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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Reconstruction and Development Programme

(Fourth Draft)*

1. Introduction

1.1. Our country is rich in natural and human resources. Millions of ordinary South Africans have struggled, over the decades and in the face of great difficulties, to improve their lives and to bring about a more just society.

1.2. In their homes, in their places of work, in townships, in class-rooms, in clinics and hospitals, on the land, in cultural expression the people of our country, black, white, women, men, old and young have devoted their lives to the cause of a more humane South Africa. This collective heritage, these common yearnings are our greatest asset.

Yet, today, South Africa lies in ruins.

1.3. In every sphere - economic, social, political, moral, cultural - there are deep-seated crises. There is not a single sector of our country that has remained untouched by the ravages of apartheid.

1.4. The challenges facing us are enormous. There can be no piecemeal solutions, no half-hearted measures. Only a comprehensive approach to harnessing the resources of our country can reverse the crisis. Only an all-round effort to inspan the life experience, skills, energies and aspirations of our people can lay the basis for a new South Africa.

1.5. Our Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) will guide us from apartheid to freedom. The freedom we seek is a freedom to live in peace, to choose our own political representatives and to make them answerable, to live in a united, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa. It is a freedom from poverty and hunger. It is a freedom in which, increasingly in their day-to-day lives, the people shall govern.

1.6. The first decisive step in this direction will be the forthcoming one-person one-vote elections for a Constituent Assembly. Without a decisive victory for democratic forces in these elections, the prospects for effective reconstruction and development will be limited. An election victory is imperative.

1.7. But an election victory is only a first step. No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without jobs, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. A thorough-going democratisation and reconstruction of administrative structures, of the police and army, of the economy, of our society in general is essential.

1.8. Our Reconstruction and Development Programme is not a simple collection of demands. Still less is it a list of election promises. The RDP is a coherent and implementable programme. It is a plan that will integrate our policies and set out clearly defined targets within achievable time-frames. Reconstruction will be realised within the context of macro-economic stability. All of this can only happen if the new democratic state plays an active developmental role.

1.9. Our Reconstruction and Development Programme will introduce a new form of governance which will be qualitatively different from that which characterised the apartheid system. It will be one in which our people and their organisations will be involved in and will take responsibility for planning, prioritisation and implementation.

1.10. In the transitional context of a multi-party government of national unity, a coherent Reconstruction and Development Programme becomes all the more important. Without such a programme, the dangers of inaction or of scattered and hopelessly inadequate measures are great. Inside and outside of government, the maximum unity of purpose of all democratic forces is essential.

1.11. A key objective of the RDP is also to ensure that the transitional state is supported, in the reconstruction project, by the mass based formations and institutions of civil society. All the energies of our people will need to be activated. The RDP must be owned by the majority. It must be a programme, not just for delivery, but above all for participation.

1.12. The consolidation of the RDP requires ongoing discussion and negotiation. It is not a one-off process.

1.13. South Africa, so rich in potential, now lies deeply wounded by apartheid. For as long as it takes to eradicate the legacy of racial oppression, for as long as it takes to move from the past to thorough-going democracy, peace and justice, we must, each of us, dedicate ourselves to the challenge of reconstruction.

1.14. This document is the first step towards a detailed Reconstruction and Development Programme. It provides a basis for further detailed discussion and planning.

2. Democratising the state

2.1. The apartheid state has been structured on racism and repression enforced by a militarised and well resourced security force establishment. The state machinery, its duplicated institutions and bureaucracy have been unaccountable to the majority, unanswerable to even the minority which they were intended to represent, inefficient in delivery and largely corrupt.

2.2. The regime is entrenching the current apartheid bureaucracy. However, to achieve the goals of democracy, justice and economic well-being requires a total and fundamental restructuring of the state, its institutions and bureaucracy.

2.3. There will be an effective, lean, accountable and strong state which is able to implement a coherent reconstruction and development programme from the centre, using all levels of the state to achieve the objectives of the programme.

