Zuma lays out roadmap for 2010

ANC president Jacob Zuma on Saturday mapped the way forward for the party in 2010, saying unity and beefing up local government were priorities.

The blurring of political and administrative roles hampered delivery at local level, he said, speaking at the GWK stadium in Kimberley. ‘We are of the view that municipal employees should not hold leadership positions in political parties.”

Zuma spoke to thousands of supporters who packed the Northern Cape stadium and spilled over into an overflow venue.

There was a party atmosphere ahead of Zuma’s address but the crowd quickly settled down as the party president laid out his plans for the coming year.

The ANC would ‘tighten its deployment procedures” to make it more ‘objective and transparent”, Zuma said.

“We will tighten our deployment procedures to ensure that we deploy comrades with political integrity and professional competence.”

The ANC has long conceded that there were problems at local government level. These came to a head in 2009 when many communities protested against poor service delivery.

Corruption, factionalism, nepotism
The ANC had to intervene in a protest in Standerton, Mpumalanga, with residents calling for their local councillors and mayor to be axed.

Corruption, factionalism, nepotism and poor delivery were at the root of many of the violent protests occurring across the country.

The party also conducted an audit of the country’s municipalities, due to be released early this year.

Zuma said the ANC-led government intended to make local government a key focus for service provision. ‘A strong and disciplined ANC with capacity on the ground is a necessary condition to make local government more effective and efficient,” he said.

Zuma echoed calls for unity contained in messages of support from the ANC’s alliance partners and conceded that more needed to be done in this regard.

“We consult each other and work together on key issues and programmes that affect our people. However, much more needs to be done to improve the alliance relations at national and sub-national levels,” he said.

‘Dependable allies’
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande blamed a “media agenda” for divisions.

“We want to say that at no stage of our history did we need to strengthen our alliance as we do now,” said Nzimande.

“Msholozi [referring to ANC president Jacob Zuma by his clan name], you have got dependable allies.”

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sdumo Dlamini said it was important “to engage with respect” on public platforms and in private. He said Cosatu was proud of the ANC as the leader of the alliance and of the “alliance being the strategic political centre that leads us in this country”.

Earlier, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema described the ANC as the centre of the alliance and also the centre of power.

This follows recent tension in relations between alliance partners fuelled by public spats.

Zuma wants to work with labour to bring about change among public-service workers.

He called for change in the public service: ‘Where people are found to be incapable of performing the tasks assigned to them, we must work with speed to either capacitate such people or replace them with more capable people.”

On the country’s energy woes, which are due to come under the spotlight again as the National Energy Regulator of SA is set to hold public hearings on Eskom’s 35% per annum tariff-hike application, Zuma said ‘comprehensive solutions” were required.

The problem ran deeper than tariff hikes, he said.

‘There are issues of our energy mix, environmental
sustainability, distribution mechanisms, surcharges by local municipalities and the role of the private sector. We will intensify our work in this area this year.”

After his address, Zuma broke into song, getting the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along. He then sang his trademark struggle song, Umshini Wami. Grinning broadly, Zuma danced along as his singing mingled with that of the crowd. He appeared to be enjoying himself immensely.

He then cut a massive cake flanked by the leaders of the ANC and the alliance. As the cake — smothered in gold, green and black icing — was cut, music blared in the background gearing up revellers for the party which lay ahead. – Sapa

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Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

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