< Back

2004 National Elections Manifesto

A people's contract to create work and fight poverty

Message from the President

Throughout its 92 years of existence, the African National Congress has put the interests of all the people of South Africa at the top of its agenda.


Having united the overwhelming majority of South Africans in struggle, the possibility was created in 1994 for us to work together practically to construct a society that cares.

Democracy and equality before the law are entrenched in our constitution. Women, workers, youth, professionals, people with disabilities, traditional leaders, religious communities, business people and rural communities, all have the right to utilise opportunities that have come with freedom.

Our First Ten Years of Freedom have been ten years of growing unity in action; ten years of peace and stability; ten years of increasingly making resources in the hands of the state available to uplift disadvantaged South Africans; ten years of expanding opportunities to build a better life for all.

Non-racialism, non-sexism and programmes to prevent other forms of discrimination are at the centre of our values and our practical actions.

But we still have to reach the ideal of a society that truly cares.

We have, in these ten years, brought water and electricity to millions of households; built houses accommodating millions of South Africans; opened up access to quality education; removed discrimination in access to professions; turned the economy around to become more productive and globally competitive; and placed South Africa in a strategic position to deal with international affairs: with the globe now open to sports-persons, businesspeople, musicians, academics as well as political and social activists to partner humanity in building a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world.

The journey that we have thus far travelled gives us confidence that we shall reach our goal of a society that cares.

What should we work to achieve in the Second Decade of our Freedom?

We will intensify our efforts to provide services and opportunities such as water and sanitation, health, electricity, housing and education to those South Africans who still do not have them.

While expanding our economic base, we must ensure that the country's wealth, business opportunities, skills training and other opportunities are more equitably shared by all our people, irrespective of race, gender, disability and age differences.

We must radically reduce the levels of unemployment and poverty, by combining the resources of the public and private sectors and build an economy that benefits all.

We must improve the security of all South Africans, and make life more and more difficult for criminals as well as crooks in private companies and government structures who steal and cheat.

We must build a healthier nation with programmes to defeat malnutrition, TB, malaria and other diseases and turn the tide against HIV and AIDS.

We must intensify our efforts, hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters on the continent, to consolidate peace, security and development in Southern Africa, in Africa, in countries of the South and across the globe.

We must broaden access to the rights contained in our constitution, so that more and more South Africans - especially the poor, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities - can enjoy all the benefits of freedom.

Each one of us has a role to play in the fight to achieve a better life for all.

We have as South Africans made progress in building a caring society; and a caring society we have to become, by working together to turn our ideals into practical reality.

This we can and shall do, as a united nation, bound together in a People's Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty.

In this Manifesto, the African National Congress presents the plans that will take us to our shared goals.

I call on you to vote for the ANC, so that together we can do more to achieve a Better Life for All.

Thabo Mbeki

President

Celebrating Freedom

On 27 April 2004 we celebrate Ten Years of Freedom and Democracy, Ten Years of Peace and Progress. We celebrate a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it.


In this period, we shall go out as citizens to elect government at national and provincial levels. For the third time as free South Africans, we shall cast our votes as equals - confirming our freedom and giving it meaning.


The change that happened 10 years ago was a result of struggle and sacrifice. Led by the African National Congress (ANC), it was change that created an opportunity for us to chart our future together.


Over the past ten years, after centuries of colonialism and apartheid, a new era has dawned for South Africa.


It is an era in which we have together laid the foundation for a better life. It is an era in which we have started implementing programmes to secure a better life for all. As we gained experience and strengthened our country's unity, this has become an era in which we have started speeding up change.


The foundation is solid. Many experiences have been gained and many lessons learnt. We can now do more, united in A People's Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty.

Celebrating South Africa

Today, South Africa is a democratic country with a government based on the will of all the people. It has among the best Constitutions in the world, ensuring human rights and dignity to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion and language. All are equal before the law; the rights of women are recognised and are increasingly finding expression in real life; and the same applies to the rights of persons with disabilities.

Today, South Africa has a growing economy, managed with skill by the ANC government. We have economic links with almost all countries across the globe, and there are no apartheid restrictions on professions, the right to do business or the right to education and skills.

Today, South Africa has a caring government, with housing programmes for the poor; with social security grants for pensioners, young children, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups; with programmes to redistribute land; with quality education open to all and other new opportunities for the youth; with clinics being built close to where people live; with households being connected to water and electricity; with more people having access to telecommunications; and with laws to deal with the cancer of racism.

