Alliance Summit Declaration
Let us unite to advance, deepen and defend a radical second phase of our democratic transition!
The national leadership of the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and the South African National Civic Organisation met over the weekend 30th August to 1st September. Our Summit deliberations were characterised by constructive debate and a high level of strategic unity. Together, we reaffirmed our commitment to what the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung national conference resolved as our line of march – the imperative of advancing, deepening and defending a radical second phase of our democratic transition.
Unless we make significant inroads in addressing the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, the democratic constitutional gains of the first phase of our transition will themselves be eroded. Together we are fully aware that it is only a united revolutionary Alliance that will be able to provide effective leadership and mobilise the broadest range of popular forces to take forward our struggle to consolidate the promises of our 1994 democratic breakthrough. We stand united in this core belief and in this commitment to our people.
Our Summit takes place in the context of the gravest global economic crisis since the 1930s. From 2007 its original epicentre was in the developed economies, notably the US and Europe. Over the past year and a half, this crisis has now entered a second phase. While stagnation continues to characterise the developed economies, there has now been a significant slowing of growth in key developing economies, including China, India and Brazil. The commodity super-cycle of the recent past is now over. This has had an impact on economies dependent upon the export of industrial minerals and coal. The attempts to refloat growth in the US with a loose money policy have created further turbulence in many developing economies like SA.
The Alliance Summit agreed that we must correctly understand this global context, and rebut attempts from some quarters to shift the blame for the impact of this crisis on the South African government, or the labour movement. Instead, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to placing our economy onto a new growth path that, amongst other things, lessens our exposure to currency and other market volatilities.
The Commissions at this Summit focused on practical interventions, practical programmes and policies to take forward a radical second phase of the transition. We agreed on overall strategy, and we agreed on much practical detail. The Summit from the outset also agreed that there are no holy cows. Where there are differences within the Alliance these were freely expressed, and we have established processes for further engagement. Critical in this regard will also be consolidating our capacity to monitor and evaluate the implementation of our decisions.
We agreed that the second phase of the democratic transition will be built on the many advances made since 1994, and on the already promising beginnings that have been made in taking forward a second phase.
Infrastructure and industrialisation
Alliance partners commended government for substantial advances with the state-led infrastructure plan and growing success with industrialisation efforts, including significant growth in the level of infrastructure spending, doubling over the past five years. This has boosted construction levels that has created jobs and helped to moderate the impact of global economic slowdowns on the domestic economy.
Among the highlights of the infrastructure build programme (and the related industrial and skills input interventions) in the four-and-a-half years of this fourth democratic administration are:
• The completion of two new large dams (De Hoop in Limpopo, and Spring Grove in KZN) – adding the equivalent of a glass of freshwater for every inhabitant of sub-Saharan Africa;
• Over 1million households have been connected to electricity, adding to the 6 million households electrified between 1994 and 2009. The figure of 7 million households electrified since 1994 should be compared with what was achieved in the hundred years before 1994 – a mere 5 million households electrified in over a century..
• In the past four-and-a-half years – 1,693 megawatts new energy generation have been brought onto national grid, through major refurbishments of five power stations. This is the equivalent of a new Koeberg power station.
• Buses that were being imported from Brazil for the BRT systems in Johannesburg and CT, just 2 years ago, are now being manufactured here in SA;
• Half a million solar water heaters have been installed on rooftops – mainly for poor households, one of most ambitious programmes in world
• FET student enrolment has increased 90% – from 345,566 in 2010 – to 657,690 in 2012
The Alliance Summit agreed on a programme to intensify support for the infrastructure rollout.
Land and agrarian reform
The Summit welcomed government’s Green Paper on Land Reform and specifically the recommendation to:
• establish a Land Valuer General, to determine the value of land earmarked for restitution and redistribution; and
• provide for a single four-tier tenure system that envisages freehold, with limitations on the extent of privately-owned land, and parameters for leasehold by private individuals on state and public land.
Summit called for the intensification of efforts to ensure that redistributed and restituted land is restored to effective production. Notwithstanding attempts to improve land tenure rights for farm workers and their families, illegal evictions continue. Government is called upon to put in place more effective measures to stop these inhuman displacements.
The land question is also an urban issue. The Summit called for the intensification of programmes that respond to the challenges of those living in squalid informal settlements. The creation of sustainable human settlements requires, amongst other things, the acceleration and better management and roll-out of the sanitation programme as a major priority.
