Ramaphosa says ANC’s main priority will be job creation

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said the governing party will prioritise job creation to alleviate poverty and arrest the spiralling rate of unemployment.

Ramaphosa said this when delivering the ANC election manifesto at a jam-packed Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday.

Ramaphosa promised that South Africa will witness a transformative journey towards achieving the NationalDevelopment Plan 2030 objectives, leaving no one behind and creating a brighter future for all.

He said the ANC has identified job creation as the number one priority, focusing on public employment programmes that create work opportunities in the public, small businesses and social sectors.

Ramaphosa said the party was determined to create 2.5 million jobs to provide public goods and services in communities over the next five years.

“This includes work done through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, funding to civil society through non-profit companies and organisations to provide work opportunities, expand and institutionalise the National Youth Service in partnership with the South African National Defence Force, and work opportunities for unemployed graduates,” he said.

He said a million additional work opportunities will be created with set-asides for women, youth and disabled people as the government increases support for small businesses, entrepreneurs and cooperatives.

Further, he reaffirmed his belief that the private sector will work with the government to create employment for South Africans and contribute to national efforts to get South Africans back to work.

The promotion and monitoring of employment equity were part of creating a vibrant, non-racial, non-sexist middle strata critical to national development by increasing the representation of black people, women, and people with disabilities in the public and private, professions and artisanal sectors.

“These programmes can instil a sense of pride and purpose in individuals as they contribute to the development of their communities.

“Moreover, providing work opportunities can help alleviate feelings of despair and hopelessness, fostering a sense of optimism and empowerment among the workforce,” he said.

The seventh administration will also implement an industrial strategy that drives growth and creates opportunities for youth and others who are unemployed, Ramaphosa said.

The party promised to push industrialisation as the backbone of economic transformation, supporting localisation, high growth and labour-intensive industries, protecting existing industries, such as steel, advancing future industries, and increasing investments in large-scale infrastructure.

As part of his campaign, the president promised to fix energy, transportation and logistics constraints, to develop domestic industries that would create significant jobs, and to support 2 000 black industrialists.

Besides increasing exports, the government would also leverage bilateral relationships, including Brics Plus.

Redistribution of land would reduce asset inequality and improve equity, food security, agricultural production and rural and urban development, he said.

To make everyday life more affordable for workers, unemployed individuals and households headed by women, Ramaphosa said the government will address essential needs such as food, housing, health care, energy, transportation, and wages.

Food security must be prioritised, he said, which includes exempting essential items from VAT, implementing land reform, supporting community gardens and home gardens, preventing price fixation, expanding water and housing services for the poor, strengthening the health system and enacting the National Health Insurance system.

He also said the government would promote solar power at cheaper prices, regulate student rent prices and ensure full compliance with the National Minimum Wage.

As a mechanism for phasing in a basic income support grant, the Social Relief of Distress grants will strengthen income support.

Ramaphosa said the ANC would also invest in people by meeting basic needs, investing in education, improving health outcomes and improving service delivery.

As a result, national and provincial governments will have to assume greater responsibility for providing services to communities, building maintenance capacity, and providing water infrastructure in areas where municipalities struggle. Education, housing, transport, water, sanitation, electricity, health care and communications, will also continue to be the ANC’s priorities.

Other priorities included defending democracy and advancing a better world and Africa, Ramaphosa said.

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