- The ANC held its annual birthday celebration in the Free State on Sunday.
- Party leader Cyril Ramaphosa gave a January 8 statement that pointed to what the ANC should focus on in the year ahead; load shedding, crime, service delivery, and corruption.
- Ramaphosa said the party had to find solutions to the energy crisis as it, along with many issues, was impeding of the ANC's public image.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said load shedding, crime, and corruption were harming the party's public standing and should be tackled head-on in its 2023 priorities.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the party's January 8 birthday celebrations in Bloemfontein, the Free State, on Sunday. The speech provides the setting for what the ANC and its government deployees should focus on in the political year ahead.
Thousands of ANC supporters, mostly dressed in the party's branded yellow T-shirts, filled the stadium in anticipation of Ramaphosa's address.
The president said the party had seven priorities, with the most important being tackling the energy crisis to end load shedding, improving the delivery of services, and combating crime and corruption.
Ramaphosa told a packed stadium at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium the ANC had to find urgent solutions to ongoing load shedding that continued to impact economic growth.
He added the government and Eskom should work on ensuring the return of additional units at the parastatal to clamp down on power cuts. Other cushions should be the further implementation of the government's plan to source other forms of energy besides coal.
"The board needs to recruit world-class professionals to fill vacancies in executive management.
"To further reduce stress on the grid, the government and Eskom must enforce demand management measures to reduce electricity consumption and ensure availability of energy areas and sectors of priority, including health, education, and infrastructure," Ramaphosa said.
Another concern was crime and corruption, which continue to be associated in some instances with ANC members.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would continue to strengthen law enforcement agencies, saying a weak security cluster often bred continued lawlessness and violence.
He added an increase in workplace personnel at the police would go a long way in meeting community safety needs.
The issue around a lack of enough police officers has been documented in parliamentary oversight work, with quarterly crime statistics showing the impact of the gap.
Another area of focus for him was local government, especially poor service delivery seen at this level.
The ANC event was held in the Mangaung Municipality, which has a record of poor service delivery.
Ramaphosa mentioned in his address the cries he heard during his visit.
He said one of the solutions was for the ANC to continue with its aim of professionalising the public service.
"Local government has a critical role in rebuilding local communities as a basis for an integrated developmental state.
"The collapse of many municipalities has had a devastating impact on citizens who must deal daily with sewage spills, water shortages, uncollected garbage, countless potholes, and inaccurate billing," Ramaphosa added.
The fact the ANC faces a tough national election in 2024 was not lost on the president, but he said there was no doubt the ANC was a party for the nation.
Ramaphosa also placed the ANC renewal project on the list of priorities for the party.
He again pointed to the ANC conference where he was elected for a second term as proof of the party's determination to renew itself.
"The conference proved that unity and renewal of the ANC is now unstoppable. We are looking forward and not backward. Let us go forward and make sure the ANC is renewed and is united," Ramaphosa said.