Big Eastern Cape infrastructure projects, investment crucial to economic revival — ANC
The ANC in the Eastern Cape has pinned its hopes of growing the economy — devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns — on huge infrastructure projects and reviving factories.
This was the message delivered by ANC provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane during the second day of the party’s virtual lekgotla on Monday.
The lekgotla was expected to discuss the party’s — and by extension the government’s — priorities for 2021.
It was attended by party leaders and government deployees.
Mabuyane said the lekgotla resolved that the party should dedicate its time to growing the stagnant provincial economy.
It also agreed on the need for more private sector investment through the creation of stimulus funds and other initiatives.
“To strengthen the co-ordination of key infrastructure projects, including the rollout of the broadband project and the revival of industrial parks and the establishment of special zones will be our focal priorities for the year ahead,” he said.
The R4.82bn broadband infrastructure project has been in the pipeline since 2019 as one of several multimillion-rand projects expected to boost the province’s economy.
Mabuyane said the lekgotla directed the provincial government to build the co-operative and SMME sector and ensure that rural development and building sustainable rural and township economies formed part of the key pillars of economic recovery strategies.
... if we are able to implement those projects as they are an outcome of a scientific process, we will definitely turn around the socioeconomic outlook of our province
By Mabuyane’s own admission, some of the projects have been in the pipeline for years but are yet to get off the ground, like the much-talked about Umzimvubu water project, which was first introduced during President Thabo Mbeki’s tenure.
“We have spoken at length about our catalytic projects and we repeat that if we are able to implement those projects as they are an outcome of a scientific process, we will definitely turn around the socioeconomic outlook of our province,” Mabuyane said.
He said the Umzimvubu water project needed to be implemented to ensure residents had enough access to clean water.
“Our development trajectories are anchored on these projects — oceans economy, agriculture, agro-processing, cannabis and bio fuel, completion of the N2 highway, these are all critical to our economy.”
Mabuyane said investment in infrastructure and ICT would be used as an enabler and catalyst for economic development.
Turning his attention to the Covid-19 vaccine, the first batch of which arrived in SA on Monday, Mabuyane challenged party members to educate people about the vaccine and dispel conspiracy theories.
We have a responsibility to relentlessly wage a war against misinformation, fake news and propaganda meant to undermine our efforts to overcome Covid-19 and decrease its burden on our lives and livelihoods
“We have a responsibility to relentlessly wage a war against misinformation, fake news and propaganda meant to undermine our efforts to overcome Covid-19 and decrease its burden on our lives and livelihoods.”
Mabuyane said it was crucial that the integrity of the government and ANC were restored so people would have faith in them.
“We have thus agreed to expedite the process of conducting lifestyle audits and have resolved that this must be done for the executive within the 2021/2022 financial year,” Mabuyane said.
He said the lekgotla reaffirmed the principle that no-one was above the law and the constitution.
“Equally, no single member of the ANC is above the organisation.”
Mabuyane said corruption remained a cancer in society.
“The lekgotla has resolved to work tirelessly to root out this scourge in our society.
“We will strengthen the work of capacity building and intervening in distressed municipalities, especially those that cannot meet their obligations,” Mabuyane said.
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