most pressing challenges we face are that of unemployment, poverty and inequality. To address these challenges and underdevelopment, we must simultaneously accelerate economic growth and transform the quality of that growth.

We have placed the creation of decent work at the centre of our efforts to address poverty and inequality, and all government policies and programmes are meant to speak to this goal. Within the context of scarce resources, heavily affected by the world economic crisis, we have put in place programmes to absorb the unemployed through the use of labour intensive programmes linked to infrastructure expansion and meeting social needs. We are confident that the progress made in the past nine months in implementing the expanded public works programme will lay the foundation for the attainment of our target to create 4-million work opportunities by 2014.

South Africa has ongoing problems in the energy sector that requires comprehensive solutions. The problems concerning energy are broader than the huge tariff increases we have to bear. There are issues regarding our country`s energy mix, environmental sustainability, distribution mechanisms, surcharges by local municipalities and the role of private producers to address. We would be failing our people if we do not address these urgently.

The ANC also recognises that poor communities will bear the brunt of the costs resulting from climate change in inverse proportion to their contribution to the phenomenon of global warming. In all this, scientific research has shown that Africa is likely to be one of the most seriously affected parts of the world. It is predicted that the impacts of climate change for South Africa will include a reduction in rainfall and increase in droughts in the western parts of the country, which will increase water scarcity and have devastating effects on agricultural production and the survival of our biodiversity. It will also result in wetter and hotter temperatures in the eastern side of the country, leading to the spread of diseases like malaria and the rise of sea levels. Increasingly destructive weather events will threaten our coastal cities, which could lead to loss of incomes, jobs and investment, including through the devastation of our fishing industry.

The ANC will strengthen its partnership with like-minded organisations domestically and across the world to attain a globally shared vision that acknowledges that solving the climate change problem must take place in the context of:

  • developmental priorities of food security, poverty eradication, energy security and promoting development.
  • equality and differentiated responsibility for the past but common responsibility for the future.

Together with our counterparts in the developing world we have contributed to progress made at the Climate Change Summit held in Copenhagen. The accord reached at the Summit commits countries to work towards limiting the global temperatures below 2 degree Celsius, including mid-term mitigation targets and actions by developed and developing countries; reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; and support for the most vulnerable to cope with climate change.

In this respect the accord, even though it is not ambitious enough, is an important step in the right direction in so far as it commits countries to respond to climate change. As South Africans we will work hard with our international counterparts to ensure that the treaty is legally binding on all parties this year.

Every South African should also make sure that they contribute to protecting our planet by implementing ‘green` living to the best of their ability. Conserve as much electricity as possible, walk more, use fewer plastic products and reuse and recycle as much as possible.

Rural development, land reform

In our Strategy and Tactics document (2007) we placed ‘a high premium on redistribution of land in both urban and rural areas for the benefit of those who were denied access under colonialism.` In our 2009 Manifesto, we committed ourselves to put in place a comprehensive and clear rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform, improvement of the conditions of farm workers and farm-dwellers and building the potential for rural sustainable livelihoods. We seek to put in place a more effective approach to land redistribution that addresses the needs of all South Africans.

We are revitalising rural infrastructure but much more must be done to speed up and widen the net of this programme.

During 2010, ANC cadres must ensure that we work together with our comrades in organised labour to ensure that we improve the living conditions of farm workers and farm-dwellers, who continue to be amongst the most exploited citizens of our country.

We will also make sure that our public representatives and government officials, who have the responsibility of rural development and agrarian reform speed up the provision of services to these communities.

Education

In pursuance of quality education for all and skills development in the country we split the Department of Education into two departments - Basic Education and Higher Education and Training. Basic Education has been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the attainment of quality education in all our schools whilst Higher education has been charged with the responsibility of repositioning the post-school and training system.

Whilst we can pride ourselves that as a country we have achieved almost universal access in education with the millennium goals for the girl child surpassed we are also concerned about the academic achievements of our children. Both national and international assessments continue to reveal that both the numeracy and literacy levels of our learners remain unacceptably low.

