We welcome senior political editors and editors of the South African media and the international media.
The ANC is launching its discussion documents, which will form the basis of our policy conference to be held in June this year.
I am joined here by the chairpersons of the various ANC NEC Sub committees who here today to answer questions you may have.
The context of these documents is that they are being launched in the centenary year of the ANC, and we are approaching the 20th year of our fledgling democracy in 2014.
The ANCs policy conference in June will take place within a paradigm shift in the approach of the ANC towards the economic Development of our country.
As the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma said in January 2011 at Polokwane in the January 8 statement. Political emancipation without economic transformation is meaningless, that is why we have to commit ourselves to economic freedom in our life time".
The principal objective of the ANC releasing its policy discussion documents is to enable the members of the ANC from branches to the highest levels, to review our policies and our resolutions adopted at the 52nd National Conference in 2007 as well as to see how far we have gone in implementing them since then. Our members will assess the challenges that we confront and how we determine new policies where appropriate, acceleration implementation of policies and to make changes where applicable.
These documents are to be discussed within the structures of the ANC, however, our Alliance partners, COSATU, the SACP and SANCO, will also discuss them.
The ANC plays a leading role in the transformation of the South African Society and therefore, these documents will also be discussed by all sectors of our society and our people at large.
As we said last week, there are no holy cows when the ANC discusses and assesses its policies. We believe it is through vibrant debates, self criticism and constructive criticism even from outside the ranks of the ANC, that we are able to come up with policies and a programme of action that will accelerate the improvement of the conditions of the lives of our people in order to create a better life for all.
The ANC today is operating in a South Africa where its policies have contributed to change, we also operate in a changing Africa and a changing world.
The events in the global economy since the global financial crisis in 2008, where on the one hand the crisis of capitalism and the private sector led to the collapse of the USA and European banking systems, and ineffective governance on the other hand, led to the collapse of the Euro zone in particular, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.
We have noted that even the unprecedented array of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures have not mitigated the crisis but on the contrary has exacerbated the high budget deficits for governments and unsustainable levels of sovereign debt.
We are releasing these documents in the context of Peoples Republic of China being the second largest economy in the world with the BRICS countries of which SA is a member, beginning to play a significant role in world affairs.
In our continent we have witnessed the so called Arab Spring where popular will of the peoples of North Africa have demanded that democratic change takes place.
The ANC has since 1969 at the Morogoro conference had a Strategy and Tactics document which serves as a guide and a political compass for our organisation.
The Strategy and Tactics is a theoretical foundation for our National Democratic Revolution, which seeks to build a National Democratic Society that the ANC articulates, as, A UNITED, NON-RACIAL, NON-SEXIST, DEMORATIC AND PROSPEROUS SOUTH AFRICA.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa enjoins us to heal the divisions of the past, and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.
The Strategy and Tactics discussion document proposes that our vision for the next few decades should be informed by an approach that suggests, that having concluded our first transition with its focus in the main, on political democratization, we need a vision that must focus on the social and economic transformation of SA over the next 30 to 50 years. It also proposes that we must adopt a decade long programme of organizational renewal that consolidates and expands the character and values of the ANC as a revolutionary peoples movement whilst building its capabilities and its capacity for innovation and renewal.
The Strategy and Tactics Document also proposes that we advance into a Second Transition.
Why a Second Transition?
Firstly, our First transition embodied a framework and a national consensus that may have been appropriate for political emancipation, a political transition but has proven inadequate and inappropriate for our social and economic transformation phase.
Secondly, the balance of forces at the time of our transition ruled out some options and weighted choices towards others thus the negotiated nature of the transition meant that capital reform would necessarily be an incremental, market focused process, engaging with the current owners of capital this meant an implicit bargain involving the ANC committing to macro- economic stability and international openness and White business agreeing to participate in capital reform to modify the racial structure of asset ownership and to invest in national priorities. Thus the 2000 NGC document in Port Elizabeth already asked the question then;
"Should we be satisfied with merely maintaining and tinkering with the so called modern sophisticated economy and infrastructure that the white man bequeathed us or should we search for bold and creative solutions?
