Thursday, 18 August 2022

PEC Lekgotla Overview by Chairperson Cde Zamani Saul

POLITICAL OVERVIEW

2021 NORTHERN CAPE ANC PEC LEKGOTLA

BY THE PROVINCIAL CHAIRPERSON

Dr. Zamani Saul 

25 January 2021

Thanks Deputy Chairperson

The Officials of the ANC

NEC Members 

Members of the Provincial Executive Committee

Leadership of the SACP, COSATU and SANCO

Leadership of the ANCWL, ANCYL and ANCVL

Leadership of MKMVA, COSAS and SASCO

MEC, MPLs, Mayors

SALGA

The ANC Chaplaincy

The leadership of Contralesa

Deployed cadres of the movement

It does give me great pleasure to welcome all of you this first 2021 ANC Provincial Lekgotla. We use makgotlas to make a reflection on the past year and to develop our program for this current year. All of this work is not done in a vacuum, its informed by the programme we adopted in the 2020 lekgotla, the 2019 election manifesto and the developments that took place during the year under review. 

I think we are all cognizant of the pandemic challenges that were thrown on us in 2020. When we met in our February 2020 lekgotla we could never imagine that we were on a brink of a gravest health crisis the world has experienced in over one hundred years.We have experienced ravages and devastation on lives, the economy and fabric of our society. 

For every 30 000 positive cases in the country on average 870 people lost their lives. The rate of fatalities in the province is much lower than the national average. For 30 000 positive cases we had 499 fatalities, which is almost half the national average. This is all due to the massive investments that we did as the province to strengthen the response capacity of public health. Through reprioritization of our budget, we could make a big   investment of more than R500 million in our public health, which was spent as follows:

Putting up 3300 Covid beds 

Purchasing of 75 ambulances, 55 clinical outreach bakkies and 10 Patient Transport busses 

Appointment of 424 clinical professionals (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) at a cost of R197 million per annum

R120 million spent on medical equipment such as such as ventilators, blood gas analysers, CPAP machines, infusion pumps and automatic defibrillators. 

On top of all these interventions we have a contigent of eleven Cuban doctors that helps us to strengthen our human resource capacity. With all these interventions we managed to beat all projections and modellings on the spread of the virus and fatalities.

The first projection was that the province will get a late first surge at the end of September with about 23-25 000 people positive and about 500 fatalities. We managed to beat that projection, by the end of September 2020 as we had about 18000 cumulative positive cases and about 311 people that succumbed to the covid. We also managed to beat the projections of the second surge, that by the end of January 2021 we might have about 40 000 cumulative positive cases with more than 1000 fatalities. 

As we speak, in our province we have 33 162 cumulative positive cases, 641 succumbed to the virus and 29 517 recovered. The recovery rate in the province is quite impressive at 90%. As the province we account for 2.1% of the population of the country, but we account for 2.1% of the cumulative positive cases and 1.3% of the fatalities, this is by far less than our share of the population.

All these achievements in the fight against COVID19 are due to the massive investment we made to strengthen the response capacity of our public health and the extraordinary commitment of our frontline staff. The dedication and commitment of our frontline staff go beyond human imagination. Its sad and heart-drenching to announce that 1 651 health frontline staff got infected of whom 24 succumbed to Covid complications. This is 0.6% of the total number country wide.

The strict lockdowns that were introduced to curb the transmission of the virus had far-reaching impact on the livelihoods of our people. Hence, we had to introduce extensive social relief programmes to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Together with the private sector we distributed food parcels and vouchers to more 80 000 households in the province. We introduced social relief package for artists, who were hard hit by the virus. We distributed more than 700 Jojo tanks with 11 supporting water trucks to communities without the necessary water infrastructure. We embarked on a massive campaign of deep cleaning and fumigating of our schools and provided the necessary infrastructure for schools reopening. We opened the schools during these challenging times without any incidences.

Because of this extensive socio-economic response to the pandemic, the people of the province rewarded the movement. In October and December 2020 we were confronted by an unprecedented total of 23 by-elections. The ANC won 22 of these, which was unprecedented victory, this was not a fluke. 

