Government is hosting a three-day Cabinet lekgotla chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the focus of the gathering is on the economy, the country’s finances and the state of local government.
That is according to the acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who briefed the media on Thursday. The Cabinet lekgotla is the first one for the year and includes premiers of all nine provinces and representatives of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).
While Ntshavheni said the economy would feature largely during the meeting, she did not mention whether they would discuss the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown regulations, that have seen several organisations call for the further opening of the economy by allowing alcohol sales and the relaxation of the national curfew.
The minister said the lekgotla was expected to receive a briefing on the Covid-19 overview and the vaccine rollout announced on Wednesday evening by the Department of Health.
“We’ve already dealt today with the matters around the current state of the economy, the fiscal outlook and the budget, including the state of municipal finances,” Ntshavheni said.
The outcomes of the gathering will set the stage for the year ahead and Ramaphosa will announce the decisions taken during the meeting at the State of Nation Address (Sona) on 11 February at 7pm.
The other focus of the Cabinet lekgotla will be on saving lives and protecting livelihoods amid the pandemic as well as gender-based violence.
“The focus on the economic recovery and reconstruction programme is mainly to check what is the progress that has been made given the state that we are in with the pandemic, the fiscal outlook of the country, and the economy in general,” Ntshavheni said.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which came into effect at the beginning of the year, will also be discussed by the gathering. AfCFTA is the flagship project of the African Union’s (AU’s) Agenda 2063 for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years.