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‘We’ve heard SA’s SOS’ — five key takeaways from the ACDP’s manifesto launch

‘We’ve heard SA’s SOS’ — five key takeaways from the ACDP’s manifesto launch
The ACDP's 2024 manifesto launch at Nasrec in Johannesburg, 9 March 2024. (Photos: @@A_C_D_P/X)

The African Christian Democratic Party, which has had representation in Parliament since 1994, launched its election manifesto over the weekend with the slogan ‘SOS’, short for ‘service, order, safety’.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) launched its election manifesto at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, on Saturday, which also marked the party’s 30th anniversary. 

The party holds four seats in the National Assembly.

Its president, Kenneth Meshoe, emphasised the party’s slogan: service, order and safety (SOS).

“The acronym ‘SOS’ is generally known as a distress signal, a call for help. The ACDP has heard the SOS from the people of South Africa. They want service, order, safety,” said Meshoe, who has been an MP since 1994

“We all want a South Africa with a vibrant, healthy economy; where jobs and opportunities are in abundance, and where everyone is able to benefit and feel safe. We all want service, order, safety,” he told the audience. 

“For how much longer should the suffering masses who are poor, vulnerable and failed by their own government cry out for help? How much longer must they send out an SOS to SA political leaders? 

“The ACDP says to voters out there: we need a change of government, we need righteous leaders like the ACDP who will respond with compassion, care and a willingness to help SA [become] one of the most peaceful, orderly and prosperous nations on Earth.

“It’s time for the African Christian Democratic Party to be given an opportunity to govern by those who have sent out a distress signal, SOS, for assistance and help.”

The ACDP is part of the Multi-Party Charter (MPC), a formation of opposition parties that have come together to pledge to share power as a coalition after the upcoming elections if they cumulatively beat the ANC in the polls.

Read more about the MPC here: How the Multi-Party Charter could make history at the 2024 polls

Prayer and worship during the ACDP’s 2024 manifesto launch at Nasrec in Johannesburg, 9 March 2024. (Photos: @@A_C_D_P/X)

Five key points from the ACDP’s manifesto

1. Israel-Hamas war

The party reinforced its position on Israel. In its manifesto, the ACDP said it will re-establish full diplomatic relations with Israel and move the South African embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The manifesto said, “Given the recent horrific terrorist attack on Israel and the broader ongoing conflict, [the ACDP will] work towards finding lasting peace in the Middle East, while ensuring that Israel’s security and right to defend itself is not compromised.”  

The party has consistently shown support for Israel, even after its deadly retaliation in response to the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

The ACDP said after the Hamas attack: “Israel has a right to defend itself and must do everything in its power to defend itself and protect its civilians from such indiscriminate and violent attacks.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Israel-Palestine conflict could dangerously amplify local political tensions

2. Job creation and poverty alleviation 

The party supports an open market with a “social conscience”. Its economic policies seek to address high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality by “growing the economy at a faster rate”. 

It will create an “enabling environment” through infrastructure development, professional public service, good education and vocational training. 

It will increase the number of social workers and community development workers to respond “to the need for better welfare services in order to alleviate poverty”.

3. Crime and justice 

The manifesto said, “We all want to live in a country where we feel safe, whether it is in our homes or playing in recreational spaces, going to work or school, or surfing the internet… We also want to see the recovery of the billions of rands stolen through State Capture and corruption and the thieves behind bars.”

The party said it will establish an independent specialised anti-corruption entity, with prosecutor-driven investigations, possibly even a new Chapter 9 anti-corruption institution that is fully resourced and has trained staff with secure tenure of office, similar to the disbanded Scorpions. 

It will also make sure institutions such as the Auditor-General, the Public Protector, police, Hawks, SIU and the NPA “are properly staffed and resourced and are protected from political interference”. 

4. Health 

The ACDP said it will repeal the government’s “proposed expropriation of private healthcare through the National Health Insurance legislation and launch a national dialogue on access to universal healthcare”. 

It will improve public health facilities and services, and the waiting time for diagnosis, procedures and treatments by increasing the numbers of doctors, nurses and administrative staff and ensuring sufficient stock of medicines and other medical supplies. The party will increase the number of 24/7 healthcare facilities close “to vulnerable communities”. 

In addition, it will oppose mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations, while “providing medical and other interventions for patients suffering from Covid-19 vaccine injuries, and easier access to compensation from the Vaccine Injury Fund”. 

5. Family values 

The party will “accelerate moral regeneration by amending liberal and humanistic policies and legislation that have systematically undermined family values”. 

It will amend legislation that grants access to “contraceptives and abortion for young girls without parental consent, teaches Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and gender ideology, bans moderate parental chastisement, and legalises prostitution, pornography and abortion-on-demand”. DM

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