We took two wards from the DA and effectively eroded the political base of the opposition in the province. This sweeping victory in these by-elections was a sign of confidence in the ANC and the ANC led government with the manner in which we managed the immediate Covid19 crisis. We must continue to build on some of these social relief responses. 

One major difficulty of managing the virus is the fact that by the time of the ground-zero case in March 2020 the economy was going through a technical recession and had just suffered its second down grade by global rating agencies. Effectively speaking, the virus caught the country when we were on our knees. 

The virus also caught this 6th administration when it was just eight months in office. It shattered our plans and disrupted our programmes as we had to embark on pandemic planning. This pandemic planning reversed some of the gains that we made. As the province we are now relatively in control of the pandemic, this is due to the following trends:

Daily infections are on the decrease,

There is a decrease in the number of fatalities,

We experience a decrease in Covid patients hosptilization, and

There is increased number of people recovering from the virus.

We are not out of the wood yet; and must therefore not lower our guard as there are real fears of a third surge, which could be more contagious taking into cognisance the prevalence of the new variant. We must be extra-vigilant and not reverse the gains that we made together with the people of the province.

As part of the Covid19 R500 Billion response package announced by the President last year, the Province had to surrender R702 Million to National treasury and redirect R529 Million to Covid intervention measures. This weakened our financial position, which led to undesirable moratorium and freezing of all vacant funded posts. Without this intervention by the Provincial Executive Council this Provincial Government would have now been in a very precarious financial position, that could have threatened payment of salaries to more than 30 000 public servants in the province.  

As I have earlier mentioned comrade Chairperson, the socio-economic impact of Covid is devastating. More than 82 000 people lost their jobs in the province in 2020 and many small businesses had to shut their doors, schooling was difficult and the number of poor households has increased.

Unemployment amongst young people stands at 44%. These difficult socio-economic conditions increased the expectations people have on government at a time when the government does not have the fiscal capacity to adequately respond. 

We must thank the National Government for  extending the Covid19 social relief grant for the next three months. Almost half of the population of the province are grant recipients, so we can’t underestimate the impact of the extension of this grant.

Comrades, Covid19 deepens poverty, unemployment and inequality. It lays bare the ugly face of an unequal society. With the global supply and demand challenges of the vaccines, it’s quite clear that 2021 will just be another difficult year. There is a global inequitable distribution of the vaccines. There is vaccine frenzy cultivated by developed nations at a huge cost to poor countries. So, what we need to do is to intensify the health measures that we know are effective in preventing the transmission, which are:

Wearing a mask in public spaces,

Social distancing, and 

Regular washing or sanitizing of hands

There are great improvements in the wearing of masks in the province and we should thank the Northern Cape residents for that. What we urgently need to do is to counter misinformation and disinformation about the virus and the vaccines. We need to intensively engage our branches and members on this front. 

Comrade Chair on the 08th of January, our glorious movement celebrated its 109th Anniversary. The theme for this year is UNITY, RENEWAL AND RECONSTRUCTION IN THE YEAR OF CHARLOTTE MAXEKE. The call to action this year is to build unity within our ranks, to reconstruct the economy and celebrate the legacy of Mme Charlotte Maxeke, who would have turned 150 this year. 

So, every one of us must be an activist for unity and must work for unity. This should be organic unity that is as a result of us observing and respecting what the movement expects of us. Organic unity is unity anchored on right political principles that should guide all of us, at all times. This requires us to do what is right to the best of our understanding of what the organization expects of us. When people are brought together by wrong things, to defend each other that is not unity but a facade of unity and more like a match box house soon to collapse.

Therefore, Chairperson, our commitment during this difficult year of conferences and the National General Council is to build organic unity, which is unity that grows naturally out of adherence to organizational discipline. Organic unity requires us to expose and disassociate with those who seek to use the ANC to enrich themselves, their families and friends, it also requires us to expose thieves within our ranks and to be steadfast in our commitment to principle and protecting the integrity of our organization. 

