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SA: Cyril Ramaphosa, Address by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa to the COSATU Central Committee (20/09/21)

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SA: Cyril Ramaphosa, Address by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa to the COSATU Central Committee (20/09/21)

20th September 2021

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Comrade Zingiswa Losi, President of COSATU
National Office Bearers of COSATU
Members of the National Executive Committee of the ANC present
Cde Blade Nzimande and leadership of the SACP present
Members of the COSATU Central Executive Committee
Comrades and Friends


I bring greetings and a message of solidarity and support from the African National
Congress to our ally, the federation of workers, COSATU.

We have been in the midst of a pandemic that is unlike anything the world has seen
in more than a century.

The pandemic has tested our society, its people and the movement. South Africans
have responded admirablyand we commend the people for the bravery and strength
they continue to show.

We, once again, extend our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones
during this period. COVID-19 has taken so much from so many of us.

Members of the Federation, in especially the front-line sectors of health, law
enforcement and other sectors, have served the nation with distinction and we thank
them.


The Alliance demonstrated utmost unity at the start of the pandemic and we worked
together to develop a comprehensive response to our social and economic
challenges.

This unity of the Alliance contributed towards uniting most of society behind the
measures implemented to combat the pandemic. This is a clear demonstration of the
important position we occupy in the lives of South Africans; our actions have a
profound impact on the country and her people.

Unfortunately, the combination of the social and economic
pressures of the lockdown restrictions and our internal divisions, caused cracks to
show in our unified approach to the pandemic.

The disunity also cascaded to broader society and provided fruitful ground for our
opponents to deepen our divisions.

When we are divided, fighting one another in public and pre-occupied with ourselves,
the people suffer. Divisions and internal squabbles detract from our ability to advance
the National Democratic Revolution and serve the people.

If we are to truly give effect to the trust the people continue to bestow on us, we must
unite and implementprogrammes that meaningfully address their most pressing
challenges.

Defeating COVID-19

Defeating the pandemic remains a priority and we must all ensure that we mobilise
as many people as possible to be vaccinated. The Alliance must lead popular
vaccination campaigns.

Ensuring that sufficient numbers of people are vaccinated is the only way of
preventing new and more potentially more infectious variants from emerging.

South Africans must stand together to combat the many conspiracy theories about
vaccines and spread the message that vaccines are safe, they work and are very
effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19.

Workers can rest assured that we respect the right to bodily integrity and all other
constitutional rights. However, this must be balanced against the right to a safe
working environment and it is correct to take measures to ensure the economy can
re-open in a safe manner that protects all workers.

We urge the federation to step up efforts to educate and persuade workers, and
indeed all South Africans, to be vaccinated.


Economic recovery and reconstruction

The pandemic exacerbated an already fraught economic situation.

Poverty is pervasive and too many people go to bed hungry, regularly, in South
Africa.

Unemployment is beyond a crisis and it is clear that much more needs to be done.
our current strategies, whilst succeeding in creating employment, are not of a
sufficient scale and scope to address the extent of the problem.

The most recent ANC NEC Lekgotla, correctly, reaffirmed that the most important
task of this moment is to reduce poverty and create jobs.

We have observed a move away from traditional conservative, neo-liberal economic
thinking in the developed world towards encouraging fiscal spending, increased
government debt and increased taxes on wealthier individuals and corporations. This
has been accompanied by greater recognition for unions and the rights of workers.

South Africa’s economy may not have as much room as these developed economies
for implementing all of theabove strategies, but we must learn from and adapt them
to our own conditions.

We need to investigate how we can use our economic policy instruments and what
changes may be required to more effectively address the extent of the challenges
confronting us.

The Alliance Economic Task Team must therefore develop proposals for the reform
of economic policy and also how we can supplement the Economic Reconstruction
and Recovery Plan (ERRP) to deepen and accelerate its impact.

The NEC Lekgotla identified the following measures aimed at increasing growth and
enhancing job creation.

Continuing to “implement structural reforms and promote local productive activity to
grow our economy more quickly and stimulate more investment and employment.

The increased role of digital platforms in our economic lives is expected to persist
even beyond the pandemic, as more and more social, economic, governance and
supply chain interactions move to the digital sphere.

Enabling universal access to broadband should be the approach to the release of the
spectrum and other digital technologies so that the development of the digital
economy is inclusive and sustainable

Enhancing industrial capacity and increased localisation in collaboration with the
private sector and organised labour.

There continues to be significant demand on government to continue with and
expand income support measures for those living in poverty.

Further work needs to be done towards the achievement of Comprehensive Social
Security to ensure that all South Africans can live in comfort and dignity.

This necessarily requires better alignment and linkages between social security
policies and labour market policies so that beneficiaries of social support can move
more readily into employment.

Subject to long-term affordability, serious consideration should be given to extending
further support to the unemployed, and those who are structurally marginalised,
possibly in the form of an extension of the COVID-19 SRD grant, targeted food-
poverty-line support or a basic income grant (BIG). We should also consider a
combination of all this with mass employment for people.

