11 January 2014

South Africa: ANC's 2014 Manifesto - Promises, Dreams, Realities

Photo: GCIS
Zuma visits Lonmin miners (file photo).


Election manifestos are promises; in many elections, the party with the best promises wins. But there's a caveat: those promises and aspirations should somehow be connected with reality. In South African context, no-one should promise a tender for every home, and get away with it.

But you can certainly make people hope and dream. And then get them to vote for you. The ANC's 2014 election manifesto as an interesting mix of all of this, with plenty of spice to make the recipe more appetising.

For all the criticism the ANC receives, one thing has remained remarkably constant. Its internal party documents, particularly about policy, are usually quite honest. There's often a measure of self-criticism, which many other parties around the world would shy away from, particularly in public.

But if you were to expect some more of that as President Jacob Zuma delivered the ANC's annual January 8th Statement, you'd be mistaken. This is, after all, an election year. And this set-piece speech was doubling as the release of the ANC's election manifesto. In the past, Zuma hasn't really done too well at these things. Sometimes the stadium hasn't been entirely full, or the audience hasn't...

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