The DA's Rescue Plan for South Africa: Election Manifesto 2024

A new law states that you may only vote where you’re registered. Check where you must vote over here.

Our country is in crisis

After just 30 years in government, the ANC has eroded state institutions through cadre deployment, corruption, and criminality. As a result, we no longer have a reliable power supply, crime is out of control, too many children cannot read and write at the required level, there are water shortages all over the country, our ports are failing, and our towns and cities are in decay. These problems have killed South Africa’s economic growth prospects and ability to create jobs.

The DA has a plan to rescue South Africa from state collapse

We will start fixing what is broken in government by abolishing cadre deployment, firing corrupt officials and appointing competent people with the skills to deliver services. We will build a capable state to partner with the private sector and civil society to rescue South Africa. This ‘whole-of-society’ approach has worked in every place we already govern, and we plan to replicate it across the country to get South Africa moving in the right direction.

Only the DA has the size, experience and demonstrated track-record of good governance to serve as the anchor for a stable and successful Multi-Party Charter government.

John Steenhuisen, DA Leader

The ANC’s fixation with state control over the economy, its protection of COSATU’s vested interests, and its obsession with race-based policies, such as so-called “Broad-Based” Black Economic Empowerment and race quotas, have come at the expense of the poor and the unemployed. As a result, South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, with one-third of our working-age population out of jobs. To rescue South Africans from unemployment and get more people into jobs, we need to loosen up the labour market, up-skill our workforce, and make it easier for businesses to invest in the economy.

The ANC’s state-led power generation model, the ransacking of Eskom and a failure to diversify our energy mix has brought our economy to its knees. In 2022, load-shedding cost the economy R300 billion and cut GDP projections by 5%. To rescue South Africans from the energy crisis, we need to get the state out of the power generation business, diversify our energy mix, and encourage the emergence of private prosumers (individuals who both produce and consume electricity) so that we can bring load-shedding to an end.

Political interference, law enforcement officials acting outside the law, and a lack of well-trained police officers have left South Africans feeling unsafe and insecure. Between April 2022 and March 2023, 27 272 people were murdered in South Africa; the highest annual murder rate on record in our country’s history. To rescue South Africans from crime, corruption and lawlessness, we need a new independent crime-busting institution, to ensure that those guilty of crimes are put behind bars, and to devolve policing powers to competent provincial and local governments.

Instead of prioritising our learners, the ANC has protected the vested interests of its teacher union allies. It has failed to equip learners with the required reading, writing, and numerical abilities to fulfil their full potential: 81% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning, and 60% have no foundational knowledge of mathematics and science. To rescue South Africans from a failing education system, we must ensure that each child gets 210 full teaching days per year, that teachers are competent, and that sufficient time is dedicated to developing children’s ability to read, write and calculate.

The ANC’s cadre deployment policy and corruption have led to the demise of many of our cities and towns, which are the portal to the economy and our link to the world. Of the 257 municipalities in South Africa, 151 are on the brink of financial collapse as they cannot pay their creditors, and 43 have already collapsed and are in crisis. To rescue South Africans from poor governance and failing service delivery, we need to abolish the ANC’s practice of deploying party loyalists into government positions, professionalise the public service, and prioritise the delivery of basic services.

In 2022, there were 0.79 doctors per 1,000 citizens in South Africa, much lower than other middle-income countries such as Brazil (2.3 doctors per 1 000 citizens). The consequence is staff shortages, long waiting times for patients, and long working hours for staff. Instead of addressing poor governance, badly maintained facilities, and lack of services within the existing healthcare system, the ANC has chosen to pursue its disastrous National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. To rescue South Africans from a broken healthcare system, we need to remove politicians from the running of healthcare facilities and increase access to healthcare services. We need to reject the NHI in favour of the DA’s Universal Healthcare Coverage model, which aims to increase access to services in both the public and private health sectors, improve the existing healthcare system, and guarantee a basic level of care to all people.

The ANC’s promise of race-based empowerment has failed. Instead, it has created a small group of politically connected people who benefit at the expense of the majority. South Africa remains the most unequal country in the world. Instead of getting better, inequality has gotten worse under the ANC government. The time has come to empower people based on material disadvantage, not skin colour. To rescue South Africans from poverty and inequality, we need to remove race as a consideration in policy and legislation, increase the child grant to the food poverty line, and expand the basket of essential food items exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT).

The DA has in-depth experience of what it takes to turn around governments ravaged by cadre deployment and corruption. We are under no illusions: if we are elected to govern South Africa, it will take a full term in office to get the national government on its feet again. But we are committed to rescuing this beautiful country, and we will make rapid progress if given the opportunity. It is still possible to rescue South Africa from becoming a failed state, but this requires every voter to get behind the DA so that we can get South Africa moving in the right direction.