Slim focus on defence and security in ANC’s elections manifesto

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The ruling African National Congress (ANC) elections manifesto runs to 58 pages, but there is little mention of defence and security.

The only mentions of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are in reference to job creation. Over the next five years, the ANC says it aims to create and sustain 2.5 million work opportunities, including through an expanded National Youth Service in partnership with the SANDF, with whom it will target an intake of 100 000 young men and women.

The manifesto’s detail of what the party led by President Cyril Ramaphosa will do to support military veterans earn a couple of paragraphs. “South Africa has a duty to appreciate and take care of its military veterans who fought against apartheid and those who went in service of the nation after 1994. The ANC will work to ensure that every sector of society, government and business contributes to the restoration of dignity to military veterans, particularly former liberation war combatants and those who served in the army of democracy, and ensure that their gallant choice is appreciated and that their welfare and that of their loved ones is taken care of”.

The ANC will include military veterans as designated groups, facilitate their integration into the economy, assist with housing and other needs, and promote their role in nation-building, fighting crime and building social cohesion.

Fighting crime

In terms of domestic safety and security, the ANC over the next five years pledges to intensify the war on crime and make communities safe. This includes action against drugs, organised crime, gender-based violence and femicide, infrastructure theft and vandalism, extortion and gangsterism.

To keep homes and streets safe and protect the borders, the ANC says it will take a comprehensive approach to fighting crime through the Integrated Violence and Crime Prevention Strategy; modernise policing with more frontline police officers; resource Community Policing Forums; develop capabilities to combat cybercrime, essential infrastructure crimes, illegal firearms, gang violence, crime syndicates, human and drug trafficking, and corruption; provide additional capacity to the Hawks to tackle organised crime; implement a data-driven approach to target violent crime hotspots; strengthen the justice system; act against extortion and violence in the construction sector by strengthening the SAPS Economic Infrastructure Task Teams; tackle priority crimes like gang violence and cash-in-transit heists through specialised police units; and strengthen anti-money laundering efforts and secure South Africa’s removal from the FATF list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring.

Illegal immigration

To address the illegal immigration problem, the ANC says it will complete the overhaul of South Africa’s immigration policy and systems” including the Citizenship Act, Refugees Act and Immigration Act, towards a single law dealing with citizenship, immigration and refugees to prevent contradictions and meet the new challenges facing South Africa.”

The ruling party also aims to locate refugee and asylum centres close to border posts, regulate the employment of foreign workers in line with the National Labour Migration Policy, to give preference to South African job-seekers and act against employment and exploitation of undocumented persons; simplify visa applications; and use technology to modernise systems to prevent fraud and bogus documents.

With regard to international peace and security, the ANC pledges to promote greater peace, security, democracy and socioeconomic development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other parts of the continent, including the right to self-determination of the Saharawi peoples, strengthening the effectiveness of the African Union Peace and Security and Governance Architectures and the role of women and youth in peacebuilding, socio-economic development and towards silencing the guns.