African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa adresses supporters during the African National Congress' (ANC) 107th anniversary celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on January 12, 2019. Ramaphosa, pledged in tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality. South Africans go to the polls in May 2019. Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP
African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa adresses supporters during the African National Congress' (ANC) 107th anniversary celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on January 12, 2019. Ramaphosa, pledged in tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality. South Africans go to the polls in May 2019. Picture: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

Public servants who are indifferent to the needs and concerns of citizens will be removed, president Cyril Ramaphosa said during his first ANC manifesto launch on Saturday.

"Many of our public servants are committed and dedicated professionals who perform their tasks faithfully," he told party supporters at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

 "However, there are some whose indifference to the needs and concerns of citizens has led to a deterioration in the quality of services and assistance rendered." 

Ramaphosa said this would change.

"For decades, our movement has been defined by selfless service to the people," Ramaphosa said.

 "We therefore will not tolerate those in the public services or in political office who are negligent or use public resources for their own selfish gains." 

Last year public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo said SA’s R587bn public-sector wage bill had shot through the ceiling and the government would have to cut back on critical services if it failed to rein in pay increases.

The ANC was launching its manifesto ahead of the hotly contested 2019 general elections.

The elections are set to be the toughest yet for the ANC whose dominance in the electoral space has been on the decline since 2009, with its national share of the vote dropping to an all time low of 56% during the 2016 local government election.

Ramaphosa said civil servants had to serve the people of South Africa with commitment, diligence, humility, respect and honesty.

During his speech the ANC president also said that land claims had to be processed faster, title deeds provided quicker and housing projects completed on time.

He added that government would also be more deligent to ensure public servants did not do business with the state and warned transgressors that there would be serious consequences if they did not comply.

Ramaphosa said SA would not succeed if efforts to rebuild the country were not supported by a capable public service.

"We cannot and will not allow situations where government fails South Africans.

"We call on all our people to join us in this endeavour to build a capable and ethical state and to ensure that those who are responsible for stealing both public funds and private investments face the full might of the law," Ramaphosa said.

On land Ramaphosa said nothing new, however assured people that the ANC's approach to land reform was guided by the Constitution and by the need to advance economic development, agricultural production and food security.

He said in the ANC manifesto, the party outlined elements of a plan to accelerate land reform, making use of a range of complementary measures, including, where appropriate, expropriation without compensation.

"We will continue to promote a range of land ownership forms – public, private, cooperative, family and communal," he said.

Ramaphosa said the ANC would implement measures to promote urban agriculture and community food gardens to promote national food security and reduce hunger.