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General election 2024

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South Africa’s general election on 29 May 2024 will be as pivotal for the country’s future as the first election that gave us democracy — as achieving a comfortable majority for any one party might not be as easy as before. There have never been more candidates to choose from. We analyse what the biggest players say about health and social justice issues — and break down what it means for us.

HomeSpecial ReportsGeneral election 2024Election promises: RISE Mzansi

Election promises: RISE Mzansi

Universal access to healthcareClimate changeFood security
Social grantsBasic income grantTuberculosis
HIVCorruptionGender-based violence

Here’s what RISE Mzansi says about health issues.


Universal access to healthcare

RISE Mzansi covers healthcare under its promises for “individual, family and community well-being”. The current [public] health system, it says, is “chronically under-funded, poisoned by corruption and in administrative disarray” and private healthcare facilities alone won’t be able to service everyone, even when a scheme like the National Health Insurance (NHI) is rolled out. The NHI is the current government’s plan for rolling out universal health coverage (UHC), meaning everyone will have access to the same basic health services regardless of whether they can pay for it. UHC is a 2030 sustainable development goal

The party wants the national health system to work with other government departments to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Health facilities and services

The party promises health facilities with proper equipment, enough staff and good management. 

  • There will be a basic healthcare facility (eg a clinic) within a 15-minute ride of every home, and a major health facility (such as a hospital) within an hour’s.
  • Local clinics will be converted into primary healthcare and “health promotion centres” that will offer health programmes, support and counselling groups for patients; wellness days to encourage regular health checks; and services for groups such as people with disabilities. (In the current system, clinics offer primary health services such as childhood immunisation or HIV testing and treatment; community health centres offer basic services plus 24-hour maternity and emergency care and space for minor surgical procedures.)
  • The party will invest in substance abuse education and rehabilitation centres, especially in small towns and rural areas, and promises to investigate the decriminalisation of drug use, while prosecuting drug trafficking and dealing.
  • Mental health services will be available at all local clinics through community-based peer-to-peer support groups and more social workers and psychologists will be deployed to rural and township communities.
  • The party will train more social workers and occupational health workers and appoint clinic chaplains in clinics and hospitals. 

The party says it will fund the plans by curbing corruption and reducing financial waste through good governance, which will mean more money is available for the social wage (these are services the government provides to reduce the cost of living, such as education, healthcare, transport services and housing). In the current budget, about 60% of the yearly spending is earmarked for functions linked to the social wage.

Health workers

RISE Mzansi says the country has lost many experienced health practitioners to other countries and those who remain are “poorly managed, overworked and under mental strain due to their working conditions”. The party promises to train more healthcare workers to keep up with population growth and more people moving to towns and cities. In the short term, the party will consider special multi-year work permits for suitably qualified healthcare workers from other countries.
Currently, South Africa has eight doctors for every 10 000 people, according to 2021 data from the World Health Organisation. This is about half the global average. The shortages are more concentrated in the public sector than in private healthcare and worse in rural areas. However, the country is training more doctors than it can hire because of budget constraints. Doctors who do have jobs in the state sector aren’t paid enough, though, said the South African Medical Association last year.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.


Climate change

RISE Mzansi accepts the science around climate change and the country’s targets, which South Africa committed to with more than 190 other countries through the Paris Agreement, to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. (Net zero refers to the amount of greenhouse gases we emit (mostly from burning coal, oil and gas in producing electricity or fuelling vehicles) balancing with the amount the Earth’s ecosystems are able to naturally absorb so that there’s no build-up of these gases in the atmosphere where they form a layer which traps heat which would result in the Earth heating up).

The party says it will deal with climate change through its plan to create a fairer and stronger economy, which it believes can be done by switching gradually from coal to greener energy sources (such as wind and solar energy and nuclear power from small, modern reactors) to meet the country’s energy needs. It will “leave no-one behind”, which points to a just transition (meaning switching to climate-friendly energy sources to power our lives without workers in the current energy system losing their jobs unfairly). 

The party sets out the following plans for making electricity production environmentally more sustainable: 

  • It will use international financing to build up a local solar production and installation industry so that, within the first five years of a RISE Mzansi government households and small- to medium-sized businesses won’t have to rely on fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) so much anymore. 
  • It will help communities avoid and reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and help them deal with the impacts of a changing climate, like heat, drought, not enough food supply and (climate-related) natural disasters, which are likely to get worse.
  • It will move away from having the energy system controlled by a single entity (at the moment Eskom is the sole provider and distributor of electricity). 
  • People who install rooftop solar panels at home should get bigger tax breaks and poorer communities will be helped to set up their own energy cooperatives so that they can become “prosumers” of electricity (meaning someone who both consumes and produces electricity”. 

When it comes to transport, RISE Mzansi promises a long-term process to help the country switch to trains, buses and cars that run on electricity (rather than petrol and diesel) and create “expanded, integrated public transport networks” so that carbon emissions (which come from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil) will drop. through “expanded, integrated public transport networks” — electric trains and buses, and a shift to electric cars to reduce emissions of and stabilise the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and to be competitive in exports.

The party will also get the country’s industries to move away from relying on energy sources that lead to carbon emissions and speed up the use of green hydrogen and electric arc furnaces. (Hydrogen gas, which can be formed by breaking up water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen using a small amount of electrical current, can be used to power machines. In an electric arc furnace electricity is used to generate heat for melting metal, instead of burning coal.) 

Other measures to deal with the fallout of climate change, slow global warming and move to better environmental sustainability will include:

  • incentives for water-wise farming, planting drought-resistant crops, using innovative farming methods, for both small-scale and commercial farmers 
  • formalising and scaling up the waste-picking and recycling industry and making manufacturers more responsible for the waste that their products cause by rolling out a “polluter pays” principle 
  • building a system to bring together planning, preparedness, early warning and rapid response when natural disasters hit, which will include emergency services, trauma counselling, food and alternative shelter being made available quickly
  • encouraging more environmentally sustainable production and use of products such as steel, aluminum, ammonia and data storage, which generally need a lot of energy.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.


Food security

RISE Mzansi’s manifesto says “there are more cases of food insecurity and hunger today than there were in 1994”, when South Africa moved to a democratic government. The country’s latest general household survey shows 22% of people didn’t have enough food in 2022 and 12.9% reported going hungry

The party promises it will end hunger and “ensure affordable, nutritious food to poor South Africans”. This it will do through a combination of:

  • government income grants
  • food discount vouchers for grant recipients
  • increasing access to piped water in rural areas
  • making land available for own food production (using lawful expropriation where necessary)
  • small-scale farming, and links them and cooperatives with wholesalers and retailers.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.

Social grants

To fix hunger and unemployment, RISE Mzansi promises a combination of government income grants and food discount vouchers for grant recipients.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.


Basic income grant

RISE Mzansi’s manifesto doesn’t promote a basic income grant. Instead, the party says it will invest in regional training facilities for people who didn’t finish school to build skills in sectors such as agriculture and tourism and trades like bricklaying and plumbing. The training is meant to help people set up family and local businesses. 

The party will roll out a three-month conditional job-seekers grant, which will be linked to someone completing such skills development programmes.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.



RISE Mzansi doesn’t mention tuberculosis specifically. TB kills more people than any other illness in South Africa.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.



The RISE Mzansi manifesto doesn’t mention HIV. This is against the backdrop of 12.7% of adults in South Africa living with HIV by the end of 2022. About 75% of people with HIV are on antiretroviral treatment.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.



The RISE Mzansi manifesto has a lot to say about dealing with corruption. It proposes plans to restructure leadership and government institutions. 

  • In healthcare institutions, the party promises that competent administrators will fill positions to root out procurement corruption and ensure that equipment and medicines are delivered swiftly to improve the working conditions of health staff.
  • The party also says it will stop the abuse of black economic empowerment policies, prevent political office-bearers from meddling with procurement and focus on buying in a way that will promote entrepreneurship and innovation, especially by economically marginalised people. It will make the procurement system transparent by using digital technologies such as blockchain, to track and audit the tender process and catch and punish transgressors swiftly. (Blockchain technology is a way to store data — say, tender documents — in many different places instead of in a central digital location and in such a way that every new piece of info (called a block) when added to the chain can be verified as true before it’s accepted. At the moment, all calls for tenders are published publicly, eg, on treasury’s eTender portal, as are the outcome of the evaluation process and who the tender was awarded to. It’s unclear how RISE Mzansi will implement blockchain technology to make the procurement process transparent.)
  • The party promises to fix government finances to protect the social wage and re-invest in the economy. It will appoint competent, qualified ministers and heads of department, root out wasteful spending and prosecute corrupt officers. The number of state-owned companies will be reviewed and those that aren’t necessary will be shut down or sold. 
  • The party also vows to focus its efforts of dealing with corruption on senior figures who have so far managed to escape accountability and give the police and courts enough resources to “successfully prosecute priority crimes”.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.


Gender-based violence

A RISE Mzansi government says they will give the police and courts enough resources to prosecute priority crimes, under which it counts gender-based violence and crimes against children. They promise to give money and more prosecutors and better qualified magistrates to the National Prosecuting Authority, the Special Investigating Unit and the courts. They may ask retired judges to help preside over special courts while they’re in the process of hiring more staff.

Click here to go to the elections manifesto analysis tool.

Read the full, original manifesto here.