Lives of majority of South Africans have improved – ANC

Party says we have a society that refuses to accept racism as the norm

ANC statement on the 2019 manifesto briefing on social transformation

3 March 2019

The 2019 elections take place at the backdrop of 25 years of democracy and 25 years of achievements that have transformed the lives of ordinary South Africans for the better. The ANC’s policy perspective demands of us to ensure that our strategies for social transformation must seek to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty while creating adequate social nets to protect the most vulnerable in our society. That continues to be our guiding principle as articulated in the ANC’s Strategy and Tactics.

The ANC is saddened at the senseless killing of a young man, Sibusiso Kwinana, whose life was taken too soon and the nation robbed of a rising talent. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Kwinana family and friends.

The ANC’s policy thrust places emphasis on providing education, opportunities, social grants and basic services, especially to the most vulnerable in our society. The National Development Plan (NDP) emphasizes five key parts of a developmental policy framework, namely 

1. Inclusive social and economic development; 
2. Sustainable investment and growth; 
3. Decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods (incomes); 
4. A capable state; and 
5. Expanding opportunities.

What we have achieved

Twenty-five years ago, the South African people changed the course of history and broke the bonds of colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy.

On April 27, 1994, we finally held South Africa’s first non-racial, democratic election and the nation delivered a decisive majority to the African National Congress. It is through this election that our beloved President Nelson Mandela assumed the helm with a commitment to build a better life for all South Africans.

Today, we look back at the road we have travelled and take stock of what we have achieved, while we draw lessons from our mistakes and failings. We have built a nation grounded on equal rights for all citizens, where access to education or economic opportunities is not determined by the colour of one’s skin, their gender, culture, creed or sexual orientation.

Indeed we have made progress and faced challenges in our foundational aspiration to build a united and democratic South Africa.

- Our constitution is embraced by all South Africans, advancing the individual and collective rights of our people. Our robust Chapter Nine institutions, judiciary and Parliament are critical safeguards to protect these rights.

- We have improved the representation and empowerment of women in the public and private sectors through our constitutional commitment to non-sexism and gender equality.

- Our democracy unleashed the creative energies of all people in sports, arts, music, literature, film and dance, as well as science, technology and innovation.

- Although the demon of racism is far from defeated, we have a society that refuses to accept racism as the norm.

The lives of the majority of South Africans have improved:

- In 1994, only 6 out of 10 South Africans had access to clean drinking water. Today that figure has increased to nearly 9 out of 10 South Africans. We will continue to maintain water infrastructure and expand access to water for all, while enhancing quality control and management for the sustainable use of our water resources.

- Since 1994, we delivered over 4,7 million housing opportunities, which includes free houses that have been built, benefiting over 14 million people. This has meant a massive extension of home ownership, growing the productive assets of our people. In the recent past, we have been hard at work to ensure that we alter apartheid spatial planning by ensuring that more South Africans live closer to economic opportunities.

- In the 2014 Manifesto, we committed ourselves to improving access, equity, quality, redress and efficiency in education and achieving life-long learning and skills for all.

- We have achieved near universal access to basic education for young children aged 7-14 years of age.

- Ninety percent of public schools have become no-fee paying schools, and learners are benefiting from school feeding schemes and government-subsidised scholar transport. We also subsidise some of the learners in fee paying schools. This has contributed to the increase in school attendance from 51% in 1994 to 99% today.

- Today 9 out of 10 adult South Africans can read and write, and an illiteracy-free South Africa is within our reach.

- The number of learners who passed matric increased from 50% before 1994 to around 78% today, with a major shift in the balance of high performers to schools with learners from poor backgrounds. We will continue to build a solid foundation for quality teaching and learning well before Grade 12.

- 98% of children have access to Grade R programme.

Comprehensive social security:

- The number of individuals on social grants increased from 3 million in 1994 to 17,5 million in 2017, benefiting children, the elderly, people with disability and veterans.

- The Unemployment Insurance Fund has been extended to help most workers (including domestic workers) and the benefit payment period has been increased from 6 months to 12 months.

- Women on maternity leave who paid into the UIF for 13 weeks or more will now be entitled to receive benefits for between 17 and 32 weeks and receive a flat rate of 66% of their salary (instead of 38% to 60%). These benefits also extend to the LGBTQI community.

- More recently, we introduced unprecedented legislation in South African history, the National Minimum Wage, which will improve the wages of at least 6 million workers who are currently being paid below the national minimum wage level of R20 an hour. This National Minimum Wage forms part of the broader reforms aimed at achieving a living wage for most South Africans.

Going forward this is what we undertake to achieve

On Early Child Development (ECD), we will:

- Extend the core responsibilities of the Department of Basic Education to include the provision and monitoring of ECD.

- Provide a comprehensive package of ECD services (birth registration, social assistance, parenting support and quality learning).

- Standardise guidelines, norms and standards for ECD and set the employment targets in the sector over the next five years.