Let us ensure that our ANC structures mobilise all adults who cannot read or write to join the Kha Ri Gude Adult Mass Literacy Campaign. This is one of the country`s most successful mass campaigns. We have produced 650 000 literate adults in just two years. The number will reach more than a million this year and we are confident that we will reach our target of eliminating adult illiteracy from our society by 2012.

In all our endeavours to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools, Early Childhood Development and the foundation phases remain critical. Particular attention will also be paid to improving the quality of Grade R and Early Childhood Development to ensure that young children are adequately prepared for schooling.
We have called for non-negotiables in education that, teachers must be on time, in class and teaching for seven hours every day. Working particularly with the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), we will intensify efforts to build a movement for quality education involving learners, teachers and parents alike.ANC branches and structures of our allies, working together with communities, should assist in ensuring that these non-negotiables are adhered to.

Among the key tasks of improving quality education is the strengthening of public school management. Last year, the ANC government initiated an important meeting that brought together the country`s school principals to discuss ways of improving the performance of our schools. This has been an important initiative that forms part of the process of building a new public sector cadre and a social compact with key stakeholders in basic education for better education outcomes. We aim to pursue further interactions in the period ahead, to assess progress made in implementing the recommendations from our first meeting.

To add to the country`s excitement in hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup later this year, we invite South Africans to embrace "My 2010 School Adventure", which encourages all young people in schools to celebrate the first ever African Soccer World Cup. Learners are encouraged to participate in various soccer tournaments and through our partnership with the Local Organising Committee thousands of tickets will be made available to learners from some of the participating schools to enjoy this world-class showpiece.

The process of creating a single post-school and training system for the youth and adults is now underway. Through such a system, the ANC government aims to respond to the requirements of the economy; rural development challenges; the need to develop an informed and critical citizenry, and maximum cooperation amongst the components of the learning delivery system at colleges, universities, work places and work training centres. Through such an integrated system, the ANC government will significantly increase access to post-school education and training. In addition, there shall be an effective coordination between the SETA system and education and training institutions, particularly FET Colleges and Universities of Technologies.

Health

The ANC government has put in place a ten-point plan to improve access to health care and to reduce inequality in the health system. Central to this plan is a major transformation in the way health care is funded and provided in our country. This will involve the strengthening of key components of the public health sector, the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) and an accelerated campaign on HIV/AIDS, amongst others.

We are taking active measures to strengthen our public health sector so that it is in a position to produce better health outcomes. These measures involve the improvement in the quality standards and management of our health facilities; a strengthened human resource planning aimed at addressing shortages of human resources and conditions of work; and the review of drug policy to allow for domestic production of essential drugs.

The implementation of NHI will go a long way in addressing the inequalities that still persist in our health system, especially in the skewed distribution of funding and human resources between the public and private sectors. It is an established fact that the current command of health resources by the private health sector, which serves a minority section of the population, has been to the detriment of the public sector on which the vast majority of South Africans depend. The ANC government is determined to press ahead with the implementation of NHI this year and will ensure that all stakeholders are consulted before the passing of NHI legislation.

South Africa has one of the highest known HIV and AIDS rates in the world and shows a pattern of increasing mortality, especially among the young. This state of affairs clearly shows that our country needs a rapid response and radically changed attitude towards dealing with HIV and AIDS.

Part of our response encompasses a massive campaign in the form of a National Testing and Counselling Week to encourage our people to know their HIV status. These tests are voluntary and confidential, but vital to have accurate information about people`s HIV status, allowing them to assume their due responsibility in addressing this challenge. It also enables government to plan its interventions against the pandemic from an informed basis.

Further responses by our government include the integration of TB and HIV and AIDS treatment sites, so that people do not have to travel from one site to the next in order to receive testing and counselling. The ANC recognises that much more needs to be done to effectively address prevention measures, particularly the ABC campaign. We will be providing antiretroviral treatment to all people co-infected with TB/HIV, HIV positive infants under 12 months and pregnant HIV positive women.

However taking personal responsibility is key in both the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Let us not expose ourselves to unnecessary risks and be part of efforts to educate others about HIV and AIDS. An ANC cadre will also not discriminate against those living with HIV/AIDS and will be part of the solution to this very serious threat to the fabric of our society.