We should commit ourselves to the principle that if you are charged you must immediately step aside. The stepping-aside conference resolution should not be a matter of political gimmick in the Northern Cape, because we have committed ourselves to the programme of organizational renewal which includes the enhancement of the integrity of the ANC. I cannot with clear conscience be the face of the organization, that is striving to renew itself, whilst I’m indicted of misappropriation of resources meant for the poor. This is paradoxical and nullifying, it’s like an atheist wearing a cross.

In our struggle to renew our movement and renew ourselves as individual members, we must take to heart what Ho Chi Minh once said about revolutionaries and their basic attributes (SELECTED WRITINGS 1920-1969), he said:

“A revolutionary must have solid foundation of revolutionary morality in order to fulfil his glorious revolutionary task. The worst and the most dangerous vestige in any organization is individualism. Individualism is very deceitful, it skillfully induces one to backslide. In brief, revolutionary morality consists of the following traits:

To devote one’s life to the party and the revolution,

To work for the Party, observe Party discipline and implement Party line and policies even if that goes against your personal interest.

To put the interest of the people and the Party before and above one’s own interest.

To serve the people wholeheartedly.

To struggle selflessly and be exemplary in every respect.

To show honesty, thrift, integrity, uprightness and total dedication in conducting duties of the public office” [we are in a post-modernist society, which is a world in which truth and honesty are very rare commodities. This dispensation is accelerated by globalization and we know that the drivers of globalization are the multilateral institutions and the load of this truck is liberal democracy and western capitalism. 

In closing this chapter on revolutionary morality Ho Chi Minh asserts that“revolutionary morality will not fall from the sky, it is developed and consolidated through persevering daily struggles and efforts. Like gold, he argues, revolutionary morality will grow ever purer as it goes into the melting pot”. I call on you comrades to internalize these six cardinal traits of revolutionary morality.  

Chairperson we also say that should be a year of economic reconstruction and recovery. Our economy is battered by the pandemic. Our economic output over the past few months are by far lower than our economic performance in 2019.  Covid has severely affected all sectors of the economy, with mild impact on the agricultural sector.

So, this lekgotla have a very difficult task today, which include:

Come up with measures on how to deepen the productive base of the economy in the province,

Come up with measures on how to advance the empowerment of black people, women and young people.

How to use state procurement to implement to radical economic transformation.

What interventions are we going to introduce to support the depressed sectors of the economy.

We need to identify opportunities that could serve as new key drivers of economic growth.

To investigate opportunities which are there with the land reform programme?

Comrade Chair, on the 13 – 14th of February we completed a very successful National lekgotla. The National lekgotla identified four key priorities for 2021:

The first priority is to overcome the pandemic, unless we overcome it many people will lose their lives, our economic recovery will be limited. 

The second priority is to place our economy on a path of renewal and recovery.

The third priority is to forge ahead with fundamental renewal of the ANC. It is only an ANC with ethical and disciplined leaders and members that could the national effort to defeat the virus but also to drive radical social and economic transformation.

Our fourth priority is to work to build better Africa and better world.

Comrade Chairperson as the lekgotla we must seriously interrogate these priorities that will serve as a framework for our engagements over these two days.

Comrade Chair, I have already mentioned that this will be a very busy year for us as the province. Over the past weekend we had an NEC meeting. The NEC meeting accepted our roadmap for the Provincial Conference at the end of March to be followed by five Regional Conferences that will take place in May. The NEC endorsed the position that no structures that are outside their term of office should be dissolved. Delays in hosting elective meetings and conferences are purely due to the lockdown measures. Furthermore, this year we will also convene the three conferences of the leagues WL, VL and the YL.

The National General Council will convene in May this year. The responsibility of the NGC is to review the performance of the NEC since its election in Nasrec 2017. The NGC does not have powers to adopt new policies and elect new leaders, it can only fill vacancies in the NEC. There are people who have some ill-conceived views about the NGC that it can elect new leaders and change conference decisions. The NGC does not have such powers, that is the reason it’s called a General Council and not a Conference. 

