Ramaphosa unveils six key priorities to fix economy at ANC Manifesto Launch

Published Feb 24, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced six priorities for the African National Congress ahead of the 2024 elections, including job creation, re-industrialisation, investing in people and tackling the high cost of living.

Ramaphosa delivered the ANC Manifesto at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to a packed crowd, saying the ANC has been addressing some of the socio-economic challenges, but they were going to ramp up some of their initiatives.

Ramaphosa and the ANC, who have the tough task of trying to steer the party to an outright win in the elections, promised to crackdown on crime and corruption in the country.

This is also one of the urgent priorities of government.

Ramaphosa said the government would deploy resources to tackle crime including extortion at construction sites, infrastructure theft and vandalism and gender-based violence.

Ramaphosa said while the economy has not grown at a faster pace, they wanted more young people in the labour market. The economy is not expected to grow fast enough to create more jobs.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said in his Budget speech the economy was expected to grow by 0.6% in 2023. The low growth was due to persistent power cuts that have been implemented by the power utility Eskom.

Godongwana said the economy was projected to grow by 1.3% this year, and 1.6% over the next three years.

Priority 1 - Jobs

Ramaphosa said they want to create more jobs through massive public employment programmes.

“Over the next five years, the ANC will implement a Jobs Plan, with the first pillar a massified public employment plan, by creating and sustaining 2.5 million work opportunities delivering public goods and services in communities. This includes work for unemployed graduate,” said Ramaphosa.

Priority 2 - Re-industrialisation

He said the second priority for the ANC was to re-industrialise. South Africa was the most industrialised economy on the continent.

They want to build on that and create more industries.

He said part of this plan was to support local economies and labour intensive industries.

Priority 3 - Energy, Rail and Logistics

Ramaphosa said their plan will also include addressing the crisis in the logistics sector.

Transnet has over the last five years faced low volumes in its railway network because of damage to the infrastructure.

The freight logistics company has lost billions in the last financial year.

The National Logistics Crisis Committee was set up by Ramaphosa last year to address some of the challenges in the sector.

Godongwana also announced in the Budget they will allow third-party access on the railway network by May this year.

Ramaphosa said this was critical for the economy to grow.

“As a central tenet of our strategy, we will continue to fix the current constraints in the energy, transport and logistics sectors. These are important network industries and strategic national assets, critical to industrialistion, growth and development. Investing in infrastructure, especially energy infrastructure, roads and railways, is critical for inclusive economic growth. Investment in energy, in particular, is necessary to end load shedding and ensure a secure supply of electricity,” said Ramaphosa.

Priority 4 - Cost of living

Ramaphosa also said they will deal with the high cost of living.

A number of initiatives were in the pipeline for the state to intervene and cushion those who are affected by the high cost of living.

They will focus on food security and this would include VAT exemption on certain food items.

Civil society organisations have been proposing this for some time and made submissions to relevant parliamentary committees for state intervention in the cost of living crisis.

In addition to VAT exemptions on food items, Ramaphosa said they will expand water, electricity and housing to those who are in need.

Priority 5 - Access to health, NHI

Ramaphosa also said he will sign into law the National Health Insurance Bill.

Godongwana told the parliamentary committees on Friday that the costing of the NHI has not been done. This will be done after it is signed into law.

The president said the NHI will be implemented in phases.

Priority 6 - Access to Education

Ramaphosa said the other priority for the ANC was to improve access to health and education.

Both education and health are the largest expenditure items in the budget.

[email protected]

IOL Politics