On Saturday, the African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa launched the party’s manifesto for the 2019 elections – promising an inclusive economy, and a hefty, public-sector investment in infrastructure as a way of boosting jobs. We read through the 68-page document, and these are some of the highlights.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s the one thing we can all agree we need more of in South Africa. And the ANC has noted, and promised to deliver those through increased apprenticeship programmes, sustainable land reform, breaking up the monopolies that have a stranglehold on South Africa, investment in education, and a new R1.2 trillion investment in infrastructure over the next five years.
A number to keep in mind: 275,000. That’s the number of new jobs per annum that the Presidential Jobs Summit is supposed to deliver. And that’s the cudgel that the opposition will use to pummel the ANC with in parliament.
“We will support the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to clearly define the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can take place. This should be done in a way that promotes economic development, agricultural production and food security.”
This is how the ANC has turned the Economic Freedom Fighters’ expropriation without compensation policy into its own: by softening the edges with that “clearly define the conditions under which” clause. The Expropriation Bill will also be revised to explicitly state those conditions.
By 2024, all undergraduate students will be fully funded by Nsfas, the ANC promises. The policy, introduced last year by the former president Jacob Zuma, only applied to those entering higher education institutions for the first time in 2018. It extends to the second year in 2019.
The party also made the cursory nod to the future, promising to help upskill young people in new and disruptive technologies such as data analytics, the internet of things, blockchain, machine learning, and so on. This is progress of sorts from when politicians would only say “the fourth industrial revolution” and leave it at that.
Social Transformation & Health
Aside from another commitment to building a National Health Insurance service, the ANC is also committing to a policy of compulsory two years of early childhood development before entering school, a programme to be run by the basic education department.
It will also absorb over 50,000 community health workers into the public health system, and double the number over five years.
While Ramaphosa’s speech on the day strongly acknowledged the havoc that his predecessor’s term brought onto the country, state capture is mentioned towards the end of the 68-page document: “We are committed to consolidating our resolve to crack down on corruption and state capture involving the public and private sectors, including collusion, price-fixing, tender fraud, bribery, illicit financial flows, illegal imports and misuse of tax havens. We will comprehensively fight corruption, combining both prevention and punishment.”
Featured image by Lizeka Maduna