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S.Africa's Zuma pledges faster change, decent jobs

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling party on Saturday called for faster change in the light of the global crisis to create decent jobs, improve education and health, and fight against crime ahead of elections next year.

ANC leader Jacob Zuma told party delegates at a manifesto policy conference in Johannesburg that the global credit crisis would affect the country's economic growth and in turn have an impact on job growth and poverty reduction.

"We must be prepared for this reality, comrades, and plan accordingly," Zuma said in an emailed copy of his speech.

The ANC leader has in the past pushed for a stronger government role in fighting poverty and unemployment, but has also said that there will be no dramatic changes in the country's pro-business fiscal policies.

But ANC leftist allies -- the powerful labour federation COSATU and the South African Communist Party -- are pushing for an overhaul of policies including the focus on inflation targeting, and want an increase in government spending.

The ANC said its election manifesto would focus on five priority areas to bring faster change: creation of decent jobs, health and education transformation, the fight against crime, rural development and youth development.

"Our trade and industrial policies, our macro-economic policy stance and other policies must be aligned to achieve decent work outcomes," Zuma said.

"We must work harder to bring about faster change. That is our message," added Zuma, who is likely to become president after next year's elections.

The manifesto of the ANC, which has ruled since the end of apartheid and white minority rule in 1994, sets out the party's vision over the next five years and, if it is re-elected, will serve as a blueprint for the country's future policies.

Source of this news is from bbc website  www.bbc.co.uk

Posted on Sunday 30th November 2008

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