Chairperson of the session, Cde Mlungisi Mvoko
ANC National Executive Committee Members present,
Members of the ANC Provincial Executive Committee,
Leadership of the SACP, COSATU and SANCO
Representatives from the Leagues,
Representatives from the Mass Democratic Movement,
Deployees of the ANC and all gathered here today.
DGs , HODs and senior Government officials
Allow me to bring you revolutionary greetings and welcome you to ANC Provincial Executive Committee Lekgotla. We are holding this Lekgotla in the year we have declared as the: “Year of Unity, Socio-economic Renewal and Nation-Building.”
As such, this is the year where all our efforts will be focused on strengthening the unity of our movement, the alliance and the nation, where we will be working for radical socio-economic transformation and where we will be building a more cohesive South African nation as explained by our ANC President, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa.
On this day, 2nd February , 30 years ago , Arpatheid government succumbed to revolution , relentlessly pursued by our masses under the leadership of the ANC , a culmination point that forced the Arpatheid system to collapse, with its last president announcing the unbanning of political organizations and release of political prisoners. That was a moment that brought about fundamental changes in our socio- political landscape , and a moment many of our forbears selflessly sacrifice for , inorder for us to have a liberated South Africa. Ours is to practical give literal meaning of a liberated country to all our people , especially the motive forces.
This is also the year where our late struggle stalwart and first Premier of the Eastern Cape, uTat’ u Raymond Mhlaba would’ve turned 100 years if he were still alive. Oom Ray served the entire liberation alliance with distinction and was elected into the ANC National Executive Committee in 1991. Speaking at his funeral, former President Thabo Mbeki explained that:
“Raymond Mhlaba, Ndobe, devoted his entire adult life, covering 60 years, to the service of the people and the cause of freedom… He grew to become the giant he was, one of the great guides of the struggle our people had and have to wage to free themselves from oppression, poverty and dehumanization.”
We are therefore pleased to announce that the Eastern Cape Provincial Government will be launching the Raymond Mhlaba centenary on the 12th February 2020.
We are also celebrating the centenary of the late uTat’ uVuyisile Mini, a former trade unionist, MK activist, and one of the first ANC members who were executed by the apartheid regime. He was jailed together with uOom Ray and uTat’ u Govan Mbeki for his participation in the defiance campaign against unjust laws.
We pay tribute to these two giants, and we must do so by recommitting our energies to the advancement of the national democratic revolution and by building a South Africa they dedicated their entire lives fighting for.
Deputy Chairperson, as we all know, our Makgotla are platforms for us to translate our policies and priorities into a concrete programme of action that will result in the advancement of NDR.
We are here to provide leadership over government. We are not here to lament nor point fingers; we are here to provide concrete solutions to the concrete realities faced by the toiling masses of our people. We must answer the question, where this growth we are talking about will come from and design concrete proposal on youth and women development for us to drastically reduce high unemployment rate in our youth and guarantee women emancipation, to free them from GBV. We are to find answers to GBV/F and Children abuse. We are to find solution on how to stop death of Initiates in our Province.
As explained by the ANC National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 82nd Anniversary of the ANC in 1994: “the whole democratic movement of our country, including the Patriotic Front and the Tripartite Alliance, has the responsibility to lead our country, no longer as a movement of resistance, but as the historic force for change on whose shoulders rests the hope of the majority of our people for peace, democracy and a better life.”
25 years later this hope of the majority of our people still rests within the mass democratic movement as headed by the ANC. We witnessed this last year in May when our people exercised their sacred right to determine the destiny of their future. More than one million voters in the electorate expressed their confidence in the ANC in this Province, and once again entrusted our movement with the responsibility to build the Eastern Cape they want.
We must not take this confidence our people in the movement for granted. We must earn our leadership role in the alliance, in the entire democratic movement and in society. This Lekgotla will serve as that test.
While our government has achieved significant progress in tackling the triple and persistent problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality, a lot more still needs to be done. It is unquestionable that we cannot do more unless we improve the capacity of the state to deliver on its mandate. We need an innovative and inclusive growing economy, an enabling infrastructure network and an innovative high-value agriculture sector.