2.4. The state and its institutions will be restructured to maximise the participation of people. The democratic state will be accessible, responsive and accountable.

2.5. The new civil service will be structured and composed so that it is capable of implementing the policies of a new democratic government, deliver basic goods and services effectively and efficiently to our people and reflect the composition of South African society in terms of race, gender and class.

2.5.1. To accomplish this task an extensive affirmative action programme with training for those who have been excluded from holding responsible positions in government will be embarked upon. At the same time there will be large scale retraining of those willing to serve in a democratic government.

2.6. All state structures, including local and regional government, will be elected and organised on the basis of direct democracy with a close and consistent accountability to the people.

2.7. The security forces will be transformed from agents of suppression to effective servants of the community. A single police service and a leaner defence force under the supreme authority of the parliament will be established.

2.8. Codes of conduct which spell out what is required for a democratic civil service will be enforced.

2.9. Public sector workers and their unions will be meaningfully involved in decision-making at various levels.

2.10. The Reconstruction Programme requires that public policy formulation will always be a joint effort between the state, trade unions, the civics and other constituencies in civil society.

2.11. The negotiating forums which have been set up and provide a new approach to policy making will be strengthened and/or restructured. Public funding will be made available for them to function effectively. These forums will not seek to remove the sovereign right of government to govern but will create a higher degree of democratisation in all aspects of public life.

3. Building a new economy

3.1. The South African economy was built on the foundations of colonialism and apartheid. It is heavily dependent on mineral exports and yet it faces an international economy where the prices of these minerals are increasingly declining due to the development of new technologies and new production systems. The import substitution industrialisation strategy has run its course and our dependence on imported technology and intermediate capital goods is a serious impediment to sustainable industrial development.

3.2. The economic growth rates achieved in the 1960s were based on repression, cheap labour, high levels of protection for domestic industry and the expansion of resource exploitation. This industrial sector is seriously out of line with international trends.

3.3. Protection has lead to high costs of production compared to the world market situation and the cheap labour system has lead to the underdevelopment of our human resources and yet new production systems rely heavily on a skilled work force.

3.4. Whilst the economy showed impressive growth rates in the 1960s, it has since 1973 began to experience decline, stagnation and crisis. Investment levels have declined, per capita incomes have fallen, unemployment has reached an unacceptable level of over 46%, our international trade framework leaves much to be desired.

3.5. Our RDP aims at the building of a new sustainable growth and development path which will achieve growth, create jobs, and meet basic needs, redistribute incomes, wealth and economic power within the context of international competitiveness, regional development and co-operation.

3.6. Our RDP requires that the democratic state plays a leading role in guiding the economy and the market toward the achievement of growth and development. The building of the economy will not.be the responsibility of the state alone.

3.7. Our programme aims at achieving a dynamic balance between state intervention and active market cooperation. The guiding principle for us is not dogma but the needs of the national economy and our society in which decisions are taken on the basis of the balance of evidence.

3.8. Further, our programme is predicated on the fundamental prerequisite that the democratic state, the trade union movement, business associations and all relevant organs of civil society will always co-operate in the process of policy formulation.

3.9. In order to make an immediate rapid impact on job creation, a national public works programme will be undertaken. It will be community-based and will focus on housing construction, the construction of new basic infrastructure and upgrading of existing ones (i.e. roads and streets, water and sanitation facilities, dams, schools, recreational facilities, etc.). South Africa's vast technological capacity must also be harnessed to ensure access and delivery.

3.10. The public works programme cannot be seen in isolation from the restructuring of the productive sectors of our economy. We want to increase the levels of productive investment, negotiate new industrial policies to allow our economy to be reintegrated into the world economy without continuing to rely on high protective barriers, develop more effective and appropriate technologies and ensure the rapid development of our human resources.

