COPE's manifesto for the 2009 election

As issued by the Congress of the People, Port Elizabeth, January 24 2009

A New Agenda

2009 Election MANIFESTO



A New Agenda for Change and Hope for All


Once more our country stands at the threshold of a historic moment. South Africans from all walks of lives have an opportunity to implement an Action Plan for Change in our advance to a united, non racial, non sexist and prosperous South Africa. For the first time since our historic elections of 1994 that ushered in our new democracy, our people have a chance to further deepen democracy, defend the constitution, and move with speed to implement the ideals enunciated in our constitution.

We therefore call on you, the people of South Africa to vote for the people's congress - COPE, the party that has a new agenda to accelerate the national advance to:

fearlessly defend the constitution and uphold the rule of law;

systematically eradicate poverty, grow the economy, create decent work and substantially reduce unemployment;

protect the environment and our natural resources for future generations

equip and educate our children to be globally competitive and ready to function in the knowledge economy and provide our people with opportunities to acquire the necessary skills to realise their full potential;

significantly improve the quality of health care and increase health literacy;

fight and reduce crime and provide better safety and security for all;

enhance the gains made in the empowerment of women to achieve gender equality;

empower and develop the youth to realise their full potential and play their rightful role in society;

strengthen families, family life and communities;

unite the nation to act together to build a truly non-racial South Africa; and, contribute to the development of Africa, strengthen South-South cooperation and build a more just world.


COPE will present South Africa with a leadership that is committed to serving the people, protecting and preserving public resources and assets and ensuring that corruption, waste and mismanagement are eradicated.

COPE will also ensure that:

candidates presented by parties for elections publicly declare their assets to the Independent Electoral Commission;

candidates must publicly declare any criminal convictions to the Independent Electoral Commission;

parties must publicly report the source of the funds and material assistance they receive before each election day and annually;

all candidates should declare whether they are taxcompliant before election day;

the asset-reporting procedures for elected representatives and Members of the Executive are strengthened;

transparency on the awarding of government tenders is improved and strengthened;

the legislation to protect whistleblowers is improved and strengthened;

mechanisms are improved to ensure that employees in the public service and functionaries in State Owned Enterprises are professional in their conduct and protected from intimidation and victimization by public representatives and members of the Executive;

the procedures prescribed in municipal legislation for ward councilors report regularly to their constituencies are extended to members of the national and provincial legislatures.


Our country is full of good hard working people who deserve a government that is truly accountable and committed to serving them and does not tolerate corruption and personal greed. To achieve this objective,

COPE will:

enable people to directly elect their most senior representatives, namely, the President, Premiers and Mayors, to enhance accountability of all public office-bearers and improve public participation in all forms of governance;

ensure that these popularly elected representatives can only be removed from office by the people, through clearly defined and nationally agreed to constitutional procedures;

ensure the people directly elect their public representatives to the national and provincial legislatures in such a manner as to achieve a mixture of direct election and proportional representation, drawing from the experience of the current electoral system at local government level;

ensure that the national and provincial governments should have procedures defined by law, to regularly report and account to the people and publicly to report on the content and outcome of these processes;

ensure good, accountable and participatory governance at all levels by entrenching processes of public consultation as prescribed by the Constitutional Court;

ensure that workers in the public sector, including the police, teachers and health workers, and others, should have the right to form and belong to trade unions to represent them in negotiations with the state, about wages, working conditions, etc. and that such organized labour unions would not be affiliated to political parties, or to confederations so affiliated; so as to ensure that such unions act at all times in a professional manner and uphold the best principles of public service;

ensure that all spheres of government are obliged by law to work consistently to create a climate of tolerance for different points of view, and the active involvement of the people in determining all elements of their future;

take additional steps to empower the institutions supporting democracy, especially to ensure that our nation is governed in a manner that strictly respects our Bill of Rights;

to promote a free and responsible citizenry who live without fear, confident about themselves and their future, yearning to contribute positively to the well-being of society and thereby create their own future;

continuously work at improving the protection of the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and the independence of the Reserve Bank.

institute a governance and constitutional review process on the functioning of the governance process, including all spheres of government, traditional leadership, civil society, international obligations, etc, to ensure that our country has a governance system that operates according to the principle - the people shall govern!


