Closing remarks of President Cyril Ramaphosa to the ANC NEC Lekgotla virtual meeting
6 September 2021
National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe,
Deputy President David Mabuza.
Officials of the African National Congress,
Former President Thabo Mbeki
Former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe
Members of the NEC,
Leadership of the SACP and COSATU
Leadership of the ANCWL. ANCYL and ANCVL.
Leadership of SASCO
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Metro Mayors and leaders of SALGA,
Comrades and Friends.
Good afternoon comrades.
We have come to the end of our Lekgotla, held at a critical point in the history of our country. We received the news of the passing away of comrade Kebby Maphatsoe. former NEC member, president of MKMVA and former Deputy Minister and Ms Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, the leader of the National Freedom Party and former Deputy Minister, with great sadness. Our deepest condolences are extended to their families and loved ones.
The movement further extends condolences to the families and loved ones of all persons who have passed away since our last meeting.
The movement notes the decision of the Department of Correctional Services to release former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole. We understand that he is not well, and our thoughts and prayers are with him.
NEC Lekogotla provide an opportunity for the leadership of the ANC, Alliance and broader democratic movement to discuss the challenges facing the country, to assess the effectiveness of our plans and programmes, and, where necessary, to change our programmes to meet the needs of the people.
In the course of the last three days. we have taken a critical and in-depth look at the implementation of our electoral mandate. We have identified the areas where progress has been made and areas where there are clear shortcomings.
We have reaffirmed that the central task of the moment is to create jobs and reduce poverty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically deepened poverty, inequality and unemployment in society. In addition. crime, corruption and the erosion of state capacity have contributed to a sense of insecurity among South Africans and have weakened our ability to respond to the challenges facing our country.
As we intensify the fight to overcome COVID-19, it is therefore imperative that we undertake extraordinary measures to rebuild and transform our economy and to improve the capacity of the state.
The depth of the challenge we face — and the extent of the deprivation in our society — means that we have to act with greater purpose and focus to stimulate growth in our economy and create employment opportunities as a matter of urgency.
This Lekgotla has agreed that we must do more at a faster pace if we are going to address the pressing needs of our people.
We undertake these tasks at a difficult time for our movement, as we grapple with the challenge of fundamental renewal and rebuilding.
We do so in full appreciation and understanding that the situation in the country and the state of our movement have given rise to some frustration and disillusionment.
This is not the time to throw up our hands in despair. This is the time to recommit to buildingour country. and to act with decisiveness.
Our challenges are not insurmountable and, if we work together and with determination, we will surely prevail.
A strong and united ANC is critical for the effective functioning of government and crucial for social cohesion. While the movement is facing challenges. this Lekgotla has resolved to intensify our efforts to strengthen unity and renew our organisation.
The world has been living with the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of
2020. Restrictions on movement and social interaction and, sadly. the high numbers of infections and loss of life associated with COVID-19 have caused immense trauma to our society.
With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, we now have within our reach the means to achieve greater freedom of movement, more economic activity and less restricted social interaction.
Vaccinating most adults is a crucial component to the success of our economic recovery and the ANC, government and various other sections of society are intensifying the campaigns to urge every eligible South African to be vaccinated.
We must be more proactive, and the movement must mobilise a wide range of stakeholders and influential voices to assist government inconsistently highlighting the safety of the vaccine and its efficacy in protecting people against serious illness and death.
In addition, we must continue to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, ensuring proper ventilation and washing our hands regularly. Developing countries continue to pursue various strategies to acquire the means to produce COVID-19 vaccines, including the waiver of aspects of the Agreement on Trade-Related of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This would allow South Africa and countries of the South to build capacity to produce medication and consumables as well as develop domestic manufacturing and job creation capacity.
The pandemic has revealed the extent of poverty and deprivation in our society in much starker terms than ever before.
It has also become much clearer that, like many other parts of the world. South
Africa must become bolder and more innovative in its approach to economic policy interventions to address the pervasive levels of poverty and inequality.
Working with our Alliance partners and social partners more broadly, the ANC is determined toaccelerate the implementation and deepen the impact of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
We will continue to implement structural reforms and promote local productive activity to grow our economy more quickly and stimulate more investment and employment.
The increased role of digital platforms in our economic lives is expected to persist even beyond the pandemic, as more and more social, economic, governance and supply chain interactions move to the digital sphere.
Enabling universal access to broadband should be the approach to the release of the spectrum and other digital technologies so that the development of the digital economy is inclusive and sustainable. Government must find mechanisms to fast-track the SA Connect project in a cost-effective manner.
