The FW de Klerk Foundation has taken note of the annual 8 January statement of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, commemorating the 108th birthday of the organisation. 

We welcome the fact that it appears that the governing party, while celebrating its birthday, shows signs of introspection about its “own missteps over the last decade”. These include the challenges it is facing, amongst them the ailing economy, disunity and factional fighting in the organisation, and a lack of capacity in the civil service and SOEs to serve the people of South Africa. 

We also welcome the resolve of the governing party to strengthen efforts to fight State capture, corruption and unethical behaviour in its own ranks and in broader society; as well as the promise to “restore our public institutions to a higher standard of accountability and service”. We welcome the fact that the governing party is committed to “ensure that all the necessary support is provided to our law-enforcement agencies so that they can investigate thoroughly and prosecute effectively without fear or favour”.

Furthermore, we welcome the confirmation of the constitutional independence of the Reserve Bank, although we are concerned that the statement in the same breath talks about the future “public ownership of the bank”.

Finally, we welcome the statement’s emphasis that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that “(a)ll South Africans must feel that they have a future here”.

The Foundation is, however, concerned with the governing party’s inability to rid itself of the ideological baggage and semantics of a bygone era, such as “revolutionary struggle”, a “national democratic society” and its “historic mission of the liberation of blacks in general and Africans in particular”. We do not believe that this reflects modern day South Africa and its needs, the non-racial values of the Constitution, or that it makes all South Africans feel that they have a future here.

We are also concerned that many of the Nasrec resolutions that inspired the NEC statement will not pass constitutional muster, or will not serve the best interests of all South Africans. Amongst these are the unnecessary amendment to enable expropriation of land without compensation (as if the Constitution does not make provision for land reform already), continuing racially-based transformation, the establishment of the NHI and the establishment of a State Bank. 

The FW de Klerk Foundation therefore calls on the leadership of the ANC to rather use the Constitution and the National Development Plan (NDP) as the framework for its present mission to govern South Africa. Doing this, it would (amongst others) be possible to establish favourable conditions for the private sector to drive economic growth and create jobs, to render the best possible service to all citizens (and especially the poor), and to have transparent and accountable government. That would also be the best foundation for nation-building and social cohesion, as well as peaceful and crime-free local communities. 

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
13 January 2020

Photo credit: Photo by MastaBaba on / CC BY-NC

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