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Statement on release of ANC Policy Documents

22 March 2007

The African National Congress is today (22 March 2007) releasing for distribution to ANC structures a series of policy discussion documents that form part of preparations for the ANC National Policy Conference in June.

These documents will form the basis for extensive debate within all ANC structures over the next few months.

This process draws on a tradition within the democratic movement of critical debate and broad consultation on important policy issues. Not only are we looking to the ANC membership to provide direction on the decisions that will be taken at the ANC National Conference in December, but we are also viewing this process as an opportunity to deepen the political life of branches and the consciousness of members.

On Tuesday this week, 100 trainers from around the country gathered in Johannesburg to be briefed on these documents. They will be conducting workshops for branches at regional and sub-regional level over the next few weekends. Thereafter branches will hold general discussions on the areas identified in the documents.

These deliberations will be fed into Provincial General Councils (PGCs) due to be held by the end of May. Provinces are then expected to forward the outcomes of these discussions to headquarters ahead of the National Policy Conference, taking place in Gauteng from 27 June - 1 July 2007.

These discussion documents are the product of the work of the Policy Committee and other sub-committees of the ANC National Executive Committee. They are intended merely to stimulate and guide debate. As such, they do not constitute policy positions, nor do they reflect the positions of any ANC structure.

The process we are initiating this week will culminate in the adoption of policy at the ANC`s 52nd National Conference in December.

As in the past, these discussions will include the structures of our Alliance partners, other formations of the mass democratic movement, and other sectors within society.

The ANC hopes that some of these documents will also stimulate debate within society more broadly, contributing to a vibrant discussion on many of the challenges that confront our country and continent.

In addition to the policy discussion documents being distributed today, the ANC last month released a draft Strategy and Tactics document, which, once adopted at National Conference, will replace the document that has been the guiding political and strategic perspective of the organisation for the last decade.

Also for release this week is the Organisational Review discussion document. This follows a process of examination and introspection coordinated by the Secretary General`s Office and involving ANC Provincial Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries, the secretaries of the Women`s League and Youth League, and all headquarters departments.

The discussion document follows a mandate from the ANC National General Council in 2005 to undertake an extensive review not only of the structures of the ANC, but also of its systems, operations and capacity.

The Organisational Review document looks in particular at the work needed to strengthen the ANC as a driver of fundamental change, both in its capacity to mobilise and galvanise society and to direct and oversee the work of government in all spheres. It envisages a concerted effort to strengthen the membership of the ANC, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This includes a proposal to set a target of 1-million members by the ANC centenary in 2012.

The Organisational Review document aims to began a process towards forging an ANC that can be a strong, vibrant and effective political centre.

The policy discussion documents cover the following areas:

  • Economic transformation, which gives detailed consideration to the challenges of building a developmental state that can act as an instrument of economic liberation.
  • Legislatures and Governance, which discusses options and proposals in relation to South Africa`s electoral system, the future model of governance, including the role of provinces, and floor-crossing.
  • Social transformation, which identifies the key tasks facing our movement in confronting the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment. The task of integrated youth development is a critical component of this programme.
  • Transformation of the judicial system, which considers the achievements and challenges of building a single, transformed and independent judiciary that operates effectively according to the principle of separation of powers, and that ensures universal access to justice.
  • Peace and Stability, which will facilitate discussions on governance in the criminal justice system and the role of communities and civil society in combating crime and building safe and secure communities.
  • International relations, which analyses international developments, our agenda for Africa, and the tasks facing the ANC as part of the world progressive movement.
  • Revolutionary morality and ethics of the ANC, which considers, among other things, the relationship between the ANC and business, and the principles that should guide the organisation in safeguarding the integrity of the movement and its cadres.
  • The RDP of the Soul, which is a product of the ANC Commission for Religious Affairs, reviews the problems of a spiritual and moral nature that have emerged in the era of liberation.
  • Transformation of the media, which reviews the ANC`s approach to the battle of ideas on the contested terrain of the media. The document considers how to promote the twin and interrelated goals of media freedom and media diversity.
  • Two complementary documents consider the challenges and opportunities facing workers and unions. The papers review the process of labour market reform over the last ten years, in the context of dynamic changes heralded by the process of globalisation, and consider the implications of these processes for our Alliance.

These discussion documents, together and individually, cover a wide range of issues, some in great detail. But even then, they do not constitute a complete and comprehensive set of questions that need to be discussed in developing a vision for the ANC for the next five years.

These documents should not be used to constrain or limit discussion. They should instead form the basis for an extensive, unfettered and constructive engagement on the steps that need to be taken, in the second decade of our freedom, to advance the vision of a better life for all South Africans.

More information:

Steyn Speed 082 572 7304