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Battle plan 2014

Battle plan 2014

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Published by CityPress
Battle plan 2014
Battle plan 2014

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Published by: CityPress on Aug 31, 2013
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Battle plan 2014

Traditional support base
Polls by the party have shown “a strong ANC presence among our traditional support base” , the party’s deputy general secretary, Jessie Duarte, said this week. “We are concerned that we need to re-energise our base,” she said on Monday. The party is aware that 20 years is considered a make-or-break milestone for a liberation party in power. “We are looking at it as if this is 1994. We are starting again. And our plan is to touch every voter at least four times, or five times, during this campaign,” she said. Party activists and leaders told City Press the ANC’s national support base comes from all races, but they concede that the bulk of this base is black, poor and slow to come out and vote

Food parcels and welfare
President Jacob Zuma assembled ministers, officials, businesspeople and farming experts at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu home in Pretoria in June to give a new push to government’s food-security programme, led by the NGO Masibambisane. Even though the programme isn’t overtly part of the ANC’s campaign, recent launch events in provinces have seen numbers of people dressed in ANC gear being bussed in to attend. The projects helped Zuma to garner support in rural areas ahead of the party’s Mangaung conference last year. Ahead of next year’s elections, Masibambisane launch events are being used to send a message to rural communities – where the ANC is especially keen to garner support – that the governing party is delivering

Movers and shakers
It took ANC treasurergeneral Zweli Mkhize eight months to relinquish his position as KwaZuluNatal’s premier and move to Luthuli House full time to focus on the money, as his party’s constitution requires. This will enable him to fundraise the millions the party needs for a successful election campaign. It will also help the ANC to centre power on the premier’s office, with newly elected provincial chairperson Willies Mchunu likely to be the new premier. In Limpopo, Zuma replaced Cassel Mathale, who was earlier removed as ANC provincial chair because he hadn’t been pulling in the party’s direction, with Stan Mathabatha. Cabinet has since moved to restore full power to the premier. There is now talk that Mathabatha is being punted as provincial chairperson when the ANC has its conference there later this year. This will consolidate the province’s centres of power and boost the party’s election campaign in Limpopo, traditionally one of the ANC’s strongholds

The strong man
New ANC chief whip Stone Sizani has the green light from Luthuli House to do whatever it takes to bring MPs in line and get the party’s parliamentary machinery oiled. The looming elections have focused minds, but it is the term after that – culminating in the 2019 elections – that the ANC sees as make or break. The ANC’s parliamentary shake-up in June showed Luthuli House could waste no more time in reining in its MPs to ensure the smooth passage of legislation crucial to more effective delivery. Lax discipline and incoherent strategy saw the opposition dancing circles around the mighty ANC with its superior numbers. In effect, empty ANC benches allow the opposition to decide the government’s legislative agenda, with bills held over for lack of a quorum. Sizani’s wasted no time, with disciplinary hearings against truant MPs already under way. Despite blowback from disgruntled MPs, he’s got ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe firmly on his side

Agrarian and land reform
Land and agrarian reform have been among Zuma’s main focuses this year. The policies broadly are meant to change racially skewed land-ownership patterns, and to ensure foreign land ownership is limited. An alliance-summit discussion document seen by City Press says foreign people and companies should only have the right to lease land for 30 years or more. The proposed law, under which this is being mooted, will also force foreigners to declare “substantive interests” in land assets to avoid fronting. There is likely to be a push to give title deeds to people in township houses because many are still without these. Various pieces of land reform and development legislation are expected to be passed before the end of the year, so they will be easier to implement after the 2014 elections

The economy
The alliance summit’s discussion paper on macroeconomic policy recognises that debates on economic policy have often resulted in tensions in the alliance. The mining crisis has also undermined confidence in the economy. The debate will be about the trade-offs that must be made over the use of scarce resources to grow the economy. The document notes that the country has run large budget deficits for a few years, which has partly contributed to putting the country “in a very precarious situation” . The discussion paper suggests the following to lower the budget deficit and reduce the economy’s vulnerability to external shocks:  Boost exports and ensure mining is back to full capacity;  Restore SA’s position as an attractive investment destination; and  Boost domestic savings and encourage the middle class to save rather than consume

Compiled by Sabelo Ndlangisa, Carien du Plessis, Gaye Davis

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