The ruling African National Congress held its first lekgotla meeting of 2022 on Saturday and Sunday (22 and 23 January), with the party discussing a number of key issues including corruption, land reform, the country’s energy crisis and grants.
The outcomes of the meeting were presented by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening in a streamed media briefing. Here are five key governance and business-related announcements to be aware of.
The ANC has called for the extension of the R350 Covid-19 grant introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The R350 Covid SRD grant has had a significant positive impact on the lives of the poor, but more particularly the unemployed,” Ramaphosa said. “The government must examine the feasibility & affordability of providing some form of income support for the poor & unemployed.”
The ruling party has also called for more ‘labour intensive interventions’ to build and maintain community infrastructure and mass employment opportunities should be created particularly for young people.
To overcome the crippling impact of South Africa’s electricity shortage and load shedding, the country must embark decisively on a Just Energy Transition to restore energy security and to stimulate greater investment and employment, Ramaphosa said.
“Through instruments such as the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) investment should be mobilised as rapidly, and at lowest possible cost, in order to restore energy security and promote job retention and job creation.
“We will continue to pursue an energy mix which includes renewables, battery and pump storage, gas as a transition enabler, nuclear at a pace our country can afford, as well as explore carbon capture and use technologies.”
The ANC said ongoing plans to restructure Eskom and resolve the entity’s unsustainable debt, must be implemented on schedule, so as to assist in strengthening public management of the national electricity grid, as well as to unlock much-needed public and private investment in electricity generation capacity.
“The process of equitable land redistribution should be accelerated together with supportive measures to assist in the success of black landowners involved in large-scale and small-scale farming activity,” Ramaphosa said.
“A balanced and effective land transformation process should be pursued without compromising food security. Land reform instruments should include tax on underutilised land, densification strategies, the setting up of production and retail sites in informal and formal settlements.”
The ANC also urged parliament to finalise the processing of the Expropriation Bill to allow more just and equitable access to land.
A Special Service Delivery cluster, or another appropriate institutional arrangement, will be put in place to improve overall service delivery in areas such as housing, water and sanitation.
“This is in direct response to community concerns about the poor state of this critical infrastructure across a number of municipalities,” Ramaphosa said.
An effective social compact will be required to give and take by all parties, as all parties need to contribute to the cause of national development. In addition to this, it will be necessary to identify trade-offs that social partners will need to act on, Ramaphosa said.
“Government will be called upon to take steps to be more effective in guiding the restructuring of network industries as well improving law and order and security for communities and economic infrastructure.
“Business would need to make real, verifiable commitments to expand investment, and support localisation and black empowerment. Labour and communities would need to commit to improving levels of productivity, skills and entrepreneurship.”