In the development of industrial capacity to deal with the Covid-challenge, we have built on the 20000 ventilators already produced in SA, with production now of vaccines. About 25 million doses of the J&J vaccine was completed at the Aspen plant in the Eastern Cape, and more than half of these have been released in the market. Production is now mainly for use in
South Africa and the rest of Africa. BIOVAC received a commitment from Pfizer/Biontech to produce their vaccine in SA, scaling up over a period to 100m doses and the South African firm is now getting ready to retool for this opportunity.
The country's localisation campaign is showing results beyond the Covid-industrial products too. These range from production of pots, pans on the one hand to cars, bakkies and fuel-cells on the other. Efforts have been made to enable SMEs and black industrialists to enter more industrial sectors of the economy and our Master Plan rollout is gathering pace. These efforts have benefitted from close collaboration with companies, business associations and trade unions
Construction has started on a special economic zone to manufacture components for the auto industry in Tshwane and the first 4 black-owned firms have been supported with money from the Auto Industry Transformation Fund. The new Mercedes Benz model made in Buffalo City/East London was launched in June 2021. with higher local content including in dashboard and vehicle panels mouldings. Toyota announced the production of the first green hybrid vehicle, and retooling the factory for the first Corolla hybrid vehicle with a combination petrol and electric motor engine, with production expected in November 2021.
There continues to be significant demand on government to continue with and expand income support measures for those living in poverty.
Further work needs to be done towards the achievement of Comprehensive Social Security to ensure that all South Africans can live in comfort and dignity.
This necessarily requires better alignment and linkages between social security policies and labour market policies so that beneficiaries of social support can move more readily into employment.
Subject to long-term affordability, serious consideration should be given to extending further support to the unemployed, and those who are structurally marginalised, possibly in the form of an extension of the COVID-19 SRD grant, targeted food-poverty-line support or a basic income grant (BIG). We should also consider a combination of all this with mass employment for people.
We are taking steps to reduce the regulatory burden on small, medium and
micro enterprises. This includes ensuring that informal traders are not subject to undue and unfair regulatory requirements.
Our fiscal constraints mean that we must set clear priorities, focusing on measures which will have the greatest social and economic impact.
Climate change presents a range of geo-political, security, economic and social risks and opportunities for our country and the world. We must be resolute in ensuring that we engage with these risks and opportunities in a manner that advances South Africa's national and developmental interests in all respects.
Transitioning to a low-carbon, ecologically friendly and socially sustainable economy presents opportunities to create jobs, inclusion and growth in the following sectors: renewable energy, grid construction, manufacturing of renewable components, battery storage, green
vehicles, and green hydrogen while assisting us to further our environmental protection objectives.
In this regard, the just energy transition proposed by Eskom presents a possible immediate opportunity to reduce our CO2 footprint: increase our energy security by ramping up renewable generation: take advantage of concessional financing for power station repurposing and explore ways to develop new jobs, industries and economic inclusion.
The Lekgotla welcomes the detailed planning Eskom has done for a just energy transaction at one power station, ensuring that workers and community wellbeing is assured and advanced in this process.
The just transition also offers enormous potential for our mining sector where we have advantages in the platinum, lithium and other sectors. We will intensify work on the hydrogen economy, which includes hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles,
where South Africa has a comparative advantage .
Infrastructure development is the backbone of economic progress.
We must therefore aggressively expand social and economic infrastructure to meet the needs of the economy and the South African people at large. This includes new investments in renewable energy, mining, water and sanitation, roads and bridges, human settlements, health and education, digital infrastructure and public transport.
To further strengthen the massive roll-out of infrastructure, we are increasing community participation in a way that leads to skills development, SMME participation and employment for affected communities.
Our infrastructure investments must anchor the One-Plan approach of the District Development Model and prioritise critical network infrastructure such as rural roads and bridges, water, energy and digital infrastructure.
The reconstruction, growth and transformation of the South African economy depends on an efficient state that is developmental in orientation and capable in operation. The state must be able to lead, guide and mobilise all social partners towards common goals.
We continue the work to professionalise the public service and strengthen ethical
behaviour, discipline and adherence to a culture of service across all spheres. This should be highlighted during this civil service month.
We urge government to move faster in developing an in-sourcing framework and model. Too many functions and services that should be performed by government, are still outsourced. We have agreed to institute more rigorous criteria for the appointment of senior managers, including at local government level.
