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Mashatile says focus is on economic transformation

Re-elected Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile was speaking at the ANC’s Gauteng conference.

FILE: Mashatile and his provincial top five were re-elected with the only new entry being former health MEC Hope Papo. Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The newly elected Gauteng ANC leadership says one of the main focus points of its provincial conference is to find out how to fundamentally change the structure of the economy and facilitate the entry of black people into the mainstream market.

Delegates have been debating how economic transformation targets should be implemented and at which levels they should be set.

Re-elected chairperson Paul Mashatile says several plans around infrastructure, ownership and sites of investment are being discussed in closed commissions today.

The conference is also expected elaborate on the Gauteng government's plan to nurture a township economy.

Mashatile says the ANC wants 49 percent of mining ownership to be transferred to black people, but the focus would be on production.

"The spirit of it is that we need to increase the ownership, particularly by the previously disadvantaged people, to own companies in major industries, not only mining."

He says this would be to speed up a fundamental change.

"So we won't be happy if suddenly 49 percent of mining companies owned by black people and then they mine and send all the minerals abroad."

'ELECTIONS INDICATIVE OF UNITY'

Mashatile says the provincial elections are indicative of a commitment to unity by regions.

Mashatile and his provincial top five were re-elected with the only new entry being former health MEC Hope Papo.

He says commissions at the ANC's Gauteng conference are expected to finalise debates and take decisions by the end of the day.

"The resolutions from these commissions will provide a framework for the four-year term of the PEC.

"They will also serve to enrich our government program to build an integrated global city region, characterised by social cohesion and economic inclusion."

Delegates voted Mashatile back into the top position in Gauteng on Friday night.

The province's chairperson has been elected to lead the ANC in Gauteng over the next four years and will be at the helm of its election strategy in 2016.

Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature Ntombi Mekgwe also returns to her position as treasurer while Gwendoline Ramokgopa has been elected as deputy secretary.

Delegates were unanimous in their nominations and voting and the official announcement is expected before the gala dinner later this evening.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ruling party needs to demonstrate to South Africa it's serious about corruption by acting against party members found guilty.

Ramaphosa told the party's Gauteng conference they must change the public perception of the ANC.

"When they hear stories of corruption they think all those people are corrupt and want to line their pockets, so we must change our people's thinking when it comes to this."

On Friday Mashatile warned delegates at the party's provincial conference to expect hotly contested elections in 2016.

He urged them to embark on an intensive campaign to retain control of metro areas.

He delivered his political report on the first day of the elective conference in Pretoria.

He said new leaders will have to formulate a plan for the local government elections.

Mashatile added issues that have frustrated Gauteng residents need to be given special attention.