Mobilisation of our people is also integral part of the government`s ten-point-plan for health care reform. The ANC-led Alliance has identified the strengthening of the public health sector and the mobilisation of our people around NHI and HIV/AIDs as key campaigns for 2010 and beyond.

Combating crime and corruption

The ANC is firmly committed to fighting crime and corruption. There is an urgent need to overhaul the criminal justice system to ensure that the levels of crime are drastically reduced.

We spoke, in our Manifesto, of establishing a new modernised, efficient and transformed Criminal Justice System (CJS) to develop the capacity for fighting and drastically reducing crime levels in real terms. There are several concrete measures being undertaken, such as improving the performance of our courts with regards to trials and proceedings, like the granting of bail to suspects. Work is also being done to improve conditions in specialist careers like the South African Police Service (SAPS) investigations, forensic laboratories, criminal record centres, legal aid boards and social work.

The SAPS is currently embarking on a programme to increase its personnel over the next three years and put special emphasis on visible policing, detective and crime intelligence personnel. The number of detectives had increased by 19% by the end of 2009.

In terms of fighting fraud and corruption, the SAPS have established the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations, popularly known as "The Hawks". This unit will enhance our capacity to prevent, combat and investigate national priority crimes.

The government will not, by itself, address the crime problem. ANC members, and indeed all South Africans, are expected to form part of efforts to address crime and corruption, by participating in Community Policing Forums and more directly by reporting crime and corruption, where they encounter these. We must also work with our police service in the apprehension of criminals and not harbour them.

Social Transformation

In our quest to build a caring society, the ANC is determined to create a comprehensive social security system that is built on the fundamental principle of social solidarity. The reform proposals advocate for a system that ensures that the majority of South Africa`s poor benefit from expanded non-contributory or social assistance measures. It will include new measures to strengthen our Unemployed Insurance Fund and the Road Accident Fund. As indicated in our 2009 Election Manifesto, the process to reaching consensus before policy is finalised, will ensure the involvement by all key stakeholders, particularly labour and business.

From April 2010, the equalisation of access to the State old-age pension will commence, providing for men of 60 years to qualify.

More and more children are benefiting from our child support grant policy, with 420 000 new children - up to the age of 15 years, all registered just this last year. In the next three years, more than 2 million children from poor households, from 15 to 18 years old, will benefit from our child support grant.

Housing is a basic need. We are committed to improving the quality of life of our people and to build stronger, better-planned and sustainable communities. In this regard, the Housing Development Agency (HDA) has been established to assist provinces and municipalities with the acquisition of appropriate land for human settlements development. To date, the HDA has received the land and has assembled a plan for six provinces and three metropolitan municipalities. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that development at the local level is properly planned, coordinated and integrated.

The issue of food security is also one of the priorities of the ANC government. The high prices of food and basic commodities have affected the purchasing power of the poor and the working class households in general. The ANC will continue to work with our people so that we are better positioned to respond to the challenges of food security and to protect our people from the adverse effects of sky rocketing food prices.

With this in mind, government has introduced various measures to enhance households and community-based food production, primarily for consumption but also to generate income from the sale of surplus food. The households are provided with agricultural starter packs such as implements, vegetable seedlings and fertilizers. To date, the programme has been rolled out to 8,234 households countrywide. Much needs to be done to upscale the programme.

ORGANISATIONAL TASKS OF OUR MOVEMENT

Our primary objective of ensuring effective provision of services requires amongst other things, the strengthening of the political and organisational capacity of the ANC. The major tasks we have outlined for building a developmental state and for implementing our developmental priorities require the ANC playing a central role as the strategic political centre.

Since the ANC 52nd National Conference we embarked upon what we call organisational renewal. This process is on-going. The renewal of the ANC refers to a process of building and sustaining the ANC to provide leadership to the state and society in general. It seeks to ensure that the ANC remains a mass-based, multi-class and disciplined force of the left. We are unashamedly biased towards the working class and the poor.

