ANC decides on provinces, education, healthComment on this story
Resolutions taken by the ANC at its December Mangaung conference on key policies on the number of provinces, education, and health, have been posted on the party's website.
During the five-day conference the party decided that the country's nine provinces needed to be “reformed, reduced, and strengthened”.
A presidential commission would be appointed to review the provinces and make proposals on the number and each provinces' role, according to the resolutions.
The commission report would be presented at the African National Congress's next national general council. Any changes would then take effect by the 2019 national and provincial elections.
The party also resolved that the powers and functions of the three spheres of government be reviewed.
The ANC's commission on the legislatures and governance believed there were several problems with the role of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).
Earlier this year, residents in Zamdela, Sasolburg in the Free State embarked on a violent protest over the proposal to merge the Metsimaholo local municipality in Sasolburg with the Ngwathe municipality, under which Parys falls.
The ANC said: “There should be a review of the role, scope, and composition of the MDB.
“The MDB should take into account the financial implications of its redemarcation for municipalities, the challenges of unviable municipalities, the need for ward boundaries to break down racial barriers, and a reduced frequency of re-demarcations.”
There was a consensus that education had to be protected from disruptions.
Strikes and service delivery protests had impacted negatively on the stability of schools and the quality of education, the ANC said.
On Monday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the party and government would make sure education was declared an essential service.
This was rejected by its alliance partner the Congress of SA Trade Unions, and education affiliates.
Unions said making education an essential service would not fix the problems within the education sector.
At its conference, the ANC resolved that a presidential commission be appointed to review remuneration and conditions of employment of education and health professionals. The commission would make recommendations on salary adjustments and wage increases.
After the saga surrounding the delivery of textbooks last year, the ANC resolved that government adopt a centralised approach to the acquisition of learning material.
Government needed to expand its capacity to print textbooks and workbooks. Uniform and standardised textbooks should be provided across the system.
The party also decided that it would take responsibility for poor education outcomes and ensure elected leaders and “deployees” (sic) in the administration were held accountable.
“The ANC must act decisively to turn around the situation. The ANC as a party must act on its members who fail to perform,” it said.
The party also decided that civil servants should not be allowed to take positions in local government.
It wanted government to pass a law to this effect.
In terms of higher education, the ANC resolved that policy for free education for undergraduate students would be finalised for adoption before the end of this year.
There was also a resolution to introduce a tax on graduates. There was no details of what this tax would entail.
Issues around the National Health Insurance (NHI) were also resolved.
The ANC decided that a NHI fund be set up, using state revenue, by 2014. The white paper and legislation should be finalised this year.
The party also wanted a national pricing commission established this year to regulate healthcare in the private sector. - Sapa