The importance of the Emancipation of women is highlighted in a Gender Discussion Document.
The ANC Constitution articulates Non Sexist Policies that finds expression in the Constitution of the Republic which recognizes women as equal citizens with equal rights and responsibilities.
The ANC has always been at the forefront of womens struggles by putting forward a vision of a non-sexist society and institutionalizing gender equality and womens empowerment through its policies, its institutional arrangements and intervention measures.
The intention of the Gender Paper is to re examine progress made by the ANC towards its commitment to a non sexist society, within the organization and in its stated transformation agenda as well as its role in influencing gender based practices in the continent. It identifies shortcomings and proposes recommendations that would ensure that issues of gender equality are embedded within the policies of the ANC and that they are articulated in the programmes of a democratic government.
Amongst the priorities that the discussion document focuses on which was profoundly focused upon at the National Womens Conference of August 2011, is the speedy publication of the Gender Equality Bill, which advocates the 50/50 parity in the public and private sectors. Other priority areas are mainstreaming gender equity measures across the whole of government; economic empowerment, job creation and sustainable livelihoods for women, rural womens development and womens empowerment through skills building.
In our Economic Transformation Discussion document amongst others it is highlighted that the structural crisis we inherited from the Apartheid economy which we addressed with some success while still holding many challenges , in particular the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Broad measures are proposed to ensure labour absorption, more competitive, more productive and equitable practices in the economy; improving infrastructure and expanding the skills base, reducing unnecessary regulatory uncertainty and supporting SMMEs.
On the State owned enterprises and DFI s we highlight the issues of fine tuning ownership and governance models to maximize outputs of desirable outcomes in particular, aligning and integrating SOE`s and DFI`s to form part of a long term developmental plan to ensure success of the New Growth Path.
Amongst the key deliverables would be to ensure that the SOEs and DFIs are creatively utilized as key instruments of skills development and skills transfer and also to create a regulatory environment that would enable the leveraging of the infrastructure development plan that was highlighted by the President in the State of the Nation Address.
The Proposal on the State Intervention in the Mineral Sector is as follows:
The SIMS study noted that whilst SA was exceptionally rich in minerals the crucial mineral economic linkages were not being maximized and that the state was not receiving an equitable share of the resource rents (returns above a normal return). The study also noted that in many states critical mineral feedstocks into the economy (like steel from iron ore or polymers from coal/gas/oil) were either state controlled or had strong state influence. Most mineral feed stocks are supplied into the SA economy at monopoly prices (Export Parity Price) severely curtailing downstream job creation. The study also noted that mining has been severely constrained by infrastructure such as rail and power and recommended that user-concessions (Public Private Partnerships) be considered
On the capture of resource rents, the study proposes a 50% Resource Rent Tax (RRT) on returns on investment in excess of the Treasury long bond rate plus 7%, to be ring-fenced in a Sovereign Wealth Fund and used to fund (a) minerals development, particularly geo-survey and technical Human Resource Development and Research and Development; (b) an offshore fiscal stabilization fund and (c) an offshore regional infrastructure fund to finance trade related infrastructure. Regarding the deepening of the mineral linkages, the study proposes that the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development ACT be amended to allow for mineral license minimum performance conditions on linkages: backward (local content), forward (beneficiation), knowledge (HRD & R&D) and spatial (Local Economic Development and infrastructure provision). The study also proposed a category of strategic minerals (critical
feedstocks) that could have license extraction and local pricing conditions. Finally, the study recommended that a First In First Assessed (free entry) mineral regime should only apply to areas with no known mineralization and that all known terrains be put out to tender against developmental criteria (maximum linkages realization).
