Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Election season in South Africa: The ANC’S manifesto marching orders

Article from AFRIC Editorial
One of African longest liberation movements still alive today, the African National Congress a 107 years behinds its back, is now tasked with a challenge of convincing a different generation of why it should still govern the Republic of South Africa. As the election season sweeps through the country with a general election earmarked for the 8th of May, pending the proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC has released its document of action, its election manifesto.


After more than 25 years in power following the triumph over the Apartheid government, the ANC has a number of successes it pride itself with, but there are challenges that have stood the test of time and continues to be a stumbling block for the ruling party.

It is an open secret that the government, through the ANC, has changed the lives of many previously disadvantaged citizens through the provision of housing, electricity, clean drinking water, education, the successful roll out of the HIV antiretroviral treatment programme, the provisional of social grants, protection and promotion of basic human rights and a whole lot more. The argument though, is that more could have been achieved.

President Ramaphosa made a concession when launching the party’s marching orders, promises and wish list document that one of the biggest threat to its existence is corruption, particularly state corruption.

“We must acknowledge that state capture and corruption have weakened several of our public institutions,” said Ramaphosa, “undermined effective governance and contributed to the poor performance of our economy.”

But the ANC s promising a lot of policy changes some, like the contentious issue of land expropriation, they have failed to keep track of, so it begs the question, what will Nelson Mandela’s party that was able to liberate the country together with other formations,  do differently this time around.

The liberation movement that was once led by former president Nelson Mandela who is revered worldwide for spending 27 years in prison fighting for the liberation of South Africa, has a lot of expectations to deal with. It has produced leaders like Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Thabo Mbeki who championed the Growth, Employment and Redistribution policy (GEAR) and Jacob Zuma who is seen as a fundamental key player instituting free higher education in the country.


Should it be retained in power, the ANC promises to fast-track its creation of jobs and furthering of public access to free education, and these appears to be the pillars of which its manifesto stands firmly on.

The issue of free decolonized higher education was first endorsed by former president Jacob Zuma on the eve of the elective conference of the ANC, the same conference that saw Ramaphosa emerge victorious as president.

“Fee-free education for students from poor and working class backgrounds will be expended,” Ramaphosa said to a thunderous applause at the launch of the part’s manifesto, an indication of how contentious the issue is in South Africa. “This year we will cover both first and second year students and will be progressively rolled out further over the next few years,” Ramaphosa added.

On the issue of land, The ANC reiterated its stance of redress, and redistributing land to disenfranchised members of the public. The party has already adopted land expropriation without compensation as it policy and will only need to be implemented. Their plan is to expand participation in and ownership of agricultural production, advance food security and reverse spatial separation.

The ANC also promised to increase worker ownership of the economy. IT also promises to roll out fully a public funded and a public administered National Health Insurance (NHI) through appropriate legislation.

The document reads like old promises only this time in a different, shiny new package to attract unsuspecting voters. Most of the party’s wish list are things they could have achieved by now. One of the most salient parts of the document is the promise to rebuild a capable and development state by reorganizing the way government interacts with the people and also rebuilding and improving the local government system.

Apart from the many challenges that are facing the liberation movement, a big tick would be on the conception of the constitution , a document, according to the party, that is embraced by all South Africans , advancing the individual and collective rights of the people of South Africa. Ramaphosa reiterated his plan to attract 1.2 trillion Rands in investment over the next four years to be able to grow the economy and consequently create much needed jobs.

It boldly committed to creating an extra 275 000 jobs annually by boosting local demand for good, investing more in mining, manufacturing, and agriculture and expanding export markets.

Much as the two biggest opposition to the ANC, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance, the ruling party concedes that the digital revolution should not pass South Africans watching by. In fact the document pronounces that: “South Africa should become the center of digital transformation in Africa and its benefits must be spread across the economy and society rather than reinforcing the existing inequality.”

There are a number of things the ANC needs to do in order to regain the trust of South African. But fundamentally, the liberation movement needs to start doing, delivering services and making meaningful changes to ensure that they retain governance. The ANC also has to take a closer look at policies that are currently not serving the masses and change them immediately. But they need to stop talking and start doing and only then, perhaps, South Africans will give them another chance to govern.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit images :google images/ANC

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