The ANC National Executive Committee held a regular meeting on a virtual platform on 26-29 March 2021.
The meeting discussed the foremost priorities for 2021, in particular the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic reconstruction. The meeting reviewed the ANC’s Programme of Action for 2021 and held a session with the Integrity Commission to receive and discuss its reports and recommendations on both generic issues impacting on its work and specific cases it has processed.
RESPONSE TO COVID-19
The NEC meeting took place on the first anniversary of the implementation of a nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The decisive measures taken in the early days of the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa helped to delay the spread of the virus and enabled the preparation of our health facilities for the expected rise in infections.
The NEC commends the people of South Africa for the unity, solidarity and discipline they have displayed over the last year. Despite great hardship and difficulty, most South Africans have diligently adhered to the necessary restrictions and observed health protocols. We do acknowledge that in managing this unprecedent situation, mistakes may have been made; and the responsibility of the government and the rest of society is to rectify such weaknesses as and when they arise.
We salute the health workers who, often at great risk to themselves, have cared for the sick and have saved many lives. We salute other frontline workers who have ensured the uninterrupted provision of essential services throughout the pandemic. We pay tribute to those on the frontline who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and extend our sympathies to their families, colleagues and friends.
Our foremost priority at this time is to intensify all efforts to unite all South Africans to overcome the pandemic. In this phase, this requires a society-wide effort to ensure the success of the vaccination campaign. The NEC welcomed the progress made in the vaccination of health workers, especially in light of the challenges presented by the emergence of a new variant.
The meeting agreed, however, that the vaccination programme needs to be significantly accelerated and scaled up. The NEC called on all relevant government entities to work with social partners and other stakeholders to urgently procure, distribute and administer sufficient vaccine doses to meet the country’s needs. Working with other countries on our continent and in the developing world, South Africa should intensify its campaign against ‘vaccine nationalism’.
The NEC emphasised that the vaccination programme does not subtract from the need to maintain the basic health protocols that are critical for our collective safety. This includes the maintenance of reasonable restrictions on the size of gatherings, the mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces, physical distancing and other measures required to contain transmission.
The NEC further supported the stance by the South African Government, the African Union and other nations to call for the WTO to wave the intellectual property and other provisions of TRIPS, to allow expanded manufacturing of Covid 19 vaccines as a global public good.
The NEC welcomed the sections in the 2021 ANC Annual Programme of Action which dealt with the campaign against Covid 19 as one of the priorities for 2021. Through this campaign, we will continue to educate our communities, and the different sectors identified in the various vaccination phases.
The meeting expressed concern at the possibility of increased transmission of the coronavirus during the Easter and other holidays in the coming period. The ANC wishes strongly to reiterate the advice that has been given by our scientists and health authorities for all South Africans to exercise maximum care, and to act responsibly so together we can avoid a potentially devastating third wave of infections.
The NEC reaffirmed that alongside the defeat of COVID, economic recovery is our foremost priority this year. The NEC welcomed the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, particularly with respect to areas like employment stimulus, economic reform, infrastructure.
The NEC expressed concern around the ongoing electricity generation challenges in the country and therefore welcomed the recent decision on the emergency procurement of electricity. The NEC expressed hope that the matter pertaining to broadband spectrum allocation will be resolved without delay.
The meeting agreed that while there is a pick-up in implementation of infrastructure projects, the pace needs to be accelerated. The NEC further urged the business community to support the recovery process by accelerating productive investments in the economy.
The NEC decided that it will convene a special session to evaluate the implementation of the Economic Recovery Plan and the programme of economic transformation.
FUNDING OF HIGHER EDUCATION
The NEC received a report on the funding of higher education. The NEC noted the important progress that has been made over the last decade towards our commitment to provide free higher education to poor and working-class students.
The NEC welcomed the work in progress to look at solutions to address the student debt as well as the critical issue of funding of higher education for the missing middle.
The NEC agreed with the caution that we must ensure that we do not underfund the critical TVET, Community Education and Training and Skills sectors. These components are critical to empowering millions of young people, as well as ensuring lifelong learning and adult education and literacy.
LAND REDISTRIBUTION AND REFORM
The NEC received a report on work progress in Parliament on the Expropriation Bill and the amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution. It confirms the approach by Parliament that if we only rely on restitution, it will take decades to resolve the historical injustice, and hence the need to focus on land reform, redistribution and expropriation.
The NEC further recalls its comprehensive decisions on this matter taken at its meeting in May 2019, following the Land reform summit in March of that year, and urge all our structures and members to support the process in Parliament, and to make submissions guided by ANC positions in these public participation processes.
STRENGTHENING CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
The NEC discussed the need to support and strengthen all institutions that contribute to the advancement of our constitutional democracy. While no arm of the state is above criticism, the ANC distances itself from attacks on the judiciary that seek to undermine its legitimacy and impugn its decisions. Our Constitution provides sufficient safeguards against the abuse of power by any arm of the state, and any person who has evidence of any misdemeanour or abuse should make use of the available remedies.
