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SA Landraces with Cannabis Plants. and species-min.png
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Cannabiz Africa/ Mbasa Mvenene,

24/05/16, 07:00

Cannabis does not feature in the election manifestos of any of the major political parties contesting the 29 May 2024 South African general elections – except for that of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Although President Cyril Ramaphosa has trumpeted the Eastern Cape’s cannabis initiative during his campaign trail, the ANC makes no mention of cannabis legalization in its election manifesto.  

The President has repeatedly told potential voters that the concept of turning Coega into a “cannabis hub” was proof that the ANC government was pushing ahead with job creation and attracting investment.

What Ramaphosa has neglected to point out to supporters is that the Eastern Cape Coega initiative is partly due to the province’s frustration that the much-vaunted The Phakisa initiative has failed to gain trajectory, and that the Eastern Cape is effectively “going it alone”.

The ANC has been non-committal as a party over cannabis legalization, possibly because the issue may divide its support base.  The ANC's "missing in action" status on cannabis policy was highlighted by former ANC leader Max Ozinky as long as two years ago during Parliamentary hearings on the Private Purposes Bill. He said at the time it was unbelievable that the ruling party had not drawn up a green paper on cannabis policy and that this was setting back efforts to regulate the industry.

The President’s promises at last year’s SONA to unlock the cannabis industry and create over 100 000 jobs has not materialized, and the ANC has not championed the cause. Cannabis was notably absent during this year's SONA, and it is uncertain whether the President will sign the controversial Cannabis for Private Purposes Act into law before the 29 May elections.

However, the IFP, has put cannabis firmly on its economic reform agenda, with one of its aims being to “Support the development of the cannabis industry to create jobs”.

The EFF’s Julius Malema has often advocated legalizing cannabis to unlock its economic potential, but the plant does not feature in the party’s election manifesto.

Below is a summary of how the main political parties intend to tackle unemployment. This is reproduced from a Business Day report by Mbasa Mvenene, who teaches political studies at Walter Sisulu University, published on 2 May 2024.


  • Put South Africans to work through a jobs plan and public and social employment programmes,

  • Implement a public employment plan to absorb unemployed graduates,

  • Provide state support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), co-operatives and entrepreneurs in      townships,

  • Create 1-million work opportunities, and

  • Continue to monitor and enforce employment equity to ensure that blacks, women and people living with      disabilities are better represented in the workforce.


  • Create 2-million new jobs through flexible labour legislation and upskilling the existing workforce,

  • Abolish cadre deployment in favour of merit-based recruitment,

  • One year paid work experience for matriculants,

  • Job centres with advice information and free internet

  • Funding assistance and less red tape to help SMEs grow,

  • Jobs Act to encourage businesses and individuals to invest, and

  • Prosecute and eliminate “sex for obs”, “cash for jobs”, nepotism and “carpet interviews”.


  • Create 9-million new jobs mainly through state-sponsored or protected industrialisation,

  • Create a state-owned bank, security and insurance companies,

  • Nationalise the SA Reserve Bank and expand its mandate to include job creation and economic growth,

  • Import substitution-led economic growth or localisation,

  • Ensure municipalities award tenders or contracts to local SMEs,

  • Subsidise patriotic entrepreneurs who open factories, firms and other enterprises in rural areas, and

  • Subsidise and provide other incentives for the local agriculture industry.


  • Enforce employment targets for SA companies and ensure they employ a minimum of 80% South Africans,

  • Reserve entry-level and low-skill sector employment for South Africans,

  • Expropriate foreign-owned spaza shops and give them to South African youths,

  • Focus on SME and local business development, specifically for the youth,

  • Support the development of the cannabis industry to create jobs,

  • Recommit some of the money in the sector education and training authorities to the provision of 12-month public sector internships, and

  • Withdraw restrictive labour legislation that impedes job creation.

FF Plus:

  • Cut red tape and reduce industry regulation to grow the economy and create jobs,

  • Build the economy by creating a free market and protecting private property rights,

  • Restore reliable electricity supply,

  • Promote conditions that are favourable for agriculture, forestry and fisheries while protecting food security, and

  • Build wealth through true  empowerment without race-based affirmative action and BEE, and promote equal access to opportunities.

Action SA:

  • Launch programmes to create 4.8-million new jobs in the private sector,

  • Support entrepreneurs, decrease the cost of doing business and re-establish SA as a foreign investment destination,

  • Promite industries with high potential for job creation such as green energy, mining, agriculture and emerging technologies,

  • Reform labour laws and minimum wage legislation to make it easier for new businesses to hire and fire,

  • Reclaim hijacked buildings and unused factories for private use or development to provide affordable      accommodation close to job opportunities,

  • Invest in new universities and TVET colleges, and reintroduce specialised colleges to train teachers, police officers, agricultural workers and nurses, and

  • Incentivise local and international businesses to invest in abandoned industrial areas to create employment.

African Transformation Movement:

  • Construct factories to provide mass employment,

  • Ensure that at least 50% of government spending is directed at SMEs,

  • Introduce local processing of minerals (beneficiation) and only export finished goods,

  • Restructure and protect the local informal sector producing essential household commodities and ensure      diversification in the informal economy,

  • Ensure South Africans produce what they use and limit imports through government preference and protection of SA-owned SMEs,

  • Put SA first by reserving low-skill or entry-level employment for South Africans, and

  • Generate toll revenue through the Cape of Good Hope sea route.

Rise Mzansi:

  • Resuscitate nursing and teaching colleges,

  • Ensure critical skills development and upskilling of the unemployed youth,

  • Provide venture capital to young entrepreneurs,

  • Invest in local and regional infrastructure and offer skills training to the people,

  • Create a job-seeker package for young people to access data, essentials and transport,

  • Ensure meritocratic recruitment and reduce experience requirements for entry-level employment, and

  • Invite foreign direct investment, fix load-shedding and ensure education responds to the needs of the economy or gaps in the market

MK party:

  • Create 5-million jobs within five years through investment in mining, agriculture, re-industrialisation, tourism and infrastructure development,

  • End reliance on foreign investment by building domestic manufacturing and tradable services through a market-related skills approach and enforce a skills transfer from foreign nationals to locals,

  • Place industrialisation, developmental financial institutions (DFIs) and natural resource processing at the centre of a revised National Development Plan (NDP) and reverse state-owned enterprise (SOE) privatisation in favour of nationalisation,

  • Renationalise ArcelorMittal (steel sector) in pursuit of local minerals beneficiation,

  • Renationalise Sasol to secure liquid fuels supply and developmentally priced petroleum and chemical products in the domestic economy,

  • Nationalise and reconstitute the Reserve Bank to ensure it has a strong developmental focus that is interwoven with a network of DFIs, and

  • Fund SMEs owned by blacks, women the youth and military veterans to create jobs.

Patriotic Alliance:

  • Remove red tape to attract big and small investment,

  • Partner with the private sector  to open multiple factories,

  • Use SA’s natural resources endowments to become the next Dubai,

  • Fix public infrastructure (roads, water, sanitation) and turn to solar energy (build solar farms),

  • Partner with the private sector to build farms, mainly poultry, and

  • Encourage entrepreneurship through business-friendly regulations.

This information is intended to help voters make an informed decision on 29 May 2024, in line with the issues that affect their lives and communities.




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IFP the Only Party Punting Cannabis in its Election Manifesto, ANC "Missing in Action"

IFP the Only Party Punting Cannabis in its Election Manifesto, ANC "Missing in Action"

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