No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Siyabulela Duda, GCIS)
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2018 could have gone down in history as the month that South Africa finally
tackled its jobs crisis head on. President Ramaphosa held his Jobs Summit and
got to appoint a new finance minister. The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement
is still two weeks away and yet it is already clear that our jobs crisis is
here to stay.
frankly, the Jobs Summit was "lipstick on a pig". No matter how much
Ramaphosa dresses up his approach to the jobs crisis, it doesn't change the
is clearly not prepared to take the necessary steps to tackle South Africa's
single biggest problem, our unnaturally, cruelly high unemployment rate. Why?
Because ANC unity is a higher priority. Our unemployment level of 37.2% has
such horrific social consequences that it could justifiably be called a crime
against humanity. But it can only be tackled by facing up to certain
ANC-aligned interest groups and rejecting failed ANC ideology. Ramaphosa is not
prepared to do that.
this year, Ramaphosa said the summit would "need to take extraordinary
measures to create jobs on a scale that we have never before seen in this
country". He knows as well as I do that only sweeping systemic changes
will turn the tide of unemployment.
labour market must be liberalised, with small business exempted from regulation
that makes it so difficult and unattractive for them to hire more staff. BEE in
its current, corrupt guise, and the Mining Charter, must be scrapped. Sadtu's
stranglehold on our basic education system must be released.
must be split up and metros and municipalities allowed to buy power directly
from independent power producers. Non-productive SOEs must be sold or shut
down. Our bloated public sector wage bill must be reduced to free up resources
for spending on essential infrastructure and social services.
must be given 30-day visas on arrival. And an independent National Director of
Public Prosecutions must be appointed to start to jail corrupt politicians.
of these extraordinary measures were even considered at the jobs summit.
Instead, it produced a list of dozens of initiatives and projects that will
rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, without changing its course. Far from
committing to cut the bloated public sector wage bill, it placed a moratorium
on public sector retrenchments.
the past decade, the number of unemployed people has grown by an average of 300
000 per year. So even if the summit is successful in reaching its target of 275
000 new jobs per year, that will still not stop joblessness from growing, never
mind turn the tide. Its very target is an admission of defeat!
greatest obstacle to job creation in SA is the government itself, which is
clinging to outdated, failed ideology of state intervention that increases the
cost of doing business to the point that investment dries up, as it has now
done. It needs to get out the way – stop imposing constraints on the private
sector and stop seeing entrepreneurs and innovators as enemies.
the government is so busy meddling in the private sector that it is completely
failing to do its own job, which is to deliver the public goods necessary for
our society and economy to thrive: infrastructure, education, health, welfare and
optimism surrounding our new finance minister – the rand jumped from around R15
to around R14.50 to the dollar on his appointment