Closing Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC NEC
Deputy President, Cde Paul Mashatile;
Secretary General, Cde Fikile Mbalula;
National Chairperson, Cde Gwede Mantashe;
Deputy Secretaries General, Cde Nomvula Mokonyane Treasurer General, Cde Gwen Ramokgopa;
Members of the National Executive Committee;
Let me begin tonight’s Closing Remarks to the National Executive Committee of the ANC by congratulating the Springboks for the exhilarating victory against France in the Rugby World Cup quarter finals last night.
I also want to congratulate the Proteas who are also showing a sterling performance at the Cricket World Cup in India.
Both the Proteas and Springboks will be facing England in their next fixtures.
I call on all South Africans to stand united behind both teams and show tremendous support from all sectors of our society.
Sport enhances our country’s ongoing efforts to promote nation-building and social cohesion. It is when our teams participate in global sporting events that we come to appreciate the progress that our country has made towards the building of national identity and moving together as one nation, united in our diversity.
This NEC takes place at a time when the world is going through significant change and increasing global instability due to a confluence of different factors, including escalating conflicts and climate disasters across several parts of the globe.
The world is still reeling from the devastating impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This war still rages on and there is no end on sight. The ANC reiterates its call that the war should come to an end immediately through a peaceful dialogue. As we have said before, we have all been affected, in varying degrees, by the war.
Most recently, we have also witnessed the unprecedented escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The ANC NEC has condemned, in strongest terms, the brutal killing of civilians by Hamas. The ANC has also been perturbed by the genocidal and atrocious activities of the State of Israel which are being directed indiscriminately at Palestinian citizens, shutting them off from all means of livelihoods.
On Saturday, we conveyed our condolences to the affected citizens on both sides of the of conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to negotiations along the lines of the two-solution.
The NEC reaffirms the longstanding support for and solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine and calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine which is against UN resolutions. The state of Israel should immediately end the siege on GAZA so that water, food, energy, medical supplies and fuel can reach the civilians.
As the governing party, the ANC will ensure that the South African government works with the international community towards an inclusive process that produces a viable Palestinian state, existing in peace alongside the state of Israel, based on the 1967 borders.
The NEC is firmly of the view that the only way to end the cycle of violence and retribution that has lasted 75 years is a just and peaceful settlement.
The ANC will continue to advocate for the peaceful resolution of all conflicts around the world, as we have always insisted and asserted.
We also witnessed extreme weather events in many parts of the world and in our own country, which continue to cause serious catastrophes, leading to the displacement of people and disrupting the availability of resources such as energy, food and water.
The NEC appreciates the work that is currently done by the government in improving our capability to respond to such disasters because of climate change.
The NEC applauds the negotiation positions that our government has taken in the international fora that seeks to build mitigation strategies such as climate smart agriculture, water saving, alternative energy sources and ensuring that continuous public education to empower our people to mitigate, prepare for and prevent climate disasters.
All of these events adversely affect the world economy which was beginning to show early signs of recovery post COVID-19.
The NEC spent three days receiving reports from Government deployees and discussing integrated interventions to 1) end load shedding and electricity crisis; 2) ramping up the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction, including improving infrastructure and logistics; (3) strengthening the fight against crime and corruption and enhancing border security; (4) addressing problems in local government to improve the delivery of basic services, and 5) measures to mitigate the cost of living.
The NEC reflected on the impact of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Program (ERRP), an intervention announced by government as part of rebuilding the economy in response to the Covid 19 Pandemic. These interventions have enabled our country to remain resilient and build partnerships for economic recovery with our social partners.
Key to the impact of the ERRP is the latest employment figures from Statistics South Africa, which showed that the number of people employed has almost returned to its pre-pandemic levels .
The NEC expressed deep concern that ordinary South Africans continue to feel the impact of high food prices and the continuing rise in the fuel price.
Most recently, the Competition Commission found that local retailers have not been passing on cost reductions obtained through falling producer prices to consumers. The NEC urged government to engage the retail sector to work together in ensuring that our citizens and in particular the working class, are cushioned against rising prices.
The NEC noted the impact that Avian flu has had to the poultry industry as well as consumers and applauded the interventions to curb the spread of the disease, fast track the import permits to enable the importation of table eggs and fertilized eggs; evaluate the registration of vaccines for H5 and H7 strains, and explore the feasibility of import rebates.
Dealing with the current fiscal pressures through a combination of fiscal discipline and a growing and inclusive economy
The NEC received a report from Cde Enoch Godongwana on the fiscal situation or position of the country. The NEC is reassured that South Africa is not running out of money.
The fiscal pressures that our country faces stem fundamentally an economic challenge of slow and jobless growth. Instilling discipline is as important as taking decisive steps to grow the economy. Fiscal discipline is not the same imposing austerity measures that will undermine our developmental agenda.
