live

WRAP | Ramaphosa outlines govt's priorities for 2021: 'The ANC has been weakened by corruption'

accreditation

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the ANC's 109th birthday. This is how it unfolded.


Last Updated
Live News Feed
Go to start

08 January 20:13

WRAP | Restoring credibility, fighting Covid-19, improving the economy: Ramaphosa announces the government’s plans for 2021

Cyril Ramaphosa has set out four priorities for the government in 2021, including Covid-19 response, economic recovery, and restoring credibility to the party.

He added that the government will be considering a basic income grant, and will strengthen energy production efforts.

The ANC’s president was addressing the nation during the party’s 109th birthday celebration - a far more understated event than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a virtual address, Ramaphosa talked tough on corruption and said the party was working to restore its integrity and that of law enforcement.

He conceded there is still "much to be done", and that the ANC has been "weakened by corruption... and by its leaders. There is a danger that internal conflicts can consume us and detract from the work we need to do."

He said priority one was Covid-19: "It threatens our economy. SA is in the midst of a second wave that could prove deadlier than the first. We have to intensify our efforts to promote responsible behaviour such as physical distancing, sanitation, wearing masks."

He added the government will continue bolstering healthcare efforts, including test screening. He says the government will embark on a mass vaccination programme. This programme will, initially, prioritise frontline workers, like healthcare workers, teachers, police officers, the elderly and those with comorbidities.

Ramaphosa allso slammed purveyors of "unfounded conspiracy theories" circulating about the virus and vaccines. "We must continue to work together as a united nation to confront the coronavirus threat."

Priority two is economic recovery, saying there is an imperative to create jobs. 

"We are undertaking large-scale public investment in key sectors like energy, human settlements, health, roads and infrastructure... we are promoting investment in mining, tourism... [and uplifting] township entrepreneurs."

Basic income grant

He says the process of public employment programmes has begun, which will target "marginalised groups in society".

Ramaphosa also announced: “This year, the government and broader society will need to continue discussion on the viability of a basic income grant."

Next up was restoring the credibility of the ANC, warning that the idea of party unity “cannot be used to protect those who are [implicated in crimes]."

He said law enforcement will act "without fear or favour", adding that members who fail to account themselves to the ANC's integrity commission, will be suspended.

Ramaphosa also said the ANC would work toward building a continent, saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has battered international trade, and economies worldwide have suffered. He added, however, that it has also been a time of unprecedented collaboration and teamwork, especially among African countries.

“We must continue to deepen the ties of collaboration. The ongoing conflicts in [parts of the continent] remain a concern. The support that we need to have is to advance the governance across our continent."

Ramaphosa, meanwhile, paid tribute to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19. "The ANC, too, has lost many veterans over the past year. It is up to us as the ANC of today to ensure that the ideals that inspired the lives [of the stalwarts] continues to guide our actions.

Solidarity

"We should draw on our rich history of struggle and solidarity."

Ramaphosa said: "The trust that our people have invested in us should never be taken for granted. We must renew and rebuild our movement and ensure it remains true to its founding principles, including integrity, honesty, respect and, above all, service to our people."

He says there is still "much to be done." The organisation has been weakened by corruption... and by its leaders. There is a danger that internal conflicts can consume us and detract from the work we need to do."

In closing he said the theme for 2021 is unity, renewal and reconstruction and the year of struggle icon Charlotte Maxeke, who would have celebrated her 150th year.

- Kerushun Pillay

08 January 20:02

The theme for 2021 is: unity, renewal and reconstruction in the year of Charlotte Maxeke. 

Ramaphosa has wrapped up his address.

08 January 20:01

Ramaphosa pays tribute to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19. "The ANC, too, has lost many veterans over the past year. It is up to us as the ANC of today to ensure that the ideals that inspired the lives [of the stalwarts] continues to guide our actions.

"We should draw on our rich history of struggle and solidarity."

08 January 19:57

Ramaphosa turns to the upcoming local government elections. He says the party needs to reach out to the public and "show it has the determination, the integrity to steer the programme of social transformation. 

"We will build social cohesion. The ANC must continue to lead the struggle against racism, patriarchy and all forms of intolerance. We need to address the way access to wealth and education is linked to race and class."

