ANC Free State Media Statement on the outcomes of the 2017 Provincial Lekgotla, 05 -06 February 2017, Bloemfontein
The Free State Provincial Executive Committee of the African National Congress held its annual Provincial Lekgotla from the 5th -6th of February 2017 at Emoya Wild Life Estate, Bloemfontein. The meeting was attended by members of the PEC,the Leagues, Alliance Partners, veterans and comrades representing structures of the mass democratic movement as well as comrades deployed in various functions in municipalities and provincial departments. The Lekgotla was called for the ANC to deliberate on, and outline the priority programmes for the ANC-led government for the 2017 calendar year.
The Provincial Chairperson, Comrade Ace Magashule, delivered a Political Overview which laid emphasis on 2017 being the Year of OR Tambo. The Chairperson urged all structures that every initiative must translate into implementation of ANC programmes and entrenching the practice of unity in all structures. In his Overview, the Chairperson also outlined the purpose of the Lekgotla being that of consolidating a practical programme of action for the upcoming year under the theme of deepening unity for action.
The Chairperson further congratulated Free State province for achieving 93% in the 2016 matric results. The involvement of all progressive structures, and of leaders in all different capacities, has played a significant role in this outcome, which has made Free State the best performing province in terms of matric results.
The meeting also received inputs from Comrades Naledi Pandor and Lindiwe Zulu in their capacities as deployees of the National Executive Committee (NEC). Their inputs reflected on the critical importance of ensuring that Makgotlas function as platforms for accountability, strengthening the party’s communications machinery at all levels and carefully assessing deployments of comrades in government and business that are aimed at transformation of the economy.
Anchored on the January 8th statement together with the PEC’s 12 point plan (Vision 2020), organizational renewal, economic growth, accelerated radical socio-economic transformation, land reform and redistribution, improved funding and infrastructure in education, fighting crime and corruption as well as building the capacity of the state were identified as the key priorities of the ANC in the Free State province.
In meeting these objectives, the PEC Lekgotla resolved on the following, amongst others:
On Organizational renewal
The Lekgotla emphasized that the movement was gradually being weakened by the challenges of factionalism, gate keeping and sowing of divisions in some quarters. The Lekgotla then resolved that the ANC must deal harshly with those responsible for these tendencies, which are alien in the ANC.
The Lekgotla recognized that organizational is also about enhancing the movement’s transformative and governance capacity in order for the ANC to serve and lead the people of South Africa.
The Lekgotla therefore resolved that the ANC must aggressively monitor and evaluate the role that government is playing in regard to radical socio-economic transformation.
The Lekgotla reaffirmed the need for the ANC to continuously interact and engage with the communities about its activities, programmes, achievements, as well as about the needs of the masses.
On Agriculture and Land Reform
The Lekgotla recognized that agriculture is a key sector of the Free State economy. The Lekgotla therefore urged government to increase its support for agriculture in order for the sector to create jobs and to grow the economy.
The Lekgotla is concerned about the high incidence of farm worker evictions that are taking place in the province. The Lekgotla has instructed the PEC to develop a strategy to deal sharply with these evictions.
The Lekgotla urged the provincial government to accelerate the implementation of the 50/50 land ownership of farms by farmers and farmworkers. The Lekgotla urged municipalities to conclude land audits and identify pockets of lands to be used for commercial, residential and industrial purposes. The land issue must be speeded up and must be used to promote radical socio-economic transformation.
On Education and Health
The Lekgotla reaffirmed the centrality of health and education in the transformation of society. The Lekgotla emphasized that support and focus for basic education must be from early childhood development until Grade 12, with particular focus on Mathematics and Science. The Lekgotla appreciated progress made in the quality of matric passes, with reference to Mathematics and Science. This is an indicator of work being done and needs to be intensified.
The Lekgotla emphasized the importance of ‘finishing; schools, which are aimed to accommodate learners who aim to repeat Grade 12. The Lekgotla also noted that the provincial government will be sending some young people who do not have matric to study Hotel Management in Madeira, Portugal late this year.
The Lekgotla urged the provincial government to allocate funds for a campaign to circulate sanitary towels amongst young girls in particular. The ANC in the province is of the view that sanitary towels are an important and basic necessity that needs focused attention.
The Lekgotla noted that provincial government will be implementing 24-hour clinics progressively by extending working hours. The initiative shall go a long way in extending primary health care amongst our people. The Lekgotla urged provincial government to maintain health infrastructure, fill critical vacancies and eliminate medical “stock outs” at clinics and hospitals.
On Fighting Crime & Corruption
There is a need to ensure that crime and corruption is dealt with in both the private and public sectors. The Lekgotla urged government to ensure that there are consequences for all those who are found guilty of corruption. The Lekgotla called for Zero Tolerance for crime and corruption.
The Lekgotla agreed that more attention needs to be placed on human trafficking and drug trafficking, especially in our schools. The
On the Capacity of the State and Local Government
The Lekgotla noted that some municipalities in the province had very weak revenue bases, making them highly reliant on grants and allocations from other spheres of government. This reality affects the capacities of the affected municipalities to deliver services to the people. The Lekgotla further called for the implementation of the ANC resolution that called for the review of the equitable share formula, especially for poor, smaller and rural municipalities.
The vetting of public servants must be extended to lower level employees in order to unblock smooth delivery of services to the people. The Lekgotla emphasized the importance of the capacity of the state in radical socio-economic transformation.
On the Transformation of the Economy
The Lekgotla noted that the nature of the economy still reflects the racial and gender complexion of the past. The Lekgotla is concerned that the ownership of private enterprises was still in the hands of a minority and largely monopolized. The Lekgotla urged the ANC in Free State to make credible policy proposals to the ANC Policy Conference later this year, with a view to transform the economic relations in the country in general, and the province in particular.
The Lekgotla urged the ANC to place focused attention on the revitalization of the township economy. The Lekgotla has noted the mushrooming of spaza shops owned by foreign nationals in our townships. The ANC must address this matter without necessarily fueling tensions in our communities.
The Lekgotla urged the provincial government to explore the feasibility of the establishment of the provincial state bank which will serve a meaningful purpose in transformation.
The Free State Development Corporation (FDC) should be empowered to play a more radical role in the deracialization and development of our economy. The Lekgotla urged government to accelerate land reform and use the issue of land towards radical-socio-economic transformation.
Comrade William Kwekwe Bulwane
Comrade Thabo Meeko