The ANC’s 2014 election manifesto, launched in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on Saturday, was a mixed bag of old and new pledges.
President Jacob Zuma said the party would continue to focus on job creation, rural development, land reform, food security, education, health and fighting crime and corruption.
It was no secret that the majority of South Africa’s poor were black, particularly women and those living in rural areas.
This situation would change, Zuma told African National Congress supporters at the Mbombela Stadium.
He said all citizens should share in the wealth of the country.
“The ANC is thus moving fast with [the] merger of a state mining company.”
Speaking about the manifesto, Zuma said it contained plans for addressing poverty and unemployment, with the economy taking centre stage.
According to the manifesto, the ANC wanted to promote local procurement to increase domestic production and create jobs. It would direct the state to buy at least 75 percent of its goods and services from local producers and support small enterprises.
It would also accelerate the roll-out of massive economic and social infrastructure programmes especially in energy, public transport, ICT and water supply.
Zuma said the ANC aimed at creating at least six million jobs in the next five years.
“[The] majority [of jobs] will be reserved for young people,” he said.
The party would ensure the youth subsidy was effective.
“The ANC will take practical steps to ensure implementation of the youth subsidy does not replace incentivised working,” he said.
The ANC would set aside 60 percent of employment and empowerment in infrastructure and other projects for the youth.
Zuma said the ANC was also planning on increasing the number of training and skills centres throughout the country.
The ANC’s manifesto also talked about introducing a national minimum wage as a key mechanism to reduce income inequality.
This was a victory for the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which had been discussing a national minimum wage since 2012.
Tens of thousands of ANC supporters attended the party’s launch. The stadium was filled to its 41,000-person capacity with some supporters sitting on the field.
Zuma told supporters the ANC would move to speed up land reform and improve livelihoods, especially in rural areas.
“We call on the finalisation of registration of beneficiaries so as to speed up land expropriation.”
In the last 20 years, Over 80,000 land claims had been settled with 1.8 million people having benefited from the process. Recently 13,184 hectares of land in Hazyview in Mpumalanga was given to the N’wandlamhlarhi Community Property. The land includes Mala Mala game reserve.
During the next five years, land reform would be expanded to become more productive and contribute to food security, he said.
On housing, Zuma said government would provide one million housing opportunities for qualifying households over the next five years.
Over 1.6 million homes would be connected to the power grid.
The supply of housing subsidies to civil servants such as nurses, teachers, police officers and other office workers would be increased.
On crime and corruption Zuma said a tender board would be established to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government.
“We are now changing the tender system, which has been such a big problem in our country,” he said.
“Public servants and public representatives will be prohibited from doing business with the state.”
Zuma said further measures would be developed.
He said ANC members and public representatives who were found guilty would be expected to step down from their positions.
Talking to ANC members, Zuma called on them to recommit themselves to the notion of serving the people.
“This ANC has the experience and drive to move this country forward,” he said.
Zuma said the manifesto was a pledge to move South Africa forward.
He said it was coherent, realistic and achievable.