Parliament must urgently debate new, innovative ideas to revive our economy following recession

Today Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has announced that South Africa’s economy is officially in recession, with GDP growth for Quarter 2 of 2018 down 0.7%, which follows a 2.6% contraction in Quarter 1 of 2018. This recession – the second in 2 years – is an explicit vote of no confidence in the ANC government, its economic policy direction, and its ability to create jobs and prosperity for all South Africans.

Today’s announcement marks a continuation of the past decade of economic decline brought about by previous ANC governments. There has been no fundamental change to the ANC’s approach to the economy. Corruption, policy incoherence, crumbling SOEs, lack of investment, and unstable governance continues to produce economic instability and rising unemployment. We cannot continue down the same path any longer.

There is hope for our country and its economy, and there exists an array of fresh, alternative ideas that if implemented can ignite growth and get our economy up and running again. It is for this reason I will today write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on this matter. This will allow a collaborative effort in which all sides of the House can present new, innovative ideas as to how we can reverse this persistent economic decline and get South Africa working again.

Crucially, the ANC’s mismanagement of the economy reaches well beyond just those who are unemployed. GDP per capita statistics show that actual household income has been in decline for the past 5 years.

The fact that household income has been in decline for past 5 years is what truly matters to ordinary South Africans trying to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families. Despite shiny PR stunts and sumptuous talkshops, South Africans are getting poorer and poorer under the ANC government. This year alone, we’ve witnessed:

  • Unemployment reaching its highest level since the dawn of democracy – with almost 10 million jobless South Africans;
  • VAT increasing for the first time in 20 years – a direct financial assault on the poor, working and middle classes;
  • The highest income tax bracket increasing for the 3rd consecutive year;
  • Petrol prices sitting at well over R15 per litre, shooting up food and transport costs; and
  • The rand at a 27-month low – its weakest value since June 2016.

Our economy is currently on life-support as a direct result of a corrupt and failing ANC government which has no plan for our economy. We will never achieve a united, non-racial and prosperous nation without a growing economy which creates jobs, opportunity and wealth for all.

What South Africa now requires is leadership that understands our economy and appreciates that without a strong and thriving economy we will never address the injustices of our past. Where the DA governs, investment is increasing and jobs are being created because of our steadfast focus on clean, corruption-free and fiscally responsible governments that invest in local infrastructure.

The only hope for our country, for our economy and for the almost 10 million South Africans is to remove the ANC from government in 2019 and elect a new government that has real, workable solutions for the future.

Post-Fedex Briefing: DA leadership is united to build one South Africa for All

The Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive (FedEx) met on Friday and Saturday to discuss and decide on a number of issues.

Central to the FedEx deliberations was the 2019 election campaign. The DA is getting ready to launch its election team that will support DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, in driving our key electoral messages to the people of South Africa.

As such, FedEx has undertaken to launch the party’s election movement on the 22nd September 2018 at Mary Fitzgerald Sqaure in Newtown. At that point, all provinces would have elected premier candidates and provincial teams which will feed into the main federal structure.

It was also noted that the various structures and branches across the country are readying themselves to knock on doors and engage with South Africans in various communities. The election machinery is primed to begin its work which will span over the next 10 months for a May election.

In addition to adopting a strategy and messaging framework focused on the issues affecting South Africans, the FedEx also discussed and decided on a number of national issues:

The ANC’s state-sanctioned and job-killing ‘Land Grabs’

Land reform is essential to redress the ills of our past. South Africa’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that excludes most South Africans from land. And we maintain that the most appropriate way to address this is through the current constitutional provisions. This is the position we have advocated for throughout the country during the land hearings.

The  failing ANC’s intention to amend section 25 of the Constitution to limit ownership of agricultural land to 12 000 hectares is an irresponsible and regressive idea that demonstrates the party’s inability to properly understand the nature of modern agriculture in the 21st Century. This proposal is must be rejected in its entirety. The failing ANC’s bulldozing over this matter, is nothing more than a state-sponsored ‘land grabs’ and job-killing process. Populism by the failing ANC government is already undermining confidence in the economy, with overburdened taxpayers being asked to shoulder multi-billion rand bailouts and government guarantees for underperforming State-Owned Enterprises. This coming Wednesday, 22 August 2018, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane will be back in Parliament to demand answers from the President on what he plans to do to stem job losses and grow the economy.

