Pretoria - The Cabinet lekgotla, beginning on Tuesday, is about service delivery, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said.
“For ordinary South Africans what this lekgotla is about is service delivery, especially at local government level,” Radebe told reporters in Pretoria before the start of the meeting.
“Our president (Jacob Zuma) is deeply concerned about the protests that are happening in South Africa. So as the administration, in his Cabinet, we are going to be making sure we go to those areas...”
Protests arose from genuine grievances, Radebe said.
“So, as a caring party, and caring government, we must respond to the challenges that our people are facing.”
The electorate had given the African National Congress a mandate last month to implement its election manifesto and the National Development Plan (NDP).
Turning to the ongoing strike in the platinum mining sector, Radebe said the matter would definitely be discussed.
“The platinum strike is having a debilitating effect on South Africa. This goes to show that the mining sector in our country is still the bedrock of the South African economy,” the minister said.
“When it (the mining industry) sneezes, South Africa catches the flu. So, we need to ensure that we encourage a resolution... in the platinum belt so that we can begin the process of implementing the NDP.”
Radebe said while Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi had taken a back seat in resolving the strike, government involvement to find a solution had not come to a close.
“The minister... has taken a back seat to allow the parties that are in fact the ones that must be the final arbiters,” he said.
Zuma would not attend the lekgotla as he was still resting after he was advised to take a break.
The lekgotla would run until Thursday and would be chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Radebe said Ramaphosa met Zuma on Monday about the lekgotla.
“The mandate that (Deputy President) Cyril Ramaphosa will be executing today is the mandate of the president,” Radebe said.
“When the state of the nation address is done next week Tuesday, the president (Zuma) will be able to address the nation on these key priorities.”
Zuma was discharged from a Pretoria hospital on Sunday after spending a night there.
“He (Zuma) is improving, the deputy president has reported to us. He was with him last night and this morning,” Radebe said.
“He is improving well. He's resting so that he is ready for the state of the nation address on Tuesday, the 17th.”
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said Zuma, 72, went for a routine health check. On Friday, the ANC's leadership said Zuma was instructed to take a break as the election campaign had taken its toll on him.
Mantashe said the party's election campaign had been punishing and all senior members of the party would take time off one after another to “re-energise”.