A capable state to build the Eastern Cape we want
Our recently reviewed PDP describes the Eastern Cape we want as a province we can all look at with pride by the year 2030, a province that will be enterprising with boundless development opportunities and a Province that will connected across socio-economic spectrum, where citizens horizon will broadened with conducive environment for them to reach their potential.
This will require a capable and ethical state that has elected representatives and public servants that are dedicated to serving the people wholeheartedly and selflessly and who are prepared to place the interests of the people ahead of their own.
We are committed to ensure that our government has the right development trajectory models, organograms and skills that will ensure efficient delivery of their mandates. We need to work to have effective and stable leadership and management that are constantly adhering to best practices, and that prioritise the implementation of the PDP.
The July Lekgotla directed us on how we can improve the state of governance in the province such that the State’s systems, structures, and human resources embrace innovation in a more fundamental way. The PMTSF presentation will elaborate more on this.
Deputy Chairperson, we will struggle to build the Eastern Cape we want unless we instil and maintain a culture of good corporate governance through ensuring that ethical leadership and management is fostered, that all public servants are not doing business with the state, engaged in corrupt and fraudulent activities and underperforming on their targets. As President Ramaphosa stated in the NEC Lekgotla, we have been speaking about the need to inculcate a culture of consequence management in the public service, it is now the time to implement.
Comrades, by now we know that the state of local government is not good at all, which is the reason why we have numerous protests throughout the province mainly in demand of the provision of basic services.
Our municipalities are struggling to collect revenue which is one of the reasons why they are unbale to pay major creditors. This often leads to cuts and disconnections of critical services such as electricity as a result of the municipalities’ inability to meet their obligations. At the end of the day it is our people that end up suffering and resort to protest actions as a way of voicing out their frustrations.
We still have municipalities that adopt unfunded budgets despite various engagements with them. Inspite of the huge backlogs on water, sanitation, electrification, sport facilities, community halls & roads that the Eastern Cape has, municipalities are still failing to spend capital grants an antithesis of the developmental local government launched 20 years ago. The question then arises have we been developmental as all spheres government to achieve intended objectives of that policy paradigm shift we introduced 20 years ago.
Although we have witnessed some progress in this regard, especially in the 2017/18 financial year, municipalities in the province reported unauthorised expenditure amounting to R1.7 billion, irregular expenditure amounting to R5.2 billion and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R7.5 billion.
We need to turn the tide; time is not in our hands. National Lekgotla has agreed that fruitless and wasteful are a reflection of reckless attitude and ill-discipline and that must be stopped now. Ithi ke lonto this Provincial Lekgotla must also adopt the same attitude and clear instructions to our government is that , this must be anathema.
There is a need to strengthen evidence based integrated planning within and across the three spheres of government, no more common sense. The District Development Model will provide us with this opportunity to improve intergovernmental relations. All three spheres of government must have one plan, for one district, with one budget. The time for operating in silos has come to an end. The time for territorial attitudes which have nothing to do with the interests of the people has come to an end. We are one government, with one purpose, which is to advance our national democratic revolution.
Let us make this model work as we are also national pilot site . Out of 10 top poorest District Municipalities , 5 are from this Province with Alfred Nzo leading , followed by OR Tambo. Unfortunately many if not all our Districts and Metros are in good situation for LMs or rely on them , a challenge that we must confront head on . Municipalities are not employment agencies and tender facilitations centre, Municipalities are there to ensure people’s lives are changed and basic services to masses of our people are rendered without fail. More importantly they are there to create a conducive environment for businesses to invest and create jobs for residents.
Our entities in the province must also prioritise the implementation of our PDP and manifesto commitments. We want entities that are developmental, with capable leadership in boards and in management that understands our vision to build the Eastern Cape we want. SOEs are there as service and development centres to address market failure. The decision is that we must rationalize and focus them.
Innovative and inclusive growing economy
In a rural province that still reflects the bimodal structure of the apartheid era characterised by impoverished and underdeveloped areas in the east of the province, and more developed and affluent areas in the west, an increase in investments, creation of jobs and achieving inclusive growth should be areas where we dedicate much of our energies to.
We cannot continue with business as usual when we learn that everyday 1700 South Africans enter the labour market and yet less than 500 find jobs. The hope that we spoke about earlier that our people have in the ANC will gradually decrease if we are unable to change the reality that in the Eastern Cape 380 791 people were discouraged worker-seekers and economically active population increased by 3.6% to 2.188 million.
We need to create jobs, and this is one of the central tasks for the year 2020 as outlined in the January 8th statement. For us as the Eastern Cape this is a huge priority given the impact of our inability to create jobs has on our declining equitable share and revenue base. Each year our province loses hundreds of people to other provinces in search of jobs, better education and better lives.
We must change this reality, and the fact that a significant number of our people feel that they cannot realise their full potential in the province.
We must grow and transform our economy by supporting small businesses as they are a key partner in job creation. We must continue to invest in sectors such as tourism, green economy/ Agriculture , heritage, art and cultural industries; construction, Blue economy, manufacturing, energy and oil gas .
We must take advantage of the fact that our province is fast becoming the country’s wind-farm hotspot. It is reported that just Jeffreys Bay and Bedford is projected to contribute 1 185 MW to the national grid.
We have a great potential but one which we are not tapping into. For example, our province is leading in terms of the numbers of sheep and cattle and we continue to produce a quarter of the country’s milk. We remain a global leader in mohair, a luxury fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat. Our beaches and natural beauty have seen an increase in the number of tourists and visitors from other parts of the country and abroad. We have the only river port in South Africa which is in East London that Transnet has failed to invest in 50 years. We have a strong manufacturing base and many prospects for agro-processing.
We can tap into this only if we are focused on achieving our goals and rallying behind the same vision of building the Eastern Cape we want.
Building and enabling infrastructure network
Comrades, it is undeniable that we cannot build an innovative and inclusive growing economy unless we massively invest in an infrastructure network that is modern and responsive to the needs of our people and investors. We need to reduce the costs of doing business in the Eastern Cape and this includes having adequate infrastructure in all our municipalities.
We must focus more on implementing catalytic regional projects, transport infrastructure, agro-logistics and ICT infrastructure. This sixth administration must ensure that the Mzimvubu Dam is built, and that the N2 Wild coast road is completed and that toll gates are erected in key strategic entry points in the Province.
Rural development and an innovative high-value agriculture sector
One of the priorities of the sixth administration in the province is rural and agricultural development. We will invest resources to support all scales of farming starting with a subsistence farmer in a small village to large scale farmers and cooperatives to create jobs and sustainable food security in our province.
We are committed to our efforts of affirming farmers who are participating red meat; milk, poultry; fruit and vegetables; wine; wheat; forestry; aquaculture; small-scale fisheries; biofuels and cannabis production.
Deputy Chairperson, we recently hosted a Rural Development Indaba where we recognised that we do not have mineral resources in abundance in our province, however we are endowed with vast and rich land from which we can build sustainable socio-economic development and provide a better life for all our people. Sixty percent of our population’s lives in Rural Districts, therefore we must service them with socio-economic initiatives where they are.
The impact of drought in the Eastern Cape
Comrades, our province is facing one of the most devastating drought situations in the country. Ground water levels have declined and the decline in rainfall correlates with the recorded decline in water levels in the boreholes.
We have declared provincial drought following declarations by the Alfred Nzo, Amathole and Sarah Baartman, Chris Hani, OR Tambo and Joe Gqabi districts. We will continue working with the relevant sector departments in consolidating and integrating the drought relief strategies. We need to conserve and protect both ground and surface water and save water even in our own homes. We must arrest the free flowing water into the sea by building Catchment Areas and Dams, particularly the Umzimvubu Dam.
A better Africa and a better world
Deputy Chairperson, the ANC is committed to the fight of building a better continent and a better world. We continue to express our solidarity with all oppressed peoples of the world.
