ANC kick­starts elec­tion sea­son with plenty of prom­ises

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

DUR­BAN - South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa un­veiled the ANC’s elec­tion man­i­festo at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban yes­ter­day, with pledges to trans­form the econ­omy and fight cor­rup­tion as the rul­ing party tries to woo vot­ers.

The African Na­tional Congress (ANC), which has ruled since the end of apartheid 25 years ago, is tipped to win the elec­tion in May de­spite fal­ter­ing sup­port, in­ter­nal di­vi­sions and a slug­gish econ­omy.

The party of Nel­son Man­dela suf­fered a slump in pop­u­lar­ity un­der the scan­dal-rid­den pres­i­dency of Ja­cob Zuma, who was ousted last Fe­bru­ary af­ter nine years at the helm.

But a re­cent IP­SOS sur­vey pre­dicted the ANC could gar­ner as much as 61 per cent in the na­tional and provin­cial elec­tions.

At the leg­isla­tive level, that would put it on a par with its per­for­mance in 2014, when it picked up 62 per cent. In South Africa’s Par­lia­ment, the party which holds a ma­jor­ity of seats, also se­lects the pres­i­dent.

The fore­cast up­swing is pinned on the ap­point­ment of mod­er­ate probusi­ness re­former Ramaphosa as pres­i­dent af­ter ANC law­mak­ers forced Zuma to re­sign as cor­rup­tion scan­dals piled up.

In an ad­dress ear­lier this week mark­ing 107 years since the party was founded, Ramaphosa ad­mit­ted that in “re­cent times, our move­ment has fallen short of our peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions”.

And at a din­ner on Fri­day night, he said some South Africans “tell har­row­ing sto­ries about what has not changed” since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“Our man­i­festo is a co­her­ent and bold plan for a bet­ter life for all, ad­dress­ing the per­sis­tent re­al­i­ties of unem­ploy­ment, poverty and in­equal­ity,” he said.

The ANC now has a clear plan to boost the econ­omy, cre­ate jobs and re­duce in­equal­ity, he said.

“We will step up the fight against cor­rup­tion through­out so­ci­ety and safe­guard the in­tegrity of the state”.

Tens of thou­sands of party ac­tivists dressed mostly in yel­low party colours con­verged at the 85 000-seater soc­cer sta­dium in the coastal city of Dur­ban for the launch of the man­i­festo where they danced to mu­sic.

In a noisy and colour­ful dis­play, dozens of mo­tor­bike rid­ers fly­ing ANC flags, cir­cled the pitch – revving up their bikes to chants and ap­plause from sup­port­ers on the ter­races.

In a bruis­ing in­ter­nal party bat­tle, Ramaphosa won a power strug­gle to suc­ceed Zuma, whose favoured can­di­date was Zuma’s for­mer wife.

Se­nior party of­fi­cials have this week fanned out across the sur­round­ing Kwa-Zulu Natal prov­ince, spread­ing the mes­sage of a re­vived and uni­fied party.

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