JOHANNESBURG – Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has reacted to the African National Congress (ANC)’s election manifesto launch in Durban on Saturday, saying President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech was full of “more empty promises” made by previous ANC leaders.
In his keynote address at a packed Moses Mabhida stadium, Ramaphosa undertook that the ANC will focus on economic growth, job creation and a skills revolution for the youth.
However, Maimane said the ANC manifesto launch confirmed to South Africans that the governing party has not changed, and Ramaphosa cannot deliver on the urgent changes the country needs.
"Most of what he promised has already been promised over and over again by previous Presidents and have never been delivered on.
"Ramaphosa showed no sense of urgency. All of his solutions are long term and slow, when South Africa needs urgent change now," Maimane said in a statement on Saturday.
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The DA leader also criticised the president over his party’s promise to implement reforms in economic sectors that have the greatest potential to grow and create jobs.
Ramaphosa said the ANC-led government will come up with interventions to lower the cost of doing business in the country, increase productivity and improve competitiveness, but Maimane said these were “pointless words on job creation”.
“Nothing shows this more than his empty, pointless words on job creation. Ramaphosa promises 275 000 new jobs a year, but in his first year in the Presidency, South Africa lost 278 000 jobs. He lost more jobs in his first year in office than he is now promising to create. This shows how meaningless this promise is.
“Even if he achieves this target, it will take 35 years to defeat unemployment (and that is without future population growth). Unemployed people don’t have 35 years to wait,” he said.
Maimane also took a swipe at the ANC over the presence of former President Jacob Zuma at the manifesto launch, saying Ramaphosa had no plan on how to tackle corruption urgently.
“What is clear is that President Ramaphosa is Mr Delay rather than Mr Deliver, as he hides his inability to take action on any issue behind endless talk shops and summits. He is simply not able to make a clean break from the corrupt ANC that brought our country to the brink of a failed state.
"But more crucially, he cannot introduce the bold reform our economy needs to create jobs and access to opportunity,” Maimane said.
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