The sting of unemployment was the central theme amongst those who attended the ANC’s 2019 Provincial Manifesto Review in Limpopo.
Young people and older citizens who flocked to the Giyani Stadium on Saturday decried the dire economic state of many households across the Giyani Local Municipality and the country.
African Times spoke to groups of young people leaving the stadium before the party’s secretary general, Fikile Mbalula, took to the stage.
“We have been waiting since 9 in the morning, but the man is still far from speaking. We want to go drink our troubles away,” said one of the disenchanted young men who left the venue and declined to identify himself.
As much as some were left disappointed, others were still making their way into the stadium.
Matome Rakgoale, from Ward 32 in the Tzaneen subregion, said the ANC needs to be brave to win back the people it has lost.
“We are ANC die-hards, and we will die in this party, but we are concerned about the levels of unemployment that are rampant across the country. Being unemployed pains our youth, which is a sign that something has gone wrong. We must be clear that the ANC has done nothing wrong, it’s just individuals at the top,” Rakgoale said.
He added that cadres who made the ANC a glorious movement had left the party disillusioned.
“If they were still around, they would be crying. If the ANC wants to win elections next year, it must listen to the people, to hear what they want. Secondly, it has to go closer to the people and demonstrate that it is a caring party. Thirdly, if a leader is failing, they must be able to remove him and put somebody better,” Rakgoale maintained.
South African National Civic Organisations (SANCO) regional task team member, Thapelo Mojapelo, from Ward 5 in Phalaborwa, said the manifesto review was a test.
“Today, we are here for the manifesto review in detailed fact and to underline promises that were delivered all the promises that they haven’t delivered and the promises that they will deliver. This is to test whether or not we are still in line with the fact that we believe in the organization’s mandate,” he said.
Mojapelo said the ANC should prioritise young people.
“The leadership should strengthen economic development among young people. Young people should be the first people to be considered when it comes to the innovative deployment of the country. Young people are the ticking young bomb. We must ensure that their future is bright,” said Mojapelo.
Thokozile Ntela, a hawker who travelled all the way from Johannesburg, said she was happy to make some money selling ANC regalia outside the venue.
“I’m from Ward 46 in Johannesburg. Today was a great day. We got the opportunity to collect the little that was available. It’s better than just sitting at home doing nothing,” said Ntela.
“As informal businesses, we wish the ANC could assist us and help us be able to buy enough stock to sell so that we can also grow.”
Cosatu and the ANC Youth League also decried the state of unemployment in the province, calling for the ANC to intervene.
In his keynote address to the rally on Saturday, Mbalula said the ANC would address all the country’s challenges. He added that the ANC was not in coalition talks with any political party because it was working towards a decisive victory.