Dealing with 'useless' members of Cabinet and announcing measures to stop load shedding must top the agenda of the African National Congress' (ANC) January 8 Statement this weekend. These are the strong views of ANC alliance partners in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). This weekend, the ANC will be hosting its 111th birthday celebrations, and present its annual January 8 Statement in Mangaung, a city beset by poor service delivery. This is the same city where safety concerns were raised about the hosting of the January 8 Statement celebrations at…
Dealing with ‘useless’ members of Cabinet and announcing measures to stop load shedding must top the agenda of the African National Congress’ (ANC) January 8 Statement this weekend.
These are the strong views of ANC alliance partners in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
This weekend, the ANC will be hosting its 111th birthday celebrations, and present its annual January 8 Statement in Mangaung, a city beset by poor service delivery.
This is the same city where safety concerns were raised about the hosting of the January 8 Statement celebrations at the Petrus Molemela Stadium.
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This stadium in question was previously used by the now defunct Bloemfontein Celtic soccer club, which played a role in the maintenance of the venue.
Speaking to The Citizen on Wednesday, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said they are expecting the January 8 Statement to be delivered by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to focus on a number of key areas.
According to Mashilo, the most important area of focus should be around strategies aimed at overcoming the country’s energy crisis.
The country has for the longest time now been experiencing relentless rolling blackouts, with some experts warning of the possibility of a permanent stage 4 load shedding for this year.
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“Load shedding makes it difficult for our economy and households to run smoothly and many people whenever they talk about the impact of load shedding, they tend to exclude poor households who buy food in bulk but at the end of the day. These long hours of blackouts result in food going to waste,” said Mashilo.
“Overcoming load shedding needs to receive the utmost attention and the statements from Eskom about breakdowns tells you that we need more resources for preventative maintenance.”
Commenting on the incidents of sabotage at some of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, Mashilo said all critical operations must be directly under the power utility, stressing that the January 8 statement will have to detail how security will be stepped up at all power stations.
“Imagine running a factory, then there’s load shedding and you are then forced to make use of diesel which becomes even more expensive to run your day-to-day operations.
“In the same breath, many tend to romanticize the usage of solar, because according to people I have spoken to, they say they can’t always make use of solar due to the inclement weather the country has been experiencing and as a result even their batteries run out due to the lack of adequate sun,” Mashilo said.
Mashilo said it was important to note that South Africa’s unemployment crisis also includes people who came into the country for reasons of collapsed economies in their respective countries, stressing that an international consideration is required to address the situation.
“Yes, our economy is in crisis, but it is even worse elsewhere on the African continent and that’s the reason why many people come to South Africa, where they see better prospects for themselves, and as a result, we end up carrying the burden of other African countries.
“Everyone needs to stand up and call for an end to the imperialistic and unilateral sanctions in Zimbabwe and the dictatorship happening in Swaziland… Democratisation is needed in some of our African countries, and we cannot solve our problems alone.”
He said with the matric results coming, there will be more young people being immediately unemployed as not everyone will be lucky enough to find employment while others will not be able to further their studies at either colleges or universities due to reasons of affordability.
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“The ANC will have to be clear about when we envisage the elimination of abject poverty and because of the lack of infrastructure and rural development in rural areas, people then move to the big cities… it is all about inequality,” said Mashilo.
COSATU deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe says Ramaphosa’s speech will have to focus on the unity of the ANC.
Unity of the ANC:
“Some of the elected people in the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) have been implicated in the State Capture report,” said Phetoe.
“The January 8 Statement will have to detail how a united ANC will deal with issues of corruption and factionalism.
Phetoe is of the opinion a Cabinet reshuffle is needed as some ministers are useless, saying Ramaphosa has been quiet about them.
“These are ministers who are just there to collect cheques, and doing their work and discussions around the reshuffle are ongoing at the level of the ANC NEC,” Phetoe said without mentioning who those ministers are.
“95% of our municipalities have collapsed and something urgent needs to be done there because residents can no longer continue living in poor conditions.
“This January 8 Statement will have to move from paper resolutions to implementation resolutions,” Phetoe added.
Statement should ‘set the tone’ for SONA
Meanwhile, University of the Free State (UFS) political analyst Prof Sethulego Matebesi says this weekend’s January 8 Statement celebrations will without a doubt be a watershed moment for the ANC.
“This weekend’s celebrations will have to set the tone in terms of party discipline.
“When you look at the region, which will be hosting this weekend’s event, it is a highly divided one because yes the different factions there say they are united, but it is a superficial unity which will collapse,” said Matebesi.
He said in the absence of a different tone and posture, the past five years is likely to repeat itself, stressing that Ramaphosa will have to come out guns blazing, especially when it comes to how he will continue fighting corruption and deal with the issue of discipline within the ANC.
“Beyond that, the January 8 Statement will set the tone for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“I don’t think he will say much about the Cabinet reshuffle and maybe it’s something that will happen either before or after the opening of Parliament,” Matebesi added.
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