For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
E-TOLLS BATTLE: Outa and Sanral continue to battle regarding e-tolls in Gauteng. Image: iStock.
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Dear Comrade President,
Let us at the outset congratulate you on delivering one of
the most well-thought of State of the Nation Addresses (SONA). Your address was
a clear demonstration that indeed you have your finger on the pulse when it
comes to where we are as a nation and what it is we need to do to grow South
We were particularly pleased when during your address you
paid specific attention to the impact the cost of living is having on the poor
and working class citizens. Highlighting some of the measures your government
will put in place to mitigate these comes as a huge relief to many living in
When as the ANC in Gauteng Province, together with our alliance
partners, various civil society formations and residents from all walks of
life, took part in the People's March on 2 November 2018, we delivered a very
clear message to your office on behalf of the people of Gauteng Province.
Our memorandum highlighted a number of factors impacting on
the high cost of living.
READ: Wayne Duvenage - E-tolls a 5-year debacle without a purpose
One of this is the high cost of data, which not only leads
to digital exclusion, but also puts pressure on emerging and small businesses.
This pressure holds back the potential of the digital economy as a growth
sector; an area that we have identified as a province to be a key driver for
growth in the economy.
A critical area that has been raised is the inefficient,
unreliable and unaffordable public transport system, especially the regular
interruption of train services. This has jeopardised the already precarious
employment position of many and is costly to the economy.
Lastly, we categorically stated that the impact of the VAT
increase and the urban tolling system in our province has negatively affected
those who travel in order to make ends meet or to make their contribution
towards the growth of our country.
The aggregate impact of all the above is that costs are
passed on to the middle strata, the working class and the poor, thus eroding
their standard of living.
We welcome the fact that in response, the SONA has gone an
extra mile to address some of the issues raised when you stated that:
• The education system will be improved and skills that we
need now and into the future developed;
• Economic growth and job creation will be accelerated;
• The requirement for work experience at entry level in
state institutions will be done away with to give our young people a real head
start in the world of work;
• A comprehensive social security strategy has been devised
and consensus reached on reforms that include the National Social Security
Fund, institutional arrangements, regulatory reforms, improved unemployment
benefits, improved social assistance coverage, and active labour market
policies for citizens between 18 and 59 years;
• The NHI Bill which will enable South Africans to receive
free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited
health facilities will soon be ready for submission to Parliament;
• The state's capacity to address the needs of the people
will be enhanced.
However, we really must say to you, Mr President, that we
are deeply disappointed by the fact that your speech said nothing about
scrapping of e-tolls. The e-tolls have not worked in our province and the
overwhelming majority of Gauteng motorists continue to refuse to pay. This,
coupled with regular increases in fuel costs, drives up the cost of doing
business and disproportionately diminishes the disposable incomes of both the
middle strata and poor households.
At our recently held PEC lekgotla, we committed to once
again engage with you and affected government departments on the ideas and
strategies we have developed on alternative funding and proposals for the
payment of the debt being owed.
We remain determined to work with you, Mr President, so that
we can Grow Gauteng and ultimately South Africa together!
- Khawe is the provincial secretary of the ANC in Gauteng.
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