The African National Congress‘ (ANC) Election Manifesto is dominated by the party’s plans to grow the economy and create more jobs. The ANC’s election offering was delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa to a full-to-capacity crowd at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

The joblessness suffered by more than 9 million South Africans is a tragedy of vast proportions, according to ANC. It says it plans, through the measures outlined in its 2019 election manifesto, to attract investment to transform the economy and provide opportunities for millions of South Africans.

“We will intensify our efforts to restore investor confidence and ensure policy consistency and certainty. We will implement reforms in economic sectors that have the greatest potential to grow jobs. We will take measures to lower the cost of doing business in South Africa, increase productivity and improve competitiveness. We will implement the agreements reached at the Jobs Summit.”

Growth, the manifesto insists, must be inclusive to allow more people to benefit including women, people in the rural areas and the youth.

“To this day, townships and villages remain dormitories for most of our people far from economic opportunities and often without adequate social amenities. We will encourage the growth of enterprises in these areas through a dedicated fund that supports the development of industrial parks, business centres and incubation centres as well.”

Land reform is a crucial aspect to broaden the stake of ordinary citizens in the economy with the manifesto touching briefly on the current approach and processes that have been taken most recently.

The party says it hopes to bring about a skills revolution making sure that the education curricula is in line with technological innovations and giving additional financial support to students.

“Free education for students, youth from poor and working class backgrounds will be expanded this year to cover both first and second year students and will be progressively rolled out over the next few years. We congratulate the young people of our country for having made a call on their government for free education and free education is now being implemented on a progressive basis.”

The party, once again, reiterated its support for universal health care. It says it will finalise legislation to enable the roll-out of the long-mooted National Health Insurance.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has called for harsher sentences for the perpetrators of gender-based violence and also urged the men present at the stadium to stand up, literally, against gender-based violence.

“More and better skilled police and prosecution authorities are needed to improve the capacity to investigate and prosecute all crimes especially gender based violence and sexual approach, sithi mababoshwe (let them be arrested in IsiZulu). They must face the consequences of their evil deeds.”

The ANC President has acknowledged that the party had ‘misstepped’ in a number of areas including some of its members being involved in corruption and state capture. He called for the intensification of efforts to renew the ANC branches and their role in society.

“All leaders and members should focus their efforts yes on making sure that our branches remain strong, organs of civil society that our branches reflect the broader composition of the communities where they are located, they lead in addressing community concerns.”

Finally, the event saw the honouring of the party’s stalwarts, with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Charlotte Maxeke and Ahmed Timol, receiving the party’s award for bravery Isithwalandwe Award, posthumously. The award will also be bestowed on former Rivinia trialist Denis Goldberg, John Nkadimeng and Sophie de Bruyn.

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