National Policy Conference
Report of the Commission on Social Transformation
30 June 2007
Report on Commissions
- The two commissions received an input on major issues for discussion. The input took for granted that the discussion document that had been distributed to the provinces had been read. The input also noted that the discussions that had taken place in the provinces and the Leagues had focused largely on issues of implementation and made suggestions on how these could be improved. It was therefore suggested that all these proposals about implementation would be incorporated in an improved discussion document. The input therefore identified issues where there were debates necessary for each of the sectors. The input contextualised these issues by reminding comrades of the resolutions that had been taken at the 51st Conference in Stellenbosch.
- For each of the sectors, the commissions were directed to key questions for debate which were drawn from reports from provinces. In this regard it was indicated what the views of the provinces were on key questions, by aggregating both instances of divergence and convergence of views expressed.
- Although the two commissions took different approaches to the discussions, with one commission following the format of the question as raised in the input and the other opening discussions widely on each of the sectors, by and large the discussions on the main issues seemed to take the same direction. The level of discussion in the commissions suggested that good work had been done in the provinces to get comrades to engage with all these issues openly and frankly. Another advantage in the two commissions was that there was no divide between comrades in government and those that were coming from outside government. They all participated equally with comrades from government being free and able to clarify issues where necessary.
MAJOR ISSUES BY SECTOR
- In the discussions on social development the commission re-affirmed the need for an integrated and comprehensive social security system that will provide safety nets for vulnerable people in society. There was a long discussion on the need to provide some form of safety net for those people, who do not have any income and are not eligible for any form of social grant under the existing policy framework. This discussion was characterized by a realization by both commissions that the ANC in government should discourage dependence on social grants and therefore should seek to develop comprehensive measures to fight poverty.
- Nevertheless the commissions still felt that it was necessary to call for the gradual extension of the child support grants to children up to eighteen years. There was also a call to equalize the pensionable age at sixty (60) years. The commissions also called for the establishment of a mandatory system of retirement with a broad based fund to cover low income groups. In all this there was a realization in the commissions that a lot of advances had been made on social security since the 51st Conference
- There was also some discussion on the question of whether people with chronic illnesses and in particular HIV & AIDS should receive any grant. This matter had come up in some provincial conference resolutions, with suggestion even to do away with the CD4 count as a determinant for eligibility for such a grant. However, both commissions rejected any suggestions for a grant on chronic illnesses and argued that this would be catered for within a comprehensive social security system.
- Some discussions also focused on the need to strengthen welfare services, especially to deal with issues such as a coordinated National Anti-Drug and substance abuse campaign.
- A particular discussion focusing on children and their welfare was undertaken and both commissions expressed a need for the ANC to focus on and prioritize the welfare and the best interest of children including the need to deal with child poverty. What was of a concern to the commissions was the rate at which children were being abused, neglected, murdered and even disappearing. Both commissions called for the strengthening of child development centers, including the development of a comprehensive strategy for early childhood educare.
- The commissions suggested strongly that the conference sends a special message of condolences to all the families of all missing children and those that were killed by adults who were meant to protect them. The commissions expressed commitment to continue seeking justice to bring the perpetrators of these abhorrent acts on children to book. And, further, that the Commission commits that the ANC ensures that it works with the communities to improve the conditions that made the above possible.
- There was a wide ranging discussion on education which was characterized by a whole range of suggestions and views on how to improve the quality of education. Both commissions agreed that education as well as health should be the key priorities of the ANC in government for the coming period.
- Some of the issues that invited some debate included the issue of teachers being concurrently employed as councilor. The commissions felt strongly that this practice should be discontinued as it undermined efforts to ensure quality in schools. While this was an overwhelming sentiment in the commissions, there were a few voices that suggested that a total ban might lead to the collapse of local government in some municipalities, particularly in rural areas where teachers may be the only ANC cadres with skills. Another issue that sparked some debate was the issue of free education with some calls being made for education to be free until higher education. Other views suggested that the no fee schools policy should be extended to apply to more areas and to the secondary schools. Other issues that were raised in the commissions are listed in the attached recommendation on a possible resolution.
- The key action, however, that needs to be undertaken is the call for an ANC Conference on education to be convened before the 2007 National Conference in December. This matter would need to be looked into to determine whether it is feasible to hold such National Conference.
- With regard to health, there were some discussions in both commissions on a whole range of health. Issues that took some discussion in both commissions related to the question of whether or not HIV and AIDS should be made notifiable. While the commissions were sympathetic to the idea, there was a lot of caution expressed about the advisability of taking such a policy stance at this stage. Such caution ranged from concerns about what exactly the meaning of notifiability was in the context of HIV and AIDS: it mean notifying the HIV status or AIDS defining conditions what about the issues of relating to patient confidentiality a question was also raised about whether the stigma accompanying this condition had reduced.
