By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Rebuilding of the country’s economic recovery plan and reconstruction programme will take centre stage at the virtual Cabinet Lekgotla, which started on Thursday.
Addressing the media on the agenda of a three-day meeting, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said government is focussing on the rebuilding of the country’s economy through the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Programme, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.
"The focus on the programme is mainly to check what is the progress that we have made, given the state that we are with the pandemic and the physical outlook of the country and the economy in general, and what are the adjustments that has to been made to make sure that the programme that we’ve committed ourselves to, together with our social partners, can deliver what we’ve said will do for the country to rebuild an inclusive economy," Ntshavheni said.
The meeting will also focus on issues around the African continent, particularly the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which come into effect on 1 January 2021.
Ntshavheni emphasised that South Africa needs to play a very central role in making sure that the agreement, can bring Africa into the economic position that the globe expects and aspires it to be, but “it requires the efforts of all of us to do that."
The discussions at the meeting will also include the state of municipal finances.
"We know the challenges that we faced in our municipalities, and the municipalities remain the face of government that is closest to the people. Therefore, we cannot continue to neglect the state of their finances more so[when] there are going to the local government elections. We will get presentations around local government reform, in particular addressing the issues of water and other issues relating to local government.
"We will focus also on how we accelerate job creation at a communal level in a massive scale. We will also address security challenges that faced the implementation of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, including violence at the construction site, road freight violence and the challenges on how we treat foreign nationals and our relations in the country," the Acting Minister said.
The issue around the innovation strategy to support the Enterprise Resource system will further form part of discussions.
"Our view as government is that, the pandemic has been bad for the country but it’s also an opportunity to drive certain innovations and the President will make the necessary announcements at the State of the Nation address.
We are also looking at how we use this economic reconstruction to develop skills of South Africa that the country can rely on its own needs," Ntshavheni said.
She added that day three will be dedicated the local government sphere so that government can identify what needs to be done, to ensure that the sphere "is ready to render services and service our people."
The Cabinet Lekgotla is attended by the President, Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and representatives of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
The outcome of the meeting will chart a way forward for the year to be announced by the President during SONA.