Conference about saving SA, Jonas says

The much-anticipated ANC elective conference will not be about choosing the party’s next president, but saving the country, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said.

With only 10 days left before the start of the conference, Jonas urged delegates to choose wisely.

“You are going there to save the country,” he said.

Jonas was the guest speaker at the launch of a draft Vision 2030 Development Plan by Nyandeni local municipality bosses in Mthatha on Tuesday.

“Things are bad. The country is losing more than R100-billion to state capture and corruption, with most of it going out of the country.”

As a result the economy was now on the brink of collapse.

Nyandeni mayor Mesuli Ngqondwana said among other things, Vision 2030 would help them to source funding to offset development in the area.

He cited a lack of reliable water supply, inadequate housing, unemployment, poor roads and a lack of reliable electricity supply as some of the major development challenges facing the municipality. “We need to fight the commodification of education so that even poor people can get access to quality education,” Ngqondwana said.

They would prioritise land for private investments, education and training, agriculture, coastal tourism, healthcare and forestry.

“These are all things that we hope will grow our economy.

“Agriculture constitutes part of our identity as it is what we grew up doing, but it also has potential to boost our economy.”

The municipality boasts about 40 000ha of communal arable land.

While praising the new plan, Jonas warned that the Eastern Cape would stay in the doldrums because it did not take development seriously.

He stressed the need for good quality education.

“We have no excuse to have poorperforming schools. The [top factors] in the quality of education are the quality of the teacher in front of the classrooms, the second one is the functionality of schools.”

But he argued that in South Africa the focus seemed to be more on the provision of school buildings than empowering pupils.

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