Today, South Africa is a country with a justice system that serves the people, guided by the Constitution and laws which are intended to prevent abuse. Police and other agencies, working with communities, are able to prevent or stop any political violence, taxi violence and terrorism. More and more, we are turning the tide against crime and corruption.

Today, South Africa is a partner among countries of Africa, working together to bring peace and development to our continent. With other countries and peoples of the world, we pursue peace, development and international relations that benefit all.

Actual progress gives us real hope for the future

Social services to the people have improved

  • Children in all parts of the country have access to better education with more than 95% enrolled in primary schools, with school feeding  schemes in poor areas, financial assistance to those in need in universities and technikons, thousands of new classes built and new syllabus content introduced.
  • In 1994, social grants totaling R10-billion were distributed to 2,6-million recipients and they were based on race. Today government equitably distributes R34-billion in social grants to more than 7-million beneficiaries: the aged, young children in poor households, people with disabilities and others.
  • Since 1994, R50-billion has been transferred to the poor: through subsidised  new houses accommodating 6-million people; through transfer of deeds in houses that people have occupied in townships; and through land reform  and restitution.
  • Today more than 70% of households have access to electricity, compared  to 30% in 1996. From 60% in 1996, today more than 80% of households  have access to clean running water.
  • Hundreds of clinics have been constructed closer to where people live, providing primary health care; together we are fighting TB, HIV and AIDS, malaria and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension and with HIV and AIDS in particular, government  expenditure has increased a hundred-times, from R34-million to over R3,6-billion, to implement a comprehensive and holistic strategy.

The economy has never been better managed

  • Government is running a low debt and is therefore able to introduce real increases in spending on health, education, housing, social grants and other services.
  • Before 1994, economic growth had ground to a halt. Since then, our economy has grown by 2,8% a year. It has become more competitive, with increasing volume, diversity and destinations of exports, and it has created 2 million net new jobs between 1996 and 2003.
  • Workers' rights are protected, the trade union movement is playing an important role in society, and employers and workers are increasingly finding better ways of resolving problems as industrial relations improve. Vulnerable workers such as domestic workers and farm workers have been given greater protection.
  • More and more black people are becoming professionals, managers and technicians; laws have been put in place and funds made available for black people to own businesses as one aspect of Black Economic Empowerment.

More and more success in dealing with crime and corruption

  • The police, prosecution, the intelligence services and the justice system have been transformed to represent and to serve society as a whole; and they are increasingly working in partnership with communities in carrying out their duties.
  • Since 1994 the rate of murder has been reduced by 30%; vehicle hijacking by 33%; and since 1996 bank-related robbery has been reduced by 52%. With the improvement in visible policing, it is becoming clearer to criminals and their syndicates that there is no place to hide.
  • Efforts to improve the functioning of the justice system, including transformation of the judiciary, improvement of management of the courts and the setting up of a new prosecution system, have seen improvements in the conviction rate, case preparation time and a lower number of cases on the court rolls ready for prosecution.
  • Special courts have been set up to deal with cases of women and child abuse and with white-collar crime; Saturday courts and other measures have been introduced to speed up the justice system.
  • Systems have been put in place to expose and punish corruption both in government and in the private sector; 80% of corruption cases in government reported in the media are actually first uncovered by government itself. In the private sector, laws have been introduced to prevent corruption being swept under the carpet.

Learning from experience: We can do more, better

Our Constitution and laws guarantee equal rights for all South Africans. But discrimination and abuse continue - and they need to be firmly dealt with -in some workplaces including farms, in some schools and in social activities; and the dignity of sustainable livelihoods eludes many families.

The economy has created 2-million net new jobs since 1995. But the number of people seeking work has sharply increased; many workers have lost their jobs; and many have been negatively affected by casualisation and outsourcing. As a result many, many South Africans do not have jobs or decent self-employment; poverty is still a reality for millions as many do not have appropriate skills, while many cannot get credit to start or improve their own businesses.

The programme to provide housing, electricity, water and health care has been expanded to more South Africans. Free basic services like water and electricity are starting to be provided. Free health care is provided to mothers, children under 6 years of age and people with disabilities. But the quality of these services needs to be improved; and we need to create more jobs so that people can use these services more effectively and in a sustainable manner.