Some of the principal tasks for 2010 are:

  • Unity and cohesion of our movement. Unity of the ANC is paramount and it is a task that starts within the ANC and its alliance partners and extends to the rest of our society. All our members must be united behind a programme of action developed by the ANC and its allies. Everything we do is aimed at improving the living conditions of all South Africans, but especially the poor and the working class. In doing so, all structures of the ANC must vigorously adhere to our principles of unity, selfless service, collective leadership, democratic centralism, internal debates, humility, honesty, hard work, constructive criticism and self criticism, discipline and mutual respect.
  • Strengthening organisational discipline: The ANC will continue to take firm action against ill-discipline, corruption, incompetence and abuse of power in our ranks. In particular, we will be consistent and firm in acting against abuse of leadership positions for personal gain and factionalism. We will also manage the deployment and redeployment of cadres in a more objective and transparent fashion through our internal monitoring and evaluation processes. Together with our alliance partners and the broader mass democratic movement, we will individually and collectively confront the imperatives of discipline.
  • Promoting moral regeneration: The ANC has recognised that human development has spiritual and material aspects. It will therefore continue to mobilise interfaith, cultural and traditional organisations for the creation of cohesive, caring and sustainable communities. In particular, the ANC will work with the National Interfaith Leaders Council (NILC) to promote revolutionary morality and values of a caring society. The NILC has committed itself to work with and to place its infrastructure at the disposal of our people. It has also affiliated to the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) for the promotion of peace and development on the continent.
  • Stepping up political education within our movement is a priority this year and beyond. Political Education will focus on curriculum developed by the ANC, and will focus on building the culture of umrabulo ("let`s talk politics"), leadership to society and preparations for organisational events such as the National General Council. We also aim to build a physical political school. We call on ANC cadres to fully participate in the political education programme and also to carry the messages and values of the ANC into broader society.
  • Building capacity for ANC-led campaigns. As part of our efforts to ensure that our structures, especially branches, have capacity to mount campaigns, we will, together with our allies, unveil a campaign programme aimed at complimenting efforts of government at implementing our Election Manifesto, especially around the area of education, health, combating crime and corruption and Vukuzenzele activities.
  • Policy development: Another priority is to build policy and research capacity within the ANC to ensure that ANC is able to provide strategic guidance and support to the deployed cadres. In this regard, we will soon launch our Policy Institute, which will provide policy coordination, policy research, monitoring and evaluation of policy and public representatives.

Part of the renewal entails building our leagues, as well as the integration of our ex-combatants. As per the resolutions of National Conference in Polokwane, the Veterans` League was launched in December last year. We salute all our veterans and pledge to give them organisational support to expand their membership.

UNITY OF OUR REVOLUTIONARY ALLIANCE

Building and defending our revolutionary Alliance is part of our major organisational tasks for 2010.

Working relations amongst Alliance partners are better than ever. Indeed, there is a process of the renewal of the Alliance itself. We consult each other and work together on key issues and programmes that affect our people, as we should. However, much more needs to be done to improve alliance relations at national and more at sub-national levels.

The Alliance with the SACP and COSATU, in particular, is a living Alliance borne out of struggle and neither ‘an accident of history` nor ‘merely a paper alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement by leaders` as was said by our late President, comrade OR Tambo.

The ANC, as leader of the revolutionary Alliance, has the historic duty and responsibility to provide direction. The Alliance partners, on the other hand, have the responsibility to support the ANC in this role. They must also work to ensure that the ANC remains strong and united in order to fulfil its leadership responsibilities.

The most effective and concrete way of building the ANC-led Alliance is through a common programme of action based on our shared strategic objectives. The programme of action must be implemented at all levels of organisations of the Alliance. The Alliance is expected to produce such a programme this year, and this will surely provide the line of march for every cadre of the Alliance.

A BETTER AFRICA, A BETTER WORLD

The ANC remains part of the progressive forces for change internationally, working to promote the transformation of the global order into a more humane and equitable world order.

In this regard, we are guided by the values of internationalism, promotion of human and people`s rights against all abuses and violations, and the support for national liberation from all forms of oppression. We will continue to pursue the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and peaceful means, and to promote mutual friendship and respect among the people of the world.

