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African National Congress



African National Congress – Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, national spokesperson

Why should the Jewish community vote for you?

The Jewish community should vote for the African National Congress (ANC) for the same reason that all South Africans should vote for the ANC. Among all the parties contesting the election, it’s only the ANC that has demonstrated the commitment, the capacity, and the experience, to grow an inclusive economy and transform the country.

We learn from the past, from mistakes and setbacks, as much as from achievements.

We’ll focus on six priorities critical to speeding up transformation and improving the lives of the people: our jobs plan; building industries to include an inclusive economy; tackling the high cost of living; investing in people; defending democracy and advancing freedom; and building a better Africa and world.

The South African Jewish community feels let down by the government and isolated in South Africa. What are you doing or have done to make sure that South Africa is a welcoming place for it?

The Jewish community has always been an integral and valued part of democratic South Africa. Jewish South Africans are prominent in nearly every area of public life, from politics to business, from the judiciary to sports. Many have been celebrated and honoured for their achievements and contribution.

Jewish South Africans enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as every other person in the country. Under democracy, the constitutional right to freedom of religion, culture, language, and opinion has been upheld and protected.

There’s no basis for the claim that the local Jewish community is unwelcome or should feel isolated.

What’s your stance on South Africa taking Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?

South Africa is a signatory to the Genocide Convention. The country gained its freedom thanks in large measure to the international movement to end the discrimination, oppression, and repression of the majority of its people.

We therefore have a responsibility to take whatever action we can to prevent acts of genocide committed against others.

South Africa took Israel to the ICJ because, in its view, the atrocities that were being committed against the civilian population of Gaza included actions prohibited under the convention. In bringing this case, South Africa also reiterated its condemnation of the atrocities committed by Hamas against civilians in Israel on 7 October 2023, which it said should be investigated as war crimes.

The decision to take the case to the ICJ was vindicated when the court ruled that it was plausible that Israel had committed acts in violation of the Genocide Convention, and ordered that it take immediate measures to prevent such acts.

The ANC has always maintained that criticism of the illegal actions of the Israeli government and military doesn’t and cannot be equated with an attack on the existence of the state of Israel.

The ANC has always recognised the right of the state of Israel to exist in line with international law and the resolutions of the United Nations. It has, at the same time, recognised the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and nationhood.

By the same measure, it’s absurd to suggest that the condemnation of illegal acts committed by the government of Israel is antisemitic.

Antisemitism has been on the rise in South Africa, as demonstrated in the Judicial Services Commission, Cricket SA, and Parliament, with attacks on Jewish institutions and schools. What do you plan to do to tackle antisemitism of this nature?

The ANC has been consistent in condemning all forms of racial, religious, or cultural intolerance. It has never allowed such practices within its ranks, nor by any of its leaders or members.

ANC leaders, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, have been vocal in their condemnation of antisemitism, just as they have stood opposed to racism, tribalism, Islamophobia, and ethnic chauvinism.

South Africa has several mechanisms ranging from the Human Rights Commission to the Equality Court to combat unfair discrimination, hate speech, and harassment. The ANC urges any person subject to such abuse to make use of the laws and institutions that we have established precisely for this purpose.

You undertook to defeat corruption. However, corruption under the present government is worse than ever. None of the cabinet ministers named in the Zondo Commission have been arrested or prosecuted. Why do you think the country should take you seriously on this issue?

It’s blatantly untrue that corruption is worse under the present administration. In fact, this administration has taken decisive measures to end state capture, rebuild law enforcement agencies, curb corruption, and put in place measures to improve the prevention of corruption.

In the wake of state capture, a critical task was to rebuild the credibility and capacity of law enforcement agencies. New leadership was appointed at the Hawks, which has led to greater action against corruption. A new national director of public prosecutions was appointed on the recommendation of an independent panel following a transparent public process.

New leadership was appointed at the South African Revenue Service, leading to the rebuilding of the institution following state capture and to improvements in revenue collection, compliance, and the facilitation of trade.

Another task was to ensure the effective investigation and prosecution of corruption. An investigating directorate was established within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute state capture and other significant corruption. To date, the directorate has taken 34 state capture and corruption cases to court, involving 203 accused persons and 65 accused entities.

The NPA has also secured the conviction of more than 500 government officials and nearly 800 in the private sector on offences related to corruption since 2019.

Significant progress has been made in recovering stolen funds. A Special Investigating Unit special tribunal was appointed to expedite civil claims against corrupt individuals and the recovery of stolen funds. Since its establishment, it has recovered more than R8.6 billion.

Freezing orders of R14 billion in relation to state capture-related cases were granted to the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit. To date, about R5.4 billion has been recovered and returned to the state.

Nine new laws have been introduced to reduce corruption in areas such as public procurement; the involvement of politicians in administrative matters; the conduct of public servants; the intelligence services; money laundering; and electoral reforms.

Details of all COVID-19 pandemic-related and flood-disaster procurement contracts have been published online, setting a precedent for transparency in public procurement.

The ANC has consistently said that the law must take its course, and that law enforcement agencies must act independently, impartially, and without fear or favour.

Neither the ANC nor the president can tell the Hawks or the NPA who to investigate or prosecute. But we can and have provided them with the powers and the resources to fulfil their mandate.

The South African economy is failing by every measure; unemployment is increasing; growth is almost stagnant; and the country is slipping further into debt. The rand has depreciated more than 50% under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. Why do you believe the ANC should be entrusted with the growth of the economy?

At the advent of democracy, the ANC government had to turn around an economy that was in severe decline and was structurally damaged as a result of decades of apartheid mismanagement.

Our economy has tripled in size since 1994, and the rate of poverty reduced. While unemployment has remained high, the number of people in employment has more than doubled from eight million in 1994 to 16.7 million today.

However, the pace of our economic progress was severely curtailed by the 2008 global financial crisis and a decade of state capture and low growth.

As we worked to rebuild our economy, our country experienced a number of unprecedented shocks. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened a situation of deep unemployment, as the country lost two million jobs, many businesses had to close their doors, and poverty deepened.

In July 2021, we experienced the worst public violence and destruction in the history of our democracy, causing more than 300 deaths, serious economic damage, and denting investor confidence. More recently, persistent loadshedding has impeded our recovery from the effects of these events.

While these challenges have held back our economic progress, they haven’t stopped us.

Over the past two years, the number of jobs created has been increasing every quarter, and we now have more people in employment than before the pandemic.

We have laid a foundation for growth through far-reaching economic reforms, an ambitious investment drive, and an infrastructure programme that’s starting to yield results.

We’re on track to resolve the most important constraints on economic growth by stabilising our energy supply and fixing our logistics system.

These efforts have resulted in the growth of agricultural exports and a massive increase in international tourist arrivals. Over the past five years, we have held five investment conferences, which have raised more than R1.5 trillion in commitments from investors. Of these commitments, more than R560 billion has already gone into a diverse and growing range of industries.

We’ve worked to reverse the decline over several years of investment in infrastructure. Through these efforts, projects worth more than R230 billion are in construction, including in energy, water infrastructure, and rural roads.

We still have substantial economic challenges, yet we have established the basis for sustained recovery.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. rafaelli

    May 12, 2024 at 9:58 am

    The usual platitudes from the ANC. Corruption hiding under the coattails of transformation.
    The ANC regime(which is about to end) has established the Hamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs run out of Tshwanee.Now that Israel is winning they are on the backfoot.
    There is an anti white animosity in SA included in which is antisemitism.Equality?? of what?
    Dougnuts and koeksusters?

    Please also interview Mr Ganif Hendricks about Al Jamaah intentions because they are thick in the propalestine protests. His views are important, germane, and relevant to our profound discourse since much of the antisemitism emanates from the Muslim community. We may even vote for him, inshallah.

    Meanwhile alutta continua.Viva Israel

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