Outcomes from the Eastern Cape Provincial Alliance Summit
In a joint statement, the Eastern Cape provincial structures of the ANC, SACP, COSATU and SANCO said that they were concerned about the media's attempts to discredit the ANC in the province ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections.
"The summit noted desperate attempts by the media and opposition parties to discredit the ANC and its government and of late even crying foul to the supposed impartiality of the IEC, because they fully know that the ANC is rooted among South Africans and has good story to tell," read the statement that was released following a Provincial Alliance Summit that was held between the 13th – 14th March at Osner Hotel in East London.
President Jacob Zuma also graced the summit.
"The summit committed that a joint alliance elections program for overwhelming ANC victory must be intensified and monitored in the Provincial Alliance Operational Centre. With Eastern Cape being a rural province, the summit expressed concerns for the requirements of a physical address of voters as that will potentially disenfranchise the millions of our people in rural areas and informal settlements," read the joint statement.
"The summit reafirmed the decision of the ANC PEC lekgotla of a joint Alliance approach in attending to the identified hotspot areas. This includes joint Alliance visits to the regions where there are reports about challenges of non-functionality of the Alliance."
In his keynote address, President Zuma reflected key outcomes of the national summit and the recently held national Alliance Political Council.
He also reminded the delegates that "we need one another. The day we do not think so, we are in trouble. The ANC needs the alliance and the labour movement. COSATU needs the ANC government with its progressive policies. The SACP needs all of us as they are on a journey towards socialism and, ultimately, communism. If we do not appreciate that we need each other we are a different type of revolutionaries".
The Alliance Summit served as a platform of robust engagements on how to build a united and functional alliance and developed a shared Alliance programme to ensure that the partners are adequately geared to deliver an overwhelming victory for the ANC in the upcoming 2016 Local Government Elections.
"The summit reaffirmed the relevance of the Alliance and that crucial to its well-being is our unity in action. The alliance harnessed in the trenches of struggle remains a critical force to ensure the realisation of the strategic objectives of the Freedom Charter and NDR," reads the joint statement.
"The Alliance acknowledged the progress which has been made on the past 22 years in changing the lives of the people for the better. The summit noted however that poverty, unemployment and inequality remains stubbornly high and that only a radical change of the structure economy can effectively deal with these challenges."
Building a strong alliance – unity, discipline and cohesion
The summit reaffirmed that the alliance remains the only credible vehicle for the implementation of Freedom Charter commitments and the radical second phase.
"However the alliance is also faced with challenges of sustaining a functional and vibrant alliance, united in action for the joint programme of socio-economic transformation. The summit emerged with a shared perspective that political development must be embedded on every programme of each and collective components of the alliance and combating destructive tendencies such as patronage, buying of membership, social distance, personality cult, and factionalism which affect all partners and weaken collective strength of the alliance," reads the statement.
"The summit further stressed integral to our assessment of challenges facing our movement, we must concretely separate differences emanating from personal/individual problems to those that warrant a systematic and societal introspection and intervention.
"The alliance further committed that we will spare no effort in fighting business interest capture of our structures and factionalism which appeared to have engulf pockets our organisations and found a way of cross pollinating between our organisations thus even creating what appears to be an Alliance of factions. It is in this context that the summit has resolved to convene regional alliance summits before the local government elections, for us to strengthen the relations."
The Summit agreed that each alliance partner will work out its specific responsibilities and that these will be reported to the Political Council. The Political Council will monitor implementation and execution of responsibilities.
"The alliance is one with national leadership that the initiatives of this Summit be taken forward in a series of national alliance-led regional summits with organisational structures. The summit agreed on the need to strengthen the capacity of the movement in the terrain of the battle of ideas."
The summit acknowledged that the root of provincial socio-economic challenges is the legacy of structural underdevelopment and deprivation inherited from colonialism and apartheid, and sharply expressed in former Bantustan regions.
"Required that among other things that capital Infrastructure development must continue to lie at the core of Government’s industrialization plans, and as the Eastern Cape we will strongly pursue for significant benefit from the national infrastructure spend," the alliance partners said.
"The summit further endorsed that the next Political Council must be ceased with a responsibility to ensure that we have a better coordinated infrastructure delivery model, which the fast-tracking and monitoring of infrastructure delivery in the province. Moreover, central in this regard is the need for recruitment of a good-fit of technical and administrative skills base on infrastructure delivery.
"Given the rural nature of our province, more must be done to ensure jobs in our rural economy, and we are pushing for radically scaled up land reform, agro-processing and social economy programmes (such as community works). Priority attention needs to be given to rural development. Under-development and deprivation is still a lived reality for the majority of our people in the province."
The summit also noted that land reform programmes are moving slowly, causing underperformance of the agricultural sector and stalling some strategic investments in the rural economy.
"The summit further supported the notion of amending the Restitution of Land Rights Act, to particularly extend the current limits of land claims to land dispossession that also took place even before 19 June 1913."
The alliance is further tasked to jointly work on the challenges and interventions on education towards developing and owning a Grand Turnaround strategy on education. In addition, the summit committed to the need to revive the ‘adopt a school programme’.
The summit reaffirmed the commitment of the alliance to continue to urgently and systematically eradicate the entrenched unequal gender relations in our society. At the core of our resolution is affirming our commitment to safeguard the core values of fighting against the vestiges of patriarchy.
The summit appreciated the need for demonstration of confidence and sense of trust among the alliance partners, especially on key policy and strategic political considerations. The summit further mandated the political council to follow up the decision to revisit the economic chapter of NDP. The summit declared that it was pivotal for the provincial council and the secretariat to follow up on continuous evaluation of governance oriented commitments of the summit.
The summit having noted the persistent disruption of parliament proceedings, believe that Parliament must be stricter on dealing with hooliganism and coupled with that is for parliament role as arm of state to be respected by other arms of state as it is an institution, which represents the aspiration of the electorate.
"As delegates to this Summit, we pledge to take forward the spirit of unity, constructive self-criticism and a determination to implement the key decisions we have agreed upon. We believe that this Summit marks a turning point in the unity and cohesion of the Movement, working together in common action to realise the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution. We further call upon our membership to work tirelessly towards the overwhelming victory of the ANC in the forthcoming local government elections," reads the joint statement.
"We are also emphatic in that this phase should contribute to the consolidation and deepening of democracy and the developmental role of local government, as the sphere of government closest to the people. We therefore reaffirm that municipalities must be sensitive and responsive to local problems, find sustainable ways to meet their socio-economic, and material needs and improve the quality of their lives."
The summit also echoed its voice in celebrating the Centenary of the University of Fort Hare and further called for the celebrations to be used for the renewal of Fort Hare into a world class African University.
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