Political Overview by the Gauteng ANC Chairperson, Paul Mashatile, at the Provincial General Council, 8 June 2012, St George`s Hotel, Tshwane

National Chairperson of the ANC, Comrade Baleka Mbethe

Deputy Provincial Chairperson, Comrade Gwen Ramokgopa

Provincial Secretary, Comrade David Makhura

Provincial Office Bearers

Members of the Provincial Executive Committee

NEC deployees here present

Leadership of the ANC Veterans League

Leadership of the ANC Youth League

Leadership of ANC Women`s League

Leadership of MKMVA

Leaders of our Alliance partners

Leaders of MDM structures

Regional Office Bearers

Branch delegates

Comrades and friends:

Introduction

On behalf of the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC, I would like to welcome all of you this Provincial General Council.

We have convened this PGC to prepare for the national policy conference. The PGC must give our delegates to the National Policy Conference a mandate on all policy issues.

Gauteng delegates to the National Policy Conference must loyally articulate and defend the Gauteng position.

In addition the PEC will also table its annual report.

Consistent with the traditions of our movement, we must engage with all the discussion documents before us robustly and without fear or favour; placing only the interest of our movement and our people first.

Comrades, our ultimate goal should be strengthen our focus and take forward with even more determination the tasks of our National Democratic Revolution; to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Key milestones

Comrades, just over a week ago, on the 31st of May, was the hundred and second year since the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Uppermost in the minds of those who conceptualised and formed the Union was the goal of dividing the people of South Africa along ethnic and racial lines; laying the basis for white minority domination.

On the contrary, those who conceptualised and formed the African National Congress always cherished the ideals of freedom, democracy and equality for all.

The ANC proclaimed that our destiny as South Africans, black and white, is linked and that the future of our country will be shaped by all those who had made it their home.

Comrades, it is this non-racial future that our fore-bearers envisaged that gave our struggle for national liberation a distinctly non-racial character; that saw humanity as one and diversity as a source of strength.

Comrades, 2012 is the year of the Centenary of our movement.

On the occasion of our Centenary we must celebrate hundred years of the many selfless struggles of our people to bring about freedom, democracy and equality for all.

Equally we must not loose the opportunity presented by this historic epoch of our centenary to renew and ensure the rebirth of our movement and to strengthen our focus on the tasks of the National Democratic Revolution.

As part of our centenary celebrations, last week we received the Centenary flame from the Province of the Eastern Cape.

This marked the further continuation of our provincial centenary celebrations which we launched in November last year.

The focus of our provincial centenary celebrations, will be on former President Dr A.B. Xuma, under the theme; “the Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be opened”

As part of the centenary celebrations the centenary flame has been moving around the province, as some of our regions take part in the centenary celebrations.

Our centenary celebrations also included zones and branches reflecting on where we come from and we are going as the movement.

In the course of this month, we will also officially launch our political school; the Walter Sisulu Leadership Academy, which we have established in partnership with the University of Johannesburg.

We have partnered with UJ because we regard cadreship develop and training as a critical ingredient in strengthening our movement; ensuring that we produce cadres that will contribute meaningfully to the agenda of social and economic transformation.

Comrades, whilst in preparation for the formalisation of our political school, many of our branches have been holding a series of political discussions on the tasks of the NDR; focusing on building a developmental state, social and economic transformation, organisational renewal, the ideological battle and our international work.

We commend branches for undertaking these initiatives and preparing themselves adequately for discussions at this PGC and subsequently at the National Policy Conference.

This to us is an indication that cadreship development in our province continues to take a centre stage.

On the 15th of June we will hold a Presdntial lecture, to be addressed by President Zuma focusing on the legacy of former President General Dr A.B. Xuma.

Comrades, drawing lessons from the life of former President A.B. Xuma, under whose leadership the ANC grew from strength to strength, we must use our centenary celebrations to build a strong and growing ANC that remains true to its historic mission.

This is a mission to unite the people of South Africa behind the goal of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa and to ensure the total emancipation of all South Africans.

Also drawing lessons from the Presidency of President Xuma, we must constantly seek ways of modernising our movement and ensuring that it is properly structured to allow it to take forward the tasks of the National Democratic Revolution.

Comrades, noting that it was during President Xuma`s Presidency that the ANC Youth League was founded and that the ANC Women`s League was revitalized, we must continue to work hard to build strong and vibrant leagues of the ANC.

This must be coupled with the work we are doing to mobilise all motives forces towards the goal of building a National Democratic Society. This work is based on our understanding that the ANC is the leader of all the motive forces in society.

Comrades, this year is also the year of our mid-term as the ANC government since the 2009 elections. It is also the first year of the 4th democratically elected local government.

This year is also the year wherein as this PEC we are completing two years since you elected us in office in 2009.

Comrades, these developments present an opportunity for us to assess the work we are doing both in government and in the movement to build a better life for all and to strengthen the ANC.

We must continue to evaluate our work because in less than two years from now it will be twenty years since freedom and democracy in our country.

At that time our people will correctly expect of us to show tangible results of our work and will refuse to accept the explanation that our inability to deliver is constrained by our apartheid past.

Equally we are facing an increasing number of the voting population who are “born-frees” and with whom the apartheid narrative does not fully resonate.

Comrades we also meet a few days after we celebrated the 33rd Anniversary, of the formation of Congress of South African Students (COSAS).

COSAS has a proud history of fighting for People`s Education. Going forward, we must continue to support COSAS as it continues to make a contribution towards the national effort to provide quality education in our country.

On this important occasion we say; Each One. Teach One!

Comrades as you know June is youth month; a month in which we pause and reflect on the progress we are making to ensure that the youth of our country benefit from the fruits of freedom and democracy.

On this occasion, we want to express our concern at the high levels of youth unemployment in our country.

We must recommit ourselves to combat youth unemployment, which if not attended to will become a threat to our programme of social and economic transformation.

Working with the ANCYL and other youth formations, we will strengthen our efforts to increase access to skills, job and other economic opportunities for our young people upon whose shoulders the future of our country lies.

The International balance of forces

Comrades, we meet here today, during a period in which the international balance of forces have shifted fundamentally from where they were at the time of our liberation in 1994.

Our movement the ANC came into power at a time characterized by a global environment that was hostile to the left project.

This was a project that, among others, sought to infuse into the South African society the African humanism of Ubuntu and thus lay a foundation for a nation and society based on human solidarity, respect, accountability, tolerance and caring.

The period when we took over power was a period dominated by a neo-liberal outlook whose primary goal was to entrench market fundamentalism.

This was also a period of rampant globalization and rapid movement of capital and integration of production.

Equally, the failure of a number of post-colonial African states and the plunder of Africa`s natural resources dominated the public discourse and narrative on Africa. This contributed to the marginalization of our Continent and strengthened Afro-Pessimism.

In response to these challenges the democratic government adopted and implemented policies aimed at cushioning the domestic economy from the harsh effects of these developments and to position our economy on a sustainable growth and development trajectory, so that we can effectively advance our transformation programme.

These policies contributed significantly towards the attainment of macro-economic stability, making it possible for the democratic government over time to increase spending on social services and infrastructure development necessary to stimulate further economic growth and support social development.

The 2007 ANC Strategy Tactics noted that; more than ten years after our freedom and democracy, the system of global capitalism continued its dominance.

We also noted however that the fastest growing regions were in the countries of the South such as Brazil, India Russia and China.

We called for greater cooperation among these countries to increase their voice and to build people centred and people driven systems and forge strategic partnerships.

Comrades, today in 2012, global capitalism is confronted by its worse crisis in many decades.

More than ever before questions are being asked on whether capitalism in its current form will survive the crisis it faces.

Of significance is that the crisis facing capitalism is being felt at the heart of the global capitalist establishment; in the United States and in Europe.

While the South African economy will no doubt be affected by these developments, it is important to note, as we did in the 2007 Strategy and Tactics document that; countries like Brazil, India and China have now become new areas of growth and influence.

Africa is also emerging as a significant growth area. It is now the third fastest growing region after Asia and the Middle East.

Africa`s GDP now roughly equals that of Russia or Brazil at 1.6 trillion US dollars and is expected to increase to 2.6 trillion US dollars by 2015.

Recent efforts to establish a Free Trade Area, involving the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and SADC have strengthened regional integration in the Continent.

Regional integration in Africa has the potential to create a common market of 900 million people with a purchasing power of 860 billion US dollars.

Comrades as you know, President Jacob Zuma has been appointed to champion the AU/NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Rail Road Corridor.

This initiative is expected to carry forward some of the key objectives of NEPAD, including creating the necessary conditions for sustainable development in our Continent.

Our country needs to position itself strategically to take full advantage of the changing economic forces and shifts in global production.

Gauteng, as the engine of the South African economy and a significant player in the economy of the SADC region and the African Continent, needs to take a lead in exploring and taking advantage of these developments.

In particular, we must continue to encourage Gauteng companies to enter into these new markets.

Targeted measures must also be put in place to increase trade with countries in our continent and the new growth countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and China.

Part of facilitating greater trade with these countries is the need to strengthen and promote people to people contact using the instrument of arts, culture and heritage.

Arts, culture and heritage are powerful instruments to bring people closer together, to strengthen bonds of friendship and solidarity and to promote a better understanding and appreciation of our ways of life, our cultures as well as our common heritage and our shared destiny.

Comrades, it is critical for us to understand and engage with these new and changed global balance of forces as we develop policies and interventions to build a strong and cohesive ANC and as we advance towards a National Democratic Society, beyond our first centenary of our movement.

We must equally engage with the implications of the possible emergence of the left in Europe in response to the austerity measures implemented by governments in that part of the world.

Our attention must also be focused on the implications of a European Union that is without countries such as Greece and Spain.

We must also keep a close watch on developments in North Africa and the Middle East, especially implications of the post-Arab spring political dispensation.

The local balance of forces

Comrades, the 1994 democratic breakthrough opened up space for the liberation movement as well as civil society formations to raise their grievances against government through democratic processes, including through protest action, marches and strikes.

As the ANC we welcome the opening up of the democratic space for constructive political engagement with the citizens of our country.

We must however caution against the abuse of this democratic space by elements that resort to the destruction of property and the violation of the rights of other people, during legitimate protests, strikes and marches.

Indeed we must condemn incidences of violence and the destruction of property during legitimate protest action.

Linked to this is the freedom of expression, especially the freedom of artistic expression, that was recently abused by the artist Brett Murray whose controversial art work; The Spear violated the right to dignity of President Zuma.

As we have said before, we urge all our artists to use their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of artistic expression, a right as the ANC we will defend to the end, to contribute towards the on-going process of nation-building, social cohesion and national healing.

It is our considered view that the arts as well as art galleries, which are neutral spaces, have an important role to play in building a National Democratic Society.

Comrades, another phenomenon of our times that we need to pay attention to is the seemingly antagonistic engagements between the ANC government and its alliance partners, in particular in the labour movement.

These antagonistic engagements take the form of vicious and often combative public spats especially on issues where there seem to be disagreements.

In response to these challenges we must continue to engage with our alliance partners with a view to avoiding these public spats.

This we must do because these spats have the potential to erode public confidence in the ability of the ANC government to govern effectively and govern in the interest of the majority.

In this regard we may wish to engage in a thorough going discussion on the role of the progressive trade union movement in the overall programme to build a national democratic society and a developmental state.

Comrades, over the last few years, we have seen our strategic opponents abusing the courts with a view to undermine decisions of the ANC government.

They are doing this also to weaken the state and undermine the progress we are making towards building a National Democratic Society.

In response we must strengthen the capacity of government to translate policy into effective legislation.

We must also ensure that our caucuses in all spheres of government are properly capacitated to execute their legislative functions effectively. This will include improving research as well as oversight, monitoring and evaluation capacity.

In recent times we have also seen the Democratic Alliance embarking on campaigns that seek to erode the confidence of our people in the ANC government.

Comrades, we must continue to analyze and find responses to this phenomenon.

We must be clear in our minds that the activities of the opposition, in particular the DA, present another challenge which is mainly about attempting to occupy our space at an aerial and ideological level.

At all times we must remember that; the DA is our strategic opponent.

We must therefore not be sympathetic to their programmes because their ultimate objective is to take over state power in order to advance their narrow, selfish neo-liberal agenda.

The DA is also using our methods to mobilize communities and make in roads into our strongholds. Our response should be to strengthen the capacity of our branches to continue to lead communities,

Governance

Comrades, since 1994, we have made significant progress to lay the foundation to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

We have established a constitutional democracy, which has replaced the racially exclusive and non-accountable parliamentary political dispensations of the past.

We have made strides towards a single national education system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, which replaced the system of segregated, ethnic-based and Bantu Education.

This has resulted in the attainment of universal access to primary education well ahead of the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals.

In a drive to eradicate extreme poverty we have over the years expanded the social security net as the basis for creating a caring society and securing the material well-being of our people.

Our interventions in this regard have resulted in the decline in absolute poverty from 11.3% in 2000 to 5% in 2006, dropping continuously.

Comrades, as the ANC we view the issue of equality across race, gender and culture as the cornerstone of our efforts to build a National Democratic Society.

It is for this reason that we have placed emphasis on accelerating the participation of women in the political, economic, social, educational and cultural spheres of our society.

We are pleased that that in terms of political participation, the representation of women in Parliament increased from 27.8% in 1994 to 43.3% in 2009. In provincial legislatures it has increased from 25.4% to 42.4% over the same period.

Comrades, our country was once the pariah of the world. Today South Africa is a beacon for the peaceful resolution of conflict on the continent and globally.

Through our participating in world affairs, we continue to contribute meaningfully in global efforts to build a better, caring and more humane Africa and the World.

We have successfully organized and hosted major international economic, cultural and sporting events, including a highly successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Comrades in order to strengthen long term planning, we have established the National Planning Commission.

The Commission has produced a National Development Plan 2030 which outlines a path towards inclusive and sustainable growth in our country.

In Gauteng as part of strengthening long term planning, we have established a Provincial Planning Commission and recently launched our long term development plan; Gauteng Vision 2055, which coincides with the centenary of the Freedom Charter.

Going forward we urge ANC structures to continue to engage with this vision with a view to ensuring popular participation in its implementation.

The successes we continue to register in education include an increase in the matric pass rate to 81.3% in 2011, with Gauteng being the top performing province in 2010 for the first time.

We are also on track to achieve universalised Grade R education by 2014.

With regards to health, the number of AIDS related deaths in Gauteng has dropped from 38.5% in 2009 to 35% in 2011.

There has been an increase in the number of nurses trained and given permanent employment.

Maternal and infant mortality have decreased and we are on track to achieve the Millennium Development goals for maternal mortality by 2014.

Going forward we must consolidate and deepen these achievements as we continue our efforts to provide quality health care to the people of Gauteng.

Since 2009, we have delivered over 94 000 houses and made significant strides in upgrading informal settlements.

There has been a reduction in serious crime since 2009.

Robbery has decreased by 26.3%, sexual offences, theft of motor vehicles and illegal possession of firearms by 16% each, and murder and housebreaking by about 11% each.

However Comrades more efforts are needed to strengthen the fight against crime. This includes strengthening Street Committees, support for Community Policing Forums and increased police visibility.

Last year we fully implemented the decision of our 11th Provincial Conference to merge the Tshwane Metro Municipality and Metsweding District.

We are confident that this decision will enhance the capacity of the merged Tshwane Metro to improve and accelerate service delivery.

We are also pleased that both the West Rand and Sedibeng have concrete proposals towards implementing our decision of becoming a Metro System of governance.

Our approach to establish a Metro system of governance in Gauteng is part of efforts to increase capacity for local government to effectively provide basic services and build better communities.

Comrades, despite these and many other achievements we have registered thus far, our country and our province face the persistent triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

If not attended to these challenges will erode the gains we have made in laying a foundation for a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Tasks of the National Democratic Revolution

Comrades, given the challenges we face and based on our analysis of the balance of forces, the strategic task of current phase of the NDR is to develop concrete responses towards the resolution of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

In order to realise the resolution of these challenges, we must build a strong and cohesive ANC that has the capacity to continue to lead society and the state.

We must also build a developmental state that has the strategic and technical capacity to redirect resources towards the transformation of society.

We must also strengthen our efforts to radically change the ownership patterns in the economy and create conditions for expanded participation in the economic mainstream by black people, women, the youth and the marginalised in our society.

In this regard we must develop concrete interventions led by the state towards the transformation of key sectors of the economy; mining, energy, manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology, Business Process Outsourcing and the financial sector.

This will require continuous investment in research and development as well as the development of skills required by the economy.

Equally, we must increase investment in strategic economic and social infrastructure.

In this regard we welcome the announcement of the more than one trillion rand infrastructure investment programme announced by government.

This programme, which will turn South Africa into a massive construction site, will be rolled out over the next five years, to build roads, dams, ports and increase our energy capacity.

Similarly in Gauteng we must continue to strengthen our investment in strategic economic and social infrastructure.

Our work to support strategic sectors of the provincial economy such as value added manufacturing, Information and Communications Technologies, tourism, cultural and creative industries, the green economy and Business Process Outsourcing must be strengthened.

In addition our efforts to build Gauteng as Globally Competitive and socially inclusive City Region must be strengthened.

Organisational Renewal

Comrades, one of the critical pillars of the current phase of the NDR is the need to pay attention to building a strong ANC that is capable of leading the society and the state.

As we enter the second centenary of our movement, we need the kind of ANC that continues to be a powerful and progressive force for social and economic transformation.

Central to this task is the need to build strong ANC branches that are rooted in communities, are in touch with community issues and have the capacity to lead community struggles and respond comprehensively to the daily challenges facing communities.

Comrades, the un-ANC behaviour by some among us, as well as our structures, has had the effect of eroding the moral high ground of our movement.

Our task therefore is to reclaim this moral high-ground, by renewing the progressive values of our movement; the values unity, selflessness, service, collective leadership, democratic centralism, internal debates, humility, honesty, hard work, constructive criticism and self criticism, discipline and mutual respect.