3.11. We will welcome foreign investment as part of our effort to increase our levels of investment in our economy and as a contribution to our RDP. In this regard, we will ensure that international investment rules are based on principles of equality of treatment with domestic investors.

3.12. We will build on the current strengths of our economy and work towards removing all obstacles to growth and prosperity. In order to reduce economic concentration in a few hands, we will do away with monopolies, anti-competitive behaviours (such as price fixing, interlocking directorships, monopoly creating mergers, etc.), and antitrust (competition) policies will be introduced.

3.13. We will also strengthen our economy by developing strategies to encourage the domestic beneficiation and also the creation of a world class mining and mineral processing capital goods industry. At the same time, the legislative process to restore mineral rights to the people will begin. We also aim to develop a small and micro scale mining sector.

3.14. The financial sector plays an important role in our economy. Whilst part of it is highly developed, it has nevertheless failed to channel savings into the most socially and economically productive areas. This system, including banks, contractual savings institutions and the stock exchange, have reflected and reinforced the dualistic character of the South African economy and society. Black people have been denied sufficient access to credit for housing and business development.

3.15. The RDP will facilitate and encourage the establishment of a financial system more responsive to the needs of lenders and borrowers including low income earners. It will require substantial improvements in the macro-economic, legal and regulatory environment. We will also broaden the range and improve the efficiency of the financial system.

3.16. An important component of this growth and development path is the absolute requirement that we will pursue a living wage policy in all aspects of wage bargaining. Such a policy will be fundamentally linked to skills development, educational and human resources development and an effective and empowering work organisation style.

3.17. The combination of active leadership by the democratic state and the negotiation of policy issues with all affected constituencies will provide a stable, transparent and participatory policy environment which will benefit investors and the economy as a whole.

3.18. Within the Southern Africa context, we will participate fully in bilateral and regional endeavours towards the attainment of the objectives and aims of the OAU, SADC, and the PTA. We will be guided in this by the principle of equity, mutual benefit and co-operation. We will immediately apply for membership of these institutions.

3.19. The combination of policies in this programme will be aimed at ensuring that redistribution, development and growth by combining and reinforcing one another. By so doing, we will involve our people in the democratic reconstruction of our economy for the benefit of all.

4. Attacking poverty and deprivation

4.1. Poverty in South Africa is the direct result of the apartheid system. Poverty affects millions of people, the majority of whom live in the rural areas and are women.

4.2. South Africa can afford to feed, house, educate and treat all its citizens. Yet the system of apartheid has created the gross and unnecessary divisions among us.

4.3. The objectives of our RDP is to eliminate hunger, house all our people, provide water, sanitation and electricity to all, eliminate illiteracy, provide good schooling for children and adult basic education and raise the quality of our health services and make them accessible to all.

4.4. Housing

4.4.1. All citizens of South Africa will have a right to decent housing and with rules and rights of tenancy or property rights that are transparent and protected in law.

4.4.2. Housing will be provided in an overall development context which will link housing to transport networks, industry, schools, crches, community halls, recreational facilities, etc.

4.4.3. Community participation in and control over housing programmes will be essential for their success.

4.5. Basic Infrastructure

4.5.1. The implementation of the RDP will require that every urban and rural household will have clean, running water and environmentally safe sanitation and refuse disposal, affordable electricity and access to an affordable telephone.

4.5.2. Schools and clinics and small scale productive units will also have access to such services.

4.5.3. In the interim, before electricity is made available, every household will have access to affordable fuel without endangering the environment.

4.5.4. A clear long term water management policy will be implemented. This will also help to prevent potential disasters following floods or droughts.

4.5.5. New roads will be built, roads upgraded and the transport system restructured. This will alleviate some of the effects of apartheid and ensure access by all to cheap, effective and safe transport.

4.5.6. Sports and recreation facilities will be expanded to provide opportunities for all, irrespective of age, physical condition, class or gender.

