ANC promises six million jobs

ANC promises six million jobs in election manifesto

Opposition parties have expressed doubt that the South African government will be able to fulfil its promises to create six million jobs, fight corruption and improve education, as detailed in the ANC’s election manifesto unveiled by Jacob Zuma on the weekend

ANC promises six million jobs

ANC supportersPresident Jacob Zuma said the South African government will expand its public employment programme with an aim of creating six million job opportunities to all South Africans.

Presenting the African National Congress’s January Statement at the Mbombela Stadium, Mpumalanga, on Saturday, Zuma said with youth unemployment reaching alarming levels, the majority of the mooted jobs would be reserved for young people.

The statement was anchored on employment and economic development. The ANC also unveiled its manifesto ahead of this year’s elections.

The statement, which the ruling party presents at the beginning of every year, usually sets the tone for the President’s State of The Nation Address that outlines government’s service delivery progress, and a plan of programmes and priorities of government.

Addressing a packed stadium, Zuma said, “The ANC will expand our already significant public employment programme and we aim to provide six million work opportunities. The majority of these jobs will be reserved for young people. We are also increasing the number of training and skilling opportunities for young people throughout the state-owned enterprises and other government entities. Our infrastructure programme continues to generate massive numbers of sustainable jobs.”

He said the ANC saw the implementation of a national minimum wage as a key intervention of reducing inequalities.

Zuma claimed that employment was now higher than it has ever been and the SA economy had regained the one million jobs lost as a result of the 2008 global economic crisis.

However, DA National Spokesperson Mmusi Maimane disputed this. “The unemployment crisis is the single defining failure of President Zuma’s five years in office. The fact is, since he assumed the Presidency in 2009, more than 1.4 million more people have joined the ranks of the unemployed.”

Agang SA, whose leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele is visiting London next week, said the ANC’s election manifesto was a “predictable laundry list of promises” while it expected South Africans to conveniently forget past failures.

“Can the ruling party be so tone deaf to the disbelief and distrust citizens have towards it that it expects us to believe, without reason, that it will be able to meet these promises any better than it has in the past?” the party said.

Other key announcements that topped the ANC’s agenda for the next five years included:

  • Improving education and training by making two years of pre-school education compulsory, eradicating adult illiteracy, bolstering teacher development, opening new universities and expanding the FET sector
  • Implementing the National Health Insurance scheme beyond its pilot phase to improve the quality of health care while reducing the cost of medicine and treatment to promote access to the poor
  • Providing housing opportunities to qualifying households in rural and urban areas for the next five years and connecting 1.6 million homes to the electricity grid over the next five years
  • Clamping down on the current tender system. Zuma said regulations were being finalised that would prohibit public servants from doing business with the state. He said the ANC would institute internal procedures to deal with corruption.
  • Zuma said the 1913 Land Act and the resultant dispossessions were directly related to the current problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality. He called on public representatives to finalise the legislation meant to speed up the expropriation of land in the public interest.

Zuma said government had made a lot of progress in the past five years to improve the lives of South Africans.

These included, among others:

  • More than R1 trillion has been invested in national infrastructure projects, compared with R451 billion in the previous five years.
  • The proportion of adults with access to banking services grew from 60% in 2009 to 75% in 2013.
  • Nearly 500 informal settlements have been replaced with quality housing and basic services.
  • The matric pass rate increased from 60.6% in 2009 to 78.2% in 2013.
  • FET enrolments doubled from 545,566 in 2010 to 657,690 students in 2012.
  • Loans and bursaries to poor students grew from 2.3 billion in 2008 to 8 billion in 2013.
  • Over seven million learners are in no fee schools, up from five million in 2009.
  • Teacher education has expanded-the number of new teacher graduates doubled from 6,000 in 2009 to 13,000 in 2012.
  • Through the ‘prevention of mother to child transmission’ programme, the number of babies born HIV positive was reduced by 66% from 24,000 in 2008 to 8,200 in 2011.
  • Average life expectancy increased by 4 more years to 60 years in 2012.