Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of the ANC at the party’s national conference in Nasrec, Soweto, on 18 December 2017. Picture: Victoria Holdsworth/African News Agency (ANA)
Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of the ANC at the party’s national conference in Nasrec, Soweto, on 18 December 2017. Picture: Victoria Holdsworth/African News Agency (ANA)

#Elections2019: Everything you need to know about the ANC

By Elections Team Time of article published Mar 14, 2019

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Name of Party: African National Congress

Year Launched: 1912

Party Leader: Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa

What it believes: The ANC believes in the ideal of a non-racist, non-sexist, free and prosperous South Africa. The broad movement says the Freedom Charter remains its inspiration and strategic guide to realising a better life and a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it. The Charter, according to the governing party, is a foundation of Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan (NDP), aimed at addressing the the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Profile of leader: Ramaphosa was elected president of the ANC at the organisation’s national conference in Nasrec, Soweto, on 18 December 2017. He is the 13th president of the ANC since its founding in 1912.

He served as the deputy president of the ANC, under the leadership of Jacob Zuma as part of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) elected in 2012. Ramaphosa has been in the organisation’s NEC for 26 years.

In 1991, Ramaphosa was elected to the position of secretary general of the ANC at its national conference in Durban, the first conference of the party after its unbanning under the Presidency of Nelson Mandela.

Ramaphosa began his political activism in the 1970s during the period of students uprisings in the country, organised behind the banner of the black consciousness movement, which came to head during the 16 June 1976 massacre.

He led the founding of the National Union of Mineworkers and went on to lead the union to stage one of the biggest and most effective industrial strikes in South Africa in 1987, leading to a three weeks shutdown of the entire mining industry. Ramaphosa emerged out of that political standoff between labour and capital as a renowned negotiator, reputed for his tough approach and ability to push a hard bargain whilst maintaining the respect of his opponents.

As part of his role as secretary-general, he served as Chief Negotiator for the ANC at the Congress for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) at which the framework for a democratic transition was being mapped out. His experience as a negotiator in industrial conflicts asserted him as one of the key players in breaking stalemates and initiating strategic areas of consensus between opposing parties in that process.

After the first democratic elections in 1994, Ramaphosa was deployed in Parliament by the ANC and was elected as Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly tasked with drafting the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. He was re-elected as Secretary-General of the ANC in its 49th National Conference in 1994.

Previous notable leaders: John Langalibalele Dube (founding President), Sefako Makgatho, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Albert John Luthuli, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.

History in nutshell: The ANC, which was initially called the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), was formed on 8 January 1912 in Bloemfontein, to unite African people against political, social and economic oppression. It was renamed ANC in 1923.

The increasing repression and entrenchment of white minority rule led the organisation, together with the SA Communist Party, to form a military wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in 1961.

The movement has for decades led the fight against racism and oppression, through mass resistance, mobilising of the international community and the armed struggle.

In 1994, the ANC won the first democratic elections and was given a mandate to negotiate a new democratic for the country, which was adopted in 1996.

The party, whose membership is open to all South Africans above the age of 18 years, irrespective of race, colour and creed, who accept its principles, policies and programmes, has since been re-elected to lead government to date.

The ANC's position on:

LAND: The ANC, which believes land reform is about redressing historical injustices and dispossession of the black majority,  says its land reform programme provides a sustainable but radical way to address the land question. It will use the programme to build productive assets people, unlock agricultural productivity, secure food security and address the persisting reality of apartheid spatial separation. To this end the organisation is supporting the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to clearly define the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can take place.  The party will work with the established agribusiness to, among others, develop greater support for emerging and small-scale farmers; invest in agricultural research and new smart technologies to enhance the sector’s market share in global trade and work with like minded countries to ensure just international agricultural trade regime. Also on the cards to fast-track land reform will be the acceleration of the transfer of title deeds to the rightful owners, ensuring tenure security through adequate recognition and protection of the rights of long-term occupiers, women and labour tenants in communal land tenure. The party will also advance women’s access to land and participation in agriculture and rural economies.