4.6. Health Care

4.6.1. South Africa has excellent resources for health care. If we distribute these resources more evenly and manage them well then everyone in South Africa can have access to good health care.

4.6.2. Key elements to ensure health include household food security, running water, a living wage, education and decent housing. In addition all persons will have access to health care as a basic human right and should be included in a primary health care system.

4.6.3. A comprehensive, equitable and integrated national health service will be created which will include ensuring access to services for all; upgrading rural services; making maximal use of existing advanced health care facilities and creating an appropriate regulatory framework.

4.6.4. The spread of HIV infection and AIDS will have a profound impact on our society and on the RDP. Major resources will therefore be directed to effective AIDS research and prevention.

4.7. Social Welfare

4.7.1. A national social security system will be established. In addition, a social safety net will be established to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable (such as the elderly, the disabled, children, women, the youth and marginalised communities).

4.7.2. Special measures will be designed to respond in a systematic way to the needs of individuals, families and communities who are victims of violence and other traumatic events.

4.8. Environment

4.8.1. Apartheid policies have led to the degradation of our environment. The lack of access to electricity leads to air pollution from coal stoves in our townships and to deforestation in our rural areas. Industries have been allowed to develop hazardous practices which pollute the environment.

4.8.2. These trends will be reversed and effective legislation, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms introduced to create conditions conducive to sustainable development.

4.8.3. Resources will be committed to the rehabilitation and protection of the environment for the sake of ourselves and of future generations of South Africans.

4.9. Land Reform

4.9.1. An accessible and affordable Land Claims Court will be established. The purpose will be to adjudicate competing claims to land. It will allow restoration to people of land from which they were forcibly removed under apartheid legislation, and it will decide on appropriate compensation.

4.9.2. Agricultural and rural land reform will focus on improving nutrition and household food security and aim at achieving affordable prices for food. It will also allow for redistribution of land to address the problems of landlessness, it will seek to improve the conditions of farm workers and it will provide support for small scale farmers.

4.9.3. Women have long been excluded from equitable access to land and their agricultural labour has often been exploited. A transparent system of land rights will be established. It will include issues of who allocates land and reforms to remove the constraints placed by tribal and customary law on land ownership by women.

4.9.4. Urban land reform will be closely tied to housing policy and it will also deal with compensation for people forcibly removed under the Group Areas Act.

4.10. Rural Development

4.10.1. The apartheid system, particularly its policies of migrant labour and forced removals, has grossly distorted South Africa's rural areas. Family structures and peasant agriculture have been seriously undermined.

4.10.2. Rural development will include the provision of roads, water and sanitation, electricity and telephones, schools and health services. It will promote industrial development and promote small scale agriculture.

4.10.3. The majority of the people in rural areas are women and rural development programmes will be linked to strategies for the empowerment of women.

4.11. Food and basic goods

4.11.1. Access to food and basic goods at affordable prices is essential to address the impact of poverty on the vast majority of the people. Our people cannot be held in poverty by the protected interests of farmers, manufacturers and retailers.

4.11.2. All basic foodstuffs will be exempted from VAT.

5. Human Resources Development

5.1. Apartheid has underskilled, divided and traumatised our people. People who work are usually locked into low skilled and low paying jobs, unable to move since they do not have access to further education and training. The unemployed find themselves without any learning opportunities to help them get or make work.

5.2. Apartheid divided black education from white education and divided training from general schooling. The effect of these divisions was to entrench the privilege of whites.

5.3. Ending apartheid will not erase these problems. Education and training will be reconstructed to contribute to a more equal and democratic society as well as a growing number of better paying jobs.

5.4. Reconstruction of the education and training system will ensure that:

5.4.1. All children are given a general education for a minimum of 10 years compulsory schooling.

5.4.2. All those who were denied a general education should be given a second chance as an integral part of the reconstruction process.