The police, justice and other security agencies have been changed to serve all South Africans, and they are making progress against crime. But too many attacks occur against citizens; abuse of women and children is too high; and violence against individuals remains a problem.

Women have attained the right to equality, and more and more women are found in leadership structures; land, health and housing programmes have favoured female-headed households. But discrimination and abuse still take place, and women are found in very large numbers among the poorest sections in our society.

Young people have benefited from the environment and programmes of freedom: from the improvements in the education system; from the outlawing of discrimination in access to professions; from the opening up of opportunities in sport and culture and from the provision of electricity, water and other services to millions of households. But too many young people are unemployed, and millions of them come from poor households.

South Africa has become a full and active member of the global family of nations. We have built relations with most countries and our voice is heard across the globe. But Africa remains the least developed and most marginalised continent.

Yes, we have made massive progress. However much, much more still needs to be done. At the heart of our challenges are two linked concerns - we must create work and roll back poverty. These two core objectives are the major focus of our programmes for the Second Decade of Freedom. To achieve this we need stronger partnership among all South Africans, A People's Contract for a Better South Africa.

Why a people's contract?

Many of the things that need to be done, such as:

  • Job-creation and increased investment, broad-based Black Economic Empowerment and skills development;
  • The fight against HIV and AIDS, TB, malaria, diabetes, hypertension, malnutrition and other illnesses;
  • The fight against crime and corruption;
  • The promotion of our country abroad, cannot be carried out by government acting alone.

Government can promote the values of the Constitution and create laws to protect citizens' rights. It can call for respect and better treatment of people by civil servants. But individual citizens, communities, trade unions and other organisations need to help monitor and report violation of rights. We need as citizens to claim our rights and demand better treatment in government offices.

Government can create an environment for higher rates of investment. It can create some employment in the public service and public works programmes; and it can encourage labour-intensive methods in parts of the economy. But long-term employment depends largely on higher rates of private investment; it depends on strategies for growth in key sectors of the economy; it depends on joint skills development and learnerships in both the public and private sectors to provide work experience.

Government can provide more households with electricity and water; it can provide resources and introduce quality health care as well as comprehensive plans to fight HIV and AIDS; improve school infrastructure and put aside money for social grants. But for all these programmes to succeed requires public servants who serve the people with respect and efficiency, and active citizenship and a spirit of responsibility and volunteerism amongst all of us.

Government can change the structures and culture of the police, intelligence agencies, prosecution authorities and the judiciary. It can improve visible policing, conduct raids to ferret out criminals, and deal with corruption in government and businesses. But for police to know who the criminals are and where they hide, for police to know about women and child abuse which takes place in homes and communities, for police to make crime unprofitable - for all this and more, we need community participation, as citizens to co-operate with the police, provide information and refuse to buy stolen goods.

Government can build diplomatic relations and sign trade and investment agreements with other countries. It can do all that is possible to attract investment and promote the image of the country. But it requires the co-operation of business, workers and all South Africans to take advantage of these opportunities, to promote the country's image, and to provide good service to investors, tourists and others.

This is the contract that we should all enter into as South Africans - each of us with one another; government and each citizen, community and sector of society - together to build a better South Africa.

The ANC commits itself, working within communities and within government, to play its part in forging this People's Contract for a Better South Africa, inspired by its commitment to democratic consultation, mass participation and volunteerism, Moral Regeneration as well as people-centred and people-driven development.

Vision 2014 - Forward to the second decade of freedom

Guided by the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), our vision is to build a society that is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic. Central to this is a single and integrated economy that benefits all.

The combination of some of the most important targets and objectives making up Vision 2014 are as follows:

  • Reduce unemployment by half through new jobs, skills development,
    assistance to small businesses, opportunities for self-employment and
    sustainable community livelihoods.
  • Reduce poverty by half through economic development, comprehensive social
    security, land reform and improved household and community assets.
  • Provide the skills required by the economy, build capacity and provide
    resources across society to encourage self-employment with an education
    system that is geared for productive work, good citizenship and a caring
    society.
  • Ensure that all South Africans, including especially the poor and those at
    risk - children, youth, women, the aged, and people with disabilities - are
    fully able to exercise their constitutional rights and enjoy the full
    dignity of freedom.
  • Compassionate government service to the people; national, provincial and
    local public representatives who are accessible; and citizens who know their
    rights and insist on fair treatment and efficient service.
  • Massively reduce cases of TB, diabetes, malnutrition and maternal deaths,
    and turn the tide against HIV and AIDS, and, working with the rest of
    Southern Africa, strive to eliminate malaria, and improve services to
    achieve a better national health profile and reduction of preventable causes
    of death, including violent crime and road accidents.
  • Significantly reduce the number of serious and priority crimes as well as
    cases awaiting trial, with a society that actively challenges crime and
    corruption, and with programmes that also address the social roots of
    criminality.
  • Position South Africa strategically as an effective force in global
    relations, with vibrant and balanced trade and other relations with
    countries of the South and the North, and in an Africa that is growing,
    prospering and benefiting all Africans, especially the poor.

The next five years: The practical steps

What should we do, together, in the next five years, practically to meet these objectives of creating work, fighting poverty and promoting equality? The ANC government will pay particular attention to the following programmes:


A Growing Economy

  • Ensure low interest and low inflation rates, as well as low government debt so that more resources are spent on attacking poverty, building economic infrastructure and creating work opportunities.
  • Through government and state-owned enterprises, invest more than R100-billion in improving roads, rail and air transport as well as telecommunications and energy; encourage more investment in key economic sectors such as manufacturing, information and communications technology, mining, and business services - this will further enhance our economy's competitiveness.
  • Spend over R15-billion to facilitate broad-based Black Economic Empowerment which also benefits communities - including youth, women and people with disabilities - as well as workers and small businesses.
  • Take more and more young people through learnerships so they can gain skills and work experience in order for them to access jobs; and intervene to ensure proper functioning of skills development authorities.
  • Encourage the use of labour-intensive methods in sectors of the economy which lend themselves to this form of operation, including through the government procurement system.
  • Conduct research into the full impact of casualisation of labour and outsourcing, and devise ways of dealing with their negative impact on workers and the economy as a whole.

Sustainable Livelihoods

  • Create 1 million job opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme.
  • Ensure that those who wish to start and sustain their small businesses, including youth and women, have access to credit, through dedicated funding to support micro-loan financing, through further reforms to existing support agencies and through changes being introduced in the financial system and institutions.
  • Intensify assistance to youth agencies such as the Umsobomvu Youth Fund to provide skills training for employment and self-employment, ensure implementation of the National Youth Service and help unemployed graduates to get work skills.
  • Complete the land restitution programme and speed up land reform, with 30% of agricultural land redistributed by 2014, combined with comprehensive assistance to emergent farmers.
  • Ensure involvement of communities in local economic development initiatives to provide work, build community infrastructure and ensure access to local opportunities, and encourage the emergence of co-operatives.
  • Intensify efforts aimed at building a spirit of community, good citizenship, social activism, moral regeneration and solidarity at the local level.

Access to services

  • Speed up programmes to provide water and sanitation, electricity and telephone services to those who are not yet connected.
  • Build more subsidised housing and introduce medium density housing closer to places of work; and provide those who have as yet not received such housing with serviced stands for more decent living.
  • Improve services in health facilities staffed by adequate well-trained and caring staff, with new funds added to the budget to recruit and retain health personnel, improve infrastructure, enhance health promotion and nutrition, promote awareness on, and provide comprehensive care, management and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
  • Ensure that all children have decent classrooms, further reduce the teacher/pupil ratio, improve spending in favour of children and students from poor households, and expand the school nutrition programme.
  • Realise Batho Pele principles and improve services in government offices, through electronic means and by working with citizens to monitor those who work in these offices.

Comprehensive Social Security

  • Ensure that all who are eligible for social grants, including poor children up to 14 years of age, receive these grants which increase at least at the rate of inflation.
  • Improve the functioning of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and ensure that it covers as many workers as practicable.
  • Introduce a national health insurance system so that all citizens are covered by both the public and private health system which they can afford.
  • Speed up the programme to provide free basic water and electricity so that each family is ensured a basic minimum of these services.
  • Speed up the extension of free health services to persons with disabilities.

