The ANC has taken the time to remind South Africans of what it has done for them since democracy’s inception.
At what was supposed to be a review of its 2019 election programme, the party emphasised its 30 years of governance, reminding South Africans of social welfare distribution, enormous electrification, access to education and healthcare, and job creation under its watch.
The ANC reminded citizens on Sunday how their lives had improved during its control, from spending billions on social grants and dramatically increasing the number of recipients to building millions of free houses.
Before an expected challenging election, the ANC reviewed its commitments on service performance since coming to office.
The party clearly believes it has done quite well despite the negative sentiments reverberating across the country.
“The South Africa we live in today is very different from the South Africa we all lived in in 1994, everybody agrees. Those who don’t see this are blind, those who can’t hear this don’t have ears, and those who don’t speak about it don’t have mouths, and it so happens that their tongues have been cut off,” said party president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday in Dobsonville, Soweto.
“In 1994, only six out of 10 South Africans had access to clean drinking water. Today, that figure has increased to nearly nine out of 10 South Africans.”
He stated that the ANC government had built over 1,700 new clinics and 56 hospitals since 1994, resulting in public health facilities being the primary point of call for seven out of ten households when someone becomes unwell. South Africa also offers the world’s largest HIV treatment programme.
“Our health system, however, remains unequal, and that is why we committed to a National Health Insurance, to ensure fair allocation of resources so as to achieve universal quality healthcare for all,” he said.
The school feeding scheme where over 9-million pupils are fed along with 15 years of compulsory education for the poor have seen, according to Ramaphosa, a “near-100% attendance by South African children” at schools “until at least the age of 15”.
“We have also introduced grade R and support for early childhood care, to give all children a better chance to reach their potential. Through a vibrant and diverse post-school education and training system, and by nearly tripling the allocations to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) from R15bn in 2017 to over R40bn this year, the foundations for a skills revolution have been laid,” he said.
The ANC government has also raised the number of people receiving social subsidies from three million in 1994 to eighteen million in 2018, helping children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, he added.
To further protect South Africans from the Covid-19 pandemic, Ramaphosa reminded residents that his government implemented the R350 social relief of distress grant for the unemployed, which will continue to benefit 8.4 million people until 2024, laying the groundwork for the proposed basic income grant.
“After long years of negotiations, the national minimum wage came into effect in 2019, raising the wages of over 6-million workers. This and the amendments to the Compensation [for Occupational Injuries and Diseases] Act provide further protection and benefits to domestic and farm workers. There is also legislation in the pipeline to allow workers to access a portion of their pensions,” he said.
According to Ramaphosa, the economy has tripled since 1994, resulting in an increase in employment from 8 million to 16.4 million.
He admitted that unemployment remains high at 32%, with youth suffering the most (62%).
“To tackle unemployment, we invested R32bn in a Presidential Employment Stimulus, and this programme to create jobs, work experience and support livelihoods have benefited 1.2-million people, especially youth and women, since 2019,” he said.
According to Ramaphosa, the ANC government has built 3.2 million free houses. Of these, 8,245 were delivered under his administration through the Integrated Residential Development Programme, while over 19,000 were delivered through an affordable first-home finance scheme, with over 198,000 RDP houses completed and over 183,700 serviced.
“In addition, the government handed over close to 100,000 title deeds to households and families.”