Although we condemn the actions of the United States in Iran, both countries must understand the world is not interested in 3rd wold war therefore a peaceful solution is in the best interest of the world at large. We are joining the world in appealling to both countries and their regions or leagues to heed the calls for them to exercise maximum restraint and not resort to violent means of resolving the conflict which may have disastrous consequences.
We applaud the commitment by the South African government to use its membership in the United Nations Security Council to advance African interests and resolve regional and global conflicts. As country this year we are assuming the chairpersonship of AU, an opportunity for us to vigorously drive our campaign to silence the gun in our continent and create conducive condition for the growth and development of our continent. We are also hopeful of positive outcomes in the fresh engagements in Zimbabwe between President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa that are facilitated by former President Thabo Mbeki.
Deputy Chairperson, I am certain we have all witnessed the reports on the outbreak of the Corona virus in China which has now claimed more than 170 lives with more than 6000 reported cases of infections. It has also been reported that the virus has reached shores of India. We must applaud our government for ensuring that we are prepared for any threats of the virus entering the country. Although not 100% secure, we have capable professional screening at all the South African ports of entry.
We must also applaud our government for agreeing with the request by the World Health Organisation for South Africa to be used a reference laboratory for Africa. This is in line with our efforts to promote cooperation within our continent.
As the Eastern Cape we should strengthen economic cooperation with other regions and provinces in the continent and other parts of the world and implement our twining agreements. We need to make use of the Africa Intercontinental Trade Agreement to increase trade within the continent.
Comrades, in the past year, collectively we began a process of reconnecting the ANC with its rightful owners, the people of our Province. Leaders both in the tripartite alliance and those deployed in government were visible in our communities. This is the new an ethos we must continue with throughout this term, siyicime tu lanto ithi sibonakala xa kuzovotwa ebantwini. Kufuneka sivale imbobo zongena komoya ongendawo kuba xa singabonakali ebantwini, ozungulichele bazongena bona.
In government, we have instructed that HODs and other decisions makers must be visible in our communities to see the challenges that are faced by our people, understand them and offer solutions to those challenges. Air conditioned offices do not vote the ANC into power, the masses do, thus kufuneka sitshiswe lilanga sonke, sinethwe zimvula sonke sisiya ebantwini.
This year we begin the 2020 -2024 PMTSF, which is the official start of the 6th administration. This Legkotla must reflect on the 5th Administration we have just concluded and highlight lessons learnt in it, good ones and bad ones with the sole intention of not repeating bad ones of course, but of multiplying good ones. We must also take into account that the 4h Admin of Local government sphere is coming to an end and that tough local government elections await us next year. So it might be necessary to delve deeper into what we must do to ensure that we retain the municipalities we lead and regain the Nelson Mandela Metro we gave away. There is no other platform, but this Lekgotla to provide marching orders. We must therefore do due diligence in this process because the outcomes have to inform the State of the Province Address, Departmental Policy Statements and State of Municipality Addresses.
As I descend let me remind all of us that our principal tasks this year as ANC Members is to build unity in our movement, usher in socio-economic renewal and build our nation. Among other tasks we are instructed to:
· Build a movement united I action
· Mobilise all partners to grow and transform the economy
· Prepare for a decisive local government mandate
· Strengthen governance and tackle corruption
· Work to end gender based violence and femicide, and
· Work for peace, integration and development in Africa
Ndiyayazi ke ukuba this year naysayers are already predicting showdowns that they hope will side-track us from these task. With some putting regional conferences, PGC and NGC as platforms where waters will be tested as if in the ANC there are opposing ideological forces.
The ANC has given us the tasks that I have shared with you comrades, above all the other important ANC process we must put the ANC first so that it can regain the trust of the people. Prepare for the conferences with these tasks in mind for conferences and leaders come and go but the ANC and its work will remain.
We are 6 days to our Provincial January 8th celebration , let’s all descend to Amathole region @ Great Kei to make the day a success. Let’s do door to door to explain these tasks for the year. ANC events are not events to display opulence , are not celebrity event , they are revolutionary and political education platforms. Let our conscience prevail for us to be conscious of the revolution we are pursuing. “Aluta continua!!”