As declared by our iconic leader, Nelson Mandela, South Africa cannot be an island of prosperity in a sea of despair, therefore, social and economic regional integration in Southern Africa remains a top priority for South Africa. Aside from consolidating the regional gains that have been secured through the Free Trade Area in SADC, we will join with others to extend regional markets through the envisaged trilateral arrangement between SADC, COMESA and the ECOWAS. We want to build regional relations on the foundation of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and we therefore call on our partners, both in SACU and the European Union (EU), to work urgently towards ensuring that the Economic Partnership Agreement preserves the coherence of the customs union now and into the future.

This year we would further the quest of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by urging the developed world to meet their financial commitments. Further to this, we will engage our people through public discourse to enable us to mobilise society to create greater public participation in ensuring the implementation of the MDGs with greater emphasis on our African continent.

Our movement will remain committed to the African Union (AU) and the pragmatic realisation of a United States of Africa, through ensuring the spread of democracy in our continent and the strengthening of AU organs. We will further continue to support NEPAD in eradicating poverty and ensure economic recovery throughout Africa. It remains our belief that NEPAD will promote the recovery of African countries, both individually and collectively, and ensure sustainable growth and development.

We will continue to support and participate in the resolve of finding "African solutions to African problems", especially in quest of assisting the continent to find solutions to the conflicts that continue to plague our people. Such conflicts include those of Somalia, Sudan, the DRC, Ethiopia and Eritrea. However, in countries where there has been a move towards rebuilding the country, we support these initiatives, such as the Unity Government of Zimbabwe and Kenya.

The ANC will forge ahead in the strengthening of South-to-South cooperation, both politically and economically, through platforms such as India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) and the China-Africa forum. We will further seek other cooperative relations with progressive role players throughout the world.

We continue to pledge solidarity with those that are still seeking sovereignty and those who continue to support the campaign for the self-determination of the Western Sahara under the progressive leadership of POLISARIO, this country being the last colony in the African continent.

We continue to pledge our support to the Cubans in their campaign to end the economic blockade against their country. We also call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Cuban Five. It is our belief each country has a right to pursue its own economic path of development.

Our organisation continues to support the calls for finding lasting, just and humane solutions to the Israeli-Palestine question. We firmly believe in a two-State solution, this being the view upheld by the majority of the people of that region, particularly those oppressed in the West Bank and Gaza. Such a two State solution must also recognise the right of the Palestinian self-determination in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Despite many efforts to conclude the Doha Round, our assessment is that unless major developed countries remain faithful to the development mandate of the Round, progress will falter. We will nevertheless continue to work with other countries to ensure that any outcome of the Doha Round rebalances the global trading system in favour of developing countries, and ensure that South Africa`s national interests are adequately accommodated.

The ANC will also continue to agitate for the reform of multi-lateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and United Nations along more democratic and developmental lines.

THE 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP

In six months time, starting on June 11th, the world`s most popular sport will be played on our soil. The Calabash-inspired Stadium in Johannesburg, which remains the biggest in the continent and is amongst the biggest in the world, will see our national soccer team kick-start what will go down in history as the first Soccer World Cup to be hosted on African soil. We have been waiting for this tournament for a long time, and have prepared thoroughly hence we are confident that this will be the best World Cup ever!

Since the days when Tata Madiba said that it was one of his dreams to see the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, we have been working hard towards bringing this event to Africa. We have built new and revitalised our existing stadia and we have upgraded our transport and accommodation facilities. We have demonstrated our pedigree by successfully hosting the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the Final Draw for 2010, and these have inspired us to make this, the 2010 Soccer World Cup, a truly African World Cup. We are confident that our national team, Bafana Bafana, is undergoing serious revamp, so that it makes us proud during the Soccer World Cup. We urge all South Africans to support our national team.

Football is more than a game; it is a great unifying force and in the words of Madiba, can help "us uphold the values of tolerance, of inclusiveness and reconciliation, and of non- racialism and peace that are still dear to all of us today"

We welcome all visitors to our country, and wish all the teams well and again urge all South Africans to support Bafana Bafana.

