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South Africa's Mbeki Pledges Better Services, Jobs for Poor

South Africa's ruling party has promised to improve services and create jobs for the country's poor majority.

President Thabo Mbeki unveiled a $65 billion spending plan Sunday at a rally launching the African National Congress' campaign for municipal elections.

The ANC's election manifesto says the money would be used to build roads, dams, power plants, rail networks, and communications infrastructure.

It says every household will have access to running water, electricity, and decent sanitation by 2012.

The ANC has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 but faces growing dissent over poor basic services and Mr. Mbeki's firing of popular Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC says Mr. Zuma, who faces rape and corruption charges, will still help the party campaign for the March 1 elections.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.