President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that job creation will be the ANC’s priority should it be voted in to run municipalities – and pledged that his party would do away with labour brokers in delivering “essential local government functions”.

Ramaphosa was presenting the party’s manifesto at Church Square in Pretoria on Monday night.

The president said his party would prioritise creating job opportunities for the youth who were entering the work space for the first time “at a much faster rate” than ever before.

“It is our intention to ensure that skills development programmes are more closely aligned to the job opportunities and economic development programmes in communities,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that the ANC, in its efforts to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods, it will also seek to end the outsourcing of essential service, which would mean ending labour brokering in municipalities.

The ANC has been under pressure from its alliance partners to ban labour brokers for many years. The Polokwane conference decided to regulate labour brokering, which led to the amendment of the Labour Relations Act to dictate that clients labour brokers have to hire contractors who earn below R205,433 annually after working for three months.

This move by the ANC would be welcomed by its alliance partners, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party.

Ramaphosa said small businesses that have been strangled by strict municipal bylaws and licensing fees will also get a reprieve.

Said Ramaphosa: “The ANC will amend or repeal restrictive bylaws on trading, land-use, urban production of crops and other regulations that prevent people from earning a living.

“We will reduce or remove the licence fees that many small and informal businesses have to pay to ply their trade.”

In true manifesto style, the speech would be incomplete without gloating about past successes in basic service delivery.

In this regard, Ramaphosa praised the ANC for, in 2019 alone, having connected 3-million households to running water and 2-million more households to the national power grid.

“Thanks to the ANC, about 85% of South African households have electricity,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged shortcomings and promised that the ANC “working with national and provincial governments, we are going to improve the maintenance of water and sewerage infrastructure and reduce water leaks.

“However, many communities still experience unstable electricity supply, infrastructure is not properly maintained, there is a problem of illegal connections and electricity is sometimes cut to homes without warning or explanation.

“As part of the ongoing work to provide a safe, affordable and reliable supply of electricity to every South African home, we will significantly increase the contribution of renewable energy through a just energy transition that creates new economic opportunities for workers and communities.”

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