/ 9 January 2004

ANC launches manifesto in IFP country

The weekly ANC Today newsletter released on Friday announced that the African National Congress is launching its 2004 election campaign on the weekend of January 10 and 11. It called on all South Africans to help the ANC address the key challenges facing South Africa after 10 years of democracy.

The campaign launch coincides with the ANC’s 92nd anniversary celebrations. The ANC, which was formed on January 8 1912 in Mangaung near Bloemfontein, is the oldest existing African liberation movement and “is unique among South Africa’s political parties for the consistency over decades of its objectives, policies and programmes”, said the newsletter.

President Thabo Mbeki will unveil the ANC’s 2004 manifesto at a function at the Ethekwini City Hall in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal — traditionally an Inkatha Freedom Party stronghold — on January 10. The launch will be attended by guests from various sectors of society and the media.

The manifesto is said to draw on a review conducted over several months of the achievements of the first 10 years of democracy and the first 10 years of ANC-led government.

This review “included consultation and discussion with a broad range of social sectors and organisations, including those not traditionally aligned to the democratic movement, who provided critical feedback on the implementation of the ANC’s 1994 and 1999 manifestos”, said the newsletter.

Themes arising from the review process “was not only that great progress had been made towards achieving a better life for all South Africans, but that this progress had been made possible only by the ANC’s ability to unite South Africans in working together to achieve transformation”.

The newsletter also mentioned the “real and significant challenges that continue to confront our people. The manifesto tackles these challenges directly and realistically, outlining a decisive programme to respond to poverty, disease, unemployment and underdevelopment that is achievable and sustainable.”

Referring to the Durban venue chosen for the manifesto launch, the newsletter said: “The choice of KwaZulu-Natal province to host the event is significant. One of the greatest achievements of our 10 years of freedom has been the extension of peace and democracy to every corner of the country.

“Gone are the days of ‘no-go’ areas and political intolerance … The ANC hopes to convince the voters of KwaZulu Natal that a clear ANC majority in the province is critical for faster progress towards the elimination of poverty, since it would mean a provincial government that is committed to entrenching democracy and leading development.”

The campaign launch will culminate in a mass rally at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday January 11, which more than 30 000 people from the greater Durban and Pietermaritzburg areas are expected to attend.

The rally will include a statement by the ANC’s national executive committee and an awards ceremony, and will conclude with performances by local artists and performers, including Mafikizolo, Phuzikhemisi, Chicco Twala and Solly Moholo.

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