I call on all our structures and members to robustly engage with the NGC documents and our Training Roll-Out Plan on all the discussion documents starts on the 24th of February. Presently the following discussion documents are in circulation:

Organizational Renewal and Unity

Review of Eye of a Needle

Social Cohesion, National and Gender Question

Building a non-Sexist Society and the Struggle Patriarchy

Young People Today: Mission, Challenges and Tasks

International Relations

Economic Transformation and a Prosperous SA: is the NDR Still on Track?

Developing Human Capabilities

Arts, Culture and Heritage

Towards a Reconfigured Alliance, and 

Balance of Forces 

Later during the year, the country will be hosting the 2021 Local Government Elections. We have 31 municipalities in the province and the ANC is the governing party in all of them. Therefore, our first task is to defend our majority in all 31 municipalities. This won’t be an easy task taking into cognizance the bad and unimpressive state of municipalities in the province. This state was worsened by the advent of Covid. Just last year alone our municipalities lost more than R800 million in revenue. 

The payment culture dropped drastically in all municipalities and most municipalities could not implement their credit control policies because of Covid. This placed most of our municipalities in a precarious financial position and many are now even struggling to pay salaries. There are in essence four challenges that are confronted by the municipalities in the province:

Governance challenges: political infighting, interference and instability, poor oversight and inaction.

Service delivery challenges: failure to provide services.

Administrative challenges: high vacancy rate especially CFOs, technical services, engineers, planners and environmental specialists, poor strategic leadership.

Financial management challenges: poor audit outcomes, financial distress, high levels of irregular expenditure and adoption of unfunded budgets.

We need to urgently develop a plan to improve on all these four key areas. This will help us to change the negative perception our people have about our municipalities.

Comrade Chair, this is the last lap of this PEC. We have few days left before the 9th Provincial Conference which the NEC agreed that it should be a hybrid meeting. I’ve been serving in the PEC for quite some time now. I think I can fairly argue that I’ve seen it all in the post-1994 evolution of the politics of the PEC in the province. This PEC is rock solid, equally so, our regions. And the 9th Provincial Conference will mark a rare occasion as the PEC will go to this conference as a united force. 

We need to appreciate the PEC members for the kind of maturity with which they have prosecuted their work of giving leadership to the province. This have silenced many of our detractors, because today the Northern Cape is the most united province of the ANC in the country. That’s the trademark, our legacy and our heritage that we confer to the new incoming leadership. None of these PEC members embarrassed the ANC in the province. With our flaws and imperfections, we tried our best to hoist the flag of the movement very high. Hence, the respect that our province enjoys right throughout the country. 

Comrade Chair, four of the top 5 officials are deployed to strategic positions in government and the only full-time officials at Amaqhawe Office is the Provincial Secretary. His responsibility is to hold the fort. Serving in the PEC, I’ve experienced the leadership of two very powerful and towering  Provincial Secretaries, comrades John Block and Neville Mompati, who are both my predecessors. But the political craftsmanship of our current Provincial Secretary is of equal substance if not better than his predecessors. Thanks comrade Deshi for holding this collective together. The strength of a team is each individual member; and the strength of each member is the team. So, if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. Hence  comrade Chair, I want to thank each PEC member for choosing unity over divisions and teamwork over personal ambitions. We are not a team because we work together, but because we respect and trust each other.

Comrades we are faced with a very tough year, with overflowing expectations on the Provincial Government. There is no time for excuses but to up our sleeves and push ahead. What we do today and tomorrow will determine the faith of our province for many years to come. I feel that we do have the necessary resourcefulness to confront all these challenges and this lekgotla must chart a clear and decisive way forward for our province.

AMANDLA!!!

 

Contact

Amaqhawe Building
42 Du Toitspan Road
City Centre
Kimberley
8300
 
Tel:  053 831 2230
Fax: 053 832 4151
info@ancnortherncape.org.za

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