President Jacob Zuma (left) and deputy ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa. File Picture: ANC MEDIA PIX
President Jacob Zuma (left) and deputy ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa. File Picture: ANC MEDIA PIX

The ANC must use the levers of state power to grow the economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

To increase the ownership of the economy by the black majority, the government had to embark on a labour absorbing growth path, with every rand spent aiding job growth.

“(The ANC) has a duty to use government incentives, procurement, infrastructure investment and other measures to create new industries and expand existing industries,” he said delivering the party’s anniversary statement on Sunday.

The R870bn set aside for infrastructure development would create entrepreneurs and new regulations to be introduced in 2017 will make it compulsory for large construction companies to ensure that 30% of the contractors used are small and medium enterprises.

Zuma said this should empower black owned companies.

The party was optimistic that an economic growth forecast of 2.9% would be achieved and highlighted the manufacturing sector as another catalyst for growth.

“This is illustrated by the fact that this sector created more than 7000 new jobs during the first six months of 2016,” Zuma said.

He delivered his final January 8 statement as party president amidst rain and grey skies at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

His address was moved up the programme in anticipation of afternoon thunderstorms.

He outlined the party’s programme for the year which also included speeding up land redistribution.

“It is time to return the land to our people,” he said.

“This year we shall begin to utilise the Expropriation of Land Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution with greater speed and urgency, following the prescripts of our Constitution.”

Zuma has warned against increased infighting within the ANC at the expense of the people’s needs.

“The people have told us that we are too busy fighting each other and we do not pay sufficient attention to their needs. Our own research and interactions with members of the ANC demonstrate clearly that the people abhor the apparent preoccupation with personal gain. People are clear: their main priorities are jobs‚ fighting crime and corruption. Our task is therefore to grow the economy‚ create jobs and rigorously fight crime‚” said Zuma.

The president also called for real unity.

“When the ANC says that we must unite; we do not speak of unity for its own sake. We are clear that we are not calling for unity in defence of corruption or other negative tendencies. The ANC calls for unity in purpose.”

Zuma issued a stern warning to ANC deployees who act against the party’s policies.

“We demand that our deployees give effect to ANC policy and there will be consequences for not adhering to the positions of the movement. Where any deployee of the movement does not adhere to ANC policy‚ the movement will act‚” he said.

He also used the January 8 statement to reaffirm internal democracy in the ANC‚ calling on members to exemplify ANC values.

“The ANC has heard the message that the people delivered in August. We accept that we have made mistakes,” Zuma said

“We will root out corruption‚ factionalism‚ buying of members and gate keeping. ANC members must be living examples of the values of service‚ selflessness‚ integrity and discipline. Members must be vigilant in protecting the internal democratic practices and traditions of our movement. The ANC continues to act against all forms of ill-discipline and we will not hesitate to use the full force of our existing procedures to combat gatekeeping‚ corruption and abuse of organisational processes.”

Zuma also said that lobby group should not undermine ANC branches in electing new leaders.

“When leaders and members of the ANC are corrupt and steal they are betraying the values of the ANC, the people and our country. We will not allow this.”

“Too often, comrades fight for leadership positions as they see leadership as the route to material and personal gain.

“The ANC must unite so that we are able to unite the people against our common enemies — unemployment, poverty and inequality.”

With TMG Digital  and AFP

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