In the discussion document on SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION some of the policy proposals include:
Enhancing services to children and transforming early childhood development; a more vigorous fight against substance and alcohol abuse and proposes certain harm reduction and regulatory actions be undertaken. Examples are: limiting the availability of alcohol and revising advertising and pricing policy.
Proposals on access to housing and development of human settlements include the consolidation of relevant policy legislation and frameworks for better human settlement planning.
The document also notes that LAND REFORM is a cardinal part of realizing the objective of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities.
The recommendation in this document expresses the view that the current willing buyer willing seller model tends to distort the land market through inflating the prices of land earmarked for restitution and this has the dual effect of making land reform expensive and delays the process of increasing access of the poor to land.
To this end a Land Management Commission is to be established within the Ministry to advise, undertake research and develop guidelines on land management .A Land Valuer General be established to provide fair and consistent values for rating and taxing purposes, determine financial compensation in cases of land expropriation under the Expropriation Act and other legislation in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic. A land rights management board will also be established.
The document also proposes Youth Development strategies to improve education and skills levels to prepare young people for the world of work in particular grade 12 skills development programmes , internships and apprenticeship programmes. These must be complemented by such short-term measures such as an Expanded public works programmes and Kha RI Gude.
These programmes ought to have behavioral change and life skills components aimed at increasing education and awareness in relation to substance abuse and pregnancy as well as HIV and Aids.
The document proposes that in complementing all these measures especially to young people actively seeking employment, possibly through a job seekers grant that is linked to compulsory skills development programmes, should be explored. This has to be complemented by DFIs , SOE including the NYDA and the banking sector to actively support the programmes and youth entrepreneurs through targeted preferential and credit extension programmes.
On EDUCATION and Health the discussion paper covers four areas.
On Basic Education: to vigorously pursue the implementation plan of 2014 and the realization of the schooling 2025 plan.
On Higher Education and training: the focus area remains the building of a single coherent post school education and training system.
On the Health Sector: the need for consolidation of the NHI .
On Science and Technology, the paper recognizes the need to raise public awareness on Science and Technology . An important area is the need to increase our gross expenditure on Research and Development as a percentage of GDP to make the country more competitive to enable us to move rapidly into a knowledge economy and information society. Another key issue for policy consideration will be the need for effective co ordination of all Science Councils under the Department of Science and Technology.
The discussion document on Communication proposes that a single National ICT Policy Framework be developed. It also proposes that ICT be elevated to the level of a basic utility and that the cost of ICT be reduced by broadening the base and discouraging monopolies in the sector. That ICT be repositioned as a vibrant economic sector. In terms of the Mass Media, the paper proposes that transformation of the industry as well as ownership be broadened to achieve empowerment goals.
In terms of accountability of the print media the document proposes that an appeals mechanism be found that will ensure that increased accountability of the print media is achieved through an independent mechanism free of government and business influence.
The Legislature and Governance discussion paper proposes:
The ANC government must undertake the development of a blue print policy to underpin and guide the task of reforming, rationalising and strengthening of provinces. The task must be carried out by government through appointment of a panel of experts.
The process to reform, rationalise and strengthen provinces must be open, democratic and ensure broader consultation and participation by the public.
The ANC must give serious consideration to constitutional requirements to carry out the above, in case there is a need for fundamental changes to provinces. The envisaged policy changes might require constitutional amendments.
The key political parties must be sufficiently consulted and be allowed a space to play a role in shaping the provincial reforms.
On local government the challenge of delivering faster and better services has become a high priority for the ANC. This has also been exacerbated by rapid urbanisation influenced by the patterns of migration. Some of the recommendations to confront theses challenges facing local government are further devolution of functions to cities including full accreditation for the housing and transport regulatory functions. These functions are necessary for cities to be able to plan proper, integrated urban environments and change the apartheid spatial patterns of development we inherited.
The discussion document on PEACE AND STABILITY focuses on key issues affecting Home Affairs, Justice and the Police.
