Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu briefing journalists during the cabinet lekgotla at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria on January 29 2020. Picture: GCIS/ JAIRUS MMUTLE
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu briefing journalists during the cabinet lekgotla at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria on January 29 2020. Picture: GCIS/ JAIRUS MMUTLE

The bi-annual planning meeting of the country’s executive will focus on economic growth and what needs to be done to build a capable and ethical state.

The cabinet lekgotla, which started on Wednesday and will conclude on Thursday, takes place ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s fourth state of the nation address (sona) that will be delivered later in February.

The meeting also comes a little more than a week after the governing ANC held its own lekgotla at which  problems with state-owned enterprises (SOEs) dominated discussions.

SA’s SOEs face severe challenges, most significantly the woes faced by cash-strapped power utility Eskom, and airline SAA — the latter being in business rescue.

Minister in the presidency for planning, monitoring and evaluation Jackson Mthembu said on Wednesday that the meeting will focus on what needs to be done to build a capable and ethical state, in line with the ANC’s priorities for 2020.

He said the question has to be answered as to where the gaps are in SOEs, as well as in the three spheres of government. He said the second important area that will be discussed is the country’s economic growth and investment.

Earlier in January, the World Bank revised down its economic growth outlook for SA to less than 1% for 2020 due to concerns around power supply. The institution expects the economy, which was forecast to grow 0.6% in 2019, to expand by 0.9% in 2020.

Mthembu said if SA was to deal with its many crises it is  important to identify the sectors that will create the necessary growth, so that jobs can be created. He said the government needs to know what must be done at the SOEs, which includes knowing what to do to “repurpose” them.

“The SOEs are an important engine in ensuring that all of us grow the economy. We must, therefore, do a lot of work on resuscitating and repurposing our SOEs so that they are able to do the work they are mandated to do.” 

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