ActionSA Ready to Host Ground-Breaking Policy Conference to Provide Real Alternative in 2024

From 12 to 14 September next week, ActionSA members will assemble in Gauteng for our Inaugural Policy Conference, in accordance with ActionSA’s constitution which specifies that the Policy Conference shall adopt the Party’s policy platform for each impending general election.

614 delegates will come together from all nine provinces, each of the 52 districts and 8 metros to deliberate over a set of thought-provoking and inspirational solutions aimed at realising our South African Dream – ActionSA’s vision for an inclusive and prosperous South Africa.

This Policy Conference follows that participatory process that has become synonymous with ActionSA going back to its roots in the People’s Dialogue. The journey leading up to this conference has been an intensive three-year process. ActionSA has engaged with its members and supporters, industry experts, professionals, and ordinary South Africans to gather insights and solutions to address the most pressing challenges of our time.

Launch of the Policy Engagement Platform

Commencing on the 11th of May, our public engagement platform was launched, marking the initiation of our comprehensive outreach to all South Africans regarding the 11 policy themes that will serve as the focal points of our Inaugural Policy Conference and subsequent policy offering to the South African people. The choice of these policy areas is a reflection of ActionSA’s prioritisation of the challenges confronting South Africans and include:

  • Economic Prosperity
  • Energy Security
  • Economic Justice
  • Corruption
  • Law and Order
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Public Service
  • Foreign Policy
  • Climate & Environment
  • Rural Development & Traditional Affairs

This public engagement platform ran until 02 August 2023 and allowed South Africans to play a significant role in shaping our policy direction. Most distinguishingly, it ensured that our policy framework reflected the aspirations and desires of all South Africans and not politicians.

Professional Policy Panels

Following our online Policy Engagement Platform, ActionSA initiated a series of professional-led policy roundtables. These roundtables played a pivotal role in our policy formulation process and constituted a deliberate effort to gather submissions from experts, whether through their extensive industry experience or academic study. This process delivered insightful presentations pertaining to our 11 policy themes, thereby anchoring our deliberations in a manner that prioritised evidence-based and practical solutions provided by the people who know how to fix South Africa in their own fields but are just not in politics.

The inaugural panel in this series convened on the 7th of June, with a primary focus on the theme of anti-corruption. Distinguished experts who actively participated in this foundational session included Paul Hoffman from Accountability Now and Dr. Liezl Groenewald from the Ethics Institute & the Whistleblower House.

ActionSA hosted a further 13 additional expert policy panels and stakeholder engagements, each dedicated to addressing one of our policy themes. These panels featured presentations by esteemed experts who covered a wide array of topics, including:

  • Dawie Roodt from Efficient Group
  • Dr. Nasiphi Moya, ActionSA Director of Governance
  • Liteboho Makhele from South African Cities Network
  • Peter Fabricius, Independent Analyst, and Journalist
  • Dr. Philani Mthembu, Institute for Global Dialogue
  • Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, South African Institute for International Affairs
  • Dr. Heather Thuynsma, Department of Political Sciences at University of Pretoria
  • Prof. Michael van Wyk, Chair of UNISA Education Department
  • Dr. Angelique Coetzee, Former SAMA Chairperson
  • Dr. Kgosi Letlape, Founder: African Harm Reduction Alliance
  • Kiren Maharaj, South African National Energy Association
  • Nick Hedley, Independent Analyst, and Journalist
  • Monique le Roux, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Cynthia Moyo, Greenpeace Africa
  • Dr. Francois Stofberg, Efficient Group
  • Connie Mashaba, President of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Lizette Lancaster, Institute for Security Studies
  • Themba Masuku, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
  • Prof. Sam Koma, University of Limpopo
  • Adv. Gillian Benson, ActionSA Head of Strategic Litigation
  • Theo de Jager, Executive Director, Southern Africa Agri Initiative
  • Kgosi T. M. Seatlholo, National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders Chairperson

These diverse panels brought together a wealth of expertise to comprehensively explore and address our policy themes, enriching our policy development process with their insights and perspectives.

