/ 1 March 2024

ANC promises to deal with high cost of living

ANC transformation committee chair Zweli Mkhize

ANC transformation committee chair Zweli Mkhize has promised that the governing party would deal with inflation that is hurting South Africans.

He was addressing journalists at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters on Friday to unpack the ANC’s manifesto priority three plan, which deals with tackling the high cost of living. 

With surveys suggesting that the ruling party would dip below 50% of the vote in the 29 May elections, Ramaphosa announced during the ANC manifesto launch in Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban,  last week that the party had come up with six priority plans for the next five years and beyond to deal with poverty.

These include a jobs plan, re-industrialisation, reducing the cost of living, access to education, access to health as well as improving energy, rail and logistics.

“We shall address the cost of living to render everyday life more affordable for everyone including workers, the working-class poor, unemployed individuals, women-led households and the middle class by addressing the costs of essentials such as food, housing, healthcare, energy, transport and wages,” Mkhize said.

About 55.5% (30.3 million people) in South Africa are living in poverty based on the national upper poverty line of R992 while 13.8 million people (25%) are experiencing food poverty, according to World Bank data

He said the high and unaffordable cost of living involves the most pressing bread-and-butter issues that affect millions of people living in  informal settlements, townships, affluent suburbs as well as peri-urban and rural areas.

He said the ANC remained focused on eliminating poverty, unemployment and inequality, which are the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. 

To achieve this several measures would be employed, “among others, lifting the social wage of every South African, particularly those who are living in poverty, are unemployed, live in child- and women-headed households and in rural or underserved areas”, Mkhize said.

“These measures have, over several years, resulted in significant gains in which South Africa has reduced poverty rates from 71.1% in 1993 to under 56% in 2020. Those millions who have benefited from the social wage and government programmes are the ‘Tinstwalos’ that the president spoke of during the State of the Nation address [Sona].”

Ramaphosa used a fictional character called Tintswalo, who had benefited from the rule of the ANC since 1994. The gains he mentioned include free RDP houses, free electricity, access to clean water, basic service delivery, free education and job opportunities.  

Mkhize said the ANC was committed to its mission of creating a better life for all, adding that the cornerstone of priority three reflected the ANC’s determination to tackle head-on the problems the average South African faces.

“This priority signifies our unwavering commitment to elevating the most vulnerable segments of our society, addressing economic hardships and paving the way for a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive future for all.”