5.4.3. People who are able are encouraged to continue learning throughout their lives, not only when they are young.

5.4.4. Education and training helps people to participate in their workplace, community and the wider society.

5.4.5. Education and training supports industrial and regional development.

5.4.6. Priority will be given to improving the curriculum, ensuring proper teacher-student ratios for effective teaching and learning, provision of sufficient classrooms and facilities, textbooks and the upgrading of teacher training.

5.4.7. A special focus will be to ensure education of women.

5.5. People will be given opportunities to learn throughout their lives, not just when they are young so that they can get more skills to keep up with changes in society and technology.

5.6. There will be a dynamic link between reconstruction and non-compulsory learning. Human resource development in projects designed to end poverty, create jobs and strengthen industry will not only serve the short term needs of the project, but will lay the basis for further individual and social development. This means that participants will receive general education as well as technical or applied skills.

5.7. One nationally integrated system will ensure that it is possible to progress to higher levels of skill from any starting point. A national qualification and certification system will clearly set out the links between one level and the next.

5.8. There will be formal recognition of the skills and learning which adults have acquired through experience or informal training.

5.9. A funding regime will be established which supports the above objectives, and in particular addresses areas which were neglected under apartheid. With regard to infrastruc-ture, priority must be given to the optimal use of existing facil-ities at night, over weekends and during holidays.

5.10. Priority will be given to the upgrading, training and payment of the educator and trainer workforce. Professional recognition will be given to trained personnel who must be involved at every stage of reconstructing the education and training system.

5.11. There will be statutory recognition of the rights of education sector organisations such as teachers unions, parent teachers associations and student representative councils.

6. Rights

6.1. Decision making in our country has in the past been characterised by the exclusion of the majority. In addition to being denied the right to vote, many other rights such as the full right to strike, the right to rural women to own land, and rights for disabled people have been denied.

6.2. We want all our people to live their lives to the fullest and to participate in the economic, social and political decision making processes which affect their lives. In this way, our RDP will be implemented by our people.

6.3. Legislation drawn up by a democratic government will conform to international standards such as those adopted by the United Nations system. This includes legislation on worker, women's and children's rights and environmental policies.

6.4. In the process of the struggle against apartheid, many organisations and coalitions have drawn up charters. There are for example a Children's Charter, Aid's Charter and a Worker's Charter. The legislative processes of our RDP will be guided, amongst others, by these historic documents.

6.5. Our RDP is committed to ending all discriminatory practices based on colour, race, sex, religion, physical disability, marital status or nationality. Measures will be taken to prioritise those of our people who suffered under apartheid. Affirmative action programmes will be set up for youth, women and rural people.

6.6. Women's rights

6.6.1. A new constitution will recognise the fundamental equality between men and women in marriage, employment and in society.

6.6.2. The law will no longer discriminate against women on issues of land and home ownership, opening bank accounts and taxation policies. There will be equal pay for work of equal value.

6.6.3. We will campaign for the participation of women at leadership and other levels of our society. Measures, including education campaigns, will be embarked upon to correct gender discrimination.

6.6.4. Laws will protect women against rape, battery, abuse and harassment. Laws will also given attention to improved maternity benefits, parental rights and provision for child care.

6.7. Worker Rights

6.7.1. The right of workers to join trade unions and organise freely, their right to collective bargaining on all social and economic issues that affects them and the full right to strike will be guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

6.7.2. A new labour market dispensation will to be put in place so that workers can be centrally involved in decision making about their work-places, their industries and the shaping of the economy.

6.7.3. This new dispensation will include measures aimed at facilitating job creation, job security, centralised bargaining, smooth and effective changes in employment patterns as the economy develops, health and safety and education and training of all workers.

6.8. Youth

6.8.1. The youth of South Africa have been severely marginalised by apartheid and are growing up in poverty and in communities with a disintegrating social fabric. They suffer from apartheid education. A substantial percentage of youth never reach secondary school. They constitute the largest percentage of the unemployed and have been exposed to high levels of domestic, criminal and political violence. Young women in particular suffer from these conditions more harshly.

