By SA News
The governing party has declared 2018 as “100 Years of Nelson Mandela: The year of renewal, unity and jobs”.
This will see the African National Congress (ANC) holding celebrations to pay tribute to the former President, who would have turned 100 years this year had he lived. Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013.
As such, the party will also use the year to draw lessons and inspiration from Mandela’s life to unite, rebuild and renew the movement, ANC President and Deputy President of the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, said on Saturday.
Ramaphosa addressed thousands of ANC members, as part of the party’s 106th anniversary celebrations, for the first time after being chosen at the elective conference in December 2017.
Today’s celebrations were held at Absa Stadium in East London. The event was also attended by, amongst others, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Jacob Zuma.
Outlining the organisational plans, which also lay the foundation for the party’s 2019 election campaign, Ramaphosa put the economy at centre of his address.
Guided by the National Development Plan, Ramaphosa said they aim to restore focus on building an economy in which all South Africans can flourish, an economy that benefits the people as a whole, rather than a privileged few.
“We seek an open, dynamic economy that embraces technological innovation, pursues higher productivity, creates jobs that pay better and improves the quality of life of our citizens. We recognise the challenges of modernisation and the imperatives of structural change in all sectors, especially in mining, manufacturing, agriculture and finance.”
He said the ANC’s vision is an economy that encourages and welcomes investment, offers policy certainty and addresses barriers that inhibit growth and social inclusion.
As such, he said their commitment is to build strong partnerships in which efficient and accountable government agencies, responsible citizens and businesses, effective trade unions and civil society work together for the common good.
Eye on development
Among other things, Ramaphosa addressed the concentration of ownership in the country’s economy and how the party intends to address the issue.
South Africa, he said, needs to pursue a multi-faceted growth strategy in order to promote job creation on a far larger scale.
“We need to revitalise our manufacturing sector through a number of measures, including preferential procurement in both the public and private sectors, to stimulate demand for local goods and to reduce domestic manufacturing costs.”
The country will be learning from the experiences of other emerging markets, where the industrialisation strategy focuses on sectors with the greatest potential for growth such as tourism, agriculture and mineral resources.
Protecting the integrity of governance
Ramaphosa committed to decisively to improve governance, financial management and performance in all SOEs and protect them from improper interference.
He committed that anti-corruption efforts within the State will be more effectively coordinated and all forms of corruption must be exposed and prosecuted.
He said strong and efficient law enforcement agencies are critical to the fight against corruption and crime generally.
On land expropriation without compensation, Ramaphosa said it will be implemented sustainably.
However, he assured that it will be implemented in a manner that not only meets the Constitutional requirement of redress but also promotes economic development, agricultural production and food security.
Furthermore, the ruling party committed to continue working towards improving the lives of South Africans through improving health, education, providing housing, fighting crime and creating more opportunities for the youth to address unemployment