Comment: When the country’s finance minister uses his Twitter feed to contradict his party’s official annual economic policy position (change SARB mandate, print money, do “quantity” easing) we are swimming in perilous seas. https://t.co/TExoT1arX5
— Ferial Haffajee (@ferialhaffajee) June 4, 2019
STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, CDE ACE MAGASHULE, ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) LEKGOTLA
4 June 2019
The National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (NEC) met in its annual Lekgotla – from 1st to the 3rd of June 2019. The Makgotla are gatherings of the ANC NEC, Alliance partners and cadres in Parliament, Legislatures and various spheres of government, to discuss a common program with the primary focus us on the transformation society and the building a better life for all.
The June 2019 Lekgotla took place in the context of the electoral mandate received by the ANC nationally and in eight provinces, and the recent establishment of the 6th administration. It also took place from the back drop of the 25th years review of our democracy. The main purpose of the Lekgotla was therefore to translate the Manifesto mandate into a concrete five-year programme for implementation.
The Manifesto is not just a document of the ANC-led Alliance, but a compact with the people of South Africa, to continue with the revolutionary program for the acceleration of transformation of society and move faster to build a better life for all, by decisively tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality. Through engagements with our people during the campaign. The Top 10 concerns that our peso people raised are jobs, housing, water, roads, electricity, sanitation, crime, corruption, education and land. The Manifesto, which is our contract with the people, aims to address all these areas.
TWENTY-FIVE YEAR REVIEW
Since 1994, emerging from the divisions of the past, we have dismantled the legal and institutional edifice of apartheid colonialism and constructed a new society based on a Constitution that guarantees political, social, economic and environmental rights for all. From being a global pariah, South Africa took its place amongst the community of nations, advancing the African agenda in peace, security, development and integration, and as part of progressive humanity in multilateral forums.
Five successive ANC administrations, working with the people, has over the 25 years put in place a progressive social wage that protects the dignity of the vulnerable (children, the elderly, people living with disabilities); extended basic services to millions of people – 3.1 million houses, access to electricity to over 70%of households, access to water, sanitation and refuse removal to millions as well as health care and build and upgraded roads and social infrastructure in disadvantaged areas where the majority live.
The economy, after decades of recession grew, GDP tripled and employment doubled over this period. On the fiscal side, we reduced the apartheid debt from 48.3% of GDP in 1994 to 22.4% in 2008, it spiralled again to 55.8% of GDP in 2018 following the financial crisis.
Despite this progress, the persistence of the triple fault lines of poverty, unemployment and inequality, based on race and gender, remain major impediments to progress. Learning lessons from the first 25 years, we must therefore tackle the root causes of these persistent fault lines with determination and through grass root engagement we must do with all South Africans.
The ANC Government will release the twenty-five year review discussion document, which should be used across society and in ANC and Alliance structures, to reflect on lessons from the past, as well as how we want our society to look like in the next 25 years.
OUR FIVE YEAR PROGRAMME OF ACTION (2019-2024).
GROWING SOUTH AFRICA TOGETHER
The Lekgotla identified 7 areas for implementation over the term of the 6th administration from 2019-2024, that forms the foundation of our Manifesto. These are:
1) Transforming the Economy to serve all South Africans, and create Jobs
2) Investing in the capabilities of all the people, through an Education and Skills revolution and Health
3) Advancing social transformation through the strengthening of the Social Wage
4) Tackle the persistence of apartheid Spatial development to build sustainable and safe Human settlements, towns and rural areas, and effective Local government
5) Advance nation-building and social cohesion, and a safe South Africa for all
6) Build a better Africa and World: Lekgotla appreciates the implementation of conference resolutions such the downgrading of the Israel embassy into a Liaison Office, solidarity with the people of Cuba, Venezuela, Saharawi, and especially Palestine.
7) Renewing and building a Capable, Honest Developmental State and a Social compact
The focus of this 6th administration is on accelerated implementation, working with all South Africans. Each of these 7 areas have apex priorities, towards which energy and resources shall be directed, and around which we shall build social compacts with all stakeholders.
Racism, Unemployment and Inequality remains one of the principal challenges confronting society. About 10 million South Africans are unemployed. Lekgotla agreed that unemployment is a national emergency. Lekgotla agreed to reduce unemployment from 27.6% to 14% in the next five years, whilst focusing on skilling and reskilling programme to 3,5 million young South Africans. The ANC plans to achieve massive job creation on the back of the Industrial strategy, Job Summit initiatives, Operation Phakisa, and Private Public Growth Initiative.
A re-imagined Industrial strategy seeks to diversify the economy, develop and invest in targeted sectors, facilitate the participation of black people and women in the economy and create jobs. The strategy is export orientated, targets labour-intensive sectors as well as small business and cooperative development, broadened participation, and with stakeholder involvement at the centre.
The Industrial strategy targets the following 10 sectors: Automotives; Clothing, Textile Leather and Footwear; Gas, Chemicals and Plastics; Renewables; Steel and Metal Fabrication; Tourism; High-tech sectors; the Creative industry; Oceans economy and Agriculture and Agro-processing.
It was agreed that all deployees will ensure that resolutions of the 54th National Conference will be fully implemented in this regard the ANC NEC Lekgotla agreed to expand the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank beyond price stability to include growth and employment, It also directed the ANC Government to consider constituting a task team to explore quantity easing measures to address intergovernmental debts to make funds available for developmental purposes. These measures should consider inflationary impact on the currency and the poor and all must be done to cushion them. This is consistent practice by developed countries to save their economies. This will go a long way in dealing decisively with the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality
Lekgotla identified the current challenges confronting ESKOM as a national crisis. Noting the fiscal and economic threat that this poses, Lekgotla resolved that fixing ESKOM should be an apex priority.
