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Ramaphosa takes a swipe at his predecessor Thabo Mbeki over social compact

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO

President Cyril Ramaphosa has used the ANC's sixth national policy conference to hit back at former president Thabo Mbeki who criticised him for not fulfilling promises he made in his state of the nation address in February.

“We are continuing to put together the social compact, despite delays, despite challenges and I know that a number of us are continuing to be frustrated, to be disappointed with us not being able to conclude this,” said Ramaphosa on Friday.

He was speaking to about 2,000 delegates attending the policy conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

TimesLIVE reported that the former head of state said there was no national plan to address a number of social ills, including poverty, unemployment, criminality and inequality.

In his eulogy for the late deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, Mbeki laid the blame on Ramaphosa saying he had failed to deliver on his promises made during his state of the nation this year.  

“Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, when he delivered the state of the nation address (Sona) in February, said ‘in 100 days there must be an agreed comprehensive social compact to address these matters’. Nothing has happened, nothing,” Mbeki said.

Ramaphosa told delegates on Friday that one of the tasks this conference has, is to build and implement a durable social compact for growth and transformation.

“This was a clear directive from the 54th national conference and was identified in our January 8 statement that this must be one of the foremost tasks of this year.

“But, there are challenges ... and it’s wonderful we are here at this conference. This conference must also address itself to some of those challenges which will also be outlined in some of the commissions that we are going to have.

“Because we will not be able to emerge from this crisis unless all parts of society are involved in developing clear plans and actions of how we can implement a social compact.

“We have several examples in the recent past where we have agreed on common programmes to address common challenges.”

These, he said, included the country’s response to Covid-19 pandemic, addressing the crisis at Eskom, tackling gender-based violence, and developing the economic reconstruction and recovery plan.

“Our history tells us that we can come together to solve our problems, that we can achieve consensus, and that we can make a difference.”

He told delegates another task was coming up with solutions on how to break the cycle of poverty. “Our immediate task is to relieve the hunger and hardship that many people are faced with because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living.

“The extension of the R350 social relief of distress grant beyond the state of disaster has provided much-needed support at a difficult time.”

He said other measures, such as the temporary reduction in the fuel levy has limited the effect of rising global fuel prices on consumers and businesses.

Discussions on further measures to contain the effects of rising food and fuel costs are currently under way in Nedlac.

“This policy conference needs to look beyond these short-term measures towards forms of social protection that reach the most vulnerable in society, that are affordable and that are sustainable. The conference  needs to focus on the work we are doing to develop the skills and capabilities of our people.”

He said it’s through quality education, with appropriate skills and suitable experience, that young people can defy the circumstances of their birth and rise out of the poverty passed down from generation to generation.

“It needs to review our progress towards the achievement of universal health coverage, paying particular attention to the implementation of the national health Insurance and the state of our public health facilities.

“We need to focus on land reform as an instrument to create jobs and provide livelihoods, to increase the contribution of agriculture to the economy, and to provide people with productive assets that they can use to build a better future.”

TimesLIVE


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