NEWS
20/12/2017 16:12 SAST | Updated 20/12/2017 19:32 SAST

As They Happen: ANC Feedback Briefings

One of the decisions taken at the ANC conference was to have the NEC manage the two centres of power in the Union Buildings and Luthuli House.

Police minister Fikile Mbalula (C) addresses the media, flanked by arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa (L) and African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, on the final day of the ANC's 54th national conference in Johannesburg on December 20, 2017.
GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images
Police minister Fikile Mbalula (C) addresses the media, flanked by arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa (L) and African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, on the final day of the ANC's 54th national conference in Johannesburg on December 20, 2017.

Organisational Renewal

The ANC's national executive committee has been charged with managing the two centres of power that arise from having Jacob Zuma as state president while Cyril Ramaphosa is the ANC president.

The party says it opted for this arrangement in light of the events after its Polokwane conference, when Thabo Mbeki, then state president, was recalled after tension between him and the then-ANC president Zuma's faction.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula made the announcement while briefing the media on the outcome of the party's policy commissions on organisational renewal.

GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images
Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula (C) addresses the media, flanked by Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa (L) and African National Congress (ANC) Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, on the final day of the ANC's 54th National Conference in Johannesburg on December 20, 2017.

"The centre of power is the ANC. It is the ANC that takes decisions and gives mandates to its deployees in government... If the decision to recall the president arises, that will be the decision of the NEC in terms of it being the centre of power. Management means you handle things properly," he said.

The party also convened on its proposed integrity commission.

"We are agreed that it must actually be given full powers in the constitution of the ANC. The decisions of the integrity commission must be final and binding. When you undermine the ANC, its integrity, you must be called. The NEC will appoint the integrity committee," he said.

The ANC conference also resolved to allocate a percentage to the number of NEC members allowed to serve in cabinet positions. However, the exact percentage still needs to be negotiated.

Briefing the media on the ANC's strategy and tactics, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said the ANC is still debating the colour of monopoly capital in South Africa.

"Structures came back and people reported in different commissions; even now there is a lot of discussion from different perspectives," he said. "The conference then said let's do much work as the organisation. There were strong views that the issue here is about the formulation. What the ANC should focus on is the content, which is monopoly capital."

ANC Constitution Commission Outcome

The ANC's national executive committee will remain at its current size.

The ANC's Mathole Motshekga, in a media briefing on the outcome of the party's constitutional amendment commission, said the NEC would not be diluted to 60 members.

"It was felt that the matter was settled by the plenary, and therefore it was confirmed as such," he said.

Now that David Mabuza and Ace Magashule have been elected to the ANC's top six, they must relinquish their positions as premiers of Mpumalanga and Free State immediately.

"A person holding an executive position in the lower structure elected into a higher structure; such person should relinquish their position in the lower structure – or if you are in a higher structure, you should not stand for elections in a lower structure," the commission found.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa clarified this finding afterwards, saying Mabuza and Magashule must now relinquish their positions.

"Those structures must fill those vacancies," he said.

Social Transformation

The ANC has taken a resolution to adopt policies to decriminalise sex work.

The announcement was made by the party's Nocawe Mafu after members discussed policy issues around social transformation.

Peace and Stability

The ANC's policy commissions did not discuss issues of using intelligence agencies for political reasons or regulations around a state of emergency -- two debates that have been in the public spotlight in the past months.

Responding to questions on the outcomes of policy around peace and security, Energy Minister David Mahlobo said the commissions did not discuss either matter.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
ANC member David Mahlobo reacts as he waits for the election results during the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 18, 2017.

"Law enforcement agencies must remain apolitical and the ANC has not changed their position on that... For the head of state to declare a state of emergency, there are clear provisions that are there. Let's wait for the draft regulations to come," he said.

"Our capacity to fight corruption needs to be enhanced."

Legislature and Governance

The ANC's Obed Bapela presented the policy outcomes on legislature and governance, saying there were suggestions that municipal demarcations should be done in a 10-year cycle rather than five.

There were also discussions on the presidency and its centre of power as well as the suggestion of single elections which will see voting being done for national, provincial and local government on the same day.

"What we have said is that the presidency remains the strategic centre of power but in executing that responsibility, there are a number of functions that need to be allocated," he said.

"On single elections...the matter didn't come up again in our commission but we have taken the view that we will continue assessing that."

Education, Health, Science and Technology

There was a strong call from ANC members to act speedily to implement free higher education for students from poor and working-class backgrounds.

ANC members discussing education policies say this must be done by the end of 2018.

Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor was briefing the media on the outcomes of policy discussions regarding education, health, science and technology.

"Much more must be done to promote social and grass-roots innovation in South Africa... Also, there was a resolution that we should intensify our public engagement programmes... There is a need to see a far greater affinity between knowledge production institutions and the private sector in South Africa. There was view that this tends to be a very tenuous relationship," Pandor said.

"We didn't discuss operationalising announcements made by the president [on free higher education] because we had assurance from the minister [Malusi Gigaba] that their would be focus on this in the Budget Speech in February."

She said the department of basic education must improve literacy and numeracy at the foundation level of schooling.

"Conference discussed the need and agreed on us having to work more closely through the department of higher education with universities to answer an emerging problem of graduate unemployment," Pandor said.

"There was strong support for the expansion of TVET colleges. There was a very strong call that government must act speedily to implement free higher education for young people from poor and working class backgrounds."

Battle of Ideas and ICT

The ANC has ordered government departments to migrate from digital to analogue broadcasting by June 2019.

Reporting on the outcomes of policy commissions around the Battle of Ideas and Information and Communications Technology, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the party was two years late on migration.

"What we are most interested in is the open-access network... something we would like implemented as of yesterday. There's one issue that has always bedeviled us, migrating from analogue to digital. The ANC has taken a decision that we must migrate. We are two years late," he said.

The ANC will also order parliamentarians to finalise an inquiry into a media-appeals tribunal. The party wants it done by the end of 2018.

***This is a developing story.***