Home South African Covid-19, land and local elections high on ANC lekgotla agenda

Covid-19, land and local elections high on ANC lekgotla agenda

261
SHARE

The ANC lekgotla concluded with a range of resolutions, chief among them being SA’s need for an effective mechanism to deal with Covid-19 and the devastation it has caused.

Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

THE RULING party’s lekgotla, which was held over three days, concluded on Sunday with a range of resolutions, chief among them being the country’s need for an effective mechanism to deal with Covid-19 and the devastation it has caused.

Those gathered also resolved that corruption is still public enemy number one and that land reform should be carried out with due diligence.

The virtual lekgotla was attended by former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe.

Also in attendance was the ruling party’s alliance partners, deployees in the national, provincial and local spheres of government as well as strategic sectors in society, including business, civil society and traditional leaders.

In the main, it focused on the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, and how the country would get itself out of its economic difficulties.

Closing the virtual lekgotla on Sunday, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa kicked off his speech by focusing on Covid-19 and the efforts to fight the pandemic.

He said they resolved that, together with their alliance partners, the party should engage in a process to mobilise society to join the fight.

Among the desired efforts in this regard would be to obtain the support of the public to take the vaccine once it is available.

Ramaphosa pleaded with party members not to spread misinformation about the disease and vaccines.

“We need to build broad acceptance among our people of the vaccine programme and to vigorously tackle misinformation and misunderstanding. To do this, we must ourselves be disciplined in our own public pronouncements, ensuring that we speak accurately and clearly,” he said.

This comes as some ANC leaders have been accused of spreading misinformation. Among the fake information that has been distributed are claims by a KZN councillor who previously said that 5G networks were the cause of Covid-19 and that the vaccine is meant to depopulate the African continent.

Ramaphosa warned that the cost of the vaccines would likely result in the government reviewing its spending projections.

“Given the significant fiscal constraints the country faces, which will be placed under greater pressure as we roll out the vaccine programme, there is a need to reprioritise existing commitments in the budget to ensure that we support those in need and stimulate inclusive growth,” he said.

Other pressing challenges resolved by the lekgotla, Ramaphosa announced, were the issues of jobs, economic recovery and load shedding.

Tied to the issue of economic recovery was the need to carry out land reform in a very responsible manner.

“Land redistribution must be expedited. Land in the hands of government must be released. Land redistribution must bolster the agricultural sector, lead to economic growth, and meaningfully tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment. We must make certain that land reform improves food security for poor families and maintains food security for the nation,” Ramaphosa said.

With the local government elections around the corner, in a bid to assure the nation that the governing party cares and that it will deliver, he said the lekgotla resolved to deploy only credible people as councillors.

The members would be vetted by an internal committee.

He also announced that all serving councillors of the governing party would be audited and there would be closer scrutiny of those serving in troubled municipalities.

“As we approach local government elections, we need as the alliance to select candidates for local government that are capable, experienced and are respected in their communities. We have agreed that all existing councillors must go through an intensive evaluation, particularly in municipalities that have performed poorly or where there (are) allegations of corruption,” he said.

Without relegating the fight against corruption to the periphery, Ramaphosa highlighted that the lekgotla welcomed all efforts made to fight the scourge.

Among the efforts was the strengthening of the National Prosecuting Authority.

Senior leaders also pledged to support the Zondo Commission which is under scrutiny as some have accused it of being used by the ANC to fight its internal factional battles.