Dear Cape Town
Today’s release of unemployment figures by Stats SA for the second quarter of 2019 shows that there are now officially more than 10 million people unemployed people in South Africa, with an expanded unemployment rate of 38.5%. The unemployment crisis has now turned into an unemployment catastrophe, with no clear plan from the Ramaphosa government on how to get the economy growing.
One of the biggest risks to the economy remains the lack of reforms to Eskom. The President must urgently endorse the DA’s Jobs Act and table the reform plan for Eskom. Similarly I will today be writing to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, to call for an urgent debate of national importance on the jobs crisis in South Africa.
The truth is that unless President Ramaphosa scraps the investment-sapping and economy-killing policies that his government is pursuing, and replaces them with clear pro-growth policies, this crisis will not abate. Land expropriation, nationalised health, propping up failing state owned entities and other destructive ANC economic policies have run their course and it is time for an entirely new approach that is unashamedly pro-growth and investment.
The official unemployment rate increased by 1.4 percentage points from 27.6% in the first quarter of 2019 to 29.0% in the second quarter of 2019. This means that 232 000 more people are unemployed from the first quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2019.
This catastrophe highlights the fact that the ANC government has no plan for turning around the economy. There seems to be no will to bring about structural reform to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa.
The DA run Western Cape still has the lowest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa at 23.8% against the National average of 38.5%. South Africa is in dire need of a change and a plan to propel the economy into a new trajectory, to create an environment where businesses can grow and where investors can safely invest which Premier Winde’s ‘jobs war room’ is at the helm of achieving.
Quite simply we propose seven reforms that will lead to an inclusive and modern economy:
Reform our SOEs by splitting up Eskom into two, opening the market to more IPPs and allowing well-running municipalities to but directly from IPPs, selling off SAA and non-essential assets at the SABC with a proper skills and salary audit under strict bailout conditions;
Reform our education to introduce charter schools through public private partnerships in poor and rural communities less than 5km from homes thereby breaking the hold of SADTU and offering parents choice;
Reform our healthcare by stopping the NHI and passing the DA’s Sizani Universal Health Plan to make quality healthcare available to all South Africans without breaking our national budget;
Reform our labour legislation by relaxing our labour laws, cutting red tape to allow more businesses to create jobs, replacing our national minimum wage with a sectoral minimum wage and opt out clause for young work seekers while setting up a Jobs and Justice fund to invest in future economies;
Reform capacity by building a capable state through trimming Cabinet to 15 Ministeries;
Reform land by extending property ownership to millions of South Africans through speeding up delivery of urban and rural title deeds, while rejecting expropriation without compensation; and
Reform police and rail functions by devolving the power of our police and rail services to provincial governments to keep South Africans safe and ensure that citizens have a safe and reliable commute to and from work.
529 days after his first election as President of the Republic, South Africa still faces profound economic challenges. It is high time President Ramaphosa and his cabinet roll up their sleeves and get some real work done by joining these efforts and work with all levels of government to grow the economy and create jobs.
I believe strongly that the DA has the plans and the reform proposals necessary to turn the ship around, and for the betterment of South Africa I want to offer these to President Ramaphosa. The DA builds local economies where we govern, we reduce unemployment and create jobs, and we attract investment.
These are outcomes our national economy needs too.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance