Redistributive policy

ANC policy documents reveal how the party failed to…

The ANC has released discussion papers ahead of its policy conference scheduled for July. They detail how the party failed to implement some of its key economic policies, which led the country to face further downgrades by the rating agencies.

“As we approach the Policy Conference and the National Conference later this year, the ANC will have the opportunity to reflect on our economic policy resolutions and consider areas where our interventions should be strengthened, reconsidered and revised,” the documents say.

“This will allow the ANC to take into account the impact of subjective weaknesses as well as the objective realities that shape the national and international terrain so that we can refine and improve the impact of our resolutions and our program for growth, job creation and economic transformation.”

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Some of the areas where the party has acknowledged slow or minimal progress include redistributing land without compensation and closing huge pay gaps in the private sector.

The ANC is concerned that it has failed to change the “historical anomaly” of the South African Reserve Bank having private shareholders.

And its resolve to make tourism a key sector for growth and job creation has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The party noted that strengthening state-owned mining entities and establishing Postbank as a state bank are areas where the government has only managed to reach the discussion stage.

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The documents mention that limited progress has been made in considering new wealth taxes.

“The goal of reducing the huge pay gaps in the private sector has not been effectively advanced, although improving education and training outcomes should help broaden the pool of skills and structurally begin to closing the gap,” according to the documents.

While the 2017 discussion papers place a strong emphasis on radical socio-economic transformation, the party has had to look for ways to rebuild the economy. This is mainly because the pandemic has shrunk the country’s economy leading to job losses.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a sharp contraction in global economies. There has been a huge increase in unemployment around the world and on the continent in particular. South Africa’s official unemployment rate at the start of 2022 was 35.5% due to the shrinking economy.

“The investment rate has dropped. Overall, poverty and inequality have worsened.

“The reconstruction and economic recovery plan, together with the improvements introduced, offer the opportunity to embark on a new path of growth and achieve a sustainable economic future based on economic inclusion, high employment rates and better levels of social equity.

“Sustainability also involves a just transition to a low-carbon future, sensitive to pressing environmental imperatives and the impact of the transition on workers,” the discussion papers say.

Deployment of frameworks

The party is seeking to abandon an element of its governance model by changing the cadre deployment system, which has historically given preference to ANC members to be employed in the civil service.

The party believes it should weigh its options – even if that means looking outside the party for effective agents.

The deployment of cadres has been widely criticized by opposition parties. THE D deposit an application under the Access to Information Promotion Act to obtain the minutes deployment committee meetings. This is to assess the extent of the ANC’s involvement in placing its comrades in key positions in government and public entities.

This follows testimony by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa before the State Capture Commission. Ramaphosa told the commission that he did not recall any minutes being taken of committee meetings, when he chaired the committee as the country’s vice president at the time.

The committee is responsible for making recommendations on the appointment of ANC members to government and public entities.

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“The pool from which the ANC must elect the collective skills required for deployment as public representatives in government at all levels can no longer be limited to ANC members in good standing.

“It needs to be greatly expanded, so that we can use the best human resources available to serve our people.

“To this end, a new process must be devised to elect these public representatives, at all levels of government, to achieve the optimum results allowing the ANC to access the best human resources to make it a ruling party. performance that offers our people .

“Consideration should also be given to introducing a more objective and fact-based performance management system for all public representatives of the ANC. This way we retain those who perform well and do not lose skills due to subjective processes and factional activities within the ANC,” the documents state.

This has been a long time coming as the ANC, in its 2017 documents, declared the need to reassess political deployments.

“Political deployment must be replaced by a focus on building a professional civil service that serves government well, but is immune to the problems of political clientelism.

“Systems must be put in place to ensure that technical, specialist and professional skills are nurtured and developed among civil servants.

“Relations between the three spheres of government must be improved.

“The roles and functions between the different spheres of government must be clarified and the national government must step in to arbitrate disputes in this regard and allow consensus to emerge,” the 2017 discussion documents state.

Renewal and unity

In 2017, the ANC was already looking for ways to renew itself – however, last year the party was more aggressive in its stance.

The party turned to the French Socialist Party, the Labor Party of Britain, the Indian Congress Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany as case studies just months before the Nasrec conference was to take place.

“There needs to be a strategic shift from evaluating the performance of sections based on the number of new members acquired (quantity) to the ability of the section to be able to do political and ideological work, including putting implementing organizational programs in a way that attracts progressive and potentially talented members of a new layer of activists who can be turned into ANC cadres,” according to the 2017 policy papers.

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The ANC also sought to find ways to include communities in the election of leaders.

“This paper builds on the discussion paper titled ‘The Eye of the Needle’ by validating the nature and character of an ANC leader.

“The document sees the election of ANC leaders as a matter of societal interest as they are responsible for leading not just the ANC but society as a whole.

“As noted elsewhere in the document, efforts should be made to gather community views on executives who make themselves available for leadership positions and who, by virtue of their position, are likely to hold leadership positions in the within the government,” said the 2017 document reads.

The ANC has since introduced the community voting system which was used in 2021 to nominate councilor candidates for local elections. Although the party was able to take a bold step in implementing this policy, it was not welcomed or used effectively by all its members.

Some disputes emanating from the processes showed that there were instances where the community voting process was not done properly or not used at all.

Earlier this year, the party selected the members of the renewal commission, headed by Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza.

“The NEC, People and Transformation has commissioned the Renewal Commission to develop a vision for the movement for 2032, when it reaches its 120-year milestone. This should form the basis of the renewal action plan, for immediate implementation,” read the 2022 working papers.

“As such, the suggestion of simplified brochures in all languages, which explain the crisis we are facing and what a renewed ANC by the ANC Veterans League should look like, should be pursued.”

The party also decided to take a strong anti-corruption stance ahead of the national elective conference in December and mentioned a number of measures that have been taken to deal with those involved in corrupt activities, including the controversial guidelines on withdrawal.

Victims of the directives include suspended general secretary Ace Magashule; the former ANC Chairman of Parliament’s Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, Bongani Bongo; and the former mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede.

“Corrupt practices in government and perceptions of widespread corruption have become a serious scourge, undermining transformation and people’s trust.

“The Zondo Commission reports implicated ANC leaders and members, the withdrawal guidelines were adopted by the NEC, but we still have serious disputes over these issues.

“How do we draw a line on this question, learning from other examples, so that we can turn the tide?” policy documents read. DM