Durban - The ruling party’s alliance partners have pinned their hopes on its manifesto having a positive impact on the country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the manifesto at a rally at Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban on Saturday to mark the start of the party’s election campaign.
Ramaphosa took the reins in February after his allies on the ANC’s executive forced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma to resign, fearing that the corruption affairs and economic stagnation that marked his nine years in power could harm the party’s chances at this year’s election.
“At the centre of our manifesto is a plan to create more jobs and ensure that all workers can earn a decent living,” Ramaphosa told tens of thousands of ANC supporters.
Ramaphosa and other top ANC officials have been touring Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal this week, projecting an image of unity despite deep rifts within the party, where a faction loyal to Zuma retains significant influence.
Some analysts say a resounding victory for the ANC this year could embolden Ramaphosa in his drive to boost investment and tackle corruption.
The SACP’s second deputy secretary-general, Solly Mapaila, said he was confident the manifesto document would take the country forward.
“This is the real people’s manifesto, and we are happy to take it to the public since it recommits and renews our vows with the people of South Africa to say once again that the ANC still belongs to our people.”
He said the manifesto had renewed the relationships among ANC-led alliance partners “since the manifesto is aimed at re-energising and revitalising our economy”.
“There are now interventions in the industrial strategy, which is about the revitalisation of the manufacturing sector of our economy, which will lead to long-term job creation,” Mapaila said.
SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) president Richard Mdakane, cautioned that the ANC still had its work cut out and challenges with factions within the party.
“Now the ANC must make sure it ends its internal fighting,” he said.
He said since the ANC had renewed itself, Sanco would go out to campaign for it to win the elections.
Cosatu president Zingisa Lozi said the ANC should focus on saving jobs which were being threatened by the importation of foreign products.
“Workers are saying if we vote for the ANC you must use the state power in a proper way to benefit the poor,” she said.
The International Institute for Racial Relations also weighed in, saying the ANC’s January 8 statement and manifesto were reminiscent of what an analyst once said of the country’s foreign policy: “A little bit of this and a little bit of that.”
Regrettably, these bits are often contradictory and at times fanciful.
“South Africa needs bold policy action that recognises the mistakes made in recent years,” the statement said.