Crime and Corruption

  • Deploy more than 150 000 police in active duty, with more visible policing, better training, better management as well as community liaison at police station level.
  • Strengthen the prosecution system and the Scorpions, improve co-ordination among all law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and set up additional special courts especially to deal with abuse of women and children and commercial crimes.
  • Improve protection of borders to stem illegal migration, massively reduce cross-border crime, including meeting our obligation to South Africans and humanity in the fight against terrorism and to protect our marine resources.
  • Ensure efficient functioning of all anti-corruption structures and systems including whistle-blowing, blacklisting of corrupt companies, implementation of laws to ensure exposure of, and action against, private sector corruption, and quicker processes to deal with any corrupt civil servants and public officials.

Constitutional rights and governance

  • Improve interaction between government and the people through accountable public representatives, one-stop government centres, izimbizo and the use of electronic government services.
  • Ensure better co-operation among national, provincial and local governments with integrated planning and monitoring of implementation, and a common system of public service.
  • Ensure quicker and more effective intervention in local government and other spheres of government where there are problems in implementing programmes agreed upon.
  • Fully integrate the institution of traditional leadership into democratic governance and development.
  • Improve access to government information so that citizens are aware of their rights and take advantage of opportunities provided by democracy, and ensure progressive realisation of rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Strengthen all institutions of democracy, including the legislatures and bodies such as the Constitutional Court, Human Rights Commission, Auditor-General and the Public Protector so as to improve citizens' exercise of their rights.

Africa and the world

  • Working with others, speed up economic integration in Southern Africa and strengthen democracy, peace, stability as well as economic growth and development; and in particular, devote time and resources to assist in social normalisation and economic reconstruction in Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Swaziland.
  • Ensure realisation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), including the setting up of the Pan African Parliament and other institutions and systems, as well as co-operation with civil society, to promote development, prevent conflicts and ensure the rapid resolution of such conflicts when they occur.
  • Improve co-operation among countries of the South, in terms of economic relations, socio-political programmes and efforts to ensure peace and equitable global relations.
  • Strengthen economic and other relations with industrialised countries, including inward investment and tourism, trade and transfer of skills and technology.
  • Promote a collective multilateral approach to global challenges, and work for the democratisation of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other global institutions, and ensure that development and environmental goals of humanity are pursued and met.

The next five years: How will this be done?

Vision 2014, and the practical steps over the next five years to see to its realisation, are the measures that can and will set our country on the road to faster realisation of the ideals of our Constitution - a free South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it, a South Africa whose wealth is used to improve the quality of life of all citizens and a South Africa that works with humanity to build a better Africa and a better world.

But how will this be done? How do we ensure that these objectives are met?

  • We will strengthen co-operation among economic partners - government, business, trade unions and community organisations - to implement agreements of the Growth and Development Summit which are aimed at creating work and fighting poverty.
  • We will forge stronger partnerships across all sectors to deal with the challenges of distributing social grants, fighting crime and corruption, improving our common efforts against TB, malaria, HIV and AIDS as well as other diseases.
  • We will improve the system of monitoring and evaluation to improve implementation of all these programmes, through stronger monitoring and evaluation units at national, provincial and local levels, and we will ensure that municipal councils - which are closer to communities - meet their mandates.
  • We will speed up economic development in rural and urban areas with economic potential, improve skills and access to services especially among women and youth in all parts of the country and intensify the rural development and urban renewal programmes.
  • We will recruit more police and provide them with skills to more than match the criminals and their syndicates, and we will make life more and more difficult for those who amass wealth through corrupt means.
  • We will strengthen South Africa's Early Warning Mechanism on Africa and dedicate more resources to ensure that we contribute more effectively to the efforts on our continent to prevent and urgently resolve conflict.

Confidence in the future

Over the past ten years, working together, we have built South Africa into a land of peace and harmony, a land of expanding opportunities. We have built a stable and growing economy. We have created the possibility to release more and more resources for social and economic services, while building a modern and competitive economy.

As we enter the Second Decade of Freedom, at the core of the challenges we face is the task to speed up the creation of work and further to strengthen the fight against poverty.

Our goal is to create a South Africa in which all can experience an improving quality of life, enjoying equal human rights, with access to opportunities that freedom has brought us, and bound together as a nation by our humanity.

The ANC speaks with confidence because it has been at the head of this national effort to change our country for the better. We know that together with you we can do more, better. We commit ourselves to do everything that is necessary and possible to meet these objectives.

Working with you in a People's Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty, we are confident of success.

Together we can and we will do more, better!

A better life for all!