South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday launched the ruling African Nation congress’s election manifesto with emphasis on policies to unlock the economy and create more jobs.
Addressing thousands of ANC members and supporters who attended the launch ceremony at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, the capital of Mpumalanga Province, Zuma outlined the party’s plans for the next five years. Zuma said his party will focus on radical economic transformation for the next five years, with a focus to address the “scourges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.” Under the manifesto, six million jobs will be created by 2019.
The manifesto was launched three days after the ANC celebrated its 102nd birthday. “Our priorities during this term remain education, health, rural development, land reform and food security, the creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods and the fight against crime and corruption,” Zuma said.
Access to housing and basic services will be expanded as will the building of integrated human settlements, he said. The ANC promises to provide one million housing units for qualifying households in urban and rural settlements over the next five years.
Zuma said that in the past five years his administration delivered houses to hundreds of families. “More than 500 informal settlements were given homes,” he said. The ANC also promises to connect an additional 1.6 million homes to the electricity grid over the next five years. Zuma stressed that the ANC is determined to “build a democratic developmental state and create the conditions for the promotion of patriotism, social solidarity and social mobilization.”
Zuma also reaffirmed support for those struggling for freedom and democracy, most notably, Cuba, Palestine and the Western Sahara.
As a dominant political force, the ANC is expected to win the elections that are expected to be held in April. The ANC has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa on the national level since 1994. It increased its majority in the 1999 elections, and further increased it in 2004, with 69.7 percent of the votes. In 2009 its share of the vote reduced slightly, but it remained the dominant party with 65.9 percent of the votes.