PYA Statement on the ANC National Policy Conference
PYA Statement on the ANC National Policy Conference
“Intensify youth mobilisation in the year for youth safety and jobs for youth”.
The Progressive Youth Alliance composed of ANCYL, COSAS, SASCO and YCLSA extended to COSATU YW and Young Women’s Desk working committees, jointly representing the vast majority of young people, the employed, unemployed, learners and students in this country met to consolidate the youth perspective towards the national Policy Conference.
It remains our firm view that the untransformed nature of property relations is at the center of the fundamental challenges confronting the youth. The young people bare the most brunt of the crises of the society and economy, the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment.
The Policy Conference takes place while the ANC workers are not paid and face a possibility of some of their basic and important assets being repossessed. The PYA will tomorrow join the picket on the basis that majority of this workers are young and those who are relatively old, have a responsibility to feed families too.
The meeting reflected and took stock on all discussion documents for the conference and agreed on an approach to respond on pertinent policy proposals.
At the centre of persisting challenges of sky-rocketing unemployment, unabated inequality and abject poverty is the rise of the neoliberal policy trajectory and austerity measures on the economic policy characterized by servicing international debt, sales of public productive assets.
On Balance of Forces around the South African Transformation Agenda
The national economy has hit a brick wall in terms of economic expansion and is experiencing internal combustion. Restructurings of industrial capital occasioned by declining rates of investment, mechanization, and relocations of industrial bases have all conspired to narrow the framework for sustainable employment creation in the country.
The consequence of this is the erosion of the social and economic position of the social classes that constitute the motive forces of the national democratic revolution. Added to this mix has been the fragmentation of the progressive labour movement, COSATU, with its industrial unions suffering significant losses of ground in mining and manufacturing. This has meant that a revolutionary workers’ perspective on the industrial economy is fast evaporating, thereby draining the progressive movement of an effective presence in that critical pillar of our national political economy.
South Africa’s National Treasury is undoubtedly of the most untransformed and concerning department post the 1994 democratic transition. The institution harbours the most reactionary intellectual-moral based on capitalist neo-liberal ethics undoubtedly enforced by a leadership that lacks vision and touch with reality. This has led to policy postures that are anti-working class and anti-youth!
The current period reveals emergence of a nexus of power in eastern Europe and Asia that is mounting a challenge to US hyper dominance. Importantly, this must not (as yet) be interpreted to be a global challenge to neoliberalism per se but rather a challenge to the institutional power structure that globally enables neoliberalism to thrive. Similarly, this challenge also has significant implications for the extent to which imperial domination, or rather the imperial tendency to dictate terms to all and sundry is now being limited.
The PYA also notes the rise of right-wing populism globally, originating from the United States and Continental Europe, and its reliance on social media platforms for mobilization. This manifests as a combination of racism, anti-immigrant sensation, an infringement on bodily autonomy via anti-abortion campaigns, and all kinds of bigoted offensives. Implicit in this systematic use of social media mobilization for the rightwing is the cooption of young people as peddlers of negative ideology.
On Organisational Renewal
We propose that a branch must be in good standing if and only if:
i) It has paid up membership as outlined in the constitution
ii) Provides a credible record of activism in championing community struggles
iii) Holds regular branch general meetings, as contemplated in the constitution to report back and plan community campaigns
iv) Produce proof of continuous political education workshops
On application for Membership of the ANC, we advocate that before a member is confirmed in good standing:
v) they should have been vetted to prevent sexual predators and criminals from joining and leading the ANC.
vi) Must be assigned and fulfil community work tasks in line with the objectives of the ANC. They must provide regular reports to branch general meetings
This will assist us in reconfiguring structures of the ANC into activist structures that center the people in their work. We also propose the following organizational redesign measures to improve efficiency:
i) All NEC members must also have set functions to ensure all elected members are held accountable for the positions they hold
ii) All Chairpersons of ANC NEC Subcommittees must be responsible for holding government deployees accountable for the ANC programme of action. This means that Chairpersons of ANC NEC Subcommittees must be full-time at Luthuli House, not in government.
iii) That all structures must comprise at least 40% youth and 50% of gender representation.
The PYA will also be advocating for the retirement age of deployees to be 65 years as lawmakers, they are public servants themselves.
On Battle of Ideas and Communication
We move for the adoption of the social media policy of the ANC as a measure to deal with the gross ill-discipline demonstrated by ANC members on social media platforms while bringing the organization into disrepute.