08 January 19:49

Priority 4: Working toward a better Africa

He says the Covid-19 pandemic has battered the international trade, and economies worldwide have suffered. He adds, however, that it has also been a time of unprecedented collaboration and teamwork, especially among African countries. 

Ramaphosa says: "We must continue to deepen the ties of collaboration. The ongoing conflicts in [parts of the continent] remain a concern. The support that we need to have is to advance the governance across our continent." He says the government will assist in strengthening Sadec. 

08 January 19:46

Priority 3: Restoring the credibility of govt

He says, in 2021, the ANC will focus on creating unity "founded on a common commitment on the core values of the ANC and serving the people of SA. Unity cannot be used to protect those who are [implicated in crimes]."

He says law enforcement will act "without fear or favour", adding that members who fail to account themselves to the ANC's integrity commission, will be suspended. 

"It is only if we stand united on corruption that we can restore our credibility. We want to make it very clear: we will not tolerate members of the ANC [during the local govt elections] who buy votes."

08 January 19:41

He says the government is taking steps against those implicated in corruption.

Ramaphosa says: "We are going to intensify our efforts in eradicating state capture in all its forms. We need to ensure the findings of the Zondo Commission are used to ensure that such activities never happen again."

He moves on to land reform, saying there will be a comprehensive land reform programme to work with parliament's recommendation on appropriation without compensation. 

The government will step up support to those who have acquired agricultural land. 

08 January 19:32

Priority 2: Economic recovery

Ramaphosa says there is an imperative to create jobs. In response to the pandemic, a number of emergency interventions were put in place, and now we are in the process of rebuilding the economy. 

"We are undertaking large-scale public investment in key sectors like energy, human settlements, health, roads and infrastructure... we are promoting investment in mining, tourism... [and uplifting] township entrepreneurs."

He says the process of public employment programmes has begun, which will target "marginalised groups in society". 

He says the government will focus on creating new energy generation opportunities. 

He says the government is committed to building a more "ethical state".

He moves on to social relief, saying that government will accelerate its actions in uplifting the poor. "This year, the government and broader society will need to continue discussion on the viability of a basic income grant." 

Ramaphosa says the government will undertake a skills revolution, and work to ensure schools in rural areas and townships are better resourced. He says efforts to curb gangsterism and crime need to be stepped up.

08 January 19:28

Ramaphosa speaks about priority one: Covid-19

"It threatens our economy. SA is in the midst of a second wave that could prove deadlier than the first. We have to intensify our efforts to promote responsible behaviour such as physical distancing, sanitation, wearing masks." 

He says the government will continue bolstering healthcare efforts, including test screening. He says the government will embark on a mass vaccination programme. This programme will, initially, prioritise frontline workers, like healthcare workers, teachers, police officers, the elderly and those with comorbidities. 

He adds that there is still a problem with "unfounded conspiracy theories" circulating about the virus and vaccines. "We must continue to work together as a united nation to confront the coronavirus threat."

08 January 19:26

The president says: "The ANC cannot campaign on a platform that simply recounts the glories of the past. Our people want to hear what the ANC is going to do. They want to see us in action serving their interests.

"Despite our many challenges, there is still cause for optimism. It is the resilience and courage of the people of our country that has taken us through the most difficult of years."

08 January 19:24

Ramaphosa continues: "With governance comes great responsibility. The government must deploy the most capable cadres, managing public resources ethically, and acknowledging our weakness. This is the message every ANC member should take to heart in 2021."

He concedes that many municipalities are broken due to mismanagement. He says the ANC has a duty to rid government structures of corruption, cronyism and patronage.

08 January 19:21

Ramaphosa focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic: He says the economy has "contracted sharply. About two million jobs have been lost. Without the urgent interventions the government put in place, the situation could have been far worse."

He goes on to crime. "The second pandemic in our country is that of violence against women and children. Ending gender-based violence is integral to the social and economic progress to our nation."

Ramaphosa says many communities still lack infrastructure, saying this is, in part, down to financial mismanagement. "To bring about... change, we need a radical process of action that rebuilds. Transformation... is a national imperative."

08 January 19:19

Ramaphosa says this year also marks the 150th birthday of stalwart Charlotte Maxeke. "She made an exceptional contribution to the women of SA, and challenged attitudes about the place of women in society. She was a fearless leader."