The DA will strongly oppose any attempts by the failing ANC to undermine the Constitution and Parliament after reports emerged that the failing ANC top 6 gained access to the approximately 700 000 written submissions made by the public on Expropriation without compensation (EWC), most of which opposed a change of Section 25 of the Constitution. In order to ‘cook the books’, the failing ANC resolved to instruct its branches to collect more submissions from its members to support the failing ANC’s position, for possible submission to the CRC. This is despite the deadline for submissions being closed.

The failing ANC’s handling of the land debate has led to an exponential increase in land invasions. As at July 2018, there has been 87 land invasion incidents outside of the metro in the Western Cape. In the City of Cape Town Metro, Law Enforcement Department have attended to 925 protest actions and 621 land invasions in the 2017/2018 financial year. This is a 249% increase in protest action compared to the 2016/2017 year, where there were 265 protest actions. Relatedly, there has also been a 53% increase in land invasions compared to the 405 incidents in 2016/2017.

DA’s attempts to improve equitable access to land and reverse skewed apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town continue to be frustrated by the failing ANC led national government to release tracts of land in Ysterplaat and Wingfield which could provide could provide approximately 100 000 housing opportunities. The DA-led Western Cape Government has always maintained that the global trend of urbanisation should place the land reform spotlight firmly on urban land and housing. The DA in the Western Cape has a 62% success rate when it comes to land reform and restitution compared to the  failing ANC’s paltry 10%. We are the only party with a workable plan that places title in the hands of South Africans oppressed by poverty and high unemployment.


The South African economy remains stuck in a low growth trap, offering no hope to almost 10 million unemployed South Africans. Instead of cutting fat and promoting fiscal discipline, the failing ANC government has become addicted to borrowing and spending beyond what it can afford. A recent announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that his government is considering a R43 billion economic stimulus package, R59 billion bailout package for SOEs, on top of an estimated unbudgeted R30 billion more for the public sector wage bill, begs the question of how this will be financed.

SOEs have become a perennial drain on our fiscus and the government should not hold the country to ransom by refusing to consider part privatisation of these entities, in order to reduce taxpayer exposure and return them to profitability.

South Africa now runs a real risk of being downgraded to junk status due to unrestrained spending by government. To avoid any further downgrade, which would be disastrous for our economy, any additional spending must remain within the current budget. The failing ANC must accept that we cannot borrow our way to prosperity. President Ramaphosa should not saddle South Africans with more debt as this will only worsen the country’s perilous economic situation.

South Africans are already facing a rising cost of living due to the 1% VAT increase, petrol hikes and rising transport costs. When the President appears before Parliament on Wednesday, he must give South Africans concrete answers on what his government is planning to do to ease this economic burden, create jobs and restore the dignity of the unemployed.

DA position on BBBEE

South Africa finds itself at a crossroads where urgent economic and governance reforms need to be implemented to jolt the country out of its technical recession.

We need to get back on a path towards realising the potential of our nation. Towards building one nation where there is access to opportunity for all.

This is why the DA’s has been seized with developing an economic policy which is not only credible but also implementable where we govern and where we should govern next. A policy focused on economic inclusion; to develop a productive workforce that is able to meet the demands of a 21st century economy in an increasingly competitive global economy and one which places cities at the forefront of economic growth and development. This is the debate that the party has been having across our structures, flowing from our recent Federal Council.

It is clear – even by the ANC’s own admission – that it’s policy of BBBEE has failed. It has only managed to enrich the politically connected and by extension widened the gap between those who are included and excluded in the formal economy. This is why the DA rejects the ANC’s version of BBBEE. We will not be forced to view our own alternative through the prism of the ANC’s failed policy formulation.

The function of any policy which seeks to redress the injustices of the past, which saw black South Africans systematically locked out of opportunities, cannot replicate the very evil of Apartheid. It must seek to actively empower those who have been disempowered, the majority of whom are black. And that empowerment must focus on creating jobs. The DA unreservedly supports the goal of economically empowering black South Africans who are currently left out of the economy.

No policy of this nature can negate the fact that race still remains a proxy for disadvantage in South Africa. While we should strive to get to the point where this is no longer the case, we are certainly not there yet. In building One South Africa for All, the DA will seek to rely less on race as the inequality gap lessens in our country. Until then, we must be innovative and look at various models such as reviewing the score-card in order to ensure that black empowerment is truly broad-based. Following the discussions and decisions at FedEx, the party will will launch our full economic offer to the people of South Africa.