We can only build the new South Africa on the basis of a value system which defines the identity of the South African nation, giving us pride in ourselves as a people, constituting part of what makes all of us - Proudly South African! Accordingly, a COPE government will put in place processes directed at advancing:

the values of Ubuntu / Botho, which include:

  • human and social solidarity,
  • respect for human life,
  • safety and security for all citizens,
  • harmonious and respectful relations between the young and the elderly, with the young understanding the imperative to give due recognition to the older generations,
  • respect for the dignity of women, protect the innocence of children, encourage and positive influence on, and direct the energy of, the youth, give due recognition to the needs of people with disabilities; and, the protection of the dignity of every person;

the practice of voluntary community service and corporate social responsibility and promote philanthropy;

that all of us as South Africans, black and white, men and women, rural and urban, united in our diversity, will work hard to take our country from good to great and will, actively work to achieve social and national cohesion, develop a new and vibrant patriotism as well as a shared national identity;

attachment to, and respect for national symbols, and the achievement of the objective contained in our constitution that - the aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love the people and their culture, to honour human fellowship, liberty and peace;

freedom of artistic expression, and therefore active encouragement of the plastic and performing arts,

including theatre, music, painting and sculpture, literature, sport and all other forms of human creativity;

respect for the democratic gains achieved through the immense sacrifices of millions of our people, liberating and enabling the citizens freely to participate in the process of determining their destiny, with no fear of repression, intimidation or abuse of political power to silence voices of dissent;

promote healthy lifestyles and the participation in sports, especially in centers of learning and work to ensure continued resource and patriotic support of all national teams by all South Africans;

work to ensure a successful 2010 and use it to help foster national cohesion and;

the initiation of a National Dialogue which would accelerate the progress towards the achievement of the strategic objectives of building National and Social Cohesion, to create a truly democratic, united, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous South Africa.

Together with traditional and religious leaders we should promote progressive values that derive from our cultures, tradition, religions and beliefs across the board.


While South Africa has enjoyed macro economic stability and sustained economic growth, more can be done to ensure that trade and enterprise development becomes a priority. In this regard, at the top of our agenda is also the creation of decent jobs in recognition of the fact that (a) employment, is the principal route for our people out of poverty, (b) workers have rights (c) workers should have social protection to safeguard income and underpin health and (d) dialogue is crucial to ensuring the joint participation of employers' and workers' organizations in shaping government decisions.

COPE is painfully aware that many South Africans are unemployed or currently losing their jobs, and that families face increased hunger and poverty because of the difficult global and local economic conditions. COPE will put in place a short, medium and long-term programme to respond to this situation, including ensuring that:

all companies facing retrenchments strictly implement all the relevant provisions in our Labour Relations legislation;

where retrenchments become unavoidable, social plans are activated to address the needs of the affected workers;

Government reviews existing legislation relating to corporate insolvency, to strengthen mechanisms to assist companies in distress, sustain the economy and protect jobs, including setting up a stabilisation fund;

the public sector, including government and the state owned enterprises, sustain their investment programmes;

Government provides focused support for identified sectors and industries in the manufacturing sector, Industrial Development Zones (IDZs), especially in rural areas, agriculture and the services sector;

Government implements an effective programme to provide all-round assistance and support to small, medium and micro enterprises specifically by revising the mandate of all Development Finance Institutions (DFI's) such as the DBSA, IDC and regional development agencies to focus on the support of these enterprises;

encourage the creation of opportunities for decent work near where people live helping to reduce the transport cost to workers and the inefficiency of long distance commuting;

develop an integrated, intermodal, safe and reliable public transport system;

strengthen government interventions to give even greater impetus to the Proudly South African campaign, to promote South African products locally and globally, and attract greater volumes of foreign investment into our economy; and,

achieve and maintain the correct balance between social and economic expenditure, to maintain the social wage for the benefit of the poor while increasing national wealth;

introducing a new formula to fund Universities and to reform SETAs and the NSF to ensure the development of relevant, skills needed by our economy;

continue to create opportunities for all South Africans, with emphasis to historically disadvantaged people, and the retention of scare skills;

reduce the red tape and bureaucratic obstacles for entrepreneurs who seek to set up enterprises and to introduce the electronic submission of tenders for government work thus reducing costs, distance and time thus reducing the barrier to entry for small enterprises and those located in distant areas ;

prioritise research and development in those key sectors of the economy identified as growth and employment drivers, including the energy, manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), services and tourism sectors.


