ANC National Working Committee: On land reform, VBS Bank, NSFAS crisis, VAT etc

Ujuh Reporter

The Hawks, working with the South African Reserve Bank, should continue to investigate the events that led to the collapse of VBS Bank and where wrongdoing is found, the law should and must take its course, says the African National Congress (ANC).

South Africa’s ruling party made this view as part of a broader statement coming out of its latest National Working Committee (NWC) meeting. The meeting discussed amongst other issues the VBS issues, processing of the land expropriation without compensation resolution, the report on VAT zero rated product list and the crisis facing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

On the processing of amending the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation, the ANC said “We reiterate the ANC’s position that any changes to the constitution and its effect on expropriation without compensation will be done in a manner that is in line with and with respect for our rule of law, that is sensitive to the needs of society, including correcting the historical injustice, and stimulating economic activity, growth, jobs and food security.   Our Constitution remains a living document that should continue to reflect the aspirations of our society and to achieve the progressive realization of our common vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South African.”

On the NSFAS crisis it said “The NWC notes with concern the recent media articles regarding the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.”

Here follows the full statement:

Women’s Month

The NWC hails the activities of women and the nation across the length and breadth of the country, as we commemorate and build on the bravery of generations of women who fought for freedom, equality and a better life for all.

It supports the mobilization and organisation of women (and men) against the scourge of Gender-based Violence. It is as much a blight on our young democracy, as it is a global problem, with one in three women across the world having been victim of gender-based violence at least once in their lives.  As South Africa society and government, we have to do more to address this scourge – in all its dimensions.

We also celebrate Women’s Month as we commemorate 100 years since the birth of Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, and the launch of the Bantu Women’s League by Charlotte Maxeke and other women in 1918.  Next month, we will also remember our leader and heroine, Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, as we celebrate her birthday in September.  The ANC will continue to honour the legacies of these giants of our struggle and country in an appropriate manner, and we will make an announcement to this effect. 

Parliamentary process in respect of Section 25 of the Constitution

To date, Parliament has received approximately 1.1 million inputs both written and oral.   This indicates a very strong and resilient developmental democracy, a public participation process that remains robust, andreflects that we remain an active citizenry. It also bears testimony to the importance of land to all our people, black and white, men and women, rural and urban, not only as an economic asset, but a core part of our sense of identity, history and belonging.

We call upon Parliament to studiously apply its mind when considering all the inputs. We trust that its deliberations and outcome will broadly reflect all the inputs both in letter and spirit. The ANC’s position is that, although the Constitution does not preclude expropriation of land without compensation, it should be amended to make this matter explicit. 

We reiterate the ANC’s position that any changes to the constitution and its effect on expropriation without compensation will be done in a manner that is in line with and with respect for our rule of law, that is sensitive to the needs of society, including correcting the historical injustice, and stimulating economic activity, growth, jobs and food security.   Our Constitution remains a living document that should continue to reflect the aspirations of our society and to achieve the progressive realization of our common vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South African.

The ANC will continue to engage all stakeholders in this process, including traditional leaders and rural communities, farmers and farm workers, to make sure that the myriad of issues and concerns of various sectors, including women, are taken into consideration as we work together to correct the historical injustice, in the interest of a South Africa that belongs to all

On the VBS Bank 

The NWC welcomes the statement by Minister Zweli Mkhize that the criminal investigation by the investigative authorities led by the Hawks, working with the SA Reserve Banks, into the events that led to the collapse of VBS Bank will continue. Where wrongdoing is found, the law should and must take its course.

We are in full support of the interventions by the SA Reserve Bank, and the national and provincial governments to ensure that the most vulnerable clients i.e. the poor, elderly and the unemployed, whose individual and collective savings through stokvels and burial societies have been affected, are protected. The intervention should also assist and protect municipalities and tax payers who have banked with the VBS Bank.  

Our overall approach should be guided by the common national commitment to a financial sector that is robust, diversified and continues to transform, to meet the needs of all South Africans.   

The recent VAT Panel report

The NWC welcomes the latest VAT Panel report, with its recommendations on other VAT exemptions on basic necessities. This intervention is part of our commitment to mitigate the effects of the VAT increase of earlier this year on the poor. Thus, the ANC backs the inclusion of more basic food stuff, sanitary towels and school uniforms, amongst others,to be VAT exempted, as recommended by the Panel. 

As we observe and celebrate Women’s Month this August, it is befitting that sanitary towels are exempted, as we work together to ensure that all girls, in all schools, have access to sanitary towels as a basic human right. 

Reports on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

The NWC notes with concern the recent media articles regarding the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Whilst it is confirmed that the Chairperson has resigned, the government through the Minister of Higher Education, working with National Treasury and Universities, is ensuring that there is continuity in the governance of NSFAS, and that its service to students and the higher education sector meets our national developmental objectives. 

Public Service Transformation and Fighting Corruption

The NWC furthermore notes that discussions between government and trade unions on an effective and capable state are ongoing, and that no decision has been taken to retrench.  

The NWC also calls upon our investigative authorities to fully investigate the allegations of collusion between the State Attorney’s Office and relevant private sector law firms in the delegation of work and billing. We must respond with speed where-ever such allegations rear their heads, because it undermines the confidence of our people in the state. 

The NWC welcomes the Constitutional Court’s judgment on the National Director of Public Prosecutions. This paves the way for the President to continue with the resolution of the problems that had befallen this pivotal body of our judicial system. It is very crucial that the nation regains confidence in this institution so that its work is respected and is seen to be honest, thorough, impartial and focused on weeding out criminals from every facet of our society. 

#ThumaMina Campaign

The NWC wishes to thank the thousands of South Africans and ANC cadres that heeded the clarion call to participate in the Thuma Mina campaign over the past week, in the spirit of service which characterized President Nelson Mandela and Ma Albertina Sisulu

We call on ANC branches everywhere to continue to heed this call of service, and urge ANC Councilors to engage with communities, so that together we find solutions to the problems we face.

Statement of the ANC National Working Committee

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