The African National Congress met in its 1st NEC Lekgotla for 2015 at the St. Georges Hotel in Irene, Tshwane from the 25th to the 28th January 2015. The Lekgotla followed successful January 8 Celebrations held in the Western Cape which had outlined important tasks for the ANC, government and society in general. The meeting was attended by members of the National Executive Committee, the Leagues of the ANC, Alliance Partners and cadres deployed at various levels within government.
The NEC Lekgotla was an opportunity for the ANC government to account to the ANC and the Alliance broadly on the progress in delivering on the commitments made to our people during the 2014 General Election. It further sought to critically assess whether government had in place the action plans and resources to deal decisively with the priorities identified from the needs of our people. At the core of the Lekgotla programme was the need to ensure that the January 8 commitments were developed into an achievable plan to inform and influence the work of government.
The NEC Lekgotla also took place a few days after government returned from the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland under the theme ” The New Global Context”. The report received by the Lekgotla was that the message of the South African government that South Africa is open for business met a positive reception from both local and international business and investors. This warm reception encouraged government work even harder to stabilize and strengthen the economy. The pursuit of inclusive growth, decent jobs and eliminating the gap between the rich and the poor remains on top of our agenda.
Discussions were dominated by the work done by the 5th Administration in the priority areas of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, rural development, land and agrarian reform, education and health as well as fighting crime and corruption. Specific focus and attention was also given to local government, a critical focus area of the ANC, and the identified catalytic sectors namely energy, ICT, transport and water and sanitation.
The report on infrastructure delivery reflected an increase in public spend and job numbers and an improved coordination and integration across government. The current energy shortfalls were identified as a binding constraint to higher economic growth and development. While this is a positive challenge in the sense that capacity is overloaded, with more people now having access to electricity and the economy continuing to grow, however there has not been sufficient development of generation capacity. Urgent and impactful interventions are required in this regard. Kusile, Medupi and Ingula must be brought speedily onto the generation stream. There must be a concerted effort to also connect the renewables onto the main grid. Government has been tasked to come up with a concrete programme to accelerate the nuclearprogramme. There is therefore expectation that the coming Cabinet Lekgotla will give further details on this. Priority must be given to projects that can bring energy into the grid within the next 18 to 24 months.
Information Communication Technologies,particularly broadband, have the potential to propel our economy to higher levels of growth, opening opportunities for new industries and modernizing the delivery of social and economic services. Lekgotla has directed the finalization of the digital migration process to support broadband roll out. Government must move with the necessary speed to meet the deadline of 15 June 2015.
Lekgotla has also resolved to sustain and expand key infrastructure programmes and ensure focused attention to strengthening the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors as part our industrialization drive. Lekgotla has further mandated government to resolve governance challenges at State Owned Companies to ensure that these state institutions are able to play their role as effective instruments of change. SMMEs and Cooperatives must be supported. All government programmes must seek to provide markets for their goods and services.
On rural development, land and agrarian reform, Lekgotla has called for more decisive and interventionist leadership from government to accelerate the pace of land redistribution. The ANC has committed that land will be returned to our people and government must move with the necessary speed to put legislation in place to effect this. The Expropriation Bill has been adopted by Cabinet and is before Parliament. Government is expected to elaborate on the 50/50 policy framework (relative rights for people working and living on the land), arising from the ANC 53rdNational Conference Resolution giving effect to the Freedom Charter clause that the land must be shared amongst those who work it.
Lekgotla has resolved that there should be a ceiling on land ownership of a maximum 12 000 hectares or 2 farms for both natural and all forms of legal persons. Land ownership by foreign nationals will also be prohibited. They will however be able to access land through leaseholds. There will be compulsory declaration of land holdings by the propertied class. We have also called for faster implementation of the Agricultural Policy Action Plan and an extension of support services provided to smallholder farmers. The development of rural infrastructure remains a viable intervention to break the back of poverty in rural areas and thus Lekgotla has called on government to increase access to quality infrastructure, invest in agro logistics and provide access to finance and markets in the rural areas.
The Lekgotla adopted the Back to Basics programme on Local Government. Immediate actions must be taken by the ANC and government to make local government deliver more efficiently on basic services including water and sanitation, electricity, human settlements and roads. Lekgotla has emphasized the need to deploy skilled and qualified staff into key municipal post, strengthen accountability and political management. To this end, the government is called upon to conduct a skills audit and remove those people who occupy positions they do not qualify for. Government must also conduct a review of non-viable municipalities. The ANC must publicly and decisively deal with poor performance and corruption. We must be ever present amongst our people. We must serve our people with distinction not as merely an electoral act but as a matter of course.
Core structural weaknesses of our economy, conflictual labour relations and a global economy in a low growth trajectory have contributed to undermine the prospects of accelerated growth required by our economy. The Lekgotla has renewed the commitment to achieve 5% economic growth of 2019. All the interventions that have been cited above are intended to ensure that we achieve this target.
The ANC congratulates Bafana Bafana for their good performance despite their early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations. Judging from their performance and the success of Amajita in the Commonwealth Cup, it is clear that the rebuilding of the South African National Football Team has started in earnest. We also congratulate all other sporting codes that have qualified for international tournaments.
Issued by ANC