To systematically eradicate poverty and raise the standard of living of all South Africans, COPE is aware that all our people want to participate in economic activity to generate the necessary incomes to improve their standard of living and quality of life and that this is central to their dignity. To achieve this strategic objective, our Government will:

further extend the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and improve its capacity to achieve its stated goals of developing social and economic infrastructure and expanding social services, including the provision of skills to those employed in these schemes and creation of work to clean and green the environment; work with traditional leaders and their communities on a comprehensive rural development strategy, and to help put all available land to productive use, and support them along the entire agriculture production and marketing chain, including the necessary capital, infrastructure and skills development;

put measures to strengthen the implementation of the Employment Equity Act (Affirmative Action) and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment to ensure the meaningful participation in the economy by historically disadvantaged people, especially women, youth, people with disability and the rural poor. The state should take the lead in developing procurement policies that encourage the private sector to accelerate the implementation of these policies and to achieve employment equity especially, but not only, in senior management;

establish a Women's Development Fund to focus on funding and assisting women to engage in productive economic activity;

maintain and improve the effectiveness of the youth development initiatives encompassing the Umsobomvu Youth Development Fund and National Youth Commission, focused on assisting the youth to engage in productive economic activity both for themselves and for the country;

payment of service providers by government within 30 days of submission of invoice;

make resources available and strengthen institutional support, including dedicated government capacity to assist the further development of the Cooperative sector in job creating sectors;

promote food security, support subsistence farming and commercial agriculture;

fast track the finalisation of land claims and land restitution. A COPE government will establish a systematic relationship between established and emerging commercial farmers to ensure even more productive use of the land;

engage the Provincial and Local spheres of government to extend support to small, medium and micro enterprises and the informal sector of the economy;

implement a comprehensive Human Resource Development Programme, paying particular attention to skills development and the expansion of the national pool of professionals; and,

put in place a vigorous programme to encourage the employment of skilled workers, graduates and professionals, including empowering them to start their own enterprises;


Our country and the rest of the world face choices about preserving the environment and the sustainability of our planet. Sustainable development requires a commitment by the government, the private sector and communities to work together to promote economic development, create jobs while preserving the environment. There is no tradeoff between economic growth and sustainability. The two go hand-in-hand. As a legacy to our children, our future, a COPE government will:

progressively utilise natural gas, solar, wind, hydro and sea as sources of cleaner power generation;

where coal is used to generate power, there is a need to develop new cleaner technology to reduce emissions from these power stations, thus improving the health of our people especially communities in the surrounding areas;

promote measures to encourage the recycling of water, paper, metal, plastic and other consumables;

encourage organic farming and other natural methods of production that do not harm the environment.

The energy, ICT, services, tourism and manufacturing sectors are crucial to creating decent work and enterprise development opportunities. Together with strengthening the mining and financial sector of our economy, this will be the basis for stability and growth in our economy.


While economic growth and job creation are important measures to eradicate poverty, all South Africans especially the private and public sector have a duty to take measures to ensure that we improve the quality of life of the poor, especially the aged, women and children.

COPE has identified the eradication of poverty and ending social exclusion as one of its historic tasks that is essential to restoring the dignity of all our people. In addition to the programme of action outlined in this document, we will implement measures targeting especially the most vulnerable in our society.


we will ensure that the programmes we put in place both alleviate poverty and help to enhance the dignity of each and every citizen;

within the first six months after the elections we will announce a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy which will activate the poor in every household to participate in programmes to extricate themselves from poverty;

within the first six months after the elections we will announce an Integrated Social Security System which will guarantee the social grants currently being received by children, the elderly, people with disabilities, those incapacitated by chronic illness, and the unemployed, relating these to programmes to reduce dependence on social welfare where possible, for instance by creating work opportunities targeting beneficiaries, and ensuring that children receiving grants attend school;

we will institute special measures to give privileged access for the elderly and people with disabilities to the social wage, with relation especially to housing, public transport and health care; as well as introduce a campaign to make this privileged treatment status into a culture of how the community in general and the young in particular treat and address these citizens.

we will increase the availability of special care facilities for the elderly who have no families to look after them, women and children in abusive relationships and environments respectively and homeless children living on our streets, ensuring that the children attend school.


