File photo: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) wants a propped-up Presidency that would "drive a developmental state" as a strategic centre of power.

The ANC legislature and governance subcommittee's Obed Bapela said the proposal was part of a reconfiguration of government discussed at last week's policy conference.

"We looked at the Presidency as a strategic centre of power and central driver of a developmental state. We agreed on core functions that should be included in the Presidency," Bapela told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.

The functions to be included in a reconfigured Presidency included state macro policy and planning, budget and resource allocation and performance monitoring, said Bapela.

Another committee member, Naledi Pandor, said the proposals on strengthening the Presidency was meant to determine priorities.

When asked whether the Presidency would take up budget functions, Pandor said that role would continue to be vested in Treasury.

"Treasury is a core institution in determining the budget, and Parliament adopts that budget...that's what exists in every democracy. Any notion that there would be a different approach is unintended.

"There will be more debates on this stronger role [at Presidency], but there is a strong feeling that we need to have agreement on priorities to guide process prior to Treasury finalising budget...but there's no way in which a Presidency would have capacity that Treasury has to design and present budget...let's have the debate and then finalise in December."

Bapela said the commission further proposed a presidential commission that would review the powers, functions and number of provinces that could be established.

The commission's outcome would pave the way to harmonise local government functioning, from provinces to municipalities.

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"This commission, to be established between now and December, has to be announced with clear time frames so that it is clear what needs to be done before the December conference. There is contestation for space between local government levels and we need to clean that up so that functions are specific and clear." 

On coalitions, Bapela said the ANC contested elections in order to win, and that other political parties were not discussed. However, where the outcome of elections did not favour the ANC, the governing party should consider partnerships with "progressive political parties," especially at municipal level, he added.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY