People can’t eat manifestos, ANC

Expect plenty of ANC promises about handing the land back to the people, improving education and health, combatting crime and creating jobs.

A photograph doing the rounds on social media this week showed a row of brand-new, modified bakkies – complete with raised seating in the rear – painted in ANC colours, apparently ready to be deployed in the organisation’s 2019 election campaign.

That is an indication that despite its sometimes fractious internal politics, the 107-year-old political organisation is in its element when it is organising and mobilising. That means, whatever its political ideology, it will be a formidable competitor in the elections and will, no doubt, emerge the victor.

The question is: how big will its margin of victory be? Will Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters, which bulldozed the ANC into putting property expropriation without compensation on the legislative agenda, go from being a small, influential kingmaker into the official opposition? Will the Democratic Alliance be able to put its internal crises behind it and retain the number two spot in parliament, or even improve?

Many eyes will be on Durban this week as the ANC celebrates the 107th anniversary of its founding and then launches its election manifesto.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal, the heartland of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. The ex-president has not gone quietly into political obscurity as some had hoped and, if anything, appears to be trying to make a political comeback.

Expect plenty of promises from Ramaphosa and the ANC about handing the land back to the people, improving education and health, combatting crime and creating jobs.

All while the economy, the engine on which all dreams depend, is still languishing.

That needs to be the top priority for the ANC when it inevitably returns to govern. It might be appropriate to remind it that the people cannot eat manifestos.

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