He says Maxeke had organised women protests and dedicated her life to uplifting women. 

2021 is also the 100th year of the SACP, which Ramaphosa calls an ally to the ANC. "The SACP has also played a critical role in the ideological development [of the country]."

08 January 19:16

He says, in 2021, the ANC's foremost priorities are to act together to defeat Covid-19; to place the economy on a path of renewal; to forge ahead with the renewal of the ANC; and to build a better Africa and better world.

08 January 19:15

Ramaphosa says: "The trust that our people have invested in us should never be taken for granted. We must renew and rebuild our movement and ensure it remains true to its founding principles, including integrity, honesty, respect and, above all, service to our people."

He says there is still "much to be done." The organisation has been weakened by corruption... and by its leaders. There is a danger that internal conflicts can consume us and detract from the work we need to do."

08 January 19:13

The president says the usual community meetings, rallies and door-to-door meetings are not possible this year. "But still, the message of the ANC lives in the hearts and the minds of our people. It is a message that gives inspiration to our supporters. The people of this country have entrusted the ANC to provide a better life for all. 

"Throughout history, the ANC has lived up to this," he says, citing the ANC's victory over apartheid. "We worked together with people to expand access to housing, social infrastructure. We expanded access to education and healthcare."

08 January 19:08

Ramaphosa says: "Nearly half a century has passed since the party issued its first national address. The people of our country were suffering under an oppressive regime. Our leaders were banished and exiled.

He says the ANC's 8 January message has always given the country hope. "The ANC celebrates 109 years under the shadow of a global pandemic that has led to great suffering. It has severely damaged our economy and changed how we live our lives."

08 January 19:07

Ramaphosa takes the podium...

08 January 19:05

The SA Communist Party's Blade Nzimande is up next

He commends the ANC for overthrowing the apartheid regime and improving the lives of the poor. He says our greatest enemy, however, remains "internal struggles". He says our success as a country will depend on unity.

He says the SACP calls on the ANC and the alliance to stop using "conferences as battlegrounds".

He also says one of the main threats to the country remains state capture and a lack of economic reform. 

Nzimande adds that gender-based violence is another scourge to the country. The SACP also calls on government to take climate change more seriously. 

08 January 18:55

The party's Gwede Mantashe has taken the podium 

He says: "We are meeting under extraordinary circumstances. We therefore do this in this virtual format because of the situation.

"Although they can't be physically here, we want to" salute local and international supporters of the party, he says. He goes on to thank several governments and movements. 

Mantashe says the greatest ability of the ANC was to form great unity against an enemy, the apartheid regime. He hands over to Cosatu's Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Ntshalintshali congratulates the ANC for this "significant milestone". "This is in important anniversary that tells the story of the African revolution. This year, we are celebrating under difficult circumstances, where a deadly virus is running rampage. The people of this country have responded with resilience and courage."

He adds: "We hope the ANC will help the country remain united. For this to happen, the ANC will need to do some honest reflection and spring cleaning within the party."

08 January 18:23

Hold the bubbly...

A far more understated celebration is set to take place, as the ANC holds its 109th birthday amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver an address, which is set to begin at 19:00.

But with ongoing allegations of corruption, poor service delivery, an economy on its knees and internal battles, is the ANC’s once proud legacy deteriorating?

News24’s Qaanitah Hunter writes today that the party’s best ideas are dying along with its veterans. The party, she argues, is still relying on a selection of stalwarts to find solutions to problems.

Political reporter Carien du Plessis says that the many dysfunctional municipalities in the country serve as a case and point to the party’s failure to lead, adding that the party needs to look at where it is and where it needs to be.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga writes that the ANC should use this time as a time of self-reflection, saying the party needs to reconcile the several challenges SA faces.

Read our thoughts on the ANC at 109 years old here.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
71% - 9741 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
29% - 3918 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.10
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
21.32
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
18.21
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.28
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.3%
Gold
1,783.48
0.0%
Silver
22.55
0.0%
Palladium
1,816.00
0.0%
Platinum
936.31
0.0%
Brent Crude
69.88
+0.3%
Top 40
64,307
-0.4%
All Share
70,808
-0.3%
Resource 10
66,503
-1.6%
Industrial 25
93,791
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,982
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE