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Report: South Africa

Zuma promises jobs, homes at ANC election manifesto launch

President Jacob Zuma, at the stadium in Mbombela on Saturday
President Jacob Zuma, at the stadium in Mbombela on Saturday Reuters/Ihsaan Haffejee

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma unveiled the ruling African National Congress’s manifesto for the toughest general election it has ever faced at a rally in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga on Saturday.

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In a 45-minute speech, the head of state tried to convince a crowd of 90,000 ANC supporters that the party has achieved a lot in power but can still do a lot more.

With just four months to go before the poll, Zuma called on ANC members not to lose faith in Nelson Mandela’s party.

Slideshow Mandela

The economy and job creation were the top priorities of the ANC ‘s programme.

Unemployement, which has reached 25 per cent and stands at 50 per cent among young people, is a real ticking bomb.

“The ANC will expand our already significant public employment programme," Zuman promised. "And we aim to provide six million work opportunities. A majority of these jobs will be reserved for young people”

Zuma also promised that the party would build five million houses over five years and would speed up land redistribution.

Other than those election promises, the rest of the ANC’s programme promised to fight poverty, corruption and crime.

Will these promises be enough to convince voters, who have become increasingly disenchanted over social problems and unemployment?

The ANC will face its toughest challenge since it came to power 20 years ago in this year's general election.

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