Peace and stability as well as “building a better Africa and a better World” are two of eight objectives the governing African National Congress (ANC) has set itself for the year. ANC president Jacob Zuma listed the party’s priorities in its traditional “January 8” statement on Saturday.
The statement marks the party’s birthday – it was founded on January 8, 1912, in Bloemfontein – and has since 1995 given direction for its programme of action as the ruling party. The eight objectives, in order of precedence are: creating decent work, health, education, peace and stability (priority 4), rural development and land reform, social transformation, local government and “building a better Africa and a better world” (priority 8).
Speaking in Polokwane on Saturday, Zuma made no mention of defence, but did say “the ANC government will continue to invest in making our people to be secure and feel safe.” He commended the police service “for the significant decline in the murder rate and other serious crimes, which indicates the successes of the increased focus on the fight against crime.
“Progress is being made in increasing the capacity of the police through recruitment, rigorous training, improving the detective services, forensics, prosecution, judicial services and crime intelligence. In the interest of national security, we must speed up the regulation of the private security industry, which often possesses and has access to more dangerous weaponry than necessary.
“The ANC remains steadfast in opposition to corruption. The ANC NEC has started the process of developing guidelines for the ANC Integrity Committee. The ANC government has a number of structures whose task is to prevent, fight and deal with corruption, including a Cabinet Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Special Investigating Unit and an Anti-Corruption Task Team led by the Hawks. Various investigations are currently underway in the public service, designed to help us ensure clean governance.”
On the subject of a Building a better Africa and a Better World, Zuma said the “ANC has always cherished the unity of the African continent and the African peoples. Almost all founding presidents of the ANC spoke passionately about the unity of the African continent, including John Langalibalele Dube, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, Sefako Mapogo Makgatho, Chief Albert Luthuli and others. The trend has continued throughout the 99 years of the existence of the ANC.
“We are immensely proud of the fact that throughout the century of its existence the ANC has occupied the front trenches with progressive forces in our continent who have carried the torch of progressive Pan-Africanism. We remain fully committed to the African agenda, including the strengthening of the African Union and the promotion of democracy, peace and stability in Africa.
The ANC is also fully supportive of the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD), and backs the ANC government`s new role of championing the African North-South infrastructure development corridor, focusing on road and rail networks.
“The ANC has strong party-to-party relations with former liberation movements in the SADC region and other parts of the continent. We will continue to enhance these relations in order to contribute towards deepening progressive political thought in the continent and globally. The ANC will continue to strengthen South-to-South cooperation, both politically and economically, through platforms such as India-Brazil-South Africa grouping and the China-Africa forum.
“We also look forward to boosting political and economic cooperation between ourselves and other emerging markets through the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) forum, which South Africa is pleased to have been invited to join. These relationships must take place on the basis of mutual benefit and development. We cannot afford to de-industrialise and become simply a provider of raw materials to other nations. Instead we must build a strong and diversified regional economy with a modern manufacturing base.
“The ANC government will continue to participate in forums such as the G20, the World Trade Organisation and others through its government, as part of the progressive forces that work to transform the global order into a more humane and equitable one,” Zuma added. “We look forward to successfully hosting the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change in December in Durban this year. World nations will meet to build consensus on a sustainable model of development that will leave a world worth living in, to future generations.
“We take this opportunity to thank Africa as well as countries in other regions that supported our candidature for the non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, which we resumed on the 1st of January. We will continue to support human rights, freedom, justice and democracy in the continent and the world, influenced by our track record and history. The ANC produced a Bill of Rights as early as 1943, even before the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948.
“We will continue to support the self-determination efforts of Western Sahara under the progressive leadership of Polisario, to ensure the liberation of the last colony in Africa. We wish the people of Sudan well during the referendum and will support them in all efforts of finding lasting solutions to their challenges. We are concerned about the developments in Cote d` Ivoire following the recent elections. A political solution needs to be found as soon as possible. We praise the efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union in searching for a solution. The gravity of the matter requires the participation of all of us, working with the ECOWAS and the African Union, in the interests of peace and stability in the continent.
“The ANC also supports Cuba in its campaign to end the economic blockade, and also reiterate the call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Cuban Five. The ANC has long called for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestine question and supports the two-state solution. The ANC congratulates the youth of South Africa for hosting the successful World Festival of the Youth and Students. The youth have made the ANC proud in the assurance that a new world order of peace and solidarity is possible.
“The ANC will continuously guide its government in the implementation of these local and international programmes, to ensure the fulfillment of the mandate obtained in the 2009 elections and the Polokwane conference resolutions,” Zuma said, the latter a reference to the resolutions adopted at the ANC’s 52nd national conference at Polokwane in December 2007.