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ANC promises better leadership, service delivery as Ramaphosa unveils manifesto

President said South Africans have been calling for strong and ethical leadership in the face of hardship and that the party had in many times been found wanting

The ANC has a bucket full list of promises to win votes in the upcoming local government elections with the unveiling of its manifesto Monday night, which spelt out its plan of action for the next five years.

The governing party was adamant that corrective measures it is currently implementing to deal with incompetence, corruption and social distance in the local government are good enough reasons for South Africans to vote for it again.ADVERTISING

President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled the manifesto in Pretoria with the party admitting that its electoral misfortunes had been due to wrongdoing that had plagued municipalities.

In its manifesto, the ANC insists that it deserved a second chance as it had done things differently in terms of ensuring that the quality of the local government leaders was improved through the choosing the best candidates.

Ramaphosa said South Africans have been calling for strong and ethical leadership in the face of hardship and that the party had in many times been found wanting.

“We have not always done the best that we were meant to do and we have not always done the best that we are capable of doing. We stand here and admit that we have made mistakes. We have not always put the best people in positions of responsibility in government. Too often we have been slow to act when our public representatives and leaders committed wrongdoing and abused their positions,” Ramaphosa said.

He said in the past two years after the 2019 general elections, the party had worked on renewing itself and implemented measures to help better serve South Africans, including at the local government level.

The promises the party has made to voters include:

  • developing the night-time economy to encourage retailers to remain open late;
  • place traders’ stalls on busy streets and nodes;
  • end the use of labour brokers at municipal level and support creation of sustainable jobs;
  • subjecting mayors and senior managers to lifestyle audits to limit the scope for corruption;
  • improve access to electricity and water for communities;
  • maintain infrastructure and drastically reduce water leaks.
  • fast track land reform and rural development, upgrade informal settlements and counter urban sprawl;
  • ensuring that the municipal staff that are appointed have the necessary competence, experience, and support;
  • create jobs and drive economic development.
  • reduce red tape, especially for SMMEs and informal businesses, speedup approvals and reduce licensing costs;
  • develop fresh produce markets and promote the sale of foodstuffs in townships in community owned stores’ and
  • strengthen the municipal finance recovery service function and simplify financial recovery plans in municipalities.

The party indicated that it was still faced with many challenges at municipal level as leadership was often weak with many councillors not focused on serving the communities that had elected them.

Ramaphosa said some of the shortcomings at the local government level included weak oversight, poor accountability and absence of consequences for those who failed to perform as well as corruption.

“After years of impunity, the ANC as the governing party is leading a new era of accountability and consequences for wrongdoing. Under new leadership, state-owned enterprises have been tackling corruption, have recovered billions of rand of stolen money and are now clearly focused on delivering on their respective mandates,” he said.

Among its achievements over the past years, the ANC counted the expansion of access to housing to four million households, distribution of 8.3 million hectares and provision of social grants to cover 18 million South Africans in a bid to reduce poverty.

There is also a strong focus on involving the youth and providing jobs for them, with Ramaphosa saying the party was committed to creating more jobs for them as first-time entrants into the job market.

Also on the promises list were efforts to fight crime in communities particularly in the townships and the fight against gender-based violence.

Some of the key promises the ANC made in 2016:

On basic services, the party said it had and would continue improving people’s lives by expanding electricity provision, water, sanitation, especially in informal settlements and rural municipalities, social grants, healthcare, basic and higher education and ensure that roads were maintained;

On municipal services and outsourcing, the ANC said it would ensure that municipal services remained the core function of municipalities;

On the local economy and job creation, it said it would reorientate local economies to become effective centres of production, information processing and economic and spatial development, and develop sports and recreational facilities to grow local economies;

On fighting fraud and corruption in local government, the ANC said it would vigorously implement anti-corruption programmes, preventing municipal officials and councillors from doing business with municipalities, hold corrupt municipal officials and councillors liable for the losses incurred by the municipality as a result of their corrupt actions and pursue action against companies involved in bid rigging, price fixing and corruption in procurement; and

On its principle of batho pele, the party promised to put people first and engage with communities.

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