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

The ANC Annual Achievements Awards were initiated to promote a greater focus on the organisational tasks of building branches, strengthening local government and building the leagues. Hopefully, by next year we will be having the Veterans League Award.

The awards aim to highlight the features of strong branches of the ANC and its leagues - the Women`s League and Youth League - and to recognise the best practice within the movement and its government.

The awards are named after outstanding leaders and cadres of the ANC, whose individual qualities of commitment and selflessness are an example to every ANC member. During their lives, each of these comrades made an immeasurable contribution to the struggle for freedom and a better life for all.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the ANC Achievement Awards for 2010:

  • The Sol Plaatje Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Branch goes to Havana City Branch, Diepsloot, Johannesburg Region, Gauteng.
  • The Charlotte Maxeke Award, conferred on the best performing ANC Women`s League branch goes to Enhlanzeni Region Ward 17, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.
  • The Anton Lembede Award, conferred on the best performing ANCYL branch goes to Ward 27 Mabhinki Branch, Lower South Coast Region, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
  • The ZK Mathews Award, conferred on the best performing group of ANC Councillors goes to the ANC Councillors of the City of Johannesburg, Gauteng.

We congratulate the winners and runners up, on their hard work and commitment. We trust that they will continue to be the best examples of ANC structures and local government.

OBITUARIES

We must also take the time to salute all of our comrades who have passed on during the past year. These comrades have made a lasting contribution to the struggle for freedom in South Africa and in the reconstruction and development of our country. We dip our revolutionary banner in honour of their deeds indelibly marked in our hearts and in our history. Their spirit will forever inspire us and the generations to come will advance our cause of attaining the objectives of our National Democratic Revolution.

We lower our revolutionary banner in remembrance of our departed Comrades and Compatriots.

Inkosi Mbongeleni Zondi, Jan van Eck, John Schippers, Cassim Salojee, Violet Seboni, Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi, Abueng Modise, Nomvula Khelinah Shoba, Dirk du Toit, Wantu Zenzile, Victor Moche, Jabu Nkosi, Pandelani "Sparks" Ramagoma, Johannes "Pass Four" Phungula, Chris Ndondebandla Dlamini, Mphathi Nyalunga, Papi Moloto, Thandeka Langa, Ronnie Press, Frans "Ting Ting" Masango, Eleanor Kasrils, Imam Gassan Solomon, Tebogo Sikisi, Jacob Seathloblo, Monty Motloung, Stephen Bahumi, Meshack Ngondo, Dennis Thamsanqa Ranthla, Bright Mxolisi Gebashe, Jerry Mokgatle, Victor Nxumalo, Mpho Simon Phatlane, Sipho Prince Maseko, Boitshepo Emmanuel Lekone, Joseph T Megalane, Solly Tsikane, Bonginkosi Jeje, Mlungisi Jaca, Malefetsane Steven Potsane, Mzikayise Cecil Didiza, Thabo Katane, Oscar Khangela Mnisi, Mzi Mduba, Bethuel Makhosonke "Msebenzi" Quma, Sipho Vusumuzi Nkabinde, Thembinkosi Nkabinde, Siphiwo Sityebi, Mzimkhulu Ernest Gabayi, Morapedi William Masimong, Thabane Petros Ngcobo, Lebogang "Mangena" Mosala, Solly Tholo, Maemane Ishmael Maduna, Samuel Ngobese also known as "Setch", Malusi Lungwase, Prince Bonginkosi Mtshali, Mthuthuzeli "Ginyizembe" Mpehle, Gesheni Lwazi Mthembu, Enoch Msweli Mphungose, Richard Lumkile Williams, Mxhasi Onddala also known as "Bra B", Elias Motaung, Paulos Nkosinathi Ngubeni, Maja Douglas also known as Selbourne Mazibuko, Tiisetso Elmon Nhlapho, Luyanda Diba, Archibald Vusumuzi Mgeni, Mhlayivayo Nozibeko, Anthony Mthembu, Curtis Nkondo, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

On behalf of the National Executive Committee I declare 2010 "The Year of Working Together to Speed Up Effective Service Delivery to the People."

Amandla!

Viva ANC Viva!

Viva the Revolutionary Alliance Viva!