SA political parties jockey for position

South African political parties jockeyed for position this weekend with Azapo launching its manifesto and the ANC and DA setting out their plans for the country. 

Unveiling their manifesto in Limpopo, the Azanian People’s Organisation said it would abolish the provinces and establish a state housing company.

Mosibudi Mangena, Azapo president, said that their manifesto was a “striving for a desirable society”.

On their plan to abolish the provinces, he said the need for a minister and nine “counterparts” for every province was “a waste”.

“It is expensive. Huge aspects of the budgets go to salaries of these provincial ‘ministers’, their staff components, bodyguards, travel expenditure, etc.”

“The 2009 general elections take place under difficult times for the democracy of our country. The democracy for which our people sacrificed their lives is now limping under constant attacks by forces of anti-democracy,” he said.

Mangena said education should be prioritised and was vital for the development of skilled workers.

Mangena said that Azapo was “vehemently opposed” to the fact that after 15 years of democracy there were still shacks and bucket toilets and added that these “degrading entities appear to be exclusively preserved for black people”.

‘Real choice’
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille meanwhile promised on Saturday that she would “travel the length and breadth of South Africa to tell people about the real choice in this election—the choice between the open, opportunity society for all, and the closed, crony society for some”.

Launching the party’s election campaign in Kliptown, Soweto, Zille said people were not held back by gender, religion, colour, or prejudice in successful democracies.

She said the DA planned to win the election and that it would launch its manifesto in two weeks.

“Our manifesto is based on a package of carefully costed and mutually reinforcing policies that set out practical steps to attain our vision.”

She said the DA’s vision was to create a “winning nation”.

She envisioned a society in which learners received a quality education, there were jobs for all South Africans, a better health system and a nation with a protected and defended Constitution to “put power back where it belongs, in the hands of the citizens”.

‘Beautiful country’
African National Congress president Jacob Zuma said his party’s manifest sought to adress the various challenges facing South Africa.

“High unemployment, poverty, deepening inequality and challenges of service delivery continue to afflict our country,” he said at an ANC dinner in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday night.

“The measure of our progress will not be whether we have added more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

“The manifesto seeks to build on the gains of the last 15-years of democratic governance ... we have developed and implemented policies that were designed to make a difference.”

He said the global financial crisis, and the spectre of global economic recession needed to be taken into account.

“We need to be alive to its likely impacts on our domestic situation, such as a slowdown in production, potential job losses, and rising prices will all need to be addressed. We have thus tailored our manifesto to address these challenges.”

Zuma said the ANC would also improve on public service performance.

“We are planning an intensive dialogue with the business sector soon to discuss these challenges. We must look at ways of saving and growing jobs in the clothing and textile sector, strengthening the automobile and components sector, expanding the food industry and other sectors.”

He said that quality of education and the fight against crime would be top priorities.

He urged members to work together to make the Confederations Cup and the Soccer World Cup in 2010 a success.

“This is our time to offer a new direction for the country we love. It is our time to eradicate negativity and gloom, and promote positive and accurate messages about this beautiful country,” Zuma said. - Sapa

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