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Country analysis > South Africa Last update: 2019-09-16  

Understanding Gauteng's changing economic, social and political landscape:

implications and challenges for the ANC - led Democratic Movement and the Democratic State during the Second Decade of Freedom

1 August 2004

Posted with permission of the Provincial Secretary of the ANC, Gauteng.
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Introduction: Why this base document

The year 2012 will mark the centenary of the African National Congress of South Africa. South Africa will celebrate its Second Decade of Freedom and Democracy in 2014. Both these events – the formation of the ANC in 1912 and its subsequent transformation into a mass revolutionary vanguard movement that effectively led the freedom struggle on all fronts and the consequent birth of a free and democratic South Africa in 1994 – stand out among the most pre-eminent events in South Africa’s 20th century history.

The historical significance of the birth of the ANC is illustrated by how the movement’s 90th anniversary celebrated in January 2002 was used to outline a road map for itself in the decade leading up to its Centenary:

    As we mark the 90th Anniversary of our movement, we must look forward to the tasks we have to accomplish during the critical decade that will take us to the Centenary of the ANC. This will give us a much-needed road map, dealing with all aspects of our national and international life, as we advance to the Year 2012. Clearly, the guiding principle of this road map must be the objective to move forward decisively to eradicate the legacy of racism, sexism, colonialism and apartheid. This is the central aim that must inform the detailed work done daily by the vanguard movement for the social transformation of our country and continent as well as our democratic state.

    To ensure that we achieve this goal, we must set ourselves and our country bold but realistic goals to enable us to gauge the progress we are making. This will have to encompass all aspects of social activity, ensuring that we move forward in a balanced and integrated manner.

    To discharge all these responsibilities, we must base our vision, programmes and actions on that historic manifesto of the people of South Africa, the Freedom Charter. This demands especially of our vanguard movement that we ensure that the Freedom Charter plays its central role in the formation of the new South Africa as a living document.

    Thus it must be responsive to the new situation that emerged nationally and internationally, since it was adopted at the Congress of the People in 1955. The bold tasks it elaborated must be carried out within the context of the rapid changes that characterise modern human society.

    [President Thabo Mbeki, January 8th Statement, 2002]
In response to the call made by the President on the occasion of the ANC’s 90th Anniversary, both the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC in Gauteng and the Provincial Working Committee (PWC) have adopted a medium to long term approach to organisational and governance work. In both its practical organisational work and in theoretical-ideological work, the provincial leadership has emphasised the need for the cadres of the movement to put painstaking effort and energy in gaining an accurate and scientific understanding of the trends and conditions within each sector and level of the province. This method of work places high premium on the need for our cadres to understand the unique character of our province and its place and role in the struggle for national, continental and global sustainable development.

In the coming decade, we have to move to a situation wherein all cadres make it their duty to constantly understand what makes each community, region and the province in which they live “tick”. This comprehensive understanding of the context has to become a necessary ingredient of effective political leadership at all levels because without such an understanding, strategic and tactical interventions that advance the cause of the NDR will be very difficult.

As part of this method of work, both the PEC and PWC undertook several initiatives that contributed to the “big picture’’ and “big ideas” contained in this Base Document:

  • Between February and May 2003, the PWC visited all branches and ANC-controlled municipalities to assess their work and how they are impacting on community development. This exposed some of the positive and negative political trends within our branches and regions. This document draws important conclusions from the organisational and community-level trends observed during the PWC visit;
  • Between June 2003 and May 2004, the movement undertook a massive Election Campaign that took the ANC leadership to all communities and sectors of the Gauteng population. Both the Election research and the door-to-door work of our volunteers helped to expose the movement to demographic and geographic trends across the province. This document draws important conclusions from the analysis of the 2004 election results and the immeasurable experience of our campaign workers;
  • At the beginning of 2003, government initiated a process of assessing our progress in building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous society since the movement assumed power in 1994. In October 2003, the National Cabinet released a discussion document titled Towards a Ten Year Review. This was followed by the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Ten-Year Report titled A Decade of Change: Celebrating 10 Years of Democracy in Gauteng. The publication of the State of the Cities Report by the South African Cities Network (SACN) in 2004 also served as an important source of enhancing our understanding of the trends and dynamics of the province in which the movement lives and leads. This document benefited from some of the incisive conclusions of these Ten-Year Reviews and Reports;
  • In June 2003, the PEC took a decision to undertake its own scenario planning/strategic process that will help to position the ANC in Gauteng to continue to be the hegemonic political force in the medium-to-long term. This requires a medium-to-long term strategic approach to the task of building organisation. In pursuit of the PEC decision to develop a medium-to-long term approach, the PWC appointed an Organisational Review and Renewal Task Team (Convened by Cde Firoz Cachalia) to look into current and future challenges. The objectives of the Organisational Review, Renewal and Strategic Process were:

    1. To identify, through research, trends and changes that are taking place in society and in the economy and assess their medium-to-long term implications and challenges for the ANC-led democratic movement and the democratic state;
    2. In response to the above, to propose short, medium and long term strategies for building the ANC’s strategic capacity and financial sustainability that will enable it to remain the principal agent for change and a hegemonic political force in Gauteng by the Centenary, Second Decade of Freedom and beyond. This includes the Alliance, MDM and progressive forces in Gauteng in the next decade;
This Base Document is a result of a combination of very useful research carried by a team of researchers and activists who worked tirelessly to ensure that the Organisational Review and Renewal Task Team met its mandate, as well as a constellation of insights gained from our ongoing practical organisational and governance work, particularly the experiences of the 2003 PWC regional visits and the 2004 election campaign.

The Base Document has strategic information on trends that pose serious political, economic, social and organisational challenges for the ANC-led democratic movement and the democratic state. The Conference Task Teams that are responsible for drafting specific Discussion Papers will use the key conclusions and challenges identified by this Document to propose interventions that have to be made. However, the Document’s organisational value goes far beyond the process towards the 9th Provincial Conference: it is an information resource that can be used at different levels of the ANC, Alliance, progressive civil society and the institutions of the democratic state.

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