South Africa’s Governing ANC Launches Manifesto Ahead Of General Elections In May

South Africa’s Governing ANC Launches Manifesto Ahead Of General Elections In May

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Tens of thousands of supporters of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) party Saturday gathered at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in the coastal KwaZulu-Natal province where the party launched its election manifesto. 

Supporters dressed in yellow and white T-shirts bearing ANC logos sang and danced as they filled the over 50,000-capacity stadium ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech.

“Over the next 5 years, the ANC will create a jobs plan to create millions of jobs for South Africans,’’ Ramaphosa said, adding: ‘‘The ANC plans to put South Africans to work, to reduce the high unemployment rate.’’

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With a population of 62 million people, South Africa currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, standing at 32.1%, according to official government figures released last week.

Opposition parties have been using the issue of high unemployment in their campaigns to taunt the ANC, which has been in power since 1994.

Ramaphosa said that in the past 30 years, the ANC has been able to meet the basic needs of poor South Africans, such as providing low-cost free housing, water, and electricity.

Experts say the high unemployment issue could cost the ANC’s voter base, but in its manifesto launch, Ramaphosa outlined the ANC’s success story of the past 30 years.

‘‘Our economy has grown three times since 1994. There were only 8 million South Africans in employment then, now it’s 14 million people,’’ he said, pledging to invest more in industrialization to create more jobs and grow the economy.

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He said that once reelected, the ANC will prioritize growing jobs, tackling the high cost of living, and invest in its people, advance democracy and freedom for a better Africa.

‘‘Today 60% of our budget is dedicated to improving the lives of our people. We will do more to consolidate and improve services for our people so no one is left behind,’’ he pledged.

He also noted that in past years, the ANC has offered free better education for all which has transformed the lives of millions of South Africans.

“South Africans are today more educated than they were during apartheid and more South Africans are healthier – we will continue to improve education to overcome inequality’’ he said.

South Africa will celebrate 30 years of freedom on April 27 and Ramaphosa is expected to use the day to announce his party’s progress ahead of the May 29 provincial and national elections.

Ramaphosa also pledged that his government will continue to fight corruption and vet public officials.

The ANC’s major competitors include the Democratic Alliance, the second-largest political party in parliament, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-largest party, who have both launched their election manifestos.

According to experts, the ANC’s latest threat is the newly formed Umkhonto We Sizwe party, backed by former President Jacob Zuma, who recently announced he will not vote for the ANC.

Opinion polls by the Social Research Foundation said earlier this month that Umkhonto We Sizwe could get up to 24% of the vote in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s second-most populous province.

South Africa’s elections are expected to be highly contested, with some opposition parties joining forces to form a coalition if the ANC receives less than 50% of the national vote.

Over the last few weeks opposition parties have also launched their manifestos, promising to create jobs and bring an end to the electricity crisis, among other promises.

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