- Related to the debate on notifiability of HIV and AIDS was also the proposal to rollout ART at all health facilities. Even with regard to this, there was also caution expressed about whether the capacity of the country`s health system had reached a point where this would be possible to do. Other issues that were discussed at the commissions related to the need to develop a strategy for recruitment for health professionals, including signing MOUs with foreign countries on the exodus of health professionals.
- Other matters discussed are listed in the attached resolutions.
- Both commissions expressed a concern at the spiraling of construction input prices especially cement and other building materials. Both commissions called for government to intervene to curb this phenomenon.
- There was also a call for the acceleration of land acquisition for housing and human settlements through the establishment of a housing development agency. There was some discussion on the need to develop appropriate legislation to prevent the mushrooming of informal settlements. Some views saw this approach as less developmental and more of a law and order approach, and called for more participatory measures to deal with this phenomenon.
- A specific call was made for an injection of resources and the consideration of an extraordinary effort to fast tract delivery of housing to make a visible impact on poverty. For more issues on housing see the resolution attached.
Land & Agriculture
- Discussions on the land question highlighted the concern that land reform in South Africa was going slower than expected. The commissions agreed that there was a need for state intervention in the land market to ensure acceleration of equitable land distribution. Both commissions reiterated the need for the review of the principle of willing buy-willing seller.
- On the ownership of land by foreigners, the commissions called for the regulation of such ownership without prohibition necessarily. This regulation, it was said, should take into account the country`s land reform, restitution, redistribution and access to land. There were some views expressed that foreigners should be prohibited from owning land but could be allowed to lease it.
Heritage, Arts & Culture, Sports & Recreation
- Discussions on these areas were anchored on the need to build social cohesion. In this regard some discussion took place on the naming and re-naming of geographic places such as streets, towns and public facilities. The commissions called for the development of policy guidelines clarifying the ANC`s approach to the naming and re-naming of such places. These guidelines should include principles such as the need to change offensive names representing colonial conquest and apartheid statehood , the need to restore the proud heritage of the indigeneuous people, the need to accommodate diversity in our common national heritage and the need to have an inclusive and democratic process, the need to honour, in a non-sectorian manner South African who have made a sterling contribution to the dawn of democracy and freedom, distinguished men and women in the international community and in Africa, who have contributed immensely to the struggle for freedom.
- Other matters discussed in the commissions related to the need for the integration of Ubuntu principles into public policy, the need for schools to offer a bouquet of extramural mall participation sports activities.
Water, Forestry & Sanitation
- The commissions called for the review of the mandate and composition of water services institutions to align them to development imperatives. They also called for the water licensing to historically disadvantaged individuals to be accelerated and to be aligned to land reform.
- Discussion in this area centred around the development of a National Youth Development Agency that would ensure integration, coordination and sustainability of youth interventions in government.
- There was also a call for the massification of the National Youth Service Programme.
- Discussions in the commissions centered around the establishment of a Ministry for women. In this regard, some delegates did not regard the implementation of this particular resolution as a solution to the challenges facing women in this country. In the end two options were presented by the commissions. The first one was establishing a Ministry for women as soon as possible, the second one called for thorough assessment of the current instruments meant to deal with women`s issues to evaluate their impact and to advise on the form and content of an institutional mechanism to be put in place in pursuance of women emancipation and gender matters in general for consideration at the 52nd Conference.
- Both commissions easily agreed to ensure that all government departments adopt programmes directed at re-integrating ex-combatants into society.
- As was said in the introduction a number of other issues were raised by provinces and in the commissions, which relates to matters of improvement of implementation of existing programmes. These, together with some further elaboration and clarification of certain matters in the recommendations need to be dealt with in a revised discussion document which will guide discussion at the 52nd National Conference.
- Specific proposals such as the call for the ANC Conference on education must be implemented.
- South Africa has entered its second Decade of Freedom with the strengthening of democracy and the acceleration of the programme to improve the quality of life of all the people.
- The Conference takes place after the release of the 10 year macro-social report, which among others, asserts the positive mood and confidence in the economy
Further noting that,
- In the context of our continued resolve to challenge underdevelopment and eradicate poverty, and, against the background of the huge investment in infrastructure and its attendant possibilities, the emphasis on quality education and health must be recognised.
- We are at the beginning of a long journey to a truly united, democratic and prosperous South Africa, in which the value of all citizens is measured by their humanity, without regard to race, gender and social status.