6.8.2. Our RDP for youth development will focus on job creation and the provision of basic and vocational educatation and training. It will create conditions for the full development of youth. In programmes attacking poverty, there will be a specific focus on youth and children.

6.8.3. Our RDP will therefore restore the hope of young people in the future and their ability to be fully integrated into the social, economic and political mainstream of the country. It will harness their resourcefulness, energy and enthusiasm to allow them to play a meaningful role in reconstructing our country.

7. Financing the Reconstruction and Development Programme

7.1. Our reconstruction and development programme is based on certain principles which are designed to facilitate the financing of this very extensive programme. Within the confines of the apartheid economy, it would be impossible to finance such a programme.

7.2. Our basic principles are that we are committed to address poverty, improve our export performance, broaden and reform our tax base, manage our balance of payments situation, streamline the state and its institutions and finally, involve our people in all their formations in unlocking this most valuable and productive asset.

7.3. We will need to restructure and redirect government expenditure (within existing constraints) according to the priorities set out in this programme.

7.4. In addition, we will set up a Fiscal Commission which will investigate all aspects of taxation, expenditure and deficit and debt financing, with the objective of, amongst others, making recommendations on tax reform including the broadening of the tax base and the introduction of new taxes.

7.5. Further we will seek to introduce new development instruments such as municipal bonds, community reinvestment instruments, development bonds, housing bonds, a national lottery and others, raise additional funds through bilateral and multilateral aid and also by both domestic and international borrowing.

8. Macro-economic stability

8.1. This programme is based on the need for an integrated plan encompassing the political, social and economic aspects of our society. Its success will unlock resources, lessen macro economics constraints and lead to new possibilities of financing. This is the major challenge and it is only by implementing this programme that we can look forward to a future of prosperity.

8.2. We will therefore not jeopardise the success of the RDP by short-sighted, expedient and ineffective actions which may lead to excessive inflation, the dislocation of the financial system, misuse of savings and unsustainable balance of payments deficits.

8.3. We are fully aware that macro economic imbalances have resulted in many obstacles to well-meaning programmes of growth, redistribution and development in many developing countries.

8.4. Macro economic stability is vital to the success of our programme. For this fundamental reason, coherent, strict and effective monetary and fiscal polices will be a cornerstone of our Reconstruction and Development Programme.

9. Taking the RDP forward

9.1. To enrich our RDP, we will draw on our membership, the leadership and membership of our mass democratic movement allies including the churches, civics, student, women and rural organisations, and others. We are confident that we will mobilise the widest spectrum of South Africans behind this Programme.

9.2. The following process is being followed:

9.2.1. An Alliance Summit held on 20 and 21 August 1993. (HELD)

9.2.2. ANC NEC held on 27-29 August 1993 to discuss draft. (DONE)

9.2.3. COSATU Special Congress from 10-12 September to consider the amended draft. (HELD)

9.2.4. Between September and November the following will take place:

     9.2.4.1. Extensive involvement of mass democratic movement (MDM) formations.

     9.2.4.2. An Alliance team, backed up by research, will develop the framework document into a proposed programme document which will include concrete proposals and time frames which will incorporate our present policy positions.

     9.2.4.3. The Alliance and the MDM will take the programme to their constituencies. This will include the holding of regional workshops, discussion at the National Development Forum Conference and meetings with our representatives in the negotiating forums.

9.2.5. Towards the end of November an MDM/Alliance summit will meet to consider a further draft.

9.2.6. The ANC Conference on Strategy and Reconstruction from 17-19 December will consider this draft.

9.2.7. A Conference of Democratic Forces will be hosted by the Alliance/MDM in February 1994 to build consensus for our RDP.

9.2.8. By the February Conference, the Alliance will have engaged major stakeholders including the business community, domestic and international donors and multilateral organisations as part of the process of building a national democratic consensus on the RDP. A

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.