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Declaration of the Alliance Summit


9-10 May 2008, Gallagher Estate


The African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, together with the South African National Civic Organisation, met in a highly successful Alliance Summit at the Gallagher Estate, Midrand, from 9-10 May 2008.

After two days of open and constructive debate, delegates agreed that the Alliance, building on the new spirit of unity already displayed in a variety of joint activities over the past four months, is on course to play its historic role as the leader of South African society in achieving the goals of the National Democratic Revolution and building a better life for all.

The Summit discussions will be produced as a booklet for distribution to our members.

We are united in action to tackle the many challenges, which face our society. In the coming period we shall be working together on the following key areas:

  • The rise in the prices of food, fuel and many other basic necessities;
  • High levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality;
  • Health, education and crime;
  • The electricity crisis;
  • The 2009 elections.
  • Zimbabwe

It was agreed that the Alliance will work together to formulate policy, and monitor its implementation through joint ANC/Alliance policy committees and other mechanisms. This will include the drafting of the ANC Election Manifesto for the 2009 elections and matters pertaining to deployment. These kinds of interactions will become a permanent feature of alliance processes in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies. In this regard the meeting recommitted itself to the implementation of decisions of the Ekurhuleni I and II summits.

It was also agreed that this culture of collective work would be replicated at Provincial and Regional levels and in this regard capacity needs to be developed to achieve this objective.

Support for ANC President

The Summit reaffirmed its support for the President of the ANC. We will not only be accompanying him to court but to the Union Buildings as the next President of South Africa.

Economic Policy Conference

It was agreed to hold a top-level Alliance conference on economic policy.


Governance

The summit reaffirmed the ANC-led Alliance as the strategic political centre. Steps need to be taken to strengthen the capacity of the ANC and the alliance to play this role. Therefore the alliance must engage actively and dynamically with its deployees in government, both with regard to the implementation of current programmes and preparations for the medium term. The summit noted with deep concern developments at the SABC, matters surrounding the NPA, the energy crisis, allegations around the arms deal and the crisis in Zimbabwe.


Attending to hot spots

The summit directed the alliance leadership to urgently attend to all hot spots like cross-border problems, crisis in the Eastern Cape in general and Nelson Mandela Metro in particular.

The meeting discussed specific policy issues, and reached the following decisions:

Food prices

The Alliance expressed its deep concern at the devastating impact of rising food prices on our people. Urgent action is required in this regard includes strengthening legislation to criminalise collusive behaviour, including price fixing in the food sector. Urgent consideration should be given to:
  • Removing VAT on a wider range of basic food,
  • Revamping and increasing financial allocations to the school feeding schemes and
  • Subsidies to cushion the effect of price rise on the poor.

Land and agrarian reform programmes must be radically speeded up, so that more land can be made available for food production to ensure food security. The sale of publicly owned land for speculative purposes and non-developmental use should stop.

The summit agreed to support the COSATU-led civil society action against high food prices and the rising cost of living on 17th May.

Electricity crisis and Energy Summit

The summit was unanimous in rejecting Eskom’s demand for a 53% tariff increase.

It was agreed that the Energy Summit should examine all aspects of the energy policy and not just electricity tariffs.

It was also agreed that energy-intensive projects such as aluminium smelters should be reviewed, in line with the country’s strategic needs. The alliance will take active part in the study to determine the costs and benefits to the country and at provincial level of these decisions.

The summit further expressed support for initiatives designed for the promotion of renewable energy generation as well as utilisation of available opportunities for co-generation. In this regard the alliance committed itself to intensify our campaign on the saving of energy.

Scorpions

The summit welcomed progress that has been made to finalise legislation on the incorporation of the Scorpions into SAPS, in a manner that would strengthen our fight against organised crime, as part of the overhaul of the criminal justice system that is now underway. It is necessary in this regard to exercise maximum vigilance and ensure that the weaknesses that existed in the DSO are not reproduced in the new institution.

SABC

The summit noted with concern developments at the SABC and the controversy surrounding the appointment of the Board. The current board is not sufficiently representative. The Alliance is committed to an SABC that is truly a public broadcaster and whose board is representative of the broad cross section of South African society. This matter requires the urgent attention of the Alliance, parliament and government.

Creating a Single Public Service

The alliance supports the principle of a single public service. The summit however urged that the process to finalise legislation in this regard should be handled in a manner that would allow for sufficient time for inputs from the public.

Inflation targeting

The Summit has taken note of rising inflation driven largely by external factors. It noted that high and rising interest rates impact negatively on poor communities and on job creation.

The alliance therefore calls for urgent national reflection on the appropriateness of inflation targeting as well as the ranges chosen as policy for South Africa given its developmental challenges.

Transition towards a new administration

The Summit committed itself to ensuring that, as we move towards elections next year, we will work to ensure that there is a stable and effective transition so that the ANC can continue to meet the objective of improving the quality of life of our people. To ensure that this happens, mechanisms of consultation will be put in place between government, the ANC and the Alliance partners including in regard to key deployments.


Privatisation and outsourcing

The Summit calls for a moratorium on privatisation and outsourcing and the review of current outsourced public sector utilities.


Budgeting

Parliament must introduce and pass legislation, as required by the constitution, enabling it to amend money bills. The budgeting process across the spheres of government, including special appropriations, should take into account urgent social needs and other priorities. Provision should be made for special appropriations to address urgent national needs.


Creating decent work

The summit reaffirms the decision of the ANC National Conference in Polokwane that the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods, should be the primary focus of economic policies.

It notes with concern the continuing high levels of unemployment as well as the vulnerable position of workers in trade-exposed sectors such as clothing and printing. It calls for urgent industrial and other policy intervention in vulnerable sectors to ensure that industries are placed on a sustainable growth path and that jobs are created and saved.

We call on government to develop a quick response capacity to address potential large scale job losses and to implement the measures set out in the Polokwane resolution on economic transformation. We commit to develop measures to address and combat increasing casualisation of work, so that we can achieve decent work for all.

Zimbabwe

The summit notes the outcome of the Zimbabwean elections and expressed grave concern at the worsening situation in that country, including the arrest of the President and Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. Our approach on this matter is informed by our commitment to the principles of democracy and human rights. We call for an end to all violence and harassment of the civilian population. We urge the leadership and the people of Zimbabwe assisted by SADC to work together to find a lasting solution to this crisis.

As an alliance we will mobilise solidarity for the Zimbabwean people in our country and the region.

Conclusion

The Alliance has entered a new era of unity and commitment to the struggle to transform the lives of all our people. We call on all South Africans to join us as we march forward, confident that the will and determination of the people will secure victory.


Issued by:
African National Congress
South African Communist Party
Congress of South African Trade Unions
South African National Civic Organisation

Johannesburg
11 May 2008

1469 words