31/01/2013. ANC President Jacob Zuma, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have a chat during the ANC NEC Lekgotla held at Saint Georges Hotel. Picture : Masi Losi

Pretoria -

The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla that started in Pretoria on Thursday is set to focus on job creation and monitoring of government performance.

The annual meeting is attended by, among others, members of the NEC, tripartite alliance partners, ANC ministers, deputy ministers and heads of national government departments.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of the lekgotla on Thursday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the focus would be on practical interventions that could create more jobs.

“The difference between this lekgotla and the previous makgotla is that there is more emphasis on the ANC taking charge of monitoring what is happening in government.

“We are asking the questions: How does the ANC see the performance of government? What does the ANC want to see happening from here and what is our assessment of government performance?

“The emphasis is on practical interventions, but the focus is on jobs, jobs and jobs.

“It doesn’t mean though that we are going to de-emphasise the other five priorities of the ANC and the government,” said Mantashe.

What has previously been referred to as the “youth wage subsidy” but is now referred to as a youth employment incentive by the ANC will be among the main issues at this important meeting of the ANC leadership in both party and government.

The incentive is a R5 billion youth employment scheme that was announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address in 2010, but has been discouraged by Cosatu for fear that it will encourage employers to offload older workers to benefit from the scheme.

It would see companies getting incentives from the government for employing young people.

ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe said a bilateral meeting would be held with Cosatu on the matter before Zuma delivered this year’s State of the Nation Address.

“That issue has been on the table for quite some time now, especially at Nedlac. But as the ANC we want to move with speed on this issue, because the minister of finance has already budgeted for it.

“But we are not going to be rushing regardless of our engagements with our social partners. We should have a meeting particularly with Cosatu to discuss this matter,” said Radebe.

The ANC would look at labour-intensive projects as a way of creating more jobs.

“We will be using projects such as the expanded public works programme because with the high levels of unemployment, we need to ensure that we encourage labour-intensive projects like building roads,” Radebe said.

One of the issues the lekgotla would look at was the capacity of government departments to undertake such projects to deliver jobs for architects and engineers, among others.

Radebe said though other issues would be discussed at the lekgotla, this would be done in the context of job creation and addressing socio-economic challenges.

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