President Jacob Zuma has again responded to “a few individuals in the leadership” who claimed that there was policy uncertainty during the “nine wasted years”, saying the narrative was “dishonest” and “erroneous”.
In fact, these people were part of the processes of formulating the ruling party’s policies, said the former president.
According to the former president, the ANC was the only party that had an open process that involved all its member in formulating and adopting policies.
“Every member has a right to take full and active part in the discussion, as well as the formulation and implementation of the policies of the ANC. The National Conference constituted with 90% voting branch delegates is the supreme ruling and controlling body of the ANC. It formulates and makes direct recommendations on policy to the National Elective Conference.”
The policy development process is transparent in such a way that policy discussion documents were sent to the branches and made available to the public for comments, he said.
“These discussions are undertaken at the following Structures of our movement: at branch, regional, and provincial councils. This means that the delegates going to the National Conference have the benefit of the wisdom of all the active members of the organisation. The resolutions of the National Conference are the basis for the development of the programme of the government of our ruling party (ANC).”
For senior members of the ANC to then claim there was policy uncertainty in the past nine years was, therefore, dishonest, said the president.
Read his full statement below:
I thought it is important for me to correct the record and distortions of the ANC and it’s government of the last 9 years, particularly as we approach the National Elections date.
The narrative by a few individuals in the leadership who claim that there was policy uncertainty in the last nine years spanning the terms of the Fourth and Fifth Administrations, the so-called Zuma 9 years is erroneous and a dishonest narrative. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The African National Congress is the only political party in the country that has an open and participative process involving all its members to formulate and adopt policies. Every member has a right to take full and active part in the discussion, as well as the formulation and implementation of the policies of the ANC. The National Conference constituted with 90% voting branch delegates is the supreme ruling and controlling body of the ANC. It formulates and makes direct recommendations on policy to the National Elective Conference.
The policy development process is transparent and comprehensive. Towards the five-yearly Policy Conference the policy discussion documents are sent to the branches for a thorough discussion, and are also made available to the broader public for comments. The documents are extensively discussed by all the members of our movement.
These discussions are undertaken at the following Structures of our movement: at branch, regional, and provincial councils. This means that the delegates going to the National Conference have the benefit of the wisdom of all the active members of the organization.
The resolutions of the National Conference are the basis for the development of the programme of the government of our ruling party (ANC).
Indeed the first iteration of the programme begins with the development of the Elections Manifesto that is itself a participative process involving the whole membership. The Manifesto is the electoral mandate that ANC deployees to government are required to translate into government programmes in line with the Constitution and other laws of the country.
The government programme is in the form of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework with an accompanying Medium-Term Expenditure Framework that is approved by Parliament.
The Fourth and Fifth Administrations has throughout implemented the policies and programmes of the ANC, as described above and accounted internally to the National Executive Committee (NEC) which is the highest policy-making body between National Conferences.
The government also accounts to Parliament which approves programmes and budgets and also exercises oversight in the implementation of government programmes.
South Africa is a democracy and operates according to the Rule of Law. All government programmes are accordingly based on laws passed by Parliament and assented to by the President who is the head of the Executive and the head of state.
Most of the laws are initiated by the various departments and after extensive deliberations, and then adopted by the Cabinet, thereafter, they are released for public comment before being finalised by the Cabinet for submission to Parliament.
Parliament also has a comprehensive process which includes public consultations as required by the Constitution. The Bills are debated in various portfolio committees that report to the National Assembly that further debates and votes to adopt or refer the Bill back for further processing. Where this is constitutionally required the Bills are also processed by the National Council of Provinces in a similar manner.
It is important to emphasize therefore, that government policy is not the exclusive preserve of the head of the executive. It is often contested at every step of the way by public representatives in Parliament and also by various interest groups. The head of the executive does not dictate policy but articulates and champions the policies of the governing party.
Government policy is a key factor for investment decisions. Investors and other economic actors keenly follow the policy-making process as decisions can have favourable or unfavourable on investments returns.
The non-government sector also advocates policies in line with their areas of interest. Very often groups have conflicting interests. The result is that the policy-making process can be slowed down considerably.
Statements that there has been policy uncertainty in the last two administrations are dishonest and untrue, particularly if they are made a narrative by senior people of our movement, who have been part of these important and thorough policy formulation processes.
Given this comprehensive process, no one therefore can say in the last nine years there was policy uncertainty, particularly those who were in the leadership of our Movement (ANC) and Government during this period.