Durban - The African National Congress (ANC) lekgotla has agreed to wide-ranging efforts they hope will steer the country out one of the worst economic periods on record.
Speaking at the close of the gathering on Monday in Pretoria, president Cyril Ramaphosa said it was agreed that:
- Power to allow the state to expropriate land without compensation should rest with the executive
- There should be a strengthening of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies
- The state should leverage the private sector to use black-owned businesses for the procurement of goods
- There should be further intervention in key sectors.
“We have been very frank about the difficulties our country faces and we have acknowledged where we have fallen short, especially in terms of the implementation of our policies, and we have devised realistic measures to address these short-comings.
“All commissions [at the lekgotla] presented proposals on cross-cutting issues including the empowerment of women, young people, addressing the issues of climate change and the socio-economic impact of migration.
“We agreed that the creation of jobs and the [reigniting] of inclusive growth should take place in a number of areas, and it should be undertaken to enhance the economic wellbeing of our country,” said Ramaphosa.
He said BEE processes must be strengthened in the “ownership of assets and control of assets in our economy”.
“We agreed we should strengthen government and SOE procurement and we should leverage private sector procurement to use local enterprises, township and village enterprises and also black industrialists.”
He said the “unbundling” of the Mineral Development Resources Act Amendment Bill, released for public comment in December 2019, would provide “policy certainty in the mining industry” and also assist with the development of standalone legislation for the “upstream petroleum sector”.
The country needed new growth sectors in areas such as renewable energy, creative industries, aviation industries and the fourth industrial revolution, he added.
He said the state would continue to support and boost the country’s manufacturing industry and would look at presenting funding to black farmers.
The ANC would call on government to “crack down” on tax avoidance, said Ramaphosa.
He said the lekgotla took a “dim view of the threatening view of people who describe themselves as business groups and forums” who used force and threats of violence to stop private and public infrastructure projects and demanded “30% stakes”.
“This cannot be allowed to continue, and we will take strong measures to make sure this activity is stopped."
He said the easing of visa requirements for tourism and skilled workers must be accelerated.
On land reform, he said it was agreed that the ANC needed to do more to popularise its position on the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution, which protects property rights, to “clarify circumstances where the expropriation of land without compensation will take place”.
“The lekgotla received a report of the process that is now underway to amend Section 25. The lekgotla was encouraged to get this report and endorse the recommendation that the power to determine the quantum of land for expropriation should reside in the executive and the amendment should articulate such.
"The lekgotla endorsed several problematic priorities that will ensure that land reform contributes to economic recovery. Some of these include addressing the spatial inequality through the priority of urban land for development particularly for low-cost housing,” said Ramaphosa.