ANC manifesto short on ideas, says analyst

ON THE SAME ROAD. ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbethe, left, and ANC president Jacob Zuma greet party faithful at Mbombela Stadium in 2014. The gathering was to celebrate 102 years of struggle and to outline the ANC's next five-year plan. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

With the high unemployment rate, skyrocketing food prices and basic services on the minds of many, the ANC’s election manifesto makes several big promises to voters.

After the manifesto launch at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday, which left many thousands of ANC supporters in jubilation, independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said there was nothing new in it.

Rather, he said, the party was evaluating its performance over the last 20 years in general and the last five in particular.

“What the election manifesto seems to propose is that the ANC will intensify the implementation of existing policies.”

Mathekga said that while “the language of radical transformation and national minimum wage” was interspersed throughout the document, “there is no commitment to exactly how this will be done”.

Dumisani Moyaba from Leandra, Mpumalanga, who was at the launch, praised the 2014 manifesto.

“The ANC is the only party to have given us a taste of clean running water and electricity in our homes since the dawn of democracy. The ANC is the people’s party and it delivers,” he said.

Tebogo Mokwena, who travelled from Botlokwa, Limpopo, to attend the ANC’s 102nd anniversary celebration and election manifesto launch, echoed these sentiments.

“I have been voting for the ANC and I will vote for the ANC again in the upcoming general election,” he said.

But Sesi Zwane, also from Leandra, Mpumalanga disagreed: “We are sick and tired of empty promises the politicians make every year.

“All we need is jobs and nothing else,” said a visibly angry Zwane.

The ANC is trying to attract young voters like Zwane with its promise to create six million jobs for young people. The party’s plan to fight corruption is seen as another way to reel in the voters.

On education, the ANC plans to move towards free education for everyone.

It promised to establish 12 new further education and training colleges across the country and refurbish two other campuses as part of government’s infrastructure programme.

Political analyst and Wits University’s public and development management professor Susan Booysen saw the manifesto as

being short on ideas.

“I think there was a bit of a shortage of ideas,” she said.

“I expected the ANC to show that it is a party on the move and not just a support base party.” –

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