Inter-Provincial Policy Panels

Following the culmination of our Professional Policy Roundtables and the subsequent closure of our Public Engagement Platform on 02 August 2023, our Inter-Provincial Policy Panels assumed the responsibility of deliberating upon the cumulative submissions received. Organised under the framework of the 11 policy themes, each panel was comprised of three Provincial Policy Representatives from every Province for each theme.

These Representatives were responsible for ensuring that issues raised through provincial structures – including branch engagements, provincial expert engagements and individual member inputs – were incorporated into our draft policies.

This meticulous process afforded party structures the valuable opportunity to articulate their perspectives and well-informed viewpoints on the policy submissions and proposals, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive policy development process.

Senate Deliberation

Subsequent to the conclusion of the work carried out by the Inter-Provincial Policy Panels, the Senate convened. Following a four-day Senate Strategic Planning Session, the Senate’s role in this comprehensive policy development process reached its culmination. The Senate’s responsibility encompassed a thorough examination of all the submissions received.

Evidently, ActionSA has demonstrated its internal democratic maturity, and the leadership’s commitment to consensus formation based not solely on individual convictions but on the collective assessment of what is in South Africa’s best interests.

The considerations within the Senate also led to the formulation of a set of draft policy proposals that delegates will be tasked with reviewing at the Policy Conference next week. Some of the more notable proposals include:

  • The introduction of a universal basic income stimulus package, details to be revealed at the policy conference.
  • Repealing the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003 (Act 53 of 2003)and all accompanying legislation and regulations and replacing them with a new suite of policies that delivers on the promise of the inclusive empowerment of black, indian and coloured South Africans who remain under the legacy of our past, while simultaneously recognising the impact of 30 years of failed government post-1994.
  • Included in this policy suite will be the establishment of an Opportunity Fund – an unprecedented level of investment into generating opportunities at the grass root level of education, skills development and small businesses aimed at expanding access to quality services that will finally begin to reverse the legacy of inequality that still manifests largely along racial lines.
  • The introduction of a National Year of Service, a voluntary programme to offer young South Africans without an established path to education or employment after high school with the option to serve in the public service – including the police, military, healthcare and other departments. This is designed to equip them with marketable skills that will improve the prospects of gainful employment.
  • An approach to crime that unapologetically prioritises the rights of law-abiding victims over criminals who act with impunity. Proposals include building more prisons, amending minimum sentences to ensure life sentences with no possibility of parole, the provision of hard labour, and the removal of the right to vote for violent criminals.
  • This will be accompanied by extensive socio-economic interventions aimed at addressing the underlying drivers of crime, including interventions to support those suffering from substance abuse. Substance abuse should be treated as a medical condition, while drug and trafficking should remain a crime deserving of the harshest sentences.
  • Aggressive programme to build more clinics and the extension of their operating hours, as well as the rollout of mobile clinics, to improve access to primary healthcare – especially in rural communities.
  • Aggressive efforts to restore investor confidence and improve the ease of doing business, especially for SMMEs. Measures including funding mechanisms to assist emerging black businesses without access to capital. Additional measures include a reduction in red tape, which involves streamlining construction permits, occupation permits, and business permits, aimed at reducing regulations and digitising administrative processes.
  • An unapologetic focus on enforcing our immigration regulations, including the deportation of foreign nationals found guilty of a crime, and undocumented foreign nationals without a legitimate claim to residency or asylum in South Africa, while overhauling the visa system to make it easier for people to enter South Africa legally and attract the skilled individuals we desperately need.
  • Amendment of the definition of corruption and an increase in sanctions for cases involving the abuse of political power at a grand scale, which will be considered treason. We will also be advocating for the declaration of grand corruption as a crime against the community.

Political policy has been a mundane experience for many South Africans as politicians speak into echo chambers about problems that they have never directly encountered in an industry in which they have never worked. This is what ActionSA has changed through a meticulous and inclusive policy development process that sets a new standard for practical and workable solutions to the greatest challenges facing South Africans.

Over the course of the three days, South Africans will witness the most diverse and fastest-growing political party in the country developing a solutions blueprint for their country. This will form the basis of an election campaign that focuses on South Africans, the challenges they have and the solutions needed – differentiating ActionSA from the parties that talk about one another.