The NEC reaffirmed the decision of its 54th National Conference to support the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. It therefore reiterated its support for the work of the Zondo Commission and called on all ANC members and supporters – and indeed all members of society – to assist the commission in its work.
Several ANC leaders have made or are scheduled to make submissions to the Commission. President Cyril Ramaphosa will be appearing before the Commission on 22-23 April in his capacity as the current ANC President and former ANC Deputy President.
The NEC views its submission as necessary to the work of the Commission and important for the broader effort to confront state capture and ensure that such activities are never allowed to happen again. The NEC noted that the Presiding officers of Parliament, who are ANC deployees, are also due to appear before the Commission.
Issue of the Public Protector
The NEC reflected on the ANC’s approach to the issue of the Public Protector currently in Parliament. The NEC noted that the matter was dealt with in terms of the rules adopted by the National Assembly for the removal of a Head of a chapter 9 Institution. Following the findings of the independent experts that the Public Protector had a prima facie case to answer, the ANC Caucus agreed to support a motion in the National Assembly to move to the next stage of the process in terms of its rules.
The NEC confirmed the responsibility of the ANC Political Committee in Parliament to oversee matters before Caucus and to consult with, and be guided by Officials and Headquarters as and when required.
ANC PROGRAMME OF ACTION 2021
The NEC received a report on the campaigns undertaken by the organisation since the last NEC and the update on the plans for the coming three months. The NEC reaffirmed its commitment to activities under the banner of the Unity, Renewal and Reconstruction in the Year of Charlotte Maxeke.
The NEC urged all its structures to mobilise and organised around the following activities that planned in the coming three months:
• Easter Covid 19 public health and education campaign
• Commemoration of the passing of cde Winnie Madikizela Mandela on 2 April
• Charlotte Maxeke week from 1-10 April, with the ANC Women’s League
• Anniversary of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Day on 6 April
• Commemoration of cde Chris Hani on 10 April
• The Covid-19 campaign to be devolved at district level
• Preparations for and holding of BBGMs
• Preparations for May Day and Africa month, as well as Youth Month and Freedom Charter Day in June.
The NEC noted the report on preparations for local government elections, and appreciates the work already done, being carried out and planned, under the guidance of the National Elections Team and urge all structures to focus on this critical elections work, fixing local government and reconnecting with the people, towards an overwhelming victory.
The NEC further agreed that the Ethiopia-Tigray conflict and its resolution should be taken forward under our programme on Advancing the African Agenda.
Preparations for BBGMs, Regional and Provincial Conference
The NEC received a report of the Organising Committee. Among others, the meeting:
• endorsed the amendments to the Guidelines for BBGMs, Regional and Provincial Conferences as presented;
• endorsed the new cut-off date for membership for these conferences as 5 March 2021;
• noted the update on the ANC membership and the ongoing development of the online membership system;
• requested headquarters to do the verification based on the Guidelines of those branches that have already go to BBGM and provide feedback to the provinces and affected branches on the status of their BECs.
North West provincial matters
The NEC noted the concern raised by the North West Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) regarding their ability to carry out their mandate in the province. The meeting instructed the Officials to urgently meet with the IPC and NEC North West deployees to finalise the matters raised by the IPC before the end of April 2021. The IPC is further urged to establish its Provincial Integrity Commission as a matter of urgency.
Appointment of the ANC Youth League National Congress Preparatory Committee
The NEC noted the report of work done by Officials as mandated by the last NEC, to finalise, after consultations with provinces, a National Congress Preparatory Committee of the ANC Youth League, with the proviso that it is constituted by ANCYL members who are below 35, gender balanced and from all provinces.
Establishment of the Electoral Committee
The NEC welcomed that the ANC Electoral Committee has been convened and briefed by the SGO on its terms of reference. The Electoral Committee consists of comrades K Motlanthe (Chairperson), N Ntingane (Deputy Chairperson), A Masondo, L Hani, B Tshwete, Nora Fakude, Theo Steele (COSATU) and Loretta Jacobus (SACP).
TACKLING PATRIARCHY IN THE ANC AND SOCIETY
The NEC expressed its deep concern about statements that reflect patriarchal attitudes and denigrate women. These include statements on social media and elsewhere by leaders of the ANC. Such statements are unacceptable and have no place in the ANC or in society.
The meeting reaffirmed the ANC’s unwavering commitment to gender equality. This necessarily involves measures to ensure the equal representation and participation of women in all leadership structure of the ANC, government and other parts of society.
It also requires constant reminders and political education of all members and leaders. In this regard, the meeting agreed to undertake a programme of gender sensitivity training throughout the ANC, starting with the NEC.
UNITY AND COHESION OF THE ANC
The meeting discussed the task of forging unity and cohesion within the movement. This is essential to the ANC’s ability to undertake its historic mission to unite the South African people in building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
The NEC reaffirmed its commitment to principled unity based on the mission and values of the ANC.
The NEC therefore condemned the establishment of groups operating as an organised faction within the ANC to undermine the ideological and organisational integrity of the ANC. The NEC warned those who wish to subvert the ANC by seeking to create diversions that we will not tolerate meddling in the internal affairs of the ANC or the use of ANC resources to undertake counter-revolutionary activities from within its structures and facilities.