Achievements of DA-run Metros

Running South Africa’s biggest metro’s has put the DA in a unique position to create opportunities for South Africans as cities have now become governments of last resort. Following a meeting between the DA Leader, Mayors of DA run metros and the Premier of the Western Cape, it was clear that DA run cities continue to make key interventions to speed up service delivery, improve the standard of living and grow the economy.

Too often, DA led governments are becoming the government of last resort, having to fill the vacuum left by a collapsing national government led by the ANC. Despite this, DA governments are leading the charge with city-led economic growth and creating sustainable job opportunities.

The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government signed a memorandum of agreement which will see the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure. The unit will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets.

The National Department of Transport is planning to devolve control of commuter rail networks to local municipalities, as set out in its National Rail Policy (draft White Paper) of June 2017. However, this could take up to three years to implement, and the City is therefore seeking to fast-track the process. The City’s proposed business plan, approved by Council in October 2017, has been submitted to the National Department of Transport to secure the necessary approvals and funding to take over the commuter rail function in a structured and incremental manner.

In addition, Cape Town has become an example of global best practice on how to beat unprecedented drought conditions. We remain grateful to the residents for their efforts in saving water and helping us defeat Day Zero.

Going forward, the City will consider how to address the current restriction levels and tariff structure to ensure responsible demand management, but also to ensure that the city remains the most viable investment and tourist destination in South Africa and across the world.

As dam levels increase to the 60% level, the immediate danger has been dealt with, however, now we need to ensure that we strengthen CoCT’s long term water supply.

FedEx has discussed the process of electing a new Cape Town mayor. The process will be finalised by the end of September so that we can ensure a proper handover that will not distract us from the core business of delivering services to the residents of Cape Town.

DA administrations in Johannesburg and Tshwane inherited a financial mess in but have since made great strides in restoring financial stability. The City of Johannesburg closed out the 2017/18 financial year with improved performance in the unaudited financial reports. Cash reserves now stand at R1.9 Billion with R6 billion in loans now repaid. The City is raising over R3 billion per month in revenue ensuring the City is in a much stronger financial position to deliver better quality services to more people and meet its debt obligations

The City of Tshwane, on the other hand, closed out the 2016/17 financial year with an operating surplus of R704 million. The City’s capital budget expenditure is projected to end at 87.7%, which is a big improvement from previous financial years.

Fedex noted that the failing ANC’s political gimmicks in Nelson Mandela Bay failed to remove an accountable and responsive government that was turning around the fortunes of the metro from years of failing ANC plunder. The people of NMB had categorically rejected the  failing ANC’s corrupt government. Those who seek to bring back this government to the hands of those who stole are putting themselves first and the people last. We will not be deterred in speeding up service delivery to the people that we serve.


Zimbabwe’s experience offers up valuable lessons to South Africa that we ignore at our peril. It demonstrates how a political elite will destroy a nation’s economy, collapse its wealth and ruin millions of lives if that is the price of holding onto power after its authentic moral authority has evaporated. Zimbabwe’s recent election shows how difficult it is to restore true democracy once a single dominant party has entrenched power over decades. The admission by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that it made an error in tallying the votes for the Presidential election brings into question the validity of the entire election and the legitimacy of those who were declared as winners. This is why the work of a strong opposition in a multi-party democracy can never be under-estimated. The DA will work closely with our sister-party, the MDC Alliance to lend support in any way we can with their legal challenge. It is disappointing that the South African government and SADC (The Southern African Development Community) have been conveniently quiet on this matter. We cannot be remain silent when our neighbours on the continent are embroiled in electoral disputes which threaten the very fibre of democracy.


We are on track to build one South Africa that puts the people first by ensuring we liberate our people from the oppression of corruption and unemployment. The DA leadership remains united behind the mission of building One South Africa For All.

The FedEx recommitted to our priorities as a party. Where we govern and where we will govern, we will create fair access to jobs, speed up service delivery, secure our border, ensure that we have a professional police service and run corruption-free governments.

DA election machinery ready and focused on 2019

The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at Nkululeko House – the Party’s campaign HQ in Gauteng – following a two-day sitting of the DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx). 

