The mayor of Mopani district municipality in Limpopo is promising jobs in exchange for votes for the ANC.

“Comrades, you must vote for the people you know so that when there are job opportunities, we can offer you those because you voted for us,” she is reported to have told branch members in the region.

She might be a little unsophisticated and blunt about it, but if you read her party’s manifesto, that is precisely what it is promising, too: jobs for votes. What the ANC and its mayor are not telling us, however, is where those jobs are going to come from. “More Jobs, More Decent Jobs” — that is the first item on the election manifesto the governing party released at its birthday celebrations in Durban last week. It has already set itself the impossible target of increasing employment from 16-million to 24-million by 2030. In its manifesto, the ANC promises to create 275,000 jobs each year “by boosting local demand for goods, investing more in mining, manufacturing and agriculture, and expanding export markets”. It promises to not only create new jobs, but to “work hard to protect existing jobs”. But how will it do this when the economy sheds thousands of jobs each month? The party aims to target investments in mining and manufacturing to boost job creation. How, when global demand...

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