COPE is acutely aware of the disparity in health care between rural and urban areas and between the private and public sector. A COPE government will pay special attention to the improvement of the quality of health care. Among other things we will ensure that:

a primary health care model is strengthened, preventable and communicable diseases are prioritised for eradication and that we promote healthy lifestyles and increase health literacy among the public;

all clinics have medication, appropriate health professionals, access to emergency services (ambulances) and operate at all appropriate hours;

reduce long waiting times in hospitals through the use of information and communication technology systems, better management, employment of health professionals, and referral systems; that all hospitals are clean, have medication, beds and linen;

develop a strategic partnership with the private health care providers in order to extend affordable health provision for all our people;

the transformation of the health sector is prioritised and that the private and the public sector services are integrated;

through the use of incentives, training and good working conditions a retention of healthcare professionals is achieved;

the implementation of the comprehensive HIV and AIDS Strategy encompassing prevention, treatment, care and support for those who are affected and infected, including the provision of antiretroviral treatment and the prevention of mother to child transmission;

promote the use of natural medicines and indigenous knowledge systems and increase the recognition of traditional healers.


COPE is duty-bound to respect the provisions in our Bill of Rights which state clearly that our people have such constitutional rights as access to adequate housing, health care, food, water, education, a healthy environment and social security. We will therefore work to ensure that:

all spheres of government have strong and stable state institutions to provide these services, including decent schools, housing, health care facilities, water and sewerage disposal and roads;

we implement programmes to attract especially the relevant skilled and professional personnel into these institutions, train additional personnel, and constantly review salaries and working conditions to where appropriate improve the remuneration of these public sector workers;

we restructure the national budget further, to increase the funds and other resources available to these institutions, especially at local government level;

we use the Expanded Public Works Programme to expand and maintain the social and economic infrastructure required for the provision of the various services;

we improve the tendering processes and the

award of contracts to ensure the construction of affordable infrastructure of high quality, and eliminate corruption in the award of contracts;

we improve the planning processes and capacity of state employees to ensure that allocated resources are actually spent within the intended periods, again also ensuring the creation of high quality products;

we create a strong Inspectorate to ensure the necessary quality control of the service delivery by the public and by private sector companies of government contracts;

we adopt new measures to make certain that government is better empowered to eliminate corruption in the award of contracts, including the expulsion of corrupt people from the public sector;

all employees in management positions sign performance contracts, making it possible to dismiss those who fail to honour their contractual obligations, while improving the job security of these employees by further professionalizing the public service; and,

we institute a general review of the public sector to ensure that it becomes more effective, including utilising public-private, public-public and NGO partnerships to enhance service delivery as well as reviewing and challenging all monopolies;

Service delivery is a right of all South Africans regardless of where they live. It is not a privilege!


COPE agrees with most South Africans on the critical importance of education in building a prosperous country as well as and that training is essential to meeting the challenges our country faces. We will therefore pay particular attention to this sector and:

ensure that all our educators throughout the school system are trained and re-trained and provided with tools to empower them to discharge their responsibilities, and that we constantly work to improve their working conditions and remuneration;

ensure that school principals are properly trained, rewarded and motivated to carry out their management responsibilities and be accordingly accountable;

provide incentives to increase the number of educators specialising in mathematics and the sciences;

provide more resources for the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges, ensure that the graduates have the appropriate skills required by our economy and society, and provide bursaries especially for students who come from poor families and those that focus on priority skills specially identified by government;

establish a University Grants or Funding Commission that will be independent but accountable, consultative with higher education institutions, which will explore appropriate funding mechanisms and liaise with the Treasury;

