South African opposition party vows to create jobs, fight graft in manifesto

February 23, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), launched its manifesto for May’s general elections on Saturday with pledges to create jobs and set up an anti-corruption unit.

The DA faces a resurgent ruling African National Congress (ANC) under new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has also vowed to root out graft and boost growth in Africa’s most industrialized economy..

The ANC has comfortably won every parliamentary election since it swept to power under Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid in 1994 and the DA has made ruling South Africa a long-term ambition.

Still, corruption is perceived as a weakness for the ANC after years of rule by former President Jacob Zuma, who was removed from the presidency last year by the ANC after years of corruption probes. He denies any wrongdoing.

“The South Africa I want to build will have no place for corruption and corrupt politicians,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane told supporters at the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg.

He said his party would have “zero tolerance for corruption” and wanted to see corrupt politicians spend 15 years in jail.

The DA, which has roots among white liberals from the anti-apartheid era, elected its first black leader in 2015 to widen its appeal among voters, and improved its national credentials by winning control of three major cities in 2016.

Maimane also outlined manifesto pledges to create jobs by offering tax incentives to encourage new business and maximize the manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors to build the economy.

“If we can put a job in every home we can transform our society,” said Maimane

The unemployment rate, which is at more than 27 percent, is a politically sensitive issue in South Africa especially ahead of national elections this year.

(Writing by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Helen Popper)

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