S.Africa's ANC moves left in election pledge

Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:04pm GMT

By Shafiek Tassiem

EAST LONDON, South Africa (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling ANC vowed on Saturday to create jobs, improve education and health and fight crime in a shift to the left at the launch of its manifesto before this year's parliamentary election.

Party leader Jacob Zuma told thousands of supporters in the coastal town of East London that the ANC manifesto would focus on five areas: job creation, health, education, food security and rural development, and fighting corruption and crime.

"The creation of decent work is at the centre of all our economic policies. We will put in place a comprehensive state-led industrial policy that will direct public and private investment to support employment creation and broader economic transformation," he said.

The pledge to use government intervention more to fight poverty and secure jobs was welcomed by the ANC's leftist allies -- the labour federation COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

"(The manifesto) commits the ANC government to develop an industrial strategy that focuses on energy and food sovereignty and security, on jobs and not profits as the key priority," the party said in a statement.

But investors fear the left might pressure an ANC government to ditch policies that helped spur nearly a decade of growth in Africa's biggest economy.


The ANC has ruled South Africa with a large majority since the end of apartheid in 1994, but is facing a challenge from the Congress of the People (COPE), a party of loyalists to former President Thabo Mbeki that broke away from the ANC last year.   Continued...

<p>Jacob Zuma, president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), sings at a rally in Langa township near Cape Town November 9, 2008. Zuma was campaigning in the province ahead of next year's general elections. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA)</p>
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