The African National Congress (ANC) held its annual January National Executive Committee (NEC) Lekgotla from the 20th to the 21st January 2018 at St Georges Hotel, Irene in Gauteng. The January Lekgotla is one of two Makgotla called by the ANC every year to assess the implementation of commitments made and to provide guidance to government planning and the preparation of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) .
This Lekgotla was preceded by a normal NEC meeting held over two days, on the 18th and 19th January 2018. The outcomes of this meeting have already been communicated to the public in a statement released this past Saturday.
The Lekgotla was attended by members of the NEC, the Leagues, the Alliance, the broader Mass Democratic Movement as well as comrades deployed in various positions within the state and sought to develop a focused program for the ANC for the next twelve months. We did not seek to develop new resolutions but rather the modalities for the implementation of the radical and transformative resolutions of the 54th National Conference and directives of the January 8 NEC Statement.
Guided by our commitment to rebuild the movement and turn the South African economy around, Lekgotla received presentations on government performance, an overarching financial overview, the progress on the progressive implementation of fee free higher education, the implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), the Infrastructure Development Plan and our Land Reform program.
Commissions focused on Higher Education and Training, Health, Land and Agrarian Reform, Industrialisation and Manufacturing, Peace and Stability, Capacity of the State and Organizational Renewal.
On Higher Education and Training
The Lekgotla noted and commended government, higher education institutions and other stakeholders for the extensive work done to ensure readiness of institutions following the announcement of the implementation of fee free education for students from poor and working class households in 2018 by the President of the Republic, Comrade Jacob Zuma.
Short term, medium term risks and mitigation plans were discussed and adopted by Lekgotla. These included plans to ensure universities have sufficient capacity, in line with their enrolment plans, to cater for the numbers of students expected to enroll at each institution. Due consideration was also given to how Universities and TVET Colleges will cater for students who they will not be able to absorb in the current academic year including the expansion of e-learning and distance education capabilities.
Further, government has been directed to engage institutions of higher learning to ensure that there are plans in place to ensure fair allocation of houses and the provision of adequate accommodation and transport to meet the expected demand. Finally, government is required to develop and put in place clear progression rules and conditionalities relating to the provision of fee free education. The capacity of NSFAS must also be enhanced to efficiently carry out its mandate under the new circumstances.
The provision of fee free higher education for students from poor and working class households is a policy position of the African National Congress taken at successive Conferences in fulfillment of the Freedom Charter demand that "the doors of learning and culture shall be opened". We thus warmly welcome the bold move by the ANC led government to progressively implement this resolution without delay.
On Industrialisation and Manufacturing
Lekgotla identified economic recovery, job creation and transformation of the South African economy as being the urgent tasks of the movement and South Africa as a whole if we are to achieve the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution. Confidence building actions, decisively dealing with youth unemployment, transformation of the ICT and Financial Services sectors, focus on Mining and Beneficiation, SMME and Cooperative Development, boosting manufacturing output, industrial financing and the development of our monitoring and evaluation capacity were the key focus areas of discussion around which the economic recovery plan must pivot.
Lekgotla further resolved on the following:
The ANC must convene a Job Summit by the first quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year to develop a common approach towards growing economy and employment creation
To implement the decision to distribute spectrum in a manner that supports transformation and reduces barriers to entry
Urgently establish the 4th Industrial Revolution Commission to develop a joint country intervention plan to leverage opportunities offered and mitigate negative consequences of the 4th Industrial Revolution
Leverage the Financial Sector Charter to fund aspects of transformation including industrial financing and SMME development and support
Continue to engage the mining industry to seek common ground on the Mining Charter
Government was directed to pay the more than R4.3bn owed to SMMEs no later than March 2018
Urgent finalisation of the procurement bill to support SMMEs and Cooperatives
Expansion of Black industrialist programme to include new industries in the un-served sectors and the setting aside of funds to finance their initiatives
Incorporate compliance on SMME, Cooperatives & localisation into the audit plans of the Auditor General's Office
On Land and Agrarian Reform
Lekgotla has called on government to urgently initiate a process to finalize the modalities for the implementation of the national conference resolution to expropriate land without compensation as one of the key mechanisms available to government to effect land reform and redistribution. Lekgotla reaffirmed that utilization of this mechanism must ensure, amongst others, food security, greater agricultural output and complement our efforts to attract investment and economic growth. The ANC is committed to evidence-based decision making in executing this fundamental resolution and will be embarking on a series of engagements with stakeholders and experts to guide implementation.
