ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says the 55th national elective conference taking place from Friday was ‘a watershed moment’ for the governing party.
“This year’s conference is a watershed in many respects. It is a test of whether we will continue to remain faithful to the renewal of the ANC and to the transformation of our economy and society,” Ramaphosa told delegates at the party’s gala dinner hosted by the Progressive Business Forum (PBF).
Ramaphosa dedicated time talking about unity and its importance to the ruling party: “Only a united ANC can unite the South African people, he told delegates that only an ANC that has rid itself of undesirable tendencies and practices can deal decisively with corruption.”
Ramaphosa also said that “business has a key role to play in partnership with government to grow the economy and create jobs.”
Ramaphosa thanked the PBF for continuing to create a platform for business to engage with party and government leaders.
“The various PBF initiatives have, over the years, helped to ensure that the voice of business is heard as the ANC engages with social partners on critical policy issues,” he said.
The size of the South African economy now exceeds pre-pandemic levels, and real GDP grew by 1.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year.
Despite the impact of the pandemic last year South Africa posted its largest trade surplus on record.
Over the past year around 1.5 million new jobs were created.
While employment has not yet recovered to pre-Covid levels, the latest employment figures are encouraging.
Ramaphosa said although the economy went through challenges, it was pro-poor policies of the ANC-led government that ensured that society’s most vulnerable were sheltered from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inclusive Society Institute CEO Darly Swanepoel urged said although slow pace of recovery is understandable, ANC must learn to speed up pace of delivery.
Swanepoel said his organization is observing the conference from a public policy perspective.
He said it was important for the private sector to work with government.
“We would like to see this conference to come up with policies that will take the country on a socio democratic path,” said Swanepoel adding that it has been a difficult five years for Ramaphosa.
Swanepoel said he would like to see things improve faster with the new leadership that will emerge from the conference.
He hoped for an emboldened and decisively courageous leadership that will be able to take the country forward.