Indeed we must build and ANC that is not arrogant, that is accessible and ANC that listens to the people and is a home for all.

The ANC must at all times seek to build a broad societal consensus and mobilise society behind matters of common interest.

Comrades in order to strengthen especially the capacity of our movement to effectively undertake the tasks of the current phase of the NDR, we must be prepared to re-consider the manner in which our Head Quarters is structured.

Specific proposals in this regard include increasing the fulltime capacity at Luthuli House by having fulltime NEC members to head relevant departments.

We should also debate whether the National Working Committee is structured appropriately. The capacity of the Secretary General`s Office should also be increased.

These proposals are also relevant to provincial and regional structures and are contained in the Organisational Renewal Document which we must support.

As we move forward we must continue to invest in the theoretical and ideological development of our members.

This we must do in order to give our members an opportunity to sharpen their understanding and ability to respond to the challenges brought about by the dynamic and ever changing local and global social, economic and political situation.

In this regard we must continue to strengthen political education among our members.

In particular we must introduce measures to ensure that every ANC member undergoes compulsory political and ideological training so that they understand what it means to be a member of the ANC, what are its policies and programmes and what it means to be of service to the people.

Greater political consciousness among our members will strengthen efforts to build an ANC that is devoid of factions and slates as well as engage robustly in the battle of ideas both internally within the ANC as well as with our ideological and strategic opponents.

Greater political consciousness will also inculcate in our members the spirit of volunteerism which for many years was the guiding principle of our founding fathers and mothers, which will promote revolutionary discipline and conduct among our members.

Comrades, as we renew our movement and ensure its rebirth we must do so fully aware that conditions that existed 100 years ago, at the time our movement was born, have changed dramatically.

We must therefore use this period to modernize our movement. We must continue to embrace technology and introduce new and efficient ways of doing things.

Comrades, as part of renewing itself the ANC must prepare, train and produce a new generation of leaders that will take it beyond its first centenary, defend and deepen the gains of our freedom and democracy.

This must be done within the context of generational transition.

As we carry out this important task we must do so without loosing the experience and expertise of the older generations of leaders of our movement.

Like those who came before us, the new generation of leaders of our movement must demonstrate unrivalled integrity and passion to serve the people of South Africa and indeed all of humanity.

They must also arm themselves with the proper organizational capacity, ability and technical competency to take our struggle for social and economic transformation to a higher level.

We must continue with the task of evaluating the performance of the leadership we elected at the Polokwane Conference. This we must do before we start with the process of considering names of individuals we want to nominate in Mangaung.

It is important that this process must take place within formal structures of the ANC and not discussed in factional meetings.

Comrades we must ensure maximum unity in Gauteng!

We must use this period of renewal of the ANC to move away from slates drawn up in dark corners by ill-disciplined individuals who seek to subvert the ANC democratic processes to serve their narrow factional agendas.

We must continue to be guided by the core values of our movement while at the same time implementing new and bold ideas.

Comrades, we must also pay attention to strengthening our work on the international front.

This work includes strengthening party to party relations, government to government relations, trade and economic relations with countries within SADC and the African continent.

We must also continue to work with progressive forces in the world towards the goal a just, peaceful and caring world order.

The ANC must continue to be on the side of the poor and the marginalised in the world.

Comrades these are the strategic tasks we need to collectively undertake during the current phase of the National Democratic Revolution.

As we execute these tasks let us do so with dedication and utmost revolutionary discipline befitting of true ANC cadres

Conclusion

I trust that we will use this PGC to discuss and theorize on the tasks of our National Democratic Revolution without fear or favour.

At this PGC we must robustly engage with all the policy documents;

  • The Second Transition
  • Organisational Renewal and the Tasks of Leadership
  • Building Financial Sustainability of the ANC
  • Legislature and Governance
  • Economic Transformation
  • Social Transformation, Education and Health
  • Gender Equality and Women`s Emancipation
  • International Relations
  • Communications
  • Peace and Stability
  • Land Policy and Agrarian Reform
  • Youth Development Policy
  • Public Transport and Infrastructure

We must emerge from this PGC with concrete and sound recommendations on how to continue our programme of social and economic transformation, building a strong vibrant and modern liberation movement that has the capacity to lead society and the state.

Comrades, as Gauteng we will go to the Policy Conference and to the National Conference with a united voice on all policy issues and also united on the issues of leadership.

We must reject those who want to come to our province and divide us.

We must defend our unity at every level of the organisation and ensure that the mandate of the province is implemented by all of us.

I wish you successful deliberations at this PGC.

Let the debate begin.

Thank you.

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