Julius Malema holds a copy of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, South Africa February 2, 2019. Pictures: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Julius Malema holds a copy of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, South Africa February 2, 2019. Pictures: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Unveiling the party’s manifesto on Saturday in Soshanguve ahead of the national elections in 2019, EFF leader Julius Malema said landlessness and joblessness “among black people” were at crisis levels.

The party seeks to solve this problem by introducing a number of interventions aimed at reviving the economy including tax-free special economic zones in townships and rural areas.

The only obligation would be for participating companies in the economic zones to hire at least 2 000 locals each.

The party described its plans as “clear, implementable and decisive programmes for all spheres of governance”.

“Our manifesto is based on jobs, seeks to help women and young people because they are the ones who suffer the most. We are going to create jobs, open factories where our people are,” said Malema to loud cheers from thousands of EFF supporters.

The EFF launched its election manifesto at Giants stadium in Soshanguve on February 2 2018. This is what EFF leader Julius Malema promised to deliver to South Africans. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

Just like in 2014, the party has once more called for a R4500 national minimum wage regime.

The country’s national minimum wage system which set the hourly rate for the regime at R20 per hour came into effect in January.

If chosen to govern, the EFF said its government will use state procurement to drive job creation, radically proposing that a minimum of all goods and services procured by the state be produced locally.

There are 9.6 million unemployed South Africans.

“The EFF government will use state procurement as an instrument for driving job creation, meaning that a minimum of 80% of all goods and services procured by the state must be locally produced, and majority-owned and controlled by the people of South Africa.

EFF supporters hold placards during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve. Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
EFF supporters hold placards during the launch of the party's election manifesto in Soshanguve. Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

“The localisation drive will include all procurement, inclusive of automobiles, electronics, textiles, food and professional services,” read the manifesto.

The party’s economic plans are also based on its push for the expropriation of land without compensation to be fast-tracked for “equal redistribution in use”, transferring ownership of all land in the country to the state.

“The EFF government will ensure that the amendment of Section 25 of the 1996 South African Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation for equal redistribution and use is carried through with immediate effect. All land will be under the custodianship of the state, for equal redistribution to all,” read the manifesto.

Listen to Julius Malema deliver the EFF Manifesto:

On the critical question of the SA Reserve Bank, the EFF maintained its position that it would nationalise it and discontinue its private ownership if elected.

There has been a fierce debate in the ANC and the public about the independence and mandate of the central bank, with different factions pushing either for the status quo to remain, while others called for a change in the bank’s agenda to focus on developmental issues such as job creation.

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago recently defended the Reserve Bank’s independence describing the debate around it as “crazy ideas” that could harm investor confidence.

The party said it would also allocate R100bn to a sovereign wealth fund by 2021.

EFF also set its sights on the ownership patterns of the banks and asset management companies.

Within six months of taking over the government, the party will “change their management to mainly black people, particularly Africans, so that they form the majority at all levels of management, with 50% of management being women and 10% being people living with disability”.

Other proposals included the formulation of new legislation to make it compulsory for money gained through corruption to be paid back to the fiscus and for corrupt offenders employed in the public sector to forfeit their pensions and other benefits.

mahlakoanat@businesslive.co.za