Lekgotla has further resolved to continue engagement with traditional authorities and other stakeholders on the massification of asset ownership, including the provision of title deeds which are critical for socio-economic activities, to people in urban and rural communities.
Lekgotla recommended placing a moratorium sale of State Land to prevent critical land being sold off to allow government to redistribute vacant, unused and under- utilized State land.
On Organisational Renewal
Lekgotla was resolute on the urgent need to act decisively to rebuild the bond between the ANC and our people. The ANC is committed to reclaiming the moral legitimacy of our movement and restoring the integrity of the ANC. We were unanimous that we have now entered a new period of renewal, underpinned by unity of the ANC, the Alliance, the broader mass democratic movement and ultimately unity of the people of South Africa around a shared vision of fundamental transformation.
In pursuit of this goal, the ANC directs its structures and the government it to work decisively to arrest the negative tendencies that have been creeping into our movement. The ANC must once again become a campaigning organization rooted amongst our people, engaged in ongoing open and mass recruitment.
There must be a focus on strengthening training, support and induction to ensure branches focus on grass roots and community work and an efficient, credible online membership system launched by June 2018. More work must be done to support and strengthen the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA).
All structures that are due to hold Conferences are directed to do so no later than June this year and uniform guidelines for Conferences across the country developed by the NEC.
To ensure proper coordination of work and implementation of resolutions, the decision that certain positions are deemed to be full-time in the organization, including as heads of identified subcommittees, must be implemented.
Lekgotla was emphatic that the ANC government must take urgent and decisive action to root out corruption, create jobs and improve education access.
Whilst noting that the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill will soon be tabled before Cabinet, its implementation must be accelerated with the following receiving priority - school health, a comprehensive cancer campaign, the elderly, an HIV and AIDS treatment acceleration plan and assistive devices for people with disabilities.
The ANC further directed government to take strong action to support the people of the Western Cape during the water crisis.
As we advance towards the 2018 General Elections, the ANC is directed to, amongst others, engage the IEC on the need to undertake a massive voter education campaign.
Lekgotla reflected on the passing on Comrade Rica Hodgson, a courageous and determined fighter and selfless servant of our people. Comrade Rica has left an indelible mark on South Africa's history, giving of her youth and her life to fight on the side of the oppressed masses.
The ANC sends our deepest condolences to the family of Comrade Rica Hodgson and assures them of our support during this difficult time of bereavement. Lekgotla has also directed our structures to convene a fitting tribute to so selfless a revolutionary as Comrade Rica.
The 54th National Conference of the ANC has taken decisions that respond to the prevailing conditions of our people's lives with an aim to impact positively them. The preoccupation of our government must be how best to implement these decisions.
Lekgotla was instructive that the actions of government must, at all times, affirm the ANC as strategic centre of power with authority over the state. The ANC has never been uncertain about policy instruments it should employ in order to achieve our objectives. Cadres deployed in government must therefore be diligent to understand and propagate the views of the movement on any given matter and where unsure, seek clarity from the ANC.
A clear accountability framework for all cadres operating in the state will be developed within 8 months. The Accountability Framework is expected to include provisions for enforcement and consequence management where cadres do not perform as expected. The ANC will also build its internal capacity to give policy direction to its elected representatives as well as creating a monitoring mechanism.
The foundation has been laid for the implementation of a program of radical economic transformation which will emancipate the black majority for the shackles of poverty. We are confident that working together with all societal partners, this program is attainable.
For our part, the ANC is committed to unity, to being hard at work at to create a better South Africa. Our base is re-energised, and we look forward to working with our people for a decisive victory in the 2019 General Elections.
African National Congress
Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
Khusela Diko 072 854 5707