JZ’s plan for term 2

2014-05-11 15:00

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The National Development Plan (NDP) will take centre stage when President Jacob Zuma begins his second term as head of state later this month.

After securing a 62.15% victory in the elections, the ANC will focus on closing the loopholes in delivery issues that might be exploited by the Economic Freedom Fighters and the soon-to-be- formed socialist party that is being championed by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.

There will be no major changes to government structures because the ANC feels it cannot afford any more experimentation and that ministers should just move on to implementing policies.

Some of the changes could include:

»Merging the land and agriculture departments.

»Starting a government department for small business.

»Starting a health council to tackle lifestyle diseases.

»Merging sports and recreation with arts and culture.

»Merging the department of women, children and people with disabilities with that of social development.

City Press has learnt that high on the agenda of Zuma’s next term will be job creation, support for small business, overhauling the health system and fixing the water infrastructure.

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete, who is set for a Cabinet post, is heading a party committee that will look at restructuring the Cabinet.

Three sources with information about the process told City Press that Planning Minister Trevor Manuel was not likely to be replaced when he leaves government at the end of his current term of office.

The National Planning Commission will either then fall under the remaining minister in the Presidency or under ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is expected to become the country’s deputy president.

Various ANC leaders have confirmed that the small business function will be separate from the department of trade and industry.

The proposed national health council will focus on dealing with lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes. It will enforce regulations on salt and alcohol consumption, among other things.

The council will be headed by the deputy president, the health minister and a senior health professional.

Zuma will appoint a new Cabinet soon after his inauguration as president for a second term on May 24.

ANC leaders are also debating whether to merge the departments of land reform and agriculture and whether a separate department should be created to deal with water infrastructure.

“There is a feeling that we might have erred in separating land and agriculture. That decision was costly,” an ANC source said.

“Land reform has failed to reach its targets in the past five years, while the relationship between the ministers in the two portfolios has not always been smooth.

“People feel water should be alone as a ministry as it is such an important issue. Another consideration is to merge it with local government as water is supplied by local municipalities,” the source said.

Senior ANC leader Lindiwe Sisulu said the new government structure would be guided by the requirements of the National Development Plan.

“The future of the government is the NDP,” she said.

Sisulu said the “few grey areas in relation to Cosatu” would be dealt with.

“But in other areas, we bought into the NDP lock stock and barrel, so that is exactly the way we are going.” Sisulu said the splitting of some government departments in 2009, like basic education and higher education, was done because certain issues needed more attention.

Commenting on the creation of a new small business department, Sisulu said “unless we can actually assist the small, struggling businesspeople we will never create the entrepreneurship that we need”.

“Our unemployment rates are very high and, in most other countries with an equivalent number of unemployed people, there is great entrepreneurship,” she said.

Zuma announced this week that no new policies would be introduced, but that there would be a faster implementation of existing ones, especially the NDP.

As the governing party prepares for the local government elections in 2016, it will also focus on addressing the concerns of minority communities?–?the vast majority of whom voted for the Democratic Alliance?–?and those of younger voters, to further address its dip at the polls on Wednesday.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said water provision had emerged as the single biggest factor affecting several communities during the election campaign.

She said the ANC would also help with the start-up of small businesses and provide them with support once they were up and running.

She said the reason the ANC remained popular was because communities raised issues with the party but did not “slay” them like the media did.

A national executive committee member said although the ANC would afford Cabinet space to plan, there was no need for new policies.

“Government will need to be given an opportunity in the first few weeks to take the plan [NDP] that is already there. Once you start getting away from your original plan you get into problems. That is why he [Zuma] has been insisting that priorities must not change.

“What we are clear about is that we don’t want comrades to go there and start things from scratch when we know exactly what we are supposed to do on the basis of old plans that we had and on the basis of having gone to listen to people right now.

“You can’t perpetually be going back and forth and starting things from scratch. We need to strengthen what we have. We have a plan.”

The ANC in Gauteng said it would adopt a differentiated approach to townships.

“The focus on townships should be different,” said a Gauteng leader.

“For example, Orange Farm does not need the same services as Soweto. Soweto already has basic services, their people might want better SMME support and entrepreneurship programmes whereas Orange Farm still has some areas without lights and tarred roads.”

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