The Federal Executive (FedEx) of the Democratic Alliance met over the last two days to discuss matters of importance to the party and our national programme ahead of the 2019 general election. This statement serves to communicate the outcomes of this weekend’s sitting.

2019 Elections

The central focus of this weekend’s FedEx meeting was to discuss and consider the Party’s strategy and plans going into next year’s National General Election. The 2019 Election is set to be the most hotly contested and competitive national election since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

The growing dissatisfaction with the ANC saw historical shifts in government in the 2016 Local Government Election – with DA governments taking office in the country’s largest cities. We are confident that in 2019, we will grow even further as many more South Africans will choose the DA as the flagbearer for a united, non-racial and prosperous South Africa where jobs and wealth are created, our streets are safe, corruption is eradicated, and services are delivered to all.

FedEx moved to adopt a number of resolutions this weekend, which will form the basis of our election campaign. FedEx has set the party the following non-negotiable targets for the 2019 election:

  • To become the biggest party in Gauteng and form a government in the province;
  • To become the biggest party in the Northern Cape and form a government in the province; and
  • Retain the Western Cape with an increased majority.

Therefore, the focus lies in Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape with these being our “strategic” provinces. In addition to this, we plan to substantially increase our percentage of the national votes cast.  This means that the provinces of KwaZulu Natal, the North West and the Eastern Cate will contribute significantly to the growth targets of the party based on our strong structures and electoral performance.

Our recent performance in these provinces in both by-elections and university and TVET college SRC elections shows the DA in breaking new ground as voters choose the DA’s vision for a One South Africa For All. From Letaba TVET college in Limpopo, to the symbolic and historic Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape – the DA is growing and winning elections on campuses across the country as young people agree that the DA is the only party with a plan for the future.

In recent by-elections, the DA has grown significantly in both rural and urban areas – in suburbs and in townships. Just this week, the people of the Eastern Cape endorses the DA’s agenda for change. We grew from 88% to 96.01% in the Ward 18 by-election in Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) yesterday, and from 6.24% to 24.94% in Ward 9, Ingquza Hill Local Municipality.

Pursuant to these targets, we have resolved that during this Parliamentary constituency period, all DA Members of Parliament will be undertaking an intensive 75-day period to interact with voters in their constituencies and beyond. Public representatives will engage with South Africans to present our offer, while reassuring voters in areas where we already govern the we will continue our efforts.

The party will go into official campaign mode during the month of June, with a view to officially launch the national campaign in July 2018. Alongside the Party’s Presidential Candidate will be a diverse and capable team who will each be mandated with one of the key strategic issues that affect South Africans daily.

Following that the party will launch Premier candidate campaigns across the country. It is our belief that we field Premier candidates in each province who are capable, dedicated, and able to speak to voters directly on our plans to bring about real change.

In addition to this, campaign groups and units are being rolled out across the country with DA members and volunteers delivering our offer of hope and change to thousands of South Africans on a daily basis. Structures are ready, our field redesign is complete, and our activists are eager to get going.

Lastly, we call on interested South Africans to put forward their name and apply to be a DA public representative in Parliament and in the Provincial Legislatures. We are looking for excellent people from all walks of life to build caucuses that represent South Africa in all its diversity. Application officially close on 30 June and can be accessed at

We believe that no matter who is in charge of the ANC, it cannot bring about the real change need to move our country forward. A DA-led government in the future is the only way to fight poverty, create jobs, and to bring about a future of peace and prosperity for all.

Youth Month

The lead up to 16 June requires us as a nation to reflect on the current situation our young people find themselves in, and what more needs to be done to honour the young of 1976.

While the struggle of ’76 was about personal and political freedom, today’s struggle is the struggle for jobs and opportunity. After 24 years of democracy, young people are still provided an inadequate education that doesn’t prepare them sufficiently for the job market.

Young people are the worst affected by unemployment. Over 50% of our youth are without jobs. That means half of the country’s most productive workforce is unemployed.

Job creation is the only way that we can empower our young people.

FedEx notes and congratulates DA-led governments across the country that are creating job opportunities. It is fact where the DA governs, unemployment levels are lower than in the rest of the country.

At national level, a DA government would provide access to a national civilian service programme which would provide young school-leavers an opportunity to receive industry training in the fields of their choice; provide free higher education for students who are unable to afford it; and grow the economy to enable true access to jobs and other job opportunities such as the EPWP programme and the Vukuzakhe programme which partners school leavers and the private sector.