We are taking steps to reduce the regulatory burden on small, medium and micro
enterprises. This includes ensuring that informal traders are not subject to undue and
unfair regulatory requirements.

Our fiscal constraints mean that we must set clear priorities, focusing on measures
which will have the greatest social and economic impact.

Transitioning to a low-carbon, ecologically friendly and socially sustainable economy
presents opportunities to create jobs, inclusion and growth in the following sectors:
renewable energy, grid construction, manufacturing of renewable components,
battery storage, green vehicles, and green hydrogen while assisting us to further our
environmental protection objectives.

Infrastructure development is the backbone of economic progress. We must
therefore aggressively expand social and economic infrastructure to meet the needs
of the economy and the South African people at large. This includes new investments
in renewable energy, mining, water and sanitation, roads and bridges, human
settlements, health and education, digital infrastructureand public transport.

To further strengthen the massive roll-out of infrastructure, we are increasing
community participation in a way that leads to skills development, SMME
participation and employment for affected communities.

Our infrastructure investments must anchor the One-Plan approach of the District
Development Model and prioritise critical network infrastructure such as rural roads
and bridges, water, energy and digital infrastructure. “

The involvement of the Federation in the conceptualisation and implementation of all
these initiatives will be crucial. The voice of workers must inform our strategies to put
the country on a higher growth and employment generating trajectory.


Capacity of the developmental state, local government and local government
elections

We are all in agreement that the success of our revolution and the ability to bring
about a better life for all, depends on the improving the capacity of the state. The
state must be efficient, developmental and capable.

The ANC admits that we have made mistakes, in this area and we are working to
professionalise the public service.

We are implementing a whole range of measures to instil a culture of service across
all spheres of government, but especially at local level where most people have
regular and consistent contact with government.

The finalisation of the work to put in place a single public service will be fast-tracked
and is taking place in consultation with organised labour.

Whilst we are heartened that we resolved aspects of the public service wage dispute,
we recognise that there are issues still before the Constitutional Court.

The ANC remains committed to protecting collective bargaining and all other workers’
rights.

All of us are agreed that we must work harder to turn local government around and
serve the people better.

We will utilise the District Development Model (DDM), integrating all three spheres of
government, to continue defending our communities against the pandemic, and
better combat the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.


The DDM will be leveraged to strengthen capacity of municipalities to provide basic
services better and to unlock economic potential of each district to ensure
food security, accelerate skills development and align it with the developmental
needs of the district, support industries and create jobs.

On a political level, the ANC has begun to interview mayoral candidates in an effort
to ensure we entrust competent and capable cadres with this important responsibility.
We are institutionalising and standardising this practice and it will continue post the
forthcoming local government elections.

We need to ensure that senior officials, especially municipal managers and chief
financial officers, aresuitably qualified and subject to more rigorous qualification
criteria in order to be appointed.

There must be more consistency in applying discipline and consequence
management both to recognise and learn from good performance and to correct poor
performance.

The ANC conducted our recent candidate selection process in accordance with our
principles of inclusiveness and representativity. We also, in accordance with the
decision of the 54th National Congress, appointed an Electoral Committee to oversee
the process.

As with all new processes and structures, there were teething problems and we also
received troubling reports of alleged misconduct, transgressions of list guidelines and
manipulation of lists.

The ANC will investigate all these reports and allegations. Where necessary, we will
institute disciplinary measures.

However, the overwhelming majority of our structures ran credible and inclusive
processes, involving communities across the length and breadth of the country. The
nature of this community involvement took many innovative forms, often dictated by
the pandemic restrictions.


It would be amiss of me not to address the reports that comrades from the alliance,
were, in some instances, prevented from participating in candidate selection
processes for local government elections.

The ANC SGO met with provincial structures to address this phenomenon and
indications are that it became less of an issue. However, we need to embark on a
dedicated political education programme about the history and the strategic nature of
the revolutionary alliance.

It is clear that too many of the structures are not as familiar as they should be with
the history, traditions and practices of the alliance. This needs to be addressed
urgently as not addressing it may allow room for charlatans and opportunists to
further damage our movement.

Furthermore, we need to finalise our discussions about the reconfiguration of the
alliance and agree on the functioning of the alliance during this phase.

We have just concluded the final voter registration weekend and the Independent
Electoral Commission (IEC) re-opened candidate registration. The ANC worked hard
to ensure we are able register candidates in all wards and for all PR-lists.

This will be a short, contracted and targeted campaign and we must all be on the
ground mobilising as many as people as possible to vote for the ANC.

We must emphasise our successes. The ANC-government has succeeded in making
this a better country and we need to back this assertion up with objective facts.

The movement must be humble and admit where we have made mistakes. In
admitting our mistakes, we must provide people with information about the strategies
we are implementing to address mistakes and bring wrongdoers to book.

There will be many questions posed to leaders and candidates and we must be
prepared to engage with all questions and challenges, especially from our members
and supporters.

It is important for all of us to stay on message and make sure the message of the
movement reach as many people as possible. We must convince the people that the
ANC will continue to work towards building a better life for all.

Let us go out and ensure a decisive victory for the ANC.

Amandla!

 

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