Accordingly, the NEC encourages government to continue with the implementation of structural reforms, in particular in the areas of energy and logistics.
The NEC, while noting revenue shortfalls and related rising debt levels, urged government to exercise fiscal discipline in a manner that does not compromise the priority areas adopted by this ANC-led administration.
Our country has turned a definite corner as far as loadshedding is concerned, and levels and frequency of loadshedding is expected to improve during the fourth quarter. This is due to the return of Kusile units; embedded generation by private households and businesses; and demand management which, will be adding much needed capacity to the grid.
The NEC highlighted the need for urgent extension and investment in our transmission grid through new and innovative methods of funding so we can speedily ensure renewable projects in the Northern and Eastern Cape can be brought online.
The NEC advised the Minister of Public Enterprises to urgently attend to the hardships that many of our people are subjected to through the overloading and sabotage of transformers in the townships. Concern was expressed that some communities have faced years without access to electricity.
The NEC is aware that Eskom and municipalities will be approaching this matter in a holistic manner which includes: investment in new transformers; deal with illegal connections; tightening security to prevent theft and sabotage of transformers and the installation of smart pre-paid meters to ensure better revenue collection and demand management.
We call on communities to continue with energy saving interventions in order to ensure that electricity is available and that when new infrastructure is installed, it is protected.
The introduction of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill in Parliament is a milestone in the transformation of our electricity sector. This will bring our country into line with international best practice and, more importantly, establish the institutional foundation for a sustainable and affordable supply of electricity into the future.
The NEC welcomed the hosting of Green Hydrogen Summit which demonstrates our country’s Hydrogen Roadmap and the commitment of our government in expanding our energy mix in order to build enough reserve and capacity for our economy.
We call for a greater push for reform and rejuvenation of the logistics sector
Earlier this week, the new board of the Transnet National Ports Authority was appointed, giving effect to a long-standing policy decision to separate the roles of the State as the owner of ports infrastructure from its role, through Transnet’s operating divisions, as the port terminal operator. This will improve the competitiveness of our ports and enable greater investment.
Consultations are taking place on a new Freight Logistics Roadmap, which will outline actions to enhance efficiency and competition and enable greater public and private investment.
The NEC applauded the progress that has been made by government in improving the passenger rail. This includes the upgrading and rehabilitation of passenger rail infrastructure; signalling, bridges, and train stations. Progress is also being made in improving the security of passenger trains and the recruitment of peace officers to prevent vandalism. These improvements will ensure affordable transportation for our citizens.
The NEC noted that government is actively leading this effort in collaboration with business and other social partners.
Some have expressed concern that these reforms are aimed at privatising parts of Eskom or Transnet. This is clearly not the case.
We have been clear that South Africa’s port, rail and electricity infrastructure are strategic national assets, and will remain in public ownership.
By enabling private sector participation in specific areas of electricity generation, transmission, freight rail and port operation – subject to stringent regulation – we are mobilising much-needed
investment in the country’s economic infrastructure. Such investment will make a significant contribution to our efforts to ensure a secure supply of electricity and to export our minerals, agricultural produce and manufactured goods.
By restructuring our state-owned entities and by mobilising new investment, we will help improve their financial position, enhance their performance and increase their competitiveness. We will enable our SOEs to better fulfil their economic and social mandates.
The NEC commends the work that our government is doing in strengthening economic and social relations with a number of countries in our region, continent and the world. A number of Bi-National agreements and state visits held thus far has translated into agreements that will usher better trade benefits for our corporate citizens.
The improved market access that has opened opportunities for our industries will further contributing to job creation.
The BRICS Summit that we hosted in August was a milestone in the history of the BRICS countries. The economic relations that are forged through our participation in BRICS are important for our drive for greater investment and trade.
South Africa hosts the AGOA Forum next month. This is an important platform to strengthen economic ties between the countries of Africa and the US in a manner that contributes to our continent’s growth and development.
We now have an effective partnership with organised business around practical actions in the areas of electricity, logistics, and combating crime and corruption. Work is getting done and the effect is starting to be felt.
Government has also been engaging with organised labour on how to address the immediate challenges facing the country. There have been interactions with the relevant unions in the energy and logistics sectors in particular, but we are continuing to discuss how to involve labour
more broadly in the work government is doing.
It is through practical cooperation among social partners, by working together to effect change, that we will forge a meaningful social compact.
The reforms we are seeing are not limited to the economy.
They are taking place in areas such as the fight against crime and corruption.
In line with the resolutions of our National Conferences, we are rebuilding our law enforcement and prosecutorial capabilities. We are also taking practical measures to strengthen the fight against corruption.
We are continue to implement the recommendations of the State Capture Commission by, among other things, strengthening our public procurement processes, making the NPA investigating directorate permanent, and undertaking consultation on strengthening whistle- blower protection.