That is why it is a core focus of ours to ensure young people register to vote in next year’s election. Youth apathy at the polls is simply not an option. The DA’s youth structures will continue their programme of action this month, led by newly elected DA Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi.

To commemorate and celebrate Youth Day this year, the Party will be holding two national events. On 15 June, we will conduct a wreath laying ceremony at the Hector Peterson Memorial in honour of the youth of 1976 and those who bravely lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom. On 16 June, we will hold a Youth Day rally at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape, the academic home of many ANC stalwarts including Nelson Mandela. DASO just recently won the SRC elections at Fort Hare, where students chose to vote for a fresh mandate and real change.

The Economy

The state of our economy remains one of the DA’s key focuses. Without a growing, vibrant and inclusive economy, we will never address the injustices of our past, and create opportunity for our young people to pursue their own destiny.

FedEx notes with major concern the latest GDP figures, and unemployment rate. Since Cyril Ramaphosa’s election, the economy has taken a huge blow. Unemployment is at a post 1994 record high with 9,4 million South Africans looking for work. Added to this, economy shrunk by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018 – its worst faring in close on a decade. This included high employment sectors such as agriculture (-24%), mining (-9.9%) and manufacturing (-6.4%).

This is compounded by the financial war Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC government has launched against poor, working and middle-class South Africans. In addition to a 1 percentage point VAT increase, an Income Tax increase, “Sin tax” increase, and an increase in RAF and General Fuel Levy – the price of petrol skyrocketed earlier this week to an unprecedented R15.79 per litre. This will mean the cost of living – mainly food and transport – will increase, adding a further financial burden to ordinary South Africans.

I have therefore requested that this matter be dealt with in Parliament as a matter of urgency. I have approach the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of public importance to consider the current structure and composition of RAF and General Fuel Levies, and this can be altered to relieve ordinary South Africans from this financial strain.

Despite these negative conditions, DA governments continue their work in creating jobs and providing support to job creators. Next week I’ll be visiting two projects – one in Cape Town and one in Tshwane – where DA-led governments have shown creativity and innovation in spearheading economic growth and job creation.

Indeed, as a nation we have all hoped a Ramaphosa Presidency would yield positive results for our economy. However, the latest GDP and unemployment figures tell South Africans what they already know: an ANC government can never grow our economy at the rate we need to create new, permanent jobs for the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans.

The ANC is about big government, big business, and big labour – with the poor and unemployed way down in the pecking order. It is only the DA that is relentlessly focused on providing jobs and opportunity to those left behind.


The fight for an alternative, post-ANC South Africa is in full swing. We are forging ahead in creating a shared future for all South Africans.

Between now and 2019, we will use every opportunity in government, every single day, to win the trust of voters, and to show South Africans that there is another choice; a better choice, and that choice is the Democratic Alliance

Ramaphosa’s first 100 days sees unemployment increase

By the end of 2017, the expanded unemployment rate was 36.3%, and with a staggering 9.2 million unemployed South Africans, the SA economy grew by a paltry 1.3% in 2017, coupled with a decrease in net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Within the first 100 days, the President has begun to move us in the right direction, but there are still policies within his government and the ruling party that will always act as a barrier to growth and job creation. Until President Ramaphosa deals with such policies, we will continue our low growth high unemployment trajectory for the foreseeable future.

The President has achieved the following during his first 100 days:

  • Hosting a Japan-Africa trade forum;
  • The appointment of four investment envoys to attract foreign investors to South Africa;
  • Signing long-delayed renewable energy contracts worth $4.7 billion with Independent Power Producers (IPPs);
  • A proposed Youth Employment Service (YES);
  • The appointment of Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance; and
  • South Africa’s Business Confidence Index (BCI) rising 11 points to 45 in the first quarter of 2018 – the highest in three years.

Despite these incremental changes, the President has failed to act on several economic matters. This has seen the number of unemployed South Africans increase during the first months of his Presidency, from 9,216 million in the previous quarter to 9,481 million.

