Nelson Mandela unveiled the election platform Saturday that is expected to carry his African National Congress to victory as black and white right-wingers vowed to boycott the polling.
Mandela, launching the ANC's first day of campaigning, rode a 14-car "democracy train" through the suburbs of Johannesburg and presented the group's platform at a meeting hall near the black township of Soweto."Today we are almost there," Mandela declared. He promised "a government that understands the needs of the future . . . a government that puts people first."
Opinion polls show the ANC is the choice of a large majority of those likely to vote in South Africa's first multiracial election April 27.
In announcing the ANC platform, Mandela called for patience on the part of his supporters.
"Our people are entitled to believe that on April 28 everyone will have jobs, houses and free and compulsory education," he said. "They are entitled to such expectations because they can see their white counterparts enjoying the rights and privileges that are denied to them.
"But it is dangerous to have such unreal expectations. The ANC has a duty to warn that attending to the social problems is not something that can be tackled within a year."