Zuma launches Manifesto to half-packed NMB stadium


President Jacob Zuma has said the African National Congress (ANC) would intensify its commitment to local governance as it aims to make “people the centre government”.

Delivering his keynote speech at the party’s local government election Manifesto launch at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, Zuma admitted that the ANC had been concerned of the manner in which certain councillors were previously chosen, but that it would implement serious steps against individuals failing to adhere to party principles.

“In the next five years, we will ensure that all ANC councillors abide the ANC code of conduct. The ANC will prevent municipal officials and councillors and their immediate family members from doing business with municipalities,” Zuma said.

“The ANC will ensure the implementation of recommendations emanating from forensic investigations conducted in municipalities. The ANC will hold corrupt municipal officials and councillors liable for the losses incurred by the municipality as a result of their corrupt actions”.

He stated that the carrying out of anti-corruption programmes since 2009 had resulted in the recovery of R9-billion with a total of 234 government officials being arrested, tried and found guilty of corruption since 2014.

Zuma said the party would also purse urgent action against companies found guilty of pricing fixing and corruption in procurement deals, adding that while the country’s economy is experiencing a slowdown in growth, “the ANC has a concreate plan to create jobs”.

“Our municipalities, guided by the National Development Plan (NDP), will place job creation and sustainable livelihoods at the centre of their local economic growth. [In addition], the nine-point plant is being implemented by the ANC to aid growth in various sectors such as mining, information and technology, tourism and the oceans economy”.

Turning his attention to education, Zuma emphasised that proper tuition remains an “apex priority for the ANC” and that it would continue to promote community ownership of public education institutions” going forward.

“Student loans are now being converted into bursaries for qualifying final year students, and students in further education and training colleges, who qualify for financial aid, are now exempted from paying fees,” he said.

The launch has however attracted criticism from supporters and on social media, with proceedings falling behind way behind schedule and many opting to leave midway through the President’s speech.

Prior to Zuma’s address, ANC National Executive Committee Chairperson, and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, announced that more than 42 000 people had gathered inside the stadium, contradicting ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe remarks on Thursday, that over 100 000 people would occupy the 46 000 seat venue.