COPE will work with higher education institutions, both public and private, to increase the output of graduates and reduce the drop-out rate, among other things by running programmes to upgrade especially the first-year African students in need;

will promote a learning and knowledge society by advancing technology, enhancing research and creating a society with love of learning and engaged in societal development;

work with the Universities and other Institutes of Higher learning to improve their coordination with the FET system and the business sector to ensure that their graduates have the kind of education that is relevant to the needs of the economy and society;

further improve the levels of financial support especially to university students who come from poor families , and by encouraging work/study opportunities for students;

widen access to primary and secondary education through the implementation of properly targeted processes of progressively and speedily expanding the number of no fee schools, improving the school feeding scheme;

accelerate the Adult Basic Education and Training Programme to end illiteracy and enhance numeracy; and,

ensure that all schools, especially those in poor and rural communities, are properly constructed, with access to electricity, water, sanitation, laboratories, libraries and the required books and stationery as well as ICTs thus improving their access to information and to closing the gap between rural and urban schools, and between schools serving rich and poor communities.; and,

establish a youth cadet service, learnerships and internships to get all school leavers to serve and support our communities and learn the necessary skills to find or generate decent work. A COPE government will revisit the role of parastatals in the development of artisans.


COPE is fully conscious of the fact that to realise the goal of a better life for all our people we must radically reduce the incidences of crime and ensure the safety and security of all our citizens. To achieve these objectives we will:

work with communities and community based organisations and NGOs to build safer places where we live;

have specialised programs and activities to focus on the youth thus keeping them away from engaging in criminal activities;

strengthen the South African Police Service (SAPS) by ensuring that the SAPS delivers a quality, professional, non-partisan service to the members of the public, in terms of the Constitution and that visible policing is made a matter of priority;

with the SAPS improve its capacity to fight crime through increasing the numbers of personnel and the quality of the training of the plain clothes police and increase the crime intelligence gathering capability of the police;

reinstate the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) along the lines recommended by the Khampepe Judicial Commission, and empower them to focus on organised crime, including corruption in both the public and private sectors;

work to strengthen cooperation between the SAPS, municipal police and the population to raise the offensive against criminals to a higher level, including by assisting the SAPS on managing its administrative burden through the better use of ICT, community volunteers assisting at the police stations and members of the Youth Cadet Service;

speed up the process of integrating the criminal justice system as a whole, to improve cooperation among its components, increasing the effectiveness of each one of these as well as the system as a whole, including the introduction of community courts with flexible operating hours;

ensure the transformation of the judicial process to improve efficiency and effectiveness by freeing up the officers of the court to hear cases;

work with communities and NGOs at the local level to mobilise them to intensify the fight against many forms of crime, such as rape and violence against women and children, murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, which frequently occur among people who know one another;

consider legislation that will make it difficult to withdraw charges on violent crimes and specifically crimes against women and children;

establish specialised units to combat identified priority crimes and crime areas in each of the provinces, including crimes committed against women and children and to ensure investigators and prosecutors work jointly on solving these crimes;

further improve the effectiveness of the Moral Regeneration Movement to inspire the nation to act according to the value system we need, which encompasses opposition to crime;

strengthen the institutions within the criminal justice system dedicated to rooting out corruption among the functionaries within this system;

focusing on programs of rehabilitation and programs to prevent repeat offenders returning to prison;

work with organised business and their efforts to support the SAPS and our communities in the fight against crime; and,

consider the introduction of a mandatory life sentence to habitual repeat offenders who perpetrate serious and violent crimes;

adhere to international protocols that South Africa is a signatory to in order to increase our ability to fight crime in collaboration with the international community.


COPE is determined to ensure that our country plays its role as a force for progressive change for a stronger South Africa, better Africa and more humane world based on a human rights culture. In this regard a COPE government will seek to achieve the NEPAD objectives and be guided by, among others, the NEPAD Principles.

that good governance is a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socioeconomic development, that the development of Africa should be anchored on the continent's resources and resourcefulness of its people; it's essential to change the unequal relationship between Africa and the developed world and that all Partnerships with NEPAD should be linked to the Millennium Development Goals. We will therefore:

