Arrivals at the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP’s) manifesto and campaign launch event last Saturday were met with a sea of aquamarine blue; 7 000 supporters wearing bright blue tee shirts which mirrored the party’s streamlined new logo.
A superbly-managed launch took place at Blue Downs on the Cape Flats and outlined the party’s focus on addressing the critical challenges; “the giants” of unemployment, economic growth, education and skills development, the inadequate health service, escalating crime, corruption within the public and private sector, and the growing threat to property rights and rural development.
The ACDP is built on a strong Biblical foundation that seeks to honour God and put all of God’s people at the centre of its policies. Yet Christians in the past appear to have applied a double standard in their judging of the party, many not voting for it because it did not meet their demands for perfection, yet casting their vote with the DA or the ANC.
South African pastors too, in the past, have refused to entertain Christian politicians from their pulpits, but judging by the attendance of about 100 senior pastors from all over the country at the launch this year, this may be changing.
The newly elected National Chair of the party, Dr Jerome Swartz, speaking before the appearance of the ACDP Leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe, said every province is registering “thousands of new members” and growing like a “rolling snowball”, having gone from 1.5% growth in by-elections in 2017 to its present 20.5% growth in a recent by-election in Cape Town.
Noting that the ACDP is the only party that puts the Bible above all, he said Christians have been tolerant of the corruption and fraud for too long but “no more”.
The ACDP’s Premier Candidate for the Western Cape, Ferlon Christians, was also welcomed with great applause and made a number of points not highlighted in mainstream press reports. Regarding the homeless he said the ACDP in power would look to the churches; “they already have the infrastructure and all that churches need to provide relief for homeless people would be funding support”.
He also demanded that Christian-owned food and catering businesses wanting to do business with the Western Cape Government and its municipalities, be allowed to do so without needing a halaal certificate. “Why do you discriminate against Christian businesses,” he asked of the DA-led provincial government. “The ACDP will end this discrimination.”
Tough on crime
On crime, the party leader, Rev Meshoe said many people are living below the poverty line and live their lives in fear of criminals. The party wants to make South Africa a model country where people will want to live. He said the party is not on the payroll of gangsters and drug lords and will crack down on crime.
Meshoe exemplified Aziz, a Brazilian town he had visited and wished to see emulated all over SA. There, he said, women and children were safe in the streets at all hours, there were no homeless people or beggars, and a car could be left idling in the street without a driver and not be stolen — such places exist through the will of the people and the determination of its government to fight crime, he said.
Noting that Eskom was voted the Global Power Company of the Year in 2001, he said an obsession with race politics was one of the reasons there was currently a such a problem with Eskom — now defrauded, bankrupt and mismanaged. A Rapport article on February 17 states that Eskom wants to further reduce its qualified white workforce by 1 308 over the next year to comply with the country’s strict provisions of the Equity Act.
A united roar of approval met Meshoe’s declaration that far from removing more, “whites must be restored to the workplace”. He followed up this remark with a call for qualified people of all races to join him on stage. He emphasised the need for qualified engineers, managers and skilled people saying “people on the ground don’t care about the colour of service delivery and they don’t want apartheid in reverse where any people are denied opportunities because of the colour of their skin.” he said.
Prayer and Scripture
On education, the ACDP president said they wanted the best for South Africa’s children; that it was the Bible that taught children not to steal or rape or kill, yet all these crimes are displayed in our schools and society today. Vowing to bring back prayers and Scripture and to restore fine teacher training colleges, he said they would re-introduce school inspectors, ensure teacher salaries are competitive and fair, and that an educator should teach no more than 25 pupils per class,
Noting that most of South Africa’s maths and science teachers are Zimbabweans, he said Zimbabwe used to have the best education system in Africa. He credited this to the Cambridge system and said the ACDP would adopt a similar world-class education for our own learners.
Meshoe stressed that under ACDP leadership, schools would be responsive to business needs and would ensure that young people gained relevant skills through funding students’ degrees and diplomas, so that they could start up their own businesses.
He said the party would reinstate the apprenticeship model and expand the Employment Tax Incentive for businesses, encouraging them to provide paid internships for young people.
He said the party would protect all property rights and ensure that just and equitable compensation was paid for any land that was expropriated, providing an opportunity to access land through a system facilitated by government’s own land assets and that of other willing landowners.
If Christians vote for the ACDP, by voting in line with their values and beliefs, the party believes SA will see a parliament elected comprising a majority of MPs with integrity, who, in line with Exodus 18:21, fear God, are competent and hate dishonest gain.