At the same time, action is being taken against the alleged perpetrators of state capture. Several cases are now in court, involving dozens of accused individuals and companies.
Billions of rands of stolen funds have either been frozen or recovered. Bodies like the NPA, the Hawks, SARS and SIU are extremely active and increasingly effective. The recent newsletter by JP Landman gives an outstanding objective analysis on how we are making progress in dealing with corruption and re-establishing a capable state.
Crime remains a major concern for our people and is an area where we are consistently criticised for not doing enough.
The NEC received a report on the actions that are being taken to address illegal mining and “Zama-Zamas.” Through interrupting the entire value chain of their activities from underground
mining to selling off illegally processed minerals, we are beginning to make progress.
The NEC noted the progress the police are making through Operation Shanela, which aims to combat violent crime through increasing intelligence lead investigations, police visibility, the deployment of new technology with the involvement of civil society in building safer communities.
The NEC encourages ANC structures to strengthen their involvement in community policing and other community safety forums and work with local law enforcement bodies to build safer communities.
As agreed by the NEC, national and provincial government have been requested to intervene in a number of distressed municipalities to support and capacitate these municipalities to perform their functions.
Work is underway to make such interventions a reality and this work must be supported by the provision of the necessary technical and financial resources, noting the existing fiscal constraints.
The NEC received a progress report about measures that are being taken to address the water and sanitation challenges our country is facing in a number of areas..
Cooperation of different spheres of government is required to improve service delivery. Service delivery challenges are being addressed on an ongoing basis. The improvement of service delivery is being done through the district development model (DDM), water boards, the interventions of COGTA, Treasury and other related government departments.
The NEC expressed its concern at how the payment of grants to the elderly and other grant beneficiaries was mishandled during the month of September 2023.
The NEC welcomed the report from government that such bottlenecks have been resolved and
that during the month of October all beneficiaries received their grants.
The NEC welcomed the signing of the Land Court Bill by the President. This signing into law of this legislation will bring stability by ensuring that we will now have full time judges that can preside over land disputes in our country.
The ANC 2019 Manifesto Review process that has manifested itself through engaging with our people throughout the country involves accounting to voters across the country on the commitments we made in the 2019 elections. The reports and facts put forward in our Manifesto Review are being checked by independent organisations such as AfricaCheck.
According to AfricaCheck, more than 95% of the facts checked were correct.
In addition, the 2022 Census reinforced a number of claims we made in our Manifesto Review and proved that the ANC led government has achieved a great deal in improving the lives of South Africans.
The NEC has welcomed the work being done by ANC structures across the country to rebuild and renew the ANC on the ground.
The re-organisation and strengthening of Headquarters has also given a new lease of life to the ANC. Dynamic energy and strategic capacity in the organisation in has been engendered. This is a critical element of renewal.
The visit by the NEC and NWC to provinces is helping us to redirect the energy and focus of the structures of the movement on service delivery and developmental interventions.
Fully functional Leagues of the ANC, committed to the cause of the people, are critical to our organisation. We depend on our Leagues to fulfil their distinct and important roles in our movement.
The ANC Women’s League is a crucial formation for mobilising women, from all walks of life, to the cause of the movement. We depend on the Women’s League to organise and mobilise women so we build gender equity in our society and effectively campaign against the scourge of gender based violence.
The ANC Youth League, united and disciplined, militant and roaring on behalf of young people, was absent from our national stage for eight long years. The movement felt that absence.
The ANC NEC called on the ANC Youth League to move with speed to address the concerns of young people. In particular this NEC called on the Youth League to focus on re-establishing progressive student structures in tertiary institutions across the country. The NEC emphasised it is an organisational priority to establish effective progressive structures amongst the future intelligentsia of our country.
The Veterans’ League remains at the forefront of the renewal of the ANC and building and strengthening our movement. We are therefore looking forward to working with the new leadership of the Veterans’ League to develop and enhance programmes to take our movement into the future, whilst maintaining organisational ethos, culture and traditions.
The appointment of Veterans to lead the Integrity Commission and Disciplinary process is part of engendering discipline and integrity back in the organisation. the veterans are also working closely with the political education team to revive political education and cadre development in the movement. There is a keen interest and determination on the part of the NEC to ensure that renewal of the ANC succeeds during our term of office, building on the work that has been done since 2017.
All these developments and many other initiatives we have embarked upon in our organisation are proof that the process of renewal and unity is firmly underway and as we have said before is irrevocable and irreversible.
Renewal is not a one day event but a continuous process. There will be times when we take five
steps forward and three steps back, but our commitment to renewal is unwavering. We must keep at it and reposition our organisation.
This was a most successful NEC meeting which was underpinned by a great spirit of camaraderie, great exchange of views clearly displaying a continuing sprit of renewal and unity.
The ANC is on this path of renewal and unity.
The ANC lives, the ANC unites and the ANC leads.