Labour market and youth employment
The Summit recognised that it was meeting in the context of an intensified onslaught on hard-won labour rights in our country, and indeed globally. The Summit re-affirmed that comprehensive collective bargaining rights are an essential pillar of our democratic dispensation. The campaign to roll-back democratic labour market achievements is, in effect, aided and abetted by the use of violence and intimidation directed against workers and working class communities. The Alliance re-affirms its condemnation of the use of violence directed against fellow workers and their communities.
The Summit agreed that the following are the immediate labour market priorities of our Alliance:
• The firm defence and strengthening of our industrial relations system and general collective bargaining architecture;
• The employment and skilling of women and youth;
• Building a positive work ethic and a commitment to gainful employment
• Linking social wage measures increasingly to sustainable livelihoods, productive work and incentive schemes approved by all constituencies.
The State’s Role in the Economy and Macro-economic policy
The Summit agreed that we need to take forward Mangaung’s call for “bold forms of state intervention”, including through:
o Financial regulation and control;
o Progressive and redistributive taxation
o Wage and income policies, and progressive competition policies that promote decent work, growth and address poverty and inequality.
o A well-resourced state-led industrial and trade policy
o Increased state ownership and control in strategic sectors, where deemed appropriate on the balance of evidence, and the more effective use of state-owned enterprises.
Reindustrialisation must be the centre piece of our economic strategy. We need to combine demand and supply side strategies to put the economy on a new, higher, and more equitable growth trajectory. We need to link our industrial, macro economic, labour market and social protection strategies.
We reaffirm that a programme for transformation of our minerals sector, and a major programme of minerals beneficiation is a critical priority for transforming our economy. We need to ensure the fast-tracking of implementation of the of the objectives contained in the SIMS report.
Agriculture and food security was identified as a critical area in which we are currently underperforming, and in which far more can be done. Agriculture and agro-processing has massive potential for employment creation.
The role of the financial sector in dominating large parts of our economy, the challenge of ensuring productive investment, and the management of short term capital flows, are interrelated challenges which are critical to resolve, if we are to achieve our objective of industrialising our economy, and generating decent work on a large scale.
On macro economic policy we must take forward, and give concrete meaning, to the Mangaung Resolution that we must “strive for macro-economic balances that support industrialisation, are biased towards job creation (…) bolster the growth of domestic industrial capacity and, in making policy tradeoffs, we will select those that favour productive sectors of the economy.”
The Summit has agreed on an Alliance Task Team that will address itself to refining and consolidating these and other issues as a matter of priority.
The National Developmental Plan
The Summit agreed that there are significant areas of agreement across the Alliance in our approach to the National Development Plan:
• All Alliance parties agree there is the need for national long range planning, and the National Planning Commission has made a contribution to this process;
• The Alliance agrees the planning work of the National Planning Commission needs now to be more effectively institutionalized and taken forward within the state. At the same time, external advisory planning capacity contained in the NPC remains important.
• The NDP is a living document, not cast in stone, and needs to be adapted, where appropriate.
• Where there is agreement on the positive elements, such as the need for a capable developmental state, we shall push ahead with implementation. The recently concluded public sector services charter between government and unions, is a good example of this, as are the important NDP recommendations on fighting corruption, and spatial transformation.
• The SACP and COSATU have raised a number of concerns with certain aspects of the NDP, including the economic chapter. The Alliance recognises that these concerns are legitimate and will be addressed by the Alliance Task Team.
Let us consolidate our Alliance unity in action
We recognise that underpinning the prospects for success in carrying forward all of these resolutions is the strategic and organisational unity of our Alliance. In the course of the Summit, we deliberated candidly on the functioning of our Alliance and the challenges confronting our respective organisations. We are independent formations united together in an Alliance that has deep historical roots in the struggles of our people. The principle of the independence of our formations is based on mutual respect for the internal democratic processes of each formation, and an appreciation of our different but complementary strategic roles.
The long-standing tradition of complementary independence, we agreed, is not to be confused with either mechanical conformity or chronic oppositionism to each other. We also agreed that weaknesses and divisions within one or another component impact upon all of us. All Alliance partners affirmed the importance of a well-organised and militant COSATU – a tame, conveyor-belt labour federation will fail all of us.
The Alliance Summit strongly affirmed the commitment of all our formations to campaign actively to ensure, once more, an overwhelming electoral victory of the ANC and the broad movement it leads at next year’s polls. We are convinced that the constructive deliberations and important resolutions of this Summit will help to inform our election manifesto and to build our unity in action as an Alliance and with the great mass of South Africa’s people, as we move boldly towards advancing, deepening and defending a radical second phase of our democratic transition. We commit ourselves to all of this inspired by the need to build a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and more egalitarian South Africa together with all our people of South Africa.