In addition, we must be more consistent in applying discipline and consequence management, both to recognise good performance and institute corrective action for poor performance. We have agreed to urgently finalise the work to put in place a single framework for the whole public service/ administration. This would set out a common wage policy, harmonise conditions of service, set norms and standards for human resource management, enable mobility within a single public service, and inculcate a common culture of service delivery across the three spheres of government
The District Development Model is building on the lessons and successes of its pilots and further work is being done to support its greater integration into the work of all spheres of government.
We are hard at work to ensure that the District Development Model serves as a catalyst for greater cooperation among all spheres of government and elimination of the silo mentality in delivering government services and ensuring local communities have adequate and sustainable access to water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal.
The District Development Model must act as a driving force for local economic development through identifying comparative advantages and strategies for developing these on a district basis. ln this regard all levels of government must work together to ensure security of water and electricity to local businesses and maintenance of transport infrastructure.
The Lekgotla recognised that the effective implementation of the
District Development Modelmay require legislative reform and amendments to the intergovernmental relations framework and urged government to intensify work on this aspect.
The ANC government must take heed from this Lekgotla and work more closely with the legislatures to ensure more active participation of all public representatives (MPs. MPLs and councillors) in implementing the District Development Model.
All of us, indeed all of society, agree with the assertion at this Lekgotla by the SACP and COSATU that society is tired of crime and corruption and the seeming inability of the state to decisively deal with this scourge.
Efforts to strengthen the capacity of law-enforcement agencies and security services continue. Citizens need to be confident that both the police service and state intelligence agencies have the necessary capacity and resources to protect the country.
Structures of the movement and other civil society formations played a critical role in supporting the efforts of law enforcement agencies in responding to the violence and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during the attempted insurrection in July.
Communities were at the forefront in preventing the spread of violence to the rest of the country. This points to the need for consistent public activism against crime and corruption. It is our responsibility to ensure there are wall-to-wall functioning Community-Policing Forums in the country.
We note the progress the police and the NPA have made in arresting suspects and bringing them before the courts. While those that are responsible for organising, coordinating and inciting this violence must be brought to book, our priority is to ensure that we do not allow such criminal behaviour to recur.
We therefore support the work of the Panel of Experts appointed by the President to review the preparedness and response of our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. What matters in security is not what you accomplish 'after the fact' but what you can prevent.
The ANC is committed to putting in place additional measures to strengthen policing and security, both to protect economic infrastructure and networks and also to create a conducive and orderly environment for economic growth and development.
We continue to engage social partners at NEDLAC on how the ban on politically exposed persons doing business with the state can be strengthened.
We condemn, with the utmost contempt, the cold-blooded murder of Babita Deokaran and all other whistle-blowers. We urge law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, including the masterminds, to book.
A critical tool in combatting corruption is ensuring protection for those who witness it, report it and assist in combating it. We must make sure they know they will be protected and thanked for doing so, as they do the public a service when they come forward.
We are part of an increasingly complicated and interconnected world which is afflicted by many emergencies ranging from armed conflicts to epidemics, global warming, cybercrime to the displacement of people. In this regard, we must improve our readiness to
meaningfully contribute to the process of enhancing regional and global common security The ANC was urged to build strong alliances with progressive organisations worldwide, based on shared values and ideals, in the interests of entrenching such values in global affairs. The Lekgotla reaffirmed the movement and government's commitment to always placing the promotion of human dignity. democracy and development at the centre of its foreign policies. In this regard the Lekgotla reaffirmed our active support for the freedom of the people of Palestine and of Western Sahara.
The Lekgotla emphasised that peace and silencing of guns in Africa are critical to the development of our Continent.
In this regard and based on the respect and friendship that South Africa enjoys throughout our Continent, government was urged to play an active role in the resolution of crises affecting a number of countries.
The Lekgotla called for peace in the Sahel region, urged the junta leaders in Guinea Conakry to return to the barracks, release the president and restore peace, and called on the government of Ethiopia to find a peaceful resolution to the instability in Tigray.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has just concluded its briefing about how it will give effect to the order handed down by the Constitutional Court this past Friday.
We welcome the decision of the IEC to declare the weekend of 18 to 19 September as a registration weekend and agree with the IEC that there is an inextricable link between voter registration and the right to stand for public office.
Section 19 (3) of the Constitution provides that: "Every adult citizen has the right to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret; and to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office."
The ANC therefore further welcomes the decision to re-open candidate registration. We believe this is in line with constitutional and legislative prescripts.
Let us all go out to serve the people and improve the lives of South Africans selflessly!
One message, many voices and completely committed to the task the African National Congress was formed for.
Creating a better life for all. I thank you.
Issued by the ANC, 6 September 2021