JOBS/ECONOMY: The ANC says it will work with labour business and communities to create jobs and ensure workers earn a decent living. The party plans to create an extra 275 000 jobs each year by boosting local demands for goods, investing in more mining, manufacturing and agriculture, and expanding export markets. Jobs will also be created through a “massive” increase in internship and training opportunities for youth. The party is also implementing a national minimum wage to improve the lives of 6 million workers and also plans to mobilise R1,2 trillion in new investment over the next four years. The ANC will also  establish an Infrastructure Fund to build roads, rail lines, hospitals, schools, dams and other infrastructure vital for a growing economy

CORRUPTION: The governing party has vowed to put an end to state capture, restore the integrity of public institutions and tackle corruption, while ensuring that government has the capacity, resources and people to serve citizens effectively. It says it, among others, take decisive action against state capture conducting lifestyle audits of public officials and prevent public servants from doing business with the state, and continue work to strengthen law enforcement agencies like the Hawks, Special Investigating Unit and National Prosecuting Authority

STATE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT: The party wants to ensure that local government builds and strengthens people’s power and that residents are actively involved in decisions about their ward, zone, town or city.  Continuing to improve the skills base of local government by enforcing compliance with appropriate standards for senior officials and building capacity through deployment of district support teams consisting of engineers, planners, financial and governance experts are among measures the governing party will undertake, among others. The party also wants build the capacity of municipalities to promote investment and job creation by ensuring that they provide electricity, water and other services reliably and consistently and are efficient in issuing permits and effective in the enforcement of regulations and by-laws.

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: The organisation says that gender-based violence has reached unacceptable “crisis proportions”. The party believes in a multi-sectoral approach that responds to the need to step up the fight against gender-based violence and strengthen the broader interventions that address the causes and effects of such violence, particularly issues of patriarchy, economic relations and changing the way of thinking about gender relations. To this end it will implement a national plan of action that addresses the causes of gender-based violence and Equip police and courts to support survivors of gender-based violence.

ENVIRONMENT: The ANC government will continue to support the use of renewable technologies in the country’s energy mix to reduce the cost of energy and decrease greenhouse emissions. The party will also take forward NEDLAC’s Green Economy Accord on renewable energy and ensure that workers are treated fairly and reskilled. Eskom will also be repositioned to play an active role in the renewable energy sector and promote public ownership in renewable energy infrastructure. The organisation’s government will investigate the cost-benefit of introducing solar panels in state buildings and mandate new commercial and residential developments in the medium term to use renewable energy technologies to reduce utility costs.

STATE OF THE SOEs: The governing party promises it will take decisive action against state capture and corruption state owned enterprises and strengthen and consolidate existing SOEs to ensure they remain focused on their mandates to support socio-economic transformation while improving their governance systems and containing the cost of their operations.

FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: The ANC believes that the country and the world are at a critical point in the digital revolution. The party wants to craft a common digital future and devise a national programme for innovation that will unleash the talents and creativity of South Africans. It will also reduce the cost of data through the work of competition authorities and the communication regulator, ICASA and extend the government broadband rollout programme, among others.

CRIME: The ANC has promised to strengthen policing to rid communities of all forms of crime, drugs, gangsterism and violence against women. This will be done through ensuring police are better trained to investigate and conclude cases, increasing the numbers and visibility of police men and women in communities. The party will also target drug syndicates through the new anti-gang units

SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The ANC acknowledges that micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, socially-owned enterprises such as co-operatives and revitalisation of township and village economies are critical for economic transformation, inclusive growth and job creation. The governing party plans to scale up small business support measures, including access to funding and improved competition legislation. They will set up incubation centres in townships and rural areas and also facilitate access to markets for small businesses, co-operatives and township and village enterprises. The party promises that at least 30% of government procurement spend will be allocated to goods and services from these enterprises, and they will also encourage the private sector to do the same. It will also establish a township and village economy fund to support the productive activities and the development of industrial parks, business centres and incubation centres in these areas.

HOUSING: The organisation seeks to use the National Development Plan to address the spatial planning of the Apartheid government. It will work closely with the private sector to develop major development projects that bring together economic nodes, human settlements, smart technologies, among others. The ANC will release land at the disposal of the state for site and service to afford households the opportunity to build and own their own homes, transform the composition and the functioning of the property industry and accelerate legislative measures to eliminate speculative behaviour, including the establishment of a Property Sector Ombudsman. Addressing the title deeds backlog to ensure the transfer of title deeds move with higher speed is also one of the goals of the governing party on housing.

* Compiled by George Matlala

** For more stories on the upcoming elections visit IOL's #Elections2019 trend page.

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