According to a statement made by the African National Congress’s (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe earlier this week, South Africans should expect very little to change regarding the party’s objectives at its manifesto publication this weekend.
Following a gathering of the ANC’s leaders in Nelspruit earlier this week, Mantashe reported that the manifesto will not surprise those who are familiar with the party, also adding that employment and the economy are still most likely to be among the party’s top priorities.
“It is a continuation of the work we have been doing,” Mantashe told the media on Tuesday, “We are going to build on the five priority areas we selected in 2009, we will put emphasis more on the areas where there have been difficulty [and] I would imagine that jobs and the economy would be a major focus.” he continued after a brief interaction with the national executive committee (NEC).
He reported the ANC is currently perfecting its January 8 statement which will give the nation foresight of the party’s goals and activities for the year 2014 although the manifesto was finalised on Tuesday.
Cyril Ramaphosa – the ANC’s deputy president – according to the Mail & Guardian newspaper, is said to have created a report based on information gathered by the party’s task team. The report was conducted in hopes of aiding the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in finding means to ending the conflict within the ANC’s alliances.
The NEC meetings held in Mpumalanga, which lasted two days, were finalised on Tuesday. Nelspruit saw a large influx of ANC leaders and government officials as the ruling party designs and lays procedures for the next 12 months and the crucial general elections. Part of the meeting involved e-tolls and their effect on the elections and discussions of the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa’s (NUMSA) revolt against the ruling party.
ANC leaders and many cabinet ministers are expected to spend most of the next few days within Mpumalanga before this weekend’s reveal of the manifesto at the province’s Mbombela Stadium. It will be President Jacob Zuma’s first return to the venue since he was booed in front of international eyes during the late Nelson Mandela’s memorial.
The country’s ruling party is currently under pressure to regain the support which was presumed to be lost following the booing incident, while simultaneously trying to resolove internal conflicts and the loss of its large ally, NUMSA before the beginning of the national elections.
However, Mantashe relayed that the ANC is not fazed by NUMSA’s revolt by downplaying the union’s contribution to the party.
“The only thing they will be withholding is their money,” he said on Tuesday. “I was trying to think back: how much has NUMSA given us in the last election?” he said amused, “But it’s symbolic for them to have that pronouncement that the union will not give money to the ANC.”
Mantashe also told media that the ANC expects the Zuma-led January 8 statements and manifesto revelation to be packed to capacity and said the party’s only cause for concern would be if the events proved otherwise.
“We are expecting the stadium to be full and overflowing. The ANC fills a stadium and if it is not full there will be something wrong.”