< Back

1999 National Elections Manifesto - Together, in every Sector, fighting for Change


Five years of freedom
have brought new rights, new possibilities and new opportunities for every sector of our
society - for the young and the aged, for professionals and rural people, for workers and
employers. The ANC has the policies in place for us to build a better life together. We
remain committed to the policies which are contained in the Reconstruction and Development
Programme. The next 5 years will therefore reflect continuity in our policy direction.

But the Government and each
sector of our population have to do more and do it better so that we can all quicken the
pace of change. How do we consolidate these policies, and what challenges face each of the
sectors?


A Better Life For Women

For the first time ever, the rights of women have been guaranteed by law. Government
institutions such as the Gender Commission have been established to continue the fight for
the all-round emancipation of women. Our programmes have resulted in a sharp increase in
the numbers of women who occupy decision-making positions in all spheres of society.

  • Pregnant mothers have been given access to free health services
  • Rural infrastructure is being improved to free women from back-breaking
    chores
  • The public housing programme and the transformation of hostels
    into family dwellings are beginning to foster safe environments in which to bring up
    families.

Increasingly, women themselves are playing a leading role in their own liberation as
part of the overall transformation of our country.


A Better Life For The Youth

  • Government institutions such as the Youth Commission have been established for advancing
    youth interests, with youth themselves serving on them
  • The transformation of education includes: youth participation in the
    governance of educational institutions, and funding programmes to ensure opportunities for
    youth disadvantaged by poverty
  • Job creation programmes, including public works initiatives and the
    Umsobomvu Fund, focus on youth
  • Special measures have been introduced to rescue young offenders, caught up in
    crime
    in early years, from becoming habitual criminals
  • More than any other sector, the youth of our country are threatened by the spread of HIV/AIDS.
    We have introduced a major campaign focused on youth to increase awareness and to foster
    responsible and informed life-styles among the young people of our country.

Together, let us advance the National Youth Service programme, and let us build a
vibrant youth culture of solidarity, service and patriotism.


A Better Life For Workers

The ANC believes workers are entitled to a fair share of the wealth they produce. No
longer should they be treated as objects of exploitation, to be discarded when years of
labour have sapped their strength.

Over the last 5 years, in the face of opposition, the ANC has among other things
ensured:

  • Through the Constitution and such laws as the Labour Relations, Basic Conditions of
    Employment, Employment Equity and Skills Development Acts, that workers have been
    guaranteed constitutional and legal rights to organise and defend their
    interests; to strike; to acquire skills and to take part in decision-making at the
    work-place
  • Organised workers are able to take part in the formulation of national policy
    through the National Economic, Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and other forums
  • New laws have been introduced to guarantee decent working conditions,
    the prohibition of child labour, and an end to all kinds of discrimination at the
    workplace
  • Measures have been introduced to assist workers when they lose their jobs and to protect
    them against exploitation as casual or temporary workers; and, even more critically, new
    programmes have been put in place to urgently and radically reduce unemployment
    and retrenchments
  • Steps have been taken to put in place greater control by workers over their
    savings
    accumulated in pension and provident funds
  • In the public sector, radical measures have been adopted to reduce the apartheid
    wage gap
    .

To strengthen their voice, workers need to join and consolidate their trade unions, and
unite across race and other barriers. Their organisations must improve the capacity to
formulate and influence policy. More of the savings that workers command should be
invested in job-creation projects and in the improvement of social services. In their
mobilising activity, workers should maintain the tradition of disciplined struggle. 


A Better Life For Business People

The ANC recognises that South Africa`s business people are critical partners in the
development of our country. Over the last 5 years we have, amongst many things:

  • Removed apartheid barriers hampering economic growth and development,
    and introduced better conditions for investment
  • Given organised business the possibility to co-determine socio-economic policies,
    by participating in the National Economic Development and Labour Council, and numerous
    other sectoral forums
  • Reduced conflict in the work-place by implementing an effective labour relations
    system
  • Increased government assistance to business people to participate in the African
    and world economy
  • Created conditions for the participation of black people and women in
    the economy as entrepreneurs and owners of wealth, and encouraged the growth of small and
    medium business.

But sustained economic growth and opportunity require commitment from the business
community as well. They need to invest more in productive and job-creating
enterprises
; and the financial sector should extend more credit to small
and medium enterprises
. This requires a commitment to the RDP vision
that sustainable growth, productivity and competitiveness are inextricably linked to
infrastructural development, job creation and the advance of skills and training.
Business-people also need to actively counter negative tendencies -
corruption, tax evasion, and anti-South African pessimism.


A Better Life For Rural People

The ANC has ended the practice of using the countryside as a dumping ground where rural
people are subjected to poverty and abuse, denied their citizenship and dignity.

  • The ANC has made great strides in providing clean water, electricity,
    telephones, better rural roads, new classrooms and sports and recreation facilities
    .
    In this process, thousands of jobs were created, including for women and
    young people
  • We have changed radically the legal conditions of farm-workers,
    including working conditions and security of tenure
  • Progress has been made in changing the imbalance in the ownership of land,
    through land restitution and redistribution, schemes of co-ownership of farms, right of
    ownership of communal land, and opening doors for black commercial farmers
  • Opportunities have been increased for white commercial farmers to
    become more efficient and to enter international markets.

The challenge is to speed up these programmes. And this requires, among others, that
rural communities work together to utilise new opportunities, to protect
projects and new facilities, to call their Councillors and other representatives to
account, and to join local government in identifying priorities in our communities.


A Better life for Traditional Leaders

  • Liberation has established the possibility to restore the dignity of
    traditional leaders, to give meaning to the principle that they are leaders
    because of the people
  • New national and provincial houses of traditional leaders make it
    possible for traditional leaders to help determine provincial and national policy.

The challenge before all of us is to continue redefining the role of traditional
leaders in a democratic and developing society, to ensure that they play their role in partnership
with elected institutions
, for the development of communities. We call on
traditional leaders, our indigenous symbols of continuity, to be active
participants
in the fostering of the progressive and humanist elements of African
culture and traditions. 


A Better Life For Children

  • For the first time, the rights of all our children have been guaranteed
    by law
  • Free access to health facilities for the very young have been provided,
    and infant mortality has been reduced
  • A comprehensive immunisation programme, and a feeding scheme
    to counter malnutrition in schools have been introduced
  • The child grant has been extended to African children
  • Special attention is being given to the problem of street
    children
    .

Today, all of our children can grow up together, no longer separated by apartheid`s
walls. Together, let us ensure that these advances are consolidated.


A Better Life For The Aged

Freedom has restored the dignity of senior citizens, and accorded them the respect they
deserve. No longer should they be humiliated in the land of their birth. The ANC is
implementing programmes which address the plight of the aged, particularly in poor
communities:

  • The extension of equal old aged pension grants to all old people,
    removing the racial discrimination of the past, and improvements in the system of
    payment
    have been introduced
  • Public health care has massively improved the lives of the aged -
    through the building of clinics in remote areas and special health care projects like free
    cataract operations and distribution of wheelchairs.
  • Programmes have been introduced to de-racialise old age homes, and to reintegrate
    care of old people into communities
    .

With the special focus in this International Year of the Aged and into
the future, we all need to pay increased attention to how the aged can play an even
greater role in the life of the nation. It is critical that the aged themselves form, and
improve the operations of, their organisations to give guidance on this
and other matters. 


A Better Life For Professionals

Freedom has opened up many opportunities for South Africa`s professionals, NGO`s,
cultural workers and sports-people. Through policies of empowerment and consistent
non-racialism, the ANC has:

  • Made it possible for every professionally qualified person to rise to higher
    levels
    , to exercise their creativity, and to contribute to the development of the
    country; access to universities and technikons has improved, and a new
    qualification framework
    has been introduced
  • Ensured that all professionals without discrimination are able to participate in the
    formulation of government policy
    , and in working with their peers to build
    a better world
  • Made sure that sports-people have access to improved amenities and to
    opportunities previously denied the majority. Today they can compete with the best in the
    world
  • Opened up the world to our artists, and broadened access to
    opportunities which allow creativity free reign
  • Opened up the airwaves and created conditions for media workers
    to undertake their work without restrictions.

But it is critical for professionals to continually improve their work,
to systematically contribute to the programmes aimed at uplifting conditions of the poor,
and to join hands with their peers in Africa to assist in the continent`s renewal.
Students face the challenge to use the new opportunities with responsibility. In the
professions, in sport, in the arts and music, we should improve our organisations,
ensure better management of resources; and ensure that we reflect, in its rich diversity,
our nation`s effort to build a better life. 


A Better Life for the Disabled

  • For the first time ever, the rights of the disabled have been
    guaranteed by law
  • A comprehensive government programme has been adopted for the empowerment of the
    disabled; and legislation now prohibits discrimination at the workplace
  • Today, the disabled themselves serve actively on government bodies to
    promote the interests of the disabled. The ANC has made provision on our election
    candidates
    lists for representation of the disabled in our country`s legislative
    bodies.

Together, let us continue to fight for a life of dignity and fulfilment for all.


With Communities Of Faith - For A Better Life For All

  • For the first time ever, all faiths receive equal recognition and treatment.
    The new South Africa that we are building together is founded upon the moral
    principles
    of equality, solidarity and the right to dignity for all
  • The ANC`s Reconstruction and Development Programme represents a fundamental policy choice
    for the poor
    and historically downtrodden, a choice that most communities
    of faith have themselves made.

The struggle to build a better future for all requires, not just material
transformation, but an RDP of the Soul. The ANC calls upon all
communities of faith, to be active partners in shaping our moral vision,
and in fostering the moral renewal of our society.

To protect the freedoms that we have won, and to make progress in the fight for a
better life requires that all sectors join hands behind a common national vision for the
coming years.

What is this vision?