The ANC will strive to undermine apartheid spatial planning as part of the national effort to ensure integration of communities. The ANC must embark on a programme of building new cities which will have places of settlement closer to work and other social amenities.
Government will support strategic economic zones with the focus on unlocking economic potential of each zone and therefore creating sustainable jobs. This will, in addition, create self-sustaining small towns and help slow the rapid urbanization process with its attendant challenges.
Lekgotla identified rural and township economy as critical, with increased support for SMMEs through one-stop business registration, access to capital and markets. In addition, government must consider tax incentives to businesses that invest in the rural and township economy. Government procurement will be reviewed to foster support for local economic development, BBBEE and small businesses and cooperatives. An effective formula will be developed for set-asides targeting unemployed persons, women, youth-owned small enterprises as well as all other sectors of society.
Lekgotla called for a review and, where necessary, amendment of the legislative frameworks such as Public Finance Management Act, the MFMA and Public Service Act. This would ensure that they enable and facilitate, rather than impede, developmental objectives and effective and efficient implementation of programmes while ensuring accountability, transparency and combating fraud and corruption.
The ANC-led government will explore the adoption of an employment policy, particulary in low skills areas. For South Africans to take full advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, focus will be on skilling and reskilling, especially with regard to ICT. Related to this is the process of reducing the cost of data, which was viewed as urgent and critical.
We will get government to declare a three-shift economy to increase the prospect of employment, especially among young people. Working together with labour and business, a three-shift system will result into an “economy that does not sleep.
The ANC government will intensify its efforts to fight youth unemployment and create an empowered youth that can positively contribute with innovation and energy to society and the economy. In this regard, we will accelerate the implementation and massification of youth employment programmes such as Tshepo One Million as well as
1 the implementation of the National Youth Services across government. The establishment of targeted innovative young entrepreneurs programs will be explored as part of building a culture of youth entrepreneurship and job creation.
The removal of work experience requirement for young people for entry-level jobs, especially in the public sector, will be effected without further delay. ANC deployees will ensure the establishment of fully resourced youth development directorates at various spheres of government. At local government level, the creation of one-stop youth centers and youth industrial hubs must be accelerated using amongst others unused government buildings is accelerated.
Lekgotla acknowledged that South Africa requires a developmental state with the capacity and capability to lead social transformation. To renew our state, we must build its capacity to provide strategic vision, drive, build partnerships, implement and monitor economic and social transformation strategies. Among other things, a developmental state must be underpinned by a professional and meritocratic public service. This will require that attention be paid to skills development, re-skilling, minimum entry requirements, organizational culture and ethics of public service.
One of the key characteristics of a developmental state will be participatory democracy at all levels and spheres and the establishment of partnerships with the people and civil society.
The culture and approach of the state will thus have to shift towards developmental, responsive, agile and accountable state, away from a culture of compliance. Lekgotla called for the acceleration of the process of building a single public service that is right-sized and appropriately skilled. The OR Tambo Political School will engage in ongoing political education of deployed cadres to build strategic capacity and shared understanding of ANC policies and programmes. The ANC will strengthen its capacity to monitor the performance of Ministers, MECs and Mayors through Study Groups, in addition to Provincial Executive Committees and the National Executive Committee.
Lekgotla reaffirmed the ANC as a strategic centre of power.
As part of ensuring seamless implementation across government, Lekgotla called for the strengthening of intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance, because all implementation happens at local level. National Government and the ANC must provide practical support to municipalities especially those not viable.
Lekgotla noted efforts to root out corruption and restore acceptable etiquettes in public sector institutions. In this regard, leaders in the ANC and government were urged to maintain the moral high ground and setting a high ethical bar.
The oversight must be strengthened at all levels and spheres of government. The ANC Government must be at the forefront of campaigning against crime and for an ethically consciousness society against rent-seeking and greed, promoting solidarity and the values of the Constitution, in the public and private sector, and in word and deed.
Decentralization of procurement at all levels, whilst it should adhere strictly to the law, must not hinder service delivery.
The ANC will support campaigns with social compact partners and action by law enforcement agencies against corruption in the financial sector, illicit flows, transfer pricing and money laundering, purchase of stolen goods, illegal mining, metal theft, etc.
The ANC will work harder to achieve gender parity and gender mainstreaming, using the tool of gender budgeting. The ANC will continue to play a leading role in society to promote gender equality as well as attending to all forms of gender based violence while dealing decisively with the abuse of power by public representatives and others in power.
Lekgotla acknowledged that what must underpin the mandate of the ANC and ANC-led government is to build unity in the ANC as well as across society. The mandate of renewal must inform and inspire the way government does its work. A new sense of urgency will be injected into the Thuma Mina programme in the form of Khawuleza.
The Manifesto, and its apex priorities identified by the Lekgotla will be translated into the Medium-Term Strategic Framework of government. President Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation Address on 20 June 2019, will provide the practical details of how the ANC government will implement these priorities.
Participants were reminded that Lekgotla was taking place during the beginning of Child Protection Week and Youth Month respectively, as well as the celebration of World Environment Day on 5 June. South Africans are urged to participate actively in these programmes.
The ANC National Child Protection Week seeks to raise awareness about the rights of children. It aims to mobilise all sectors of society to care for, and protect children. Child Protection Week allows us to shine a spotlight on children’s issues, highlight successes and identify what still needs to be done.
This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the June 16 uprising. On this day 43 years ago, young people across the length and breadth of our country occupied the front trenches in the struggle to defeat apartheid. During this Youth Month, we pay tribute to the 1976 generation for their heroic role in the struggle for liberation. During this Youth Month, the ANC calls on all South Africans to rededicate ourselves to the task of ensuring that we empower all South Africans especially unemployed persons, youth and women, and enhance their capacity to unleash their economic and social potential.