Develop a foreign policy firmly founded on the human and constitutional rights provisions of our Constitution, and advancing the national interests of South Africa and the development of Africa;

work with the SADC countries to expedite the process implementing the agreements already reached to progress regional integration, including addressing the challenges of poverty, peace, stability, democracy and human rights;

work with all the countries of our Continent to accelerate the processes towards the development and Unity of Africa, including addressing the challenges of poverty, peace, stability, democracy and human rights and to promote trade between African countries;

work globally with all like-minded countries to address such important global challenges as the reform of the United Nations and other institutions of global governance in the multilateral system, climate change, trans-national organised crime, and international terrorism;

take advantage of the current global economic crisis to promote the restructuring of the world economy to accelerate progress towards the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment especially in Africa and the countries of the South;

strengthen our bilateral relations with various countries in Africa, the South and the North to enhance our capacity to accelerate our development as well as realise our foreign policy objectives based on trade relations and respect for human rights. In this regard the relationship with

Brazil, India and China becomes paramount;

7ensure, by our actions, that the renewal of Africa through the implementation of NEPAD, remains the centre-piece of our foreign policy and that our country continues to enjoy the respect of the African masses throughout Africa and the African Diaspora; and work with fraternal parties for democracy, freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of association. We should be unequivocal in the condemnation of countries and human rights that violate human rights!

COPE is committed to the AU 50/50 gender parity resolution in all public structures.


The Congress of the People emerged out of a commitment to defend the constitution, protect our democracy and to promote the rule of law. A COPE government will therefore be the most committed to carrying out these tasks.

The Congress of the People was preceded by a national convention, with many South Africans taking part, symbolising the yearning to be involved in policy formulation, decision making, and the improvement of the lives of all South Africans. A COPE government is committed to ensuring continuous dialogue.

The Congress of the People emerged out of a desire to ensure that government is led by people with high moral standing, integrity, honesty and a commitment to serve the people. A COPE government is the most prepared to providing such leadership.

The response of women from all walks of life to the formation of the Congress of the People confirms the need to continue to ensure the promotion of gender equality, women's rights and economic emancipation. A COPE government is best placed to lead such a programme.

The response of all South Africans across the racial divide confirms the need to move with speed to ensure equality, non racialism and inclusiveness in the country's social, economic and body politic to heal the past and together forge a new South Africa. Only a COPE government can achieve such a historic mission.

Since the formation of the congress of the people, traditional leaders and the rural masses have thrown their weight behind COPE, confirming the need to work in partnership with a party that recognises the role of traditional leaders and the importance of aligning their system of governance to our democratic system of governance as well as their role in social and economic development programmes. A COPE government is the one that can most be trusted to carry out such a programme.

Communities of faith too have been at the forefront of the formation and promotion of the agenda to promote South African values that are progressive such as integrity, honesty and the rule of law, all of which are found in our faiths and religions in their diversity. A COPE government will represent a party which has, from the outset, considered these values as the core to its existence. It will therefore be best placed to carry forward these values.

We are inspired by the vision shared by all our people, black and white, of the sense of history as we get a new opportunity to build anew a people-centred, caring and inclusive and common South African nation. Building a South Africa in which we all, equally, have rights and responsibilities. A South Africa to whose development we have individual and collective responsibility, for the sake of our future generations.

COPE will therefore support the emerging unity of all South Africans, sharing a common patriotism, and committed to combining their efforts to build the South Africa of our dreams, with special focus on the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment and of ensuring greater prosperity.

COPE will work in a sustained manner to guarantee the dignity of all our people by intensifying the struggle against poverty, racism and sexism, for racial and gender equality and for respect for all.

COPE will work to ensure that we reduce the inequalities, including those relating to wealth, income and opportunity, which continue to characterize our society.

COPE will work towards the realisation of the goals of quality education and health for all, to reduce the disempowerment of the citizen by ignorance, and by the impact of such debilitating diseases as HIV and AIDS, TB, diabetes and other manifestations of communicable and chronic illness.

COPE will work to free our people from the twin scourges of crime and corruption.

COPE will actively promote the value system of Ubuntu/ Botho.

COPE will work to ensure full respect for our Constitution and the rule of law.

COPE will work to ensure clean government, free of corruption and nepotism, and a leadership that upholds high moral standards, committed to serve the people of South Africa.

Source: Congress of the People, January 24 2009