Soweto - The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) promises to address poverty, unemployment, inequality, crime, sub-standard education and healthcare through its policies, its president Kenneth Meshoe said on Saturday.

“Our policies aim to address these challenges, restore integrity and investor confidence, and protect and strengthen families,” Meshoe said in a statement.

He said his party would boost employment, reduce poverty and achieve an annual economic growth of seven percent.

“The ACDP will ensure that the state provides an enabling environment for business to grow the economy faster and create more jobs.”

This would be achieved by providing infrastructure, a professional public service and a good education system.

The party was launching its election Manifesto in Soweto on Saturday.

Meshoe said the ACDP would raise global competitiveness and foreign earnings by focusing on mining, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, tertiary education, tourism and business services.

The party would increase social wages but also discourage on-going dependency on the state by creating jobs.

“The ACDP will prioritise access to early childhood development facilities from zero to seven years,” he said.

“We will prioritise basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy.”

The party also planned to review the school pass rate to address the disjuncture between the standard of matric and what was required by tertiary institutions.

The number of bursaries for tertiary students would be increased with added incentives for pupils who achieved an 80 percent matric pass rate including those who passed their first year of tertiary studies successfully.

“The ACDP will attract and retain skilled and experienced teachers through better remuneration, working conditions and career opportunities,” he said.

“ (We will) reintroduce school inspectors to monitor the standard of teaching.”

To address crime in the country the party would strengthen all police units and ensure comprehensive training to improve the capacity to investigate and prosecute crime successfully.

The ACDP would reintroduce the Scorpions and strengthen the offices of the auditor general, public protector, SA Police Service, Special Investigating Unit, Asset Forfeiture Unit, and the National Prosecuting Authority.

These institutions would be protected from political interference, Meshoe said.

Labour programmes in prisons would be broadened so that inmates learnt different skills and contributed to the cost of their board and lodging.

“The ACDP will ensure that the protection of state information law is not used to prevent journalists, citizens and whistle blowers from exposing corruption by the state departments,” he said.

Meshoe said the Gauteng e-tolling system would be reviewed and other alternative funding models would be considered.

The ACDP would look at increasing the number of social workers and community development workers to respond to the need for better social welfare services.

Public hospital services would be improved and vacant posts would be filled with skilled staff.

The roll out of antiretroviral treatment would be extended.

The party would also prioritise public awareness campaigns to promote abstinence from premarital sex and fidelity, said Meshoe.

In terms of housing the ACDP would upgrade informal settlements, reduce the risk of flooding, fire, and replace the bucket system with proper sanitation.

“The ACDP will promote the development of affordable housing through the provision of community-owned self-help schemes.

“ (We will) prioritise access to suitable accommodation through public-private initiatives,” he said.

The party would promote agricultural development to ensure food security and assist small and subsistence farmers to become commercially viable.