The African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) concluded its four-day meeting on Monday, having focused on national economic recovery, tackling the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and the National Health Insurance (NHI).
Talks around an economic recovery included discussions with alliance partners the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
The ANC said it was concerned with the “serious limitations” that the economy had in responding to unemployment, inequality, poverty and the slow recovery of industrial capabilities.
The organisation said it had agreed on economic policy interventions for a better rate of economic growth and economic inclusion, based on presentations by its Economic Transformation Committee.
The focus in the presentations included industrial strategy, the energy and minerals sector, public enterprises, the promotion of small and medium enterprises, as well as a macro growth and recovery strategy.
The NEC agreed on a policy package for economic reforms for medium and long-term impact.
“These reforms must provide especially young people, women and people with disabilities with opportunities to participate in the economy, while expanding the industrial capabilities of the South African economy,” the NEC agreed.
The party reiterated growth-enhancing reforms through policy proposals laid out in the National Development Plan, government’s 2018 Stimulus and Recovery Plan and the ANC’s 2019 Manifesto.
It also noted the discussions at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, the Jobs Summit and Investment Conference and through the CEO Initiative.
On the climate front, the NEC suggested a balance between national development goals and global obligations, specifically in the energy sector.
“The Integrated Resource Plan should articulate the lowest cost option for the future energy mix for South Africa, with increased contributions from renewable energy sources.”
It also suggested the use of new technologies, such as fuel cells, to transition to a low-carbon path.
The poor condition of State-owned companies was discussed with an agreement on the long-standing ANC policy around strategic equity partners in various State-owned companies, with consideration to be given to models of worker and social ownership.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND XENOPHOBIA
The NEC has concurred on the development and implementation of a comprehensive programme against GBV throughout its structures.
South Africa’s GBV and femicide epidemic recently came into focus following a spate of tragic deaths of young women including Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, Meghan Cremer and Ayakha Jiyane and her three siblings.
The ANC NEC agreed that party structures would strengthen community safety forums and educate people on the serious scourge of rape, assault and violence in society.
“The ANC will engage its members and structures on the underlying causes and attitudes that lead to GBV, particularly amongst its male members, so that we address root causes. South African men must understand that they do not own women, their partners, wives, sisters, daughters or any woman,” said the party.
It further stated that it supported government’s commitment to strengthening the entire criminal justice system to clear the backlog of GBV-related cases and ensure successful prosecutions going forward.
Notably, the NEC also expressed its abhorrence and condemnation of all forms of abuse, intolerance and violence against women and children, saying violence is violence, irrespective of nationality.
The NEC received a report from the Peace and Stability Committee on recent criminal violence against foreign nationals, and has endorsed the measures undertaken by government to ensure an increase in visible policing and strong law enforcement in all areas affected by violence and lawlessness.
Measures to strengthen border management and to engage with the African Union and other multilateral institutions on migration matters, were also endorsed at the meeting.
“The frank national discussions and actions on GBV, and violence against foreign nationals and migration, is an indication of a nation committed to tackling complex problems,” said the party.
National Health Insurance
The ANC NEC noted progress towards implementation of the NHI, saying it had resolved to strengthen mass mobilisation of ANC structures and alliance partners in support of the NHI to educate its members and society on the NHI.
The committee expressed its support for the Million Signature Campaign by the SACP and will join forces with the Congress Alliance and Mass Democratic Movement in social mobilisation programmes for submission to Parliament in support of the NHI Bill.
The NEC also noted the Competition Commission’s recent Health Market Investigation.
The NEC said it noted that the country was in the middle of a difficult historical moment and said the difficulties are not insurmountable if the nation worked together to find solutions to the challenges facing the country.
“At the end of the day, the only way to find solutions is through dialogue at local, sectoral and national levels, and by working together to tackle our problems together. The NEC reiterates its stance that violence only creates new challenges, and is not conducive to an atmosphere of problem solving. We believe that the economic recovery and transformation strategy will help turn our economic fortunes around, and provide the foundation for building an inclusive economy for all,” the ANC NEC said.