On Home Affairs: a developmental state is unable to meet its essential goals without a detailed and secure identification system that incorporates both citizens and non-citizens who live, work and study within its borders. The ID system is crucial to a range of social, economic and cultural activities and ensures that a state is empowered to organize itself, plan for the future and protect its citizens. It is therefore imperative for Home Affairs to be repositioned to manage an effective national identity system to secure an effective management of immigration and asylum seekers.
Some of the key steps to achieve this goal has been the launching of a learning academy where over three hundred officials from the SANDF have been appointed as immigration officials and the launching of a large-scale system modernization programme
On JUSTICE: the document seeks to initiate a policy discussion in relation to the judicial governance and administration of courts pursuant to the decision of the NGC and the Peace and Stability Sub Committee.
The principles contained in the document are geared towards the development of policies for the establishment of an integrated judicial governance framework under the leadership of the Chief Justice; establishment of an appropriate court administration system with administrative autonomy to provide functions that are connected with judicial functions of the court; that the power to make rules of court relating to case management should reside with the judiciary and rules relating to matters which impact on public policy should be approved by the executive and parliament.
With regard to the Police the key proposal is on the matter of a single police service as prescribed in section 199(1) of the Constitution of the Republic.
The discussion document proposes guiding principles which are informed by an objective which maximizes capacity for effective and efficient policing.
This will enhance the functioning of the police and the metro police and streamline command and control and ensure uniform standards. The preferred route could be the establishment of a national committee for operational command and control which can be established in terms of ministerial regulation.
The Discussion Document on International Relations explores the role of the ANC given the changing international balance of forces. It isolates the role that South Africa should play in bodies such as the UN, G20, BRICS, and the Rio Group. It also looks at how SA should strive to strengthen the SADC and AU. The document looks at the efforts to contribute to post conflict reconstruction and development, peace keeping operations and mediation. The document recommends that the ANC deepens its relations with former liberation movements whilst at the same time strengthening party to party relations with all progressive political formations on the continent.
It also recommends that the ANC and the ANC led government in its quest to build a better world should continue to strengthen the transformation of global governance, South South cooperation, North South relations, parliamentary diplomacy and economic diplomacy. The ANC is of the view that economic diplomacy is not about promoting narrow economic interests but it is about responding responsibly to the enhancement of Africas economic renaissance.
Our position on Palestine is that a credible inclusive dialogue with Israel must take place on the basis of a two state framework as well as strong unity amongst Palestinian parties are critical conditions for peaceful co existence between Israel and the free Palestinian state.
The Freedom of the Peoples of Western Sahara with internationally recognized borders is an important principle. The ANC supports a negotiated settlement with the government of the Kingdom of Morocco under the auspices of the UN.
Regarding Cuba, we continue to pledge our solidarity with the government and the people of Cuba and we call for an immediate end to the US embargo on CUBA and support the release of the Cuban five.
As I have stated in the beginning of this press briefing, the National Policy Conference will be required to review progress with regards to the ANCs strategic objectives, its policies, its state of organization. This process that begins today with the discussions at branches , regions , provinces , the leagues , our alliance partners ( COSATU, SANCO, The SACP) must be reflected in the free flow of ideas and a culture of robust debate within our movement as well as capacity for self reflection , self correction, innovation and renewal.
As I said earlier this process is not going to be confined to the ANC and its allies, but we call upon all sectors of South African Society and our people at large to engage with these discussion documents as their input will be of crucial importance to assist the ANC in shaping a future that must be characteristic of this paradigm shift to social and economic development. The ANC as a liberation movement and also as a ruling party does not only lead its card carrying members but the policies we are discussing will have a profound bearing on the future development of this nation.
All discussion papers will be posted on the ANC website as from today, Let the Festival of ideas flourish.
I thank you.
Chairperson of the NEC Sub-Committee on Policy
African National Congress
Jackson Mthembu 0823708401
Keith Khoza 0828239672
Ishmail Minisi 0823335550