To address rising unemployment and to get our economy thriving, the President needs to act swiftly in addressing the following matters:

  • Reject the policies of his Ministers’ Ebrahim Patel and Rob Davies, and ensure economic policy certainty across all government departments;
  • Reverse the 1 percentage point VAT hike;
  • Upgrade the current Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) to a full Youth Wage Subsidy;
  • Introducing a National Civilian Service year to provide work experience for the approximately 78 443 unemployed matriculants (from the class of 2016 alone) to enter into work-based training in the community healthcare, basic education or SAPS fields;
  • Reverse the decision to cut the Competition Commissions budget, as the Commission is crucial to reducing the concentration of the economy and allowing small businesses to flourish;
  • Institute a review of all labour legislation, with a view to liberalise the labour market making it easier to employ people;
  • Amend B-BBEE legislation to include internships, bursaries, and funding of schools as legitimate empowerment;
  • Reject the proposed amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate all land without compensation, which creates uncertainty and volatility in the economy;
  • Ensure that the 100 000 unpaid invoices, worth over R7.7 billion, between government departments and small businesses are paid;
  • Adopt a City-led economic growth agenda, focusing on cities as the drivers of growth and job creation; and
  • Reconsider a blanket national minimum wage, which favours the employed at the expense of the unemployed and will cost at least 700 000 jobs, killing many small businesses.

Countries rise and fall on the strength of their economies, and this holds especially true for the developing world. Just tinkering at the edges, with a talk shop here and a summit there, will not fundamentally restructure the economy to create jobs.

The President still has a long way to go when it comes to the economy.

The above was presented by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at a press conference to review President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office. Read the full report here

MTBPS 2017 reveals the full horror of President Jacob Zuma’s catastrophic mismanagement of the economy in SA

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba’s, “maiden” medium-term budget policy statement exposes the full horror of President Jacob Zuma’s catastrophic management of the economy in South Africa.
The minister’s medium-term budget policy statement reveals a full-scale budget “blow out” with:

  • a massive revenue shortfall of R50. 8 billion, which is the largest revenue shortfall since the global financial crisis;
  • a breach of the expenditure ceiling by R3.9 billion, which was in part caused by the R10 billion bailout of South African Airways, and which had to be offset mainly by using the contingency reserve (R6 billion), projected underspending (R3 billion), and selling the family silver, in the form of shares in Telkom shares (R3.9 billion); and
  • a “blow out” in the budget deficit by R54 billion to R203 billion, or 4.3% of GDP in 2017/18.

The budget deficit “blow out” results in an increase in national debt of R67.9 billion to R2.3 trillion, or 54.2% of GDP and an increase in debt service costs of R900 million to R163.3 billion, in 2017/18.
The budget “blow out” ricochet’s through the medium term pushing national debt to R3.4 trillion, or 59.7% of GDP, in 2020/21.
The full horror of the medium-term budget policy statement and the failure to stabilize national debt is that, in three financial years’ time, we will be spending:

  • R33.8 billion more on debt service costs than we will spend on health in this financial year;
  • R129.7 billion more on debt service costs than we will spend on police this financial year; and
  • R44.7 billion more on debt service costs that we will spend on social protection this financial year.

Worse, any prospect of the recovery now rests with a mystery “presidential committee” under President Jacob Zuma, who is “ground zero” of the meltdown in the economy in South Africa.
That is why we have proposed a package of structural reforms to boost economic growth and job creation, a Comprehensive Spending Review to identify savings, with a view to cutting expenditure over the medium term, and placing the national airline in business rescue with a view to stabilizing and then privatizing South African Airways.

GDP [2017-Q2] provides little hope to the 9.3 million people who do not have jobs in SA

The fact that Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the second quarter of this year, expanded quarter-on-quarter, by 2.5%, lifting the economy out of recession, provides little hope to the 9.3 million people who do not have jobs, or have given up looking for jobs, in South Africa.
The reality is the economy, which is set to grow at just 0.5% this year, is growing too slowly to increase the level of per capita income for the 30.4 million people living below the poverty line; or to increase the level of employment for the 9.3 million people who do not have jobs, or have given up looking for jobs, in South Africa.
The fact is that “radical economic transformation” is killing the economy and that is why we need a fundamental shift in economic policy to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa.

BOKAMOSO | Poverty: SA’s 30 million poor need a new beginning

Of all the sad things we’ve learnt this year, surely the saddest news came on Tuesday, when Pali Lehohla, our Statistician General, told us that absolute poverty is on the rise in South Africa, and that our children are suffering more than any other group. This is our clearest call to action yet. Each passing day, more South Africans slip into poverty, more children fall into deprivation. It is time for a new beginning and that new beginning can’t come soon enough.

