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
President 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, â€œThe 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. â€œThe 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 â€œpredictable 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:
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: