Held at the Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha on the 1st – 4th October 2015
We, the one thousand and seven hundred delegates to this Provincial General Conference (PGC) gathered in Mthatha, Walter Sisulu University, Nelson Mandela Drive, on the 1st – 4th October 2015, united as women and men, rural and urban, youth and veterans, hereby adopt this declaration as a collective message to our province and entire society. We, the delegates from seven hundred and fifteen wards, representing the hopes and aspirations of the people from Eastern Cape, we are assembled in this conference under the theme: “Unity in Action Towards Socio-economic Freedom.” We were further strengthened by the presence and the progressive contribution of our revolutionary alliance in SACP, COSATU and SANCO.
We are gathered at this important University named after one of the finest cadres of the movement Walter Sisulu, to assess the progress we have made as a movement and as a province in realising the resolutions of the 7th Provincial Conference and to also prepare for the National General Council, which will be held on the 8th – 11th October 2015.
Embolden by our historical mission for liberation, in a disciplined manner, we discussed how to accelerate the national democratic revolution guided by the Freedom Charter, a vision whose 60th anniversary we are commemorated this year. We further acknowledged the progress that has been made in building the organisation and the implementation of the social transformation programme by the ANC-led government. This PGC believes that we continue to be in a discourse characterised by the consolidation of political democracy, the sustained confidence by the people for our movement, and the relative stagnation of the economy, which create a set of opportunities and challenges for the cause of social transformation.
As delegates, we condemn the entrenchment of foreign tendencies and sub-cultures that seek to subvert our organisational culture and practices. In this regard, we believe all grievances of members, whether legitimate or not should carried-out with the provisions and the prescripts of the ANC Constitution instead of engaging in informal activities, which have a dangerous potential to undermine the integrity of the movement. We further call upon all organisational structures to place a high premium on the ‘unity and cohesion’ of the organisation through politically servicing our membership and by dealing decisively with instability and factional tendencies whose purpose is to capture the organisation from the hands of the membership.
We place an emphasis on the building of the ANC branch as a nucleus of the organisation and a centre of organisational programmes. ANC branches must be at the centre of community activities and must serve as intelligent operatives for the movement and at all times must be found with and amongst the people.
We further believe that on the balance of forces, the ANC remains popular amongst the people and the only hope to bring about sustainable social change. However, we acknowledge that there is need to accelerate change as the patience of the people is not guaranteed. We need to communicate better the victories of our movement as well as the challenges experienced in pursuit of the revolution. We must always be with and amongst the people at all material times.
As this PGC, we resolved on key considerations for radical economic transformation, which reaffirmed the prioritisation of key sectors and industries to unlock the economic potential of the province for growth and job creation. As the PGC, we reaffirm that the implementation of key economic strategic projects, which we had identified and resolved in the 7th Provincial Conference will be essential in changing the economic outlook of the province and most importantly contribute in change the people’s lives. In the main these projects are on energy (shale gas, bio-fuel, oil
refinery, wind farms and hydro-power), Special Economic Zones and Agriparks, Infrastructure upgrades (Road Network, Ports and Railway).
We believe that Education remains the greatest weapon to take our people out of the vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment and inequality. In this regard, the PGC called for the intensification of the teaching of African languages in all the schools to preserve our culture and contribute towards social cohesion and sense of pride. A particular attention must be paid to the funding model to address the challenges confronting the previously disadvantaged Higher Education Institutions in the province in order to cater for the students from poor families.
We noted the progress made in fighting crime and corruption and further called upon all the branches of the ANC to lead the fight against corruption and all forms of crime.
On Health, the PGC appreciates progress made on state of readiness towards implementation of NHI despite delays in the establishment of the fund and regulating legislation. The PGC calls for fast-tracking of this legislation to ensure roll-out of the NHI. Noting that the NHI is only championed by the Department of Health, the PGC mandates all branches of the ANC to own the NHI and organise multi-sectoral forums to engage on requirements for roll-out of the programme.
The PGC recommits our movement in building a democratic state that serves the people listen to their needs and deliver the in the most effective, efficient and equitable way. We welcome the introduction of the back to basics campaign and the principles that underpin it as part of our efforts to strengthen the developmental local government. We call upon the ANC branches to be in the forefront of the campaign working with municipalities. We need to do more to mobilise society to work together to build a caring nation and trust with our communities.
The conference reaffirmed the commitment of the ANC to continue to urgently and systematically eradicate the entrenched unequal gender relations in our society. At the core of our resolution is affirming our commitment to safeguard the core values of fighting against the vestiges of patriarchy.
We call upon the strengthening of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) as a critical force for the mobilisation of young people in the province behind the agenda of the movement. We further believe that SASCO must be reaffirmed as the organisation that must contest SRC elections in Institutions of Higher Learning in the Province and other PYA structures must play a supportive role in this regard.
Leading up to the NGC, the PGC re-affirms its support to the current collective leadership as it was elected at Mangaung and calls upon our membership to desist from discussing the leadership succession outside the guidance of the leadership of the movement.
We call upon our membership to work tirelessly towards the overwhelming victory of the ANC in the forthcoming local government elections. We are also emphatic in that this phase should contribute to the consolidation and deepening of democracy and the developmental role of local government, as the sphere of government closest to the people. We therefore reaffirm that municipalities must be sensitive and responsive to local problems, find sustainable ways to meet their socio-economic, and material needs and improve the quality of their lives.