- Central to the task of social transformation is the role of the ANC in Government to confront the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment
- At this conjuncture we can and must re-affirm our commitment to redress poverty and inequality
- We are building a developmental state and not a welfare state given that in welfare state, dependency is profound
- Our attack on poverty must seek to empower people to take themselves out of poverty, while creating adequate social nets to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
- Education and health must be prioritised as the core elements of social transformation
- Since Mafikeng and Stellenbosch, in the 13th year of our democracy, we are able to reflect on the transition from an inhumane society characterised by racism, division, inequality, injustice and subjugation to a society that is ostensibly caring, open and democratic, committed to the ethos of non-racialism, non-sexism and freedom.
Therefore recommend that,
On Social Security and Broad Social Development,
- We must reaffirm the Freedom Charter as a premise when discussing social transformation
- That a comprehensive social security net provides a targeted and impeccable approach in eradicating poverty and unemployment
- We develop a minimum common basis on all social security intervention programmes by all departments
- Equalisation of opportunities, lifelong learning, economic opportunities of disable people
- Grants must not create dependency and thus must be linked to economic activity
- We must accelerate all our programmes in pursuit of the MDG
- We must establish a Mandatory system of retirement fund and establish a broad based Retirement fund that covers low income groups
- Strengthen institutions such as the financial savings board, so as to instil confidence in the society
- ECD be removed from social service to education department
- Low cost retirement fund be adopted
- Child support grants be gradually extended to 18 years old
- Pensionable age must be equalised and be set at 60 years
- Coordinated national drug campaign be intensified to fight substance abuse
- The best interest of the child should be paramount, with child headed households as priority for protection and care.
- To prioritise the welfare of children and in this regard develop, monitor and measure tools that define and deal with child poverty.
- Strengthen the current safety nets that deal with child poverty, ongoing murders, disappearances, abuse and neglect
- Strengthen childhood development centers and urge communities to understand and deal seriously with the right of children.
- Develop a comprehensive strategy on Early Childhood Educare.
- This conference sends a special message of condolences to all the families of all missing children and those that were killed by adults who are meant to protect them.
- The ANC abhors the circumstance under which these children died and commits to continue seeking justice to bring the perpetrators to book.
- Vulnerable Children of the Veterans must be taken care of by the state
- Career guidance be a compulsory subject from grade 8 upwards
- We must progressively expand the school nutrition programme to include high school learners in poorer communities
- National norms and standards to be developed to determine the roles, functions and responsibilities of district offices
- Norms and standards should be developed to classify schools given the variation of school types in provinces
- A policy on affirmative measures for HDI`s with specific emphasis on infrastructure, access and staff provisioning
- The duality of teachers acting as councillors undermines both or either of the two with regards to efficiency and this must be discontinued.
- To affirm that all principals should undertake a leadership, management and governance course
- To review ABET so as to ensure that it better responds to the skills demand
- The establishment of a national education evaluation and development unit for purposes of monitoring, evaluation and support.
- The no fee schools be expanded OR Declare Free education until Higher education level
- The ANC to focus rigorously on the quality of education
- Education must be prioritised as one of the most important programmes for the next five years
- Maths, Science and IT must be promoted and be taught even on Saturdays and bursaries be offered to teachers in this areas
- New curriculum must be accompanied with skills development of teachers.
- Building of schools to replace mud schools must be included in the EPWP.
- The duality of teachers acting as councillors undermines both or either of the two with regards to efficiency and this must be discontinued.
- the ANC conference on Education be convened before the 2007 national conference
- we should recruit from foreign countries on scare skills such as Maths and Science
- Make education and health to be the two key priorities of the ANC for the next years. In this regard a proposal to have a ANC conference on education before December 2007
- Reaffirm the implementation of the National Health Insurance System
- To develop a reliable single health information system
- Government should intervene in the high health costs/prices
- Health Cover for Veterans of the struggle
- We develop a recruitment of health professionals
- MoU with foreign countries on the exodus of health professionals
- In considering whether or not to make HIV and AIDS be made notifiable, a distinction be made between the two as these are two conditions. That we should also consider the negative implications of this recommendation such as stigma.
- We accelerate the roll out of the ART at all health facilities
- We accelerate programmes for hospital revitalisation including through innovative solutions that accommodate partnerships
- We intensify our efforts on change of behaviour in our communities especially amongst young people
- There will be no need to adopt a special HIV and AIDS grant as this will be catered for by the comprehensive social security system
- The ANC should explore the possibility of a State-own pharmaceutical company that will respond intervene in the curbing of medicine prices.
- More resources be allocated on sexual awareness, in particular ANC branches must be actively involved in this programme
- Introduce a policy on African traditional medicine
- we be cautious when deciding on the PPP`s as a solution, consider aspects such as the financial aspects
- salient dieses such as TB, Cancer be given attention
- Housing cover for Veterans of the struggle
- Interventions in the industry and residential property market to curb the spiralling of construction input prices – including material development & supply
- We develop appropriate legislation to prevent the mushrooming of informal settlements
- Provision of housing needs should include alternative housing such as rental stock
- We adopt central planning approach for directing resource allocation, distribution and overall coordinated response to human settlements
- We restructure the funding mechanism and consolidate all housing related grants and funding streams
- In order to deal effectively with the challenges of human settlements, land acquisition be accelerated through a dedicated Housing Development Agency
- A once off injection of resources and an extraordinary effort be considered for fast tracking delivery of housing to make a visible impact on poverty
- Government consider assisting people with building material
On Land and Agriculture,
- The principle of willing seller willing buyer be reviewed
- The state must with immediate effect, regulate but not prohibit ownership of land by non-South Africans with. This regulation should take into account the country`s commitment to land reform, restitution, redistribution and access to land.
- The state and mandated entities must exercise its legal right to expropriate property in the public interest or for public purpose. Compensation shall be awarded in accordance with the constitution with special emphasis on equity, redress and social justice. All legislation pertaining expropriation must be aligned with the constitution
- We discard the market-driven land reform and immediately review the principle of willing seller willing buyer with immediate effect so as to accelerate equitable distribution of land
- Review the adequacy of post settlement support in all land reform programmes
- The management and control of state land must be under one department
- We reaffirm the 51st conference resolution on land audit and that it must be speedily done
- The allocation of customary land be democratised and not only be the preserve of the traditional leaders
- That redunded land belonging to SOE be transferred for low cost housing
On building social cohesion through Heritage, Arts and Culture, Sports and Recreation,
- Government should integrate UBUNTU principles into public policy so as to comprehensively correct the distortions and imbalances not only in our heritage landscape but also in our social, economic and industrial relations.
- Move away from conservation language to development
- We develop a policy that clarifies the ANC`s approach to the naming and renaming of geographic places such as streets, towns and public facilities. These guidelines should include principles such as the need to change offensive names representing colonial conquest and apartheid statehood, the need to restore the proud heritage of the indigeneuous people, the need to accommodate diversity of our common diversity in our common national heritage and the need to have an inclusive and democratic process, the need to honour, in a non sectarian manner, South Africans who have made a sterling contribution to the dawn of democracy and freedom, the need to distinguished men and women in the international community and in Africa, who have contributed immensely to the struggle for freedom. Political education will be critical in educating our people about the naming and renaming discourse.
- Local government must provide funding for Arts and Culture
- Tourism levy should also benefit our heritage
- Indigenous languages be promoted at all schools with an intention that learners be taught in their mother tongue
- Affirm the 51st Conference resolution on the establishment of the sports desk at Luthuli House
- One sports emblem for all sporting codes be adopted
- All schools must offer a minimum bouquet of extra mural, mass participation of sport activities
- Physical education must be offered as a compulsory subject for learners grade 0-12
- Mass participation, physical activity and sport programmes must prioritise the involvement of girls, women and people with disability with a view to promoting equity
- One emblem for all South Africa`s sporting codes
- MIG for sports facilities to be diverted to the department`s of Sports and Recreation and Education
- The ANC must be vocal on the convening of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and not leave this to other stakeholders.
- We review the ANC`s draft cultural policy.
On Water, Forestry and Sanitation,
- Review the mandate and composition of Water Services Institutions & align to developmental imperatives
- Alignment/Integration of DLA and DWAF programme as it relates water rights and availability of land
- Transformation of the Forest sector
- Increase the infrastructure construction timelines to allow more labour intensive construction
- Water allocation reform and water licenses to historically disadvantaged must be accelerated and aligned to land reform
- Water resources management must be integral when planning municipalities.
On Youth development,
- Immediate implementation of sports desks as per the previous conference resolution
- A National Youth Development Agency that will ensure seamless integration, sustainability and responsiveness to the demands and aspirations of South Africa`s youth is established.
- As per the ANC NGC`s adoption of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, that this be made government policy to be implemented by the National Youth Development Agency.
- Massify the National Youth Service Programme and that this must be adopted as government policy.
- The government should engage the private sector to contribute towards the National Youth Service Programme.
On Women issues,
- Two options are presented for Conference consideration
A That a Women Ministry be established so as to streamline women issues especially focusing on empowerment, fighting patriarchy and poverty eradication in the society.
B In considering the matter of establishing Women Ministry, the commission recommend that a thorough assessment be undertaken by the ANC to analyse current instruments and their relevance, strategies and areas of focus and programmes on matters of women and the impact these programmes made. These assessments should then advise on comprehensive recommendations on the form and content of what ever institutional mechanisms to be put in place in pursuit of women emancipation and broadly addressing gender matters for consideration by the 52nd National conference
- All government departments must adopt programmes that directed at reintegrating ex-combatants into society and health insurance.