- Develop a plan to take care of the first 1,000 days of human life, from pregnancy until two years of age, in which the pregnant mother will get good nutrition, be encouraged to stop smoking and drinking alcohol and undertake antenatal care visits from an early stage. The baby will have good nutrition, exclusive breast feeding, immunisation and growth monitoring.

- Work to achieve universal access to two years of ECD, which means two years of compulsory quality pre-school enrolment for 4 and 5 year olds before Grade 1.

- Promote innovation on different models for delivering home and community-based ECD.

On Comprehensive Social Security, we will:

- Define a basket of social security benefits that all should access, with the delivery of a package of services free from administrative burdens.

- Address social grants exclusion errors by improving targeting (orphans, children, aged on farms, remote rural areas, disabilities).

- Increase UIF coverage as currently only 5% of unemployed people benefit from this Fund.

- Support child headed families through social security interventions.

- Finalise a comprehensive policy on social security that will include low-paid workers and informal traders, as well as pregnancy and maternity benefit schemes.

On Human Settlements, we will:

- Work closely with the private sector to develop major development projects that brings together economic nodes, human settlements, smart technologies and public transportation that impact on spatial transformation. These include building at least one new South Africa city of the future.

- Transform the property market to promote access to urban opportunity and social integration through access to well-located, affordable housing and decent shelter, thereby reversing urban fragmentation and highly inefficient sprawl.

- Release land at the disposal of the state for site and service to afford households the opportunity to build and own their own homes.

- Transform the composition and functioning of the property industry and accelerate legislative measures to eliminate speculative behaviour, including the establishment of a Property Sector Ombudsman.

- Improve the alignment of housing provision with other public investments and service provision, including schools and health facilities and transport networks, complementing more integrated residential, industrial and commercial development.

- Address the title deeds backlog, along with associated institutional and capacity gaps, to ensure that the transfer of title deeds move with higher speed.

- Develop a more coherent and inclusive approach to land by developing overarching principles for spatial development.

- Revise the regulations and incentives for housing and land use management

On Water and Sanitation, we will:

- Continue to prioritise roll-out and provision of water infrastructure to ensure availability of clean water to all South Africans

- Eradicate bucket systems and pit latrines in various parts of the country.

- Review the policy on minimum free basic water to help further cushion the poor

On Gender Based Violence We will:

- Work with all stakeholders to take forward the outcomes of the 2018 Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence, though, among others, a national plan of action against gender-based violence.

- Speed up educational programmes aimed at offering psychological and social support to vulnerable learners, and work with young children to change social attitudes.

- Call for stricter bail conditions for and harsher sentences in combating violence against women and children, particularly in cases of domestic violence and sexual offences.

- Capacitate and equip the police and the court system to support survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault.

- Scale up the network of Thuthuzela Care Centres and other victim empowerment centres for a more effective response to incidents of violent sexual acts against women and children, reduction of victimisation and improved conviction rates and conclusion of cases.

On Building Social Cohesion and Embrace our Diversity, we will:

- Fast-track the promotion and implementation of indigenous language programmes, including finalisation of language legislation in Provinces for inclusion in the school curriculum.

- Finalise the proposed legislation before Parliament aimed at preventing and combating hate crimes and prosecution of persons who commit those offences. The legislation will deal with hate crimes against persons based on their race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or albinism.

- Promote the values of non-racialism and non-sexism through the promotion of arts, culture, sports and interfaith activities.

- Train teachers and public servants on how to deal with all forms of discrimination.

- Organise programmes that honour and salute men and women who have earned their titles as veterans of wars of liberation.

- Promote study of history in schools.

- Mainstream gender equality and the needs of people with disability into all facets of planning, budgeting, monitoring and accounting, including performance indicators and targets in government programmes.

- Promote programmes that advance media freedom and diversity, with a specific focus on community media and alternative media.

- Ensure national holidays are celebrated on an inter-cultural basis and are fully inclusive of all South Africans, black and white.

On Sports and Recreation, we will:
- Implement programming that should happen at the common spaces and public open spaces that will be driven by a national campaign we call ‘I Choose to be Active’ that will mobilize society to adopt active lifestyles with key accompanying projects life the Big Walk and the elevation of the observance of National Recreation Day.

- We will entrench the key programmes of sport such as the National School Sport System.

- We will harness the power of sport as a catalyst for development both socially and economically.

- We will adopt a strategy for pairing of municipalities with the National Sport Federation and to roll out key national facilities in line with the new priorities. We believe that this way we can harness the geo-spatial advantages of the popularity of codes as per the targeted areas and achieve a lot more with limited but focused resources.

Gender equality in sport

- We will implement Women in sport policy to be utilised as a guiding framework to drive the parity.

Our march towards the landslide victory at the polls is unstoppable. We have demonstrated through tangible action that the ANC is the only party that can inspire the nation to achieve greater levels of social cohesion and growth. We call on the nation to join us in growing South Africa to a nation where the vision of a better life for all is a reality.

Issued by Dakota Legoete, Acting National Spokesperson, ANC, 3 March 2019