We also call for an improved rollout of broadband connectivity infrastructure to allow more South Africans to benefit from the dividends of the information age. Attached to this is the urgent need to rollout USSD communications channels for free access to educational, news, and health content.
The PYA supports 60% local content as a minimum. However, a strategic framework must be created which includes implementation timelines and tangible metrics to measure the progress made by media entities about the quota.
The PYA calls for lowering costs of deploying fiber infrastructure and a continued decline in the cost of mobile internet access (data) by the major service providers in South Africa to increase access at a reasonable price. We are highly opposed to the roll-out of spectrum through big conglomerate.
On Arts, Culture, and Heritage
We call for investment in the Motion Picture value chain of the sector to afford young previously marginalized film producers to compete in the space. The Department of Arts and Culture, working with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition, must build a Motion Picture Precinct that will afford young South Africans in the film production value chain an environment with a comprehensive set of training, talent development, and production opportunities. This is more urgent now in the age of streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, etc whose impact has been substantial rise in demand for film content at a rate that global film. We further call for the signing into law the copyright amendment bill.
In pursuit of Progressive Internationalism
We call on the ANC to discuss seriously ways of strengthening our participation in BRICS. We must demonstrate our commitment to a reformed global trade and economic system by leveraging our BRICS membership to call for the de-dollarization of international trade and for multiple currencies to be given a chance.
The PYA noted the watering down of the ANCs position on the question of Palestine and the seemingly growing Zionist lobby within the movement. We demand that South Africa cuts diplomatic ties with the Apartheid state of Israeli and expel the Israeli ambassador to South Africa until such time a two-state solution is found.
The same applies to the state of Morocco. South Africa must cut all diplomatic ties with this state, and expel the ambassador until the people of Western Sahara have a right to self-determination.
Any member of the ANC who attends the Israeli and Morocco propaganda trips must immediately be suspended.
On Peace and Stability
The PYA calls for a comprehensive peace and stability plan to be developed before December 2022. This plan must be people-centered, and people driven, anchored on community structures and resourcing of partnerships between the police and communities. This plan must articulate linkages between municipal by-laws, liquor boards, gambling boards, the police service, and community policing structures to ensure seamless principles of licensing and enforcement of accountability.
Similarly, we want to warn about the crisis of a decline in the allocation of resources to the SANDF and the threats that this poses to our borders and sovereignty. The decline in personnel numbers and aging of defense equipment is a cause for concern. Connected to this is the ailing state of Denel as a key manufacturer of defense equipment and the weak state of ARMSCOR as our country’s defense equipment procuring agency.
The retention of DENEL as a parastatal is a position that we want to advance and defend. Investment in defense technology has proven, the world over, to be a strategic avenue of national expenditure on Research and Development. Defense technology has positive externalities that have pioneered serious advances in telecommunications, electrical engineering, cybersecurity, drone technology for medical use, weather observation, explorations in sea-mining, etc.
On Legislature and Governance
We support the call that 50% of NEC members should not be eligible for positions in the National Executive to ensure there are checks and balances between the organization and its deployees. This must cascade down to all elected structures.
To monitor the implementation of ANC policies, all ANC Caucus in legislatures must have an ANCYL deployed Parliamentary Officer who will strictly deal with policy and legislative measures as is the case with COSATU.
On Economic Transformation
The PYA notes with deep concern that the recently released Discussion Document on ‘Strengthening Economic Recovery and Reconstruction to Build an Inclusive Economy’ altogether avoids the matter of macro-economic policy and is thin on industrial policy.
a) We call for a robust National Industrial Development Strategy as our only realistic chance at getting the SA economy out of the current crisis.
b) The National Industrial Development Strategy must be the overriding framework that informs our macroeconomic policy, both fiscal and monetary.
c) The National Industrial Development Strategy must be anchored on manufacturing, innovation, import-substitution, and localization focusing on youth-owned businesses.
d) The National Industrial Development Strategy must also deepen the transformation of the Oceans Economy for disadvantaged youth and women. We have a 3000-kilometer coastline as a country with immense potential for developing new coastal cities and towns, sea-mining exploration, defense technology installation, democratized fishing, tourism, and seawater harvesting.
e) An appraisal of the state of all SOEs needs to be done and they need to be strengthened to assist in the re-industrialization of the South African economy.
f) Mass-based skills accreditation and transfer for youth.
g) Implementation of youth set-asides in government contracts.
