New ANC Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi has spoken tough about crime and unemployment, and outlined the party’s future plans.
He gave his closing remarks at the conclusion of the party’s provincial conference in Boksburg, which resumed at the weekend after being adjourned for two weeks. Lesufi defeated Lebogang Maile to win the provincial position and succeed David Makhura.
He said while they have set their sight on winning the 2024 general elections, they are also going to work hard to win back the confidence of the people they have lost in the past elections.
“The road ahead may be uncertain, yet our tasks are clear. A united and renewed ANC working with the people is essential to the tasks ahead,” he said.
Lesufi added their immediate goals are to address the energy crisis as a matter of urgency.
Lesufi said they were going to tackle the immigration crisis as it had also reached unprecedented and unacceptable levels.
“This requires an immediate response, and it requires strengthening border control. No one must come to South Africa without proper documentation. We must know where those who are refugees live, and their movements.”
Making reference to the 21 people who were murdered in taverns around the country, Lesufi committed the new leadership to tackle basic security in the communities.
“There are fundamental security problems that must be resolved because there is audacity, lawlessness and no regard for life. People feel unsafe in their communities. We call upon the president and the national security cluster to find immediate solutions to bring law and order to protect our communities. We call upon the security cluster to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
He called on the national government to move with speed with the economic reforms, including diverting resources towards resolving the high level of unemployment facing the youth and women.
“We equally call upon the private sector to stop paying lip service to the issue of jobs and contribute meaningfully to the resolution of this crisis. In the next three months, we need a clear and practical plan for resolving the jobs issue.”
Addressing the ever-increasing prices of fuel and food, Lesufi said it was unacceptable that they watch from the sidelines when the price of essential food for the working class is three times what it used to cost.
“The high price of fuels exacerbates this. We cannot hide nor bury our heads in the sand. We must find long-lasting solutions to cushion the poor and the middle class as they continue to be severely impacted by this crisis.”
He said this was part of the renewal of the ANC, which he believed was not an abstract concept.
“Revival starts with minor issues, conduct and good behaviour. We must renew and recommit to the values of selflessness, discipline, criticism and self-criticism. The permanent task in conducting a revolution is the renewal of revolutionary morality.”
Lesufi said under his leadership, they will focus on rebuilding, renewing and reconnecting the movement to its mass base. He added the leadership would rid it of any organisational, intellectual and moral pathologies pushing the masses away.
The party’s provincial secretary, Thembinkosi Nciza, said the party had adopted the declaration of the conference to focus on the task of dealing with poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“As the state both at provincial and local levels, we should find effective ways to work with all the stakeholders who are critical for the achievement of our goals.”
Nciza said they have prioritised education, health, science and technology as areas that needed to be addressed.
“The need to prioritise health services of vulnerable communities beyond addressing Covid-19 includes addressing medicine shortages, laboratory shortfalls and reducing waiting lists and times for access to surgery and specialists’ care.”