Thursday, February 19, 2015

Statement of the South African National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance Secretariat 
For Immediate Release
14 February 2015

The Alliance Secretariat, comprising the secretariats of the ANC, SACP, COSATU and SANCO, held its regular meeting in Cape Town on Friday, 13 February 2015. The Secretariat reflected on matters pertaining to the Alliance, the events during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the Nine-Point Plan announced by the President.

The National Assembly and What Happened

At the heart of the regrettable disruptions in Parliament has been the anarchy of a 6 percent party, the EFF, deliberately taunting and seeking to provoke counter-measures in order to pose as a “victim” of state repression. This behaviour is deplorable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Many of the conventions and institutions of our democratic parliament, a key achievement of decades of liberation struggle, assume a degree of multi-party mutual respect and at least a modicum of shared multi-party commitment to nation-building out of the ashes of our divided past. As a result, institutions like the “Sergeant At Arms” have been largely symbolic, and ill-prepared for the hooliganism that has now introduced itself into parliament. One leading member of the EFF has been quoted saying that “next time” they will come armed into the assembly. Regrettably, all of this means that parliament’s security capacity will have to be enhanced, in order to ensure that minority forces do not continue to undermine the workings of a democratic parliament charged with taking forward, as a multi-party institution, the mandate of the electorate.

The DA continues to tail behind the EFF, seeking in its own way, to emulate the shallow theatrics of Julius Malema and his cohort. DA party leader, Helen Zille, led a grim-faced funeral cortege into parliament and then, in a carefully scripted agenda sought, in its turn, to provoke the presiding officers to also order them out of the House. When this ploy failed there was some confusion in their ranks, but they then left too. The DA agenda seeks improbably to establish a false equivalence between the “bad” behaviour of the EFF and the presiding officers. We doubt whether the majority of the DA’s own constituency still finds this narrative plausible.

The secretariat condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the jamming of the signal in the National Assembly. It regards this as a serious error of judgment that must never be repeated. However, the behaviour of certain members of the media was also unbecoming. We urge the senior management in parliament and the parliamentary press corps to meet at the soonest opportunity to review events and to re-establish the collegial relationship which is so necessary for the effective functioning of our parliamentary democracy.

We commend the dignified and respectable manner in which the Presiding Officers on the day managed a very difficult situation. The Presiding Officers, with the authority accorded them by the rules of parliament and those governing the joint sitting of the National Assembly, were within their rights, in fact were duty bound, to implement measures to prevent proceedings from degenerating into complete chaos. They ensured that the President of the Republic addressed the country on the challenges facing us and on Government’s plans to harness the energies of all South Africans in addressing these.

The Secretariat reaffirms the longstanding practice, here and abroad, that the State of the Nation Address is an opportunity for the Head of State to present the challenges and opportunities facing the nation and what it is that will be done to resolve and seize them respectively, towards improving the lives of the citizens.

Overall Assessment of the SONA

The Nine-Point Plan announced by the President is a bold step in the direction of making South Africa a better country, and of overcoming the social, political and economic challenges that we are facing as a nation.

The speech embodied all of the major decisions of the ANC NEC Lekgotla in which also the ANC’s alliance partners actively participated. Most importantly, it presented a solid content for a genuine and substantive discussion on the real economy in its pointed focus on industrialisation.

We appreciate the clear indications of a wide range of active interventions to address the energy challenges facing the country. The commitment to consolidating Eskom’s generating capacity, as well as expanding into an array of different energy resources, and the continued mobilisation of independent power producers and of co-generation initiatives are welcomed.

While we note the persistent triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, it is encouraging to see the strides made in efforts towards job creation in a very challenging global economic climate. Successes in the auto and in the leather and foot-wear sectors, highlighted by the President, also point to further initiatives that need now to be scaled up in other key sectors, like agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and aqua-culture.

Land is at the core of the transformation of South African society. The 50:50 principle regarding the distribution of land is consistent with the Freedom Charter, that The Land Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It. Finally, too, our country is to act in concert with international practice where foreign nationals cannot own but can lease property.

In the light of the economic challenge we are encouraged by government’s commitment to find an appropriate balance between the concerns of national security, tourism and the sourcing of scarce skills in the visa application process.

Digital Migration

The Secretariat reasserted the decisions of the ANC Lekgotla and further reaffirmed the need to implement the December 2013 Cabinet decision in regard to digital migration. It recognises the potential negative cost implications on the country should the International Telecommunication Union’s June 2015 deadline not be met. Therefore, we urge Government to move swiftly and with the necessary speed to effect these decisions that will ensure that the production of set-top boxes and the new generation of TVs will create tens of thousands of local South African jobs.


The Secretariat is gravely concerned by the emerging tribal content that seems to motivate the unstable situation in the area. It also recognises the anxieties that may exist among some in the community. The Alliance will as a matter of urgency implement its visit to the area in order to engage with its structures.

On the international situation

The Alliance noted the deteriorating situation in Swaziland with the leader of PUDEMO, Comrade Mario Masuku languishing in jail and being refused medical attention. We call on the Government of Swaziland to urgently take steps to stop the worst from happening to Comrade Mario.

The Alliance also committed to redouble its co-ordination and leadership of solidarity activities with the people of Palestine in their struggle for self-determination. Further, there will be interaction with the various formations involved in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to ensure a better coordinated, effective and sustained programme.

Issued by:

African National Congress – ANC
South African Communist Party – SACP
Congress of South African Trade Unions – COSATU
South African National Civics Organisation – SANCO

Zizi Kodwa – 0823304910
Alex Mashilo – 0829200308
Patrick Craven – 0828217456
Godfrey Nkosi – 0825965454

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