We also note that, in times of crisis the state must serve as an employer of last resort, and while welcome, the injunction in Phase 4 of the EPWP to employ 55% youth must be enforced as a mechanism to facilitate pathways into earning and learning opportunities, alongside the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.
The PYA calls for a rejection of the move to privatize energy generation in the country. It is unsustainable and will lead to runaway energy cost escalation. Government must simply fire the current board and executive, and pay off the Eskom debt so that the utility can raise funds to improve its infrastructure and end these rolling blackouts.
Furthermore, we note the global concerns for climate justice. We agree that South Africa must also de-fossilize. However, we are for a just transition and our argument is that:
i) as witnessed in the vase of Germany, Renewables currently are not able to power up an industrial economy at the required scale. Our country needs an energy mix that includes nuclear and hydrogen
ii) South Africa must scale down on coal over 30 years. The same period must be used to scale up our capacity in renewables technology for solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, and nuclear.
The PYA lobbies the Policy Conference to resolve on a need to move all entities from Public Enterprises to their legislative departments and further scrap the Department of Public Enterprises. The fixing of the power utility cannot only be systematic however heads must roll in that entity. We call for the termination of De Ruyter’s contract.
On Education, Health, Science and Technology
The crisis of youth unemployment is largely characterized by skills mismatch or lack thereof. The National Development set a target of about 5% of increase for the student intake in institutions of higher learning and TVETs colleges, however, we observe a decline on the students funded by NSFAS when we compare the current financial year with the previous. This is despite the fact that the need for higher education space increases annually. The PYA calls for free, compulsory and quality education for all. Education should be free in both monetary terms and free from the ideological struggle hold of capital from the curriculum. We need a curriculum which responds to the political economy of our communities.
We call for a speedy rollout of the National Health Insurance. We also call for the implementation of the decision to build a State-Owned Pharmaceutical company. These two are more urgent, especially with our experience of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We reaffirm our call for Free and Compulsory Education for all now and call for its full implementation. We call for an increased speed for the Transformation agenda which will see TVET colleges being institutions of choice instead of being dumping sites.
The student movement calls for each grade certification as early as Grade 8 and that Driver’s Learner’s License and Driver’s License be made compulsory and free for all high school learners..
We call on the regulation of the pricing structure of the student accommodation because majority still charge exorbitantly way above the NSFAS accommodation allocation. We further call on the local municipalities to take responsibility for the student accommodation by making available facilities to increase the provision of decent accommodation for students in their localities and monitoring them.
On Youth development, increased funding for youth enterprises and cooperative development and access to markets.
The Progressive Youth Alliance notes with dismay that over a decade since the approval of the youth employment accord that place among others the duty to set aside funding and procurement for the youth to support youth enterprises. It remains our considered view that small enterprises employ majority of the national workforce and thus there is ought to be a concerted effort to invest funding to small medium enterprises especially the ones owned by the youth. We call on DFIs to fund youth business and that 30% of youth set asides to be part of their KPIs and audit requirements. Young people must be persistent in their entrepreneurial endeavors in the context of Letsema campaign and take responsibility for the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.
On Land reform through land expropriation without compensation and introduction of wealth tax.
In our view, the land question is strategic and important in advancing the transformational agenda of our revolution and correcting the “imbalances of the past” which continues to haunt the present unequal society. The land question is also important in developing South Africa’s productive capacity in a way that does not only benefit a few and rather mobilizes the majority as active participants in the economy.
We call on parties especially those who claim to be pro-working class, to put their ideological differences aside and support the Expropriation Bill in their majority which will enable the constitutional amendment for land expropriation. This will significantly disrupt the racialized poverty in the country that culminated from colonialization and land dispossession.
Issued by PYA Secretariat
COSAS – Tebogo Magafane, SASCO – Buthanani Thobela, COSATU YW – Siyabonga Mkhize, ANCWL YWD – Precious Banda, YCLSA – Tinyiko Ntini and ANCYL – Joy Maimela.
For more information contact:
Mzwandile Thakhudi – YCLSA National Spokesperson
Mobile: 079 994 6391.
Sizophila Mkhize – ANCYL National Spokesperson
Mobile: 078 436 6831
Luvuyo Barnes – SASCO National Media Liaison Officer
Mobile: 079 393 7131
Douglas Ngobeni- COSAS National Spokesperson
Mobile: 068 5845344
Siyabonga Mkhize -COSATU YWF National Secretary
Mobile: 074 793 6738