The meeting agreed that no ANC member should associate themselves with or be involved in the so-called ‘RET Forces’. Furthermore, the NEC will not allow will not allow any member of the ANC staff to use the resources and premises of the ANC to hold meetings of the RET or any other faction. In terms of Rule 25.9 of the ANC Constitution on ‘Institution of disciplinary proceedings’, the NEC directs the Presenter of the ANC to investigate these matters and, if deemed necessary, immediately formulate charges for the attention of the National Disciplinary Committee.
The NEC also noted the re-emergence of an orchestrated campaign of ‘fake news’ directed against President Cyril Ramaphosa and other leaders of the ANC – akin to the disinformation crusade South Africa experienced during the height of state capture. As before, these machinations, which are aimed at undermining organisational and societal renewal, and at subverting the process of social transformation, will fail. It is the responsibility of all ANC members and indeed all freedom-loving South Africans to protect and advance the gains of our democracy
The NEC noted the emergence of social movements, which include prominent ANC stalwarts, with the express desire to defend our constitutional democracy. The NEC called on all ANC members to also ensure that they actively participate in the structures and processes of the movement to advance their views.
The NEC reaffirmed the requirement in the Constitution that all leaders abide by decisions of the collective and desist from making statements that contradict agreed positions of the movement. Public statements by any senior leader of the ANC that misrepresent policy positions of the movement and decisions of its structures are therefore condemned without reservation.
Related to these developments is the narrative gaining currency on various public platforms that the challenges the ANC faces with regard to unity and cohesion are a reflection of a multiplicity of factions pursuing their selfish interests. We wish to state very clearly that there is one ANC with constitutional and other structures responsible for taking decisions on a variety of issues. Articulation and enforcement of decisions of the ANC, legitimately arrived at, is therefore not an act of factionalism.
UNITY OF FORMER MK COMBATANTS
The NEC expressed concern at the use of the name of Umkhonto we Sizwe to promote factionalism in the ANC and engage in acts of social instability. The meeting warned against utterances or actions that bring the proud history and noble legacy of Umkhonto we Sizwe into disrepute.
The meeting urged the implementation of conference resolution to urgently convene a Conference to form a united structure of all MK military veterans. In this regard, processes should be initiated to bring the MK Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) and the MK National Council together towards the convening of the united conference. Members of these structures are urged to desist forthwith from any activities that contribute to social disorder in society, or cause disunity or factionalism in the ANC.
INTEGRITY COMMISSION AND RELATED MATTERS
The NEC met with members of the ANC Integrity Commission. Both the NEC and Integrity Commission appreciated the opportunity to engage in an open and frank discussion aimed at combating corruption and other forms of unethical behaviour that threaten to undermine the country and the organisation.
The NEC expressed full and unconditional appreciation and support for the Integrity Commission in the execution of its mandate to provide leadership in the combating of unethical conduct, in promoting integrity, honesty and increasing compliance with the Constitution, Rules and Code of Conduct by members of the ANC as well as to protect the ANC from being brought into disrepute.
The NEC agreed that the Commission’s mandate is primarily focussed on dealing with ethical matters and defending the reputation and integrity of the ANC, not determining the guilt of innocence of individuals.
The NEC also commended the Commission on the progress with the development of an ANC Ethical Framework, which will be discussed by ANC structures leading up to the National General Council.
The NEC agreed that the work of the Integrity Commission must be supported through appropriate capacitation, regular engagements and expeditious processing of its reports.
The NEC resolved the individual reports of the Integrity Commission dealing with Individual Members should be processed by the officials and the NWC and be dealt with at a Special NEC meeting.
IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTIONS AND GUIDELINES ON STEPPING ASIDE
The NEC reaffirmed the Resolutions of the 54th National Conference on ANC Credibility and Integrity, as well as decisions of NEC meetings on 28-30 August and 6-9 December 2020 on the implementation of these resolutions. The NEC resolved that these resolutions must be implemented in line with the Guidelines and Procedures adopted by the NEC at its meeting on 13-14 February 2021.
All members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days, failing which they should be suspended in terms of Rule 25.70 of the ANC Constitution.
The meeting emphasised that the 30 day period will be to enable the implementation of the decision in line with the guidelines, not to review the decision.
The NEC also agreed that the Provincial Chairpersons and Secretaries would meet with the National Officials during that time to further refine the guidelines to ensure the resolution can be effectively and practically implemented.
The Secretary General’s Office will work with the provinces to identify all people affected and inform them of the decision.
The NEC welcomed the decision by the ANC Secretary General Cde Ace Magashule to use this time to seek the counsel of past leaders of the movement.
The NEC called on all ANC members to rally around this decision and not to engage in any acts of indiscipline, including through mobilisation or public statements that undermine implementation of the Conference resolution.
ELECTION OF NWC MEMBER
The NEC elected cde Dr Gwen Ramokgopa to fill the vacancy on the National Working Committee left by cde Nomaindia Mfeketo, following her appointment as an Ambassador.
Issued by the African National Congress National Executive Committee
071 623 4975