More than half of our country lives in poverty. One in four South Africans cannot afford to feed themselves adequately, let alone any other necessities. StatsSA’s Poverty Trends in South Africa report reveals that between 2011 and 2015, the proportion of people living in poverty (below the poverty line of R1138 per person per month in 2017 prices) increased from 53.2% to 55.5%, equating to 30.4 million people. Of these, 13.8 million people (up from 11 million in 2011) live in extreme poverty (below the food poverty line of R531 per person per month), lacking adequate nutrition.

And of course, the burden of poverty is almost entirely borne by black people, courtesy of our deeply unjust apartheid past and the failings of a callous, corrupt ANC government.

Shockingly, 67% – two in three – of South Africa’s children live in poverty – a much higher proportion than for any other age group. Over 13 million children, almost all of them black, are growing up in poverty, their early childhood development compromised and their life chances stunted. Millions of children go to sleep on an empty stomach and sleep badly as a result; they go to school on an empty stomach and perform badly as a result. Some 15 000 children per year are admitted to hospital for severe acute malnutrition, of whom around 1 500 die from it. South Africa will never flourish while so many of our children are caught in this cruel poverty trap.

We must never, ever accept poverty as normal. Absolute poverty must always be absolutely unacceptable.

Tackling and eliminating poverty must be our top priority as a nation, the yardstick by which we measure our success.  The DA in national government will take a two-pronged “protect and empower” approach. We will give as much protection as possible to those who remain in poverty, while moving as quickly as possible to provide the opportunities that empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.

A strong social safety net is a social and moral imperative, but the fact is that in SA, the key driver of poverty is large-scale unemployment. There are more people receiving social grants (17 million) than people with jobs (16 million) in SA. Clearly, the only sustainable solution to the challenge of poverty, is to bring poor people into the economy en masse, through inclusive, job-creating economic growth.

In national government, we will be relentless in seeking to grow income-generating opportunities and to improve poor people’s access to these opportunities. Over and above its capacity to empower the poor, a thriving economy also provides the revenue that funds greater social protection. Without a thriving economy, our welfare system itself is at risk.

How will we grow an inclusive, thriving economy? By growing people’s capacity for economic activity through improving access to quality education and healthcare. By de-concentrating our economy and supporting small, medium and micro enterprises. By investing in rural development and giving people title deeds to the land they live on. By providing the infrastructure that connects people to each other and opportunities – broadband internet, transport networks; and that underpins all economic activity – water and energy infrastructure. By ensuring that state-owned enterprises are a benefit rather than a cost to the public.

But undoubtedly, the single most important requirement for a thriving South African economy is political will: a state that is genuinely committed to the wellbeing of the many rather than the enrichment of the few; a state that is committed to democratic accountability; a state that inspires confidence through coherent and stable policy; a state that understands that inclusive economic growth and true broad-based economic empowerment are mutually reinforcing; leaders who seek to unite rather than divide and who are genuinely committed to righting the wrongs of the past; leaders with social consciousness so that they do not squander resources that should go to the poor. I am confident that the DA will lead a state such as this; that we will unite the nation and work hard, together, to rapidly reduce poverty and build the bright future that every single one of our children deserves.


Malusi Gigaba’s “inclusive growth action plan” is a huge disappointment for SA

Thirty-six days after the economy slipped into recession the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has finally announced an “inclusive growth action plan”, comprising of 14 “action items”, 45 “interventions”, spanning seven departments, with specific timelines, for South Africa.
The Minister ramped up expectations, during the past few weeks, creating the impression that there would be a “big announcement”, not least by suggesting that the action plan would be aimed at getting the economy to grow at “6% or more” in South Africa.
However, the fact is that the “inclusive growth action plan” is a huge, though not unexpected, disappointment because it does not include one big, bold, new idea capable of restoring business confidence and stimulating private sector investment in South Africa.
The Minister simply does not have the political will, or the political space, given the ongoing “civil war” within the governing party ahead of the ANC’s 54th National Conference 2017, to implement the structural reforms necessary to boost economic growth and create jobs in South Africa

President Zuma must tomorrow break his silence on ANC-created economic recession

It has now been over two weeks since South Africa’s economy entered a formal recession, following two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. President Zuma has yet to formally address Parliament and the nation on the matter, and has failed to provide a concrete plan to counteract the recession and its devastating effects on the lives of every South African. We are once again left leaderless when it comes to the economy and to job creation.
The President cannot sit back and watch while our economy tanks, and the 9.3 million jobless South Africans are left without hope of ever finding work. The knock-on effects of the recession will see the cost of food, transport, and everyday living expenses skyrocket, with the poor suffering the most. As head of government, the President must act with haste, and provide South Africa with a clear and workable plan to reverse the effects of the recession and get our economy working.
I have therefore today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that an urgent oral question to the President be added to tomorrow’s Order Paper, in terms of Rule 141 of the National Assembly Rules.
Tomorrow, when President Zuma appears in Parliament to answer questions, I will look to ask him the following question:
In light of South Africa’s economy entering a formal recession on 6 June 2017, and in light of the fact that you have yet to address this House, or make an official public statement on the matter, (a) what is your official response to the recession and (b) which specific sectors of the economy will Government be targeting as part of its plan to mitigate the economic damage caused by the recession and to reignite economic growth in South Africa?
The economic woes of South Africa cannot be covered up by foreign PR agencies, or blamed on certain segments of society. The current economic mess is ANC-created and ANC-sustained. President Zuma must either shoulder this burden and act decisively, or step aside.
Our nation desperately requires leadership that understands the economy, and appreciates that without a strong, thriving, and inclusive economy we will never address the injustices of our past. In order to achieve a united, non-racial and prosperous nation, South Africa needs a growing economy which creates jobs, opportunity and wealth for all.

DA to table Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma following his reckless assault on our economy

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today taken a decision to table a Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma – in terms of Section 102 of the Constitution – following his now confirmed intention to fire Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his Deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. I have therefore written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete, in this regard, indicating our intention to have the motion debated and voted on by Parliament once it is back in session.
At a time when 9 million South Africans are without work and our fragile economy requires leadership and clear policy direction, President Zuma continues to play “Russian Roulette” with our economy and the future of our country.
Since his reckless and irrational decision to recall Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his Deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, from an international roadshow to boost investment, growth and job creation in South Africa, the gains made by Gordhan and Jonas to restore credibility in our economy following the disastrous firing of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, 15 months ago, have all but been eviscerated.
This is negatively affecting all South Africans – but in particular the poor and the jobless whose only hope is a growing and inclusive economy.
Zuma has threatened our economy by dangling the possibility of firing Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his Deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, before the country, and before the world, by using a bizarre and seemingly last minute “security report” to justify such removals. This is nothing more than an attempt at total state capture and cannot be accepted.
The President’s actions confirm what we already know: Zuma has abandoned the interests of the people, the economy and South Africa in favour of a kleptocratic Guptamocracy, where the keys to the Treasury and the Government are made available to anyone who puts Zuma first and the people last. The Treasury stands as the last line of defence against Zuma and his project of state capture and unfettered looting.
Such a crisis was seen previously during the Nenegate crisis of December 2015. That President Zuma has indicated his intention to go down the same destructive path shows that he has lost all sense of rationality and sound judgement. These actions will result directly in job losses and will thus be most profoundly felt by the poor and most vulnerable citizens in South Africa. President Zuma’s derelict leadership has resulted in a collapse of public confidence in the President of the Republic of South Africa, has created a government at war with itself and ultimately has undermined efforts to restore confidence in the South African economy. There can be no confidence in such a President.
Parliament hired Jacob Zuma, and Parliament must now fire Jacob Zuma. Only Parliament can act now – the Courts do not have the authority to remove a sitting president.
Therefore it is vital that a Motion of No Confidence be tabled against the calamitous, corrupt and job-killing Zuma presidency. For the sake of the country and the people, it is important that Members of Parliament, regardless of political affiliation, come together and put South Africa and our people first by removing Zuma from the Union Buildings.
We therefore call on all political parties to support our motion – including the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) deployees to Parliament. This is in light of their public pronouncements earlier today, in which it was confirmed that the removal of Gordhan and Jonas was discussed with its leadership, and that the party publically denounces Zuma’s assault on the National Treasury and the economy.
The SACP, along with the growing and increasingly public opposition to the Zuma leadership within the ANC, are now afforded the opportunity to put action to their words and support our motion.
This a call to remove Zuma before he destroys our economy and our shared future.