Massive turnout for ANC manifesto launch in Durban

A scene from the Moses Mabhida Mabhida Stadium on Saturday where the ANC hosted a rally. The ruling party launched its manifesto and is hoping to retain power in the upcoming elections. | KHAYA NGWENYA/ Independent Newspapers

A scene from the Moses Mabhida Mabhida Stadium on Saturday where the ANC hosted a rally. The ruling party launched its manifesto and is hoping to retain power in the upcoming elections. | KHAYA NGWENYA/ Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 25, 2024


Durban — If the crowds that gathered at the ANC manifesto launch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium were a foretaste of fortunes in the May 29 elections, then the ANC would not only win but would not require any assistance in the form of a coalition partner to govern.

Saturday’s gathering at the iconic stadium named after one of its Struggle stalwarts was a culmination of a series of activities that included:

  • Visiting Inanda township in order to pay homage to the first ANC president, Reverend John Dube, by visiting his grave.
  • Holding sectoral meetings, including with traditional and religious leaders.
  • Meeting with the Indian, coloured and white communities where the ruling party has been battling to retain support and
  • Meeting with the business community.

The meetings, along with a series of motorcades in KwaZulu-Natal, ensured that sufficient support was drummed up for the rally, in addition to supporters from across the country converging on Durban.

“In the past week, we joined hands with our activists and volunteers on the ground here in KZN to work for a new mandate in the forthcoming elections so we can continue the work we began 30 years ago when we put an end to the dark era of colonialism, patriarchy and apartheid.

“We will continue to return to this province to convey the message that the ANC has solid support here, as it has all over the country,” Ramaphosa said in explaining the ANC’s efforts in KZN.

The province is a key battleground in the May elections and will determine who rules following the formation and momentum gained by the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party led by former president Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa outlined the priorities in the 2024 elections, namely:

  • Transforming the economy and creating jobs: “Our jobs plan; building our industries to include an inclusive economy”.
  • Tackling the high cost of living.
  • Investing in people.
  • Defending democracy and advancing freedom.
  • Building a better Africa and world. The commitment had some similarities to the previous ones by the ruling party. The 2019 manifesto had focused on: Using infrastructure development to drive economic growth and transformation with land reform central in the transformation agenda. Part of the transformation will be on the rural and township economies.
  • A roll-out of National Health Insurance (NHI) to provide free, quality universal healthcare to all citizens by 2025.
  • Investing in safe, reliable and integrated public rail infrastructure as the backbone of public transport.
  • Addressing rising energy prices by focusing on energy generation, including renewable energy.
  • Good governance with the government ridding itself of any form of state capture and all forms of corruption.
  • Investing in education that prepares learners for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Developing crime prevention with strong public institutions of justice and security, including the police dealing with, among other challenges, gender-based violence, with equal focus on the country’s borders as entry or exit points of criminal networks.
  • In 2014, then President Jacob Zuma had focused on:
  • The creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods for inclusive growth.
  • Rural development, land reform and food security.
  • Fighting crime and corruption.
  • Education and health.

Saturday’s manifesto demonstrated how social and economic transformation have been the key features of the ANC manifestos covering a 10-year period from 2014 through 2019 to 2024.

Ramaphosa said there was much to celebrate in the country since the dawn of democracy where people enjoyed equal access to government services.

He added that South Africa was one of the few countries in the world where 60% of the Budget from the government was channelled to social services.

He reiterated the story of Tinstwalo – the child who was born and is a beneficiary of the country’s democratic order. “Tintswalo is found everywhere in this country, even opposition parties are fond of Tintswalo,” said Ramaphosa.

The president vowed to ensure that the commitments contained in the manifesto would be implemented through efficient individuals from the ruling party leading the process, despite an uproar over the ANC’s cadre deployment policy.

He said the party would not abandon its cadre deployment policy but would be more careful in applying it in his next administration, and the deployees would be held to account for their performance.

“Our cadre development policy is about appointing suitable and qualified people who share our transformation vision (and) we are not going to put in people who are going to let us down,” he said.

He applauded the Pretoria High Court judgment which had found that there was nothing unconstitutional “about a political party influencing the policy direction of a government, including the appointment of senior personnel to public service, so long as the public service is protected against being misused for partisan purposes”.

The DA had approached the court, seeking an order that would declare cadre deployment unconstitutional.

“Those who are talking against the deployment policy should also bring forward their own minutes because they are hypocrites. They do exactly what they are accusing the ANC of doing,” Ramaphosa said.

Some ANC members were seen carrying around what looked like a coffin that had “RIP MKP Zuma” written on it.

However, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe called on party members to be disciplined.

“The ANC is the leader of society. So we must not do things that insult other people,” he said.

Sunday Tribune