Mantashe and Mchunu unpack ANC’s election manifesto

2014-01-20 00:00

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at the weekend dispelled any notions that the face of the party’s election campaign could be someone else other than President Jacob Zuma.

“There is no debate on that. We took a clear decision in Polokwane that the president of the ANC is the presidential candidate,” Mantashe said, while addressing the provincial leg of the ANC anniversary celebrations and launch of its manifesto in Pietermaritzburg.

His comments came in the wake of renewed criticism of Zuma and a push for a rethink of Zuma as presidential candidate due to his misfortunes.

“That policy can’t be changed by an official or the national executive committee … There is no such debate,” Mantashe added.

Addressing an estimated 30 000 plus people, Mantashe acknowledged some people did not want the National Development Plan (NDP) and insisted that it was not a policy of the ANC, but a plan that identified problems and guided the implementation of programmes.

“It does not compare with the Freedom Charter. It is a plan to help implement systematically,” he said, before taking a swipe at critics of the NDP who judged the ANC on the basis of the plan.

The NDP had come under attack from certain quarters, such as Cosatu affiliate National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which described it as a “carbon copy” of DA policy and a shift from the Freedom Charter.

Mantashe also said the ANC’s manifesto, dedicated to Nelson Mandela, talked to the issues of the economy and jobs, particularly the youth.

“The state must be able to intervene and ensure that SMMEs don’t battle,” Mantashe said.

“We must industrialise. If we don’t, we won’t create jobs. That is why government is to procure 70% of [goods that are] locally manufactured,” he said, before warning about fronting on behalf of foreign companies.

Mantashe also said government created jobs through community development workers, who should focus on young people to help them acquire skills and permanent jobs.

However, Mantashe warned the unemployed against being selective and disregarding those jobs deemed “dirty”, “difficult” and “dangerous”.

“That attitude must change if we are to develop skills.”

Mantashe said changes would be effected in government after the elections.

“We must revisit the structure of government to respond to the needs of the day. It must be done on an ongoing basis.”

He added that land redistribution would be accelerated in the next term.

“We must have intensive programmes to ensure our people have access to land.”

Mantashe said institutions that fight against corruption, such as the Special Investigating Unit, should be strengthened and supported. “When they behave strangely, the ANC must say your behaviour is strange’,” he said.

Meanwhile, ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu said the ANC KZN has identified three priorities: to accelerate the fight against HIV-Aids, poverty alleviation and slum clearance.

This was in addition to the ruling party’s priorities, which include education, health, job creation, rural development and fighting crime.

He called on party members to show a united face in the election campaign.

“Let’s go to KZN to strengthen our campaign,” Mchunu said.

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