DA is SA’s most pro-poor party

The DA is South Africa’s most pro-poor party. We do best at providing those living in poverty with the things they need most, such as jobs, piped water, sanitation, electricity, education, school-feeding programmes, ECD support, healthcare, safety, and financially sustainable government.

This claim is based on objective measures from third party sources which have no incentive whatsoever to favour the DA: StatsSA, the Department of Basic Education, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Ratings Afrika, the Auditor General, the CoGTA report on the state of local government (Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), court rulings.

Jobs. The DA strongly supports social grants for the poor. But we believe that there is nothing more pro-poor than lifting people out of grants and into income. Where the DA governs, job numbers are highest and unemployment is lowest. At 29.1%, the Western Cape has the lowest broad unemployment rate in South, 17.3 percentage points lower than the average for the other eight provinces, according to the most recent Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released in August 2021. Midvaal, where the DA has enjoyed a full majority for an uninterrupted period of 19 years, has the lowest unemployment of any municipality in Gauteng.

Midvaal is also a “shining light of service delivery”. This should come as no surprise, because service delivery and job creation go hand in hand. Businesses, especially smaller operators, like poorer households, rely heavily on government services.

Piped water. According to Stats SA, 43.5% of Western Cape households receive free basic water, which is roughly double the national average of 21.8% of households. (Source: Stats SA non-financial census of municipalities published 31 March 2021 code P9115.)

Sanitation. According to Stats SA, 47.9% of Western Cape households receive free basic sewerage and sanitation services, which is more than double the national average of 18.7% of households. (Source: Stats SA non-financial census of municipalities published 31 March 2021 code P9115.)

Electricity. According to Stats SA, 27% of Western Cape households receive free basic electricity, which is far higher than the national average of 16.7% of households. (Source: Stats SA non-financial census of municipalities published 31 March 2021 code P9115.)

Education. The Western Cape is consistently the top performing province on key education indicators: matric pass rates (80% for the 2020 NSC examinations, despite the severe disruptions caused by the pandemic), Bachelor passes (44%), Mathematics passes (71%), and Mathematical Literacy passes (83%), with learner retention from grade 10 to matric being the highest in the country, at 67%. According to the HSRC’s TIMSS 2019 results for grade 9, the Western Cape scored 13% higher than the SA average for maths and 18% higher for science. The SACMEQ 4 report indicated an advanced reading score of 72.7% for the Western Cape, which is double the national average of 36.1%. The Western Cape was also well ahead of the 2nd ranked province, Gauteng, at 54%.

School-feeding programmes. During the hard lockdown last year, the Western Cape was the only province to continue its school nutrition programme. The other eight provinces had to be forced by a court order to resume the programme.

ECD subsidies. During the hard lockdown last year, the Western Cape was also the only province to continue paying subsidies to Early Childhood Development centres. The other eight provinces once again had to be forced by a court order to resume the payments. The Western Cape also has the highest percentage of children in subsidised ECDs in the country.

Healthcare. At 91.5%, the Western Cape has the highest percentage of households living within 30 minutes of their nearest health facility, according to Stats SA’s General Household Survey 2016.

Safety. The Western Cape is the only province to have taken significant steps to boost SAPS’ failing law enforcement efforts. Policing is a national government mandate, but the Western Cape has added an additional 1100 law enforcement officers to the most high-risk areas of the province (Gugulethu, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Harare, Delft, Mitchells Plain) in a bid to keep people safe. (LEAP)

Good governance. Good governance is more critical, the poorer people are. Corruption, cadre deployment and inefficiency hit the poor hardest, as they are most reliant on public services and delivery, being unable to afford private sector alternatives.

One need only compare the R15 million Enoch Mgijima bench “stadium” built by the ANC-run Enoch Mgijima Municipality in the Eastern Cape with the R13 million Saldanha stadium, or the two new stadia built by DA-run Hessequa Municipality for under R10 million each, to see the difference that good governance makes to delivery.

According to CoGTA’s 2021 report on the state of local government, only 16 out of 257 municipalities (6%) are functional, and almost all of these are DA-run. For the 2019/20 financial year, the Auditor General awarded clean audits to 18 of the Western Cape’s 30 municipalities, and they were all governed by the DA. Five of the seven municipalities that sustained their clean audit status over four years are DA-governed. And according to Ratings Afrika, the top five best-run municipalities in SA are all DA-governed.

South Africans across the wealth spectrum are feeling insecure about the future in the context of state failure and collapsing service delivery under the ANC. The difference is that the poor have no buffer of protection, whereas the middle classes can in many instances rely on private service provision to fill the gaping voids.

Only the DA can claim this track record of superior delivery to the poor. Of course, there is room for improvement. DA governments can and will continue to make steady inroads into tackling the roots of poverty and the unequal access to opportunity that drives inequality.

At the same time, it should be acknowledged that with a dysfunctional national government, unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality will persist in every municipality and province in the country, no matter the quality of service delivery to the poor in individual municipalities and provinces. So the point is necessarily one of comparison.

The best way to protect the poor from collapsing service delivery is to vote DA on 1 November. Because, more than any other party in South Africa, the DA gets things done for the poor.