ANC deployees in Parliament need to internalise issues discussed in the party’s political school programme and align themselves to the vision of an activist Parliament.
These were the closing remarks by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule at the party’s OR Tambo School of Leadership induction workshop over the weekend, attended by over 200 ANC MPs, which included ministers and deputy ministers.
The three-day induction sessions from Friday until Sunday, graced by among others former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs and ANC policy guru Joel Netshitenzhe, was “designed to deepen understanding of the ANC’s intent as it sets out to advocate for an activist Parliament in the context of the agenda of renewal”, political school principal David Masondo said in a statement, adding that the programme would be rolled out across all nine provincial legislatures.
“All public representatives will also be required to attend 70% of the 13 courses offered by OR Tambo School. The 13 courses range from economics, Africa in the global economy, ethics to gender transformation,” said Masondo.
He said that an activist Parliament meant that parliamentary work must be based on active citizens and civil society, and for the ANC this meant putting greater emphasis on “representing and interacting with members of society to ensure that views, aspirations and needs are met by the state and other actors in society”.
Key to the programme was the message of accountability and that public representatives needed to put the interests of the people first.
At least R65 million a year was expected to be budgeted for the school over the next three years.
Masondo said party deployees ought to understand that Parliament is an organ of people’s power, and that the ANC has to reach people through Parliament in order to advance the liberation goals.
“The process of finding solutions and curing ANC self-identified challenges will be continuous and not a once-off event. Accordingly, in pursuit of finding solutions towards self-discovery and self-correction and to contribute to the ANC renewal programme, this Induction Programme has been identified as an opportunity that can be used to support this process,” he said.
He said the performance of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sixth administration of government post the May 8 general elections would be measured on the extent the ANC, as the governing party, delivered on its mandate and key priorities.
“Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Legislatures, as representatives of the people, are at the core of this assignment and are key in drafting and passing laws and driving implementation of the mandate and key priorities,” he said.
On Friday Ramaphosa opened the workshop with a political overview, followed by presentations from Sachs on the Constitution and its historical path, and Netshitenzhe on the relationship between the state, the party and the ANC’s expectations of its public representatives.
Other speakers were ANC NEC member Nathi Mthethwa, who dealt with ANC strategy and tactics; then Environmental Affairs and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy on the ANC elections manifesto; and party deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte’s topic was gender transformation.
The party’s Parliamentary heads, Amos Masondo and Lechesa Tsenoli, also provided an input on the practical steps to achieve an activist Parliament.
“The process of finding solutions and curing ANC self-identified challenges will be continuous and not a once-off event,” said Masondo.
Accordingly, he said, “in pursuit of finding solutions towards self-discovery and self-correction and to contribute to the ANC renewal programme, this Induction Programme has been identified as an opportunity that can be used to support this process”.
It is for this reason that the OR Tambo School of Leadership was tasked with developing and conducting an ANC Induction Programme, said Masondo.
City Press heard that on Friday Sachs made an “interesting presentation, taking all ANC MPs through the Constitution”.
Sachs, according to those who attended the induction, outlined the process that was followed in drafting the Constitution and what they had in mind when they adopted certain clauses.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Ronald Lamola was among those who spoke, telling Sachs that it was clear that “young people usually accused the old guard of selling out during the negotiations” because they did not understand the context within which the agreements were reached.