Power to the people: ANC seeks enlightenment

The energy crises plaguing South Africa would appear to be at the forefront of discussions as the ANC meets for its bi-annual lekgotla. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The energy crises plaguing South Africa would appear to be at the forefront of discussions as the ANC meets for its bi-annual lekgotla. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The energy crises plaguing South Africa would appear to be at the forefront of discussions as the ANC meets for its bi-annual lekgotla. 

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the energy crises was the “most important thing” the gathering of ANC leaders, alliance partners and directors in government would have to address. 

The four-day lekgotla began on Sunday, in Irene, East of Pretoria, with a political overview speech by President Jacob Zuma. 

Mantashe said while the meeting would be firm in its decision making, it would be up to government to “put in the nuts and bolts”.

“The energy crises is the most important thing to look into but what we know is that we won’t get instant solutions,” Mantashe said. 

He said a strong emphasis would be placed on energy generation. 

“We are not going to sleep here and wake up with a new power station. But we must get feedback on how to bring Medupi and Khusile (power stations) onto the stream,” Mantashe said. 

He said the state of old power stations should be centre to discussions. 

“We are looking into other sources of energy. Why are we slow on shale gas for example? Why are we slow on deep sea exploration…”

The lekgotla serves as a platform of appraisal for the ruling ANC where it seeks to ascertain how well or not it has functioned as the government of the day. 

“We said (that) in this lekgotla… we must get feedback on challenges encountered, check if ministers and departments work as if they understand that these are priorities and therefore are they funded? Or is a priority on paper and there is no funding for it?” Mantashe said. 

The first area of business for the lekgotla, Mantashe said, was a complete diagnosis of government’s problems. “We are going to get the first feedback.
A consolidated one from government and it will also include the observation of the policy unit of ANC,” he said. 

Then the meeting would break up into commissions where strategy would be debated and programmes decided on. 

Interestingly, the party did not introduce any new areas of concern into its discussion since its last lekgotla in June last year. 

Mantashe said the same focus on more jobs, decent work, sustainable livelihood, education, health, rural development, land and agrarian reform, fighting crime and corruption, local government and effectiveness of government would influence decisions taken. 

The party said it still insists that emphasis would have to be placed on “four catalytic sectors” including energy, information communication technology, infrastructure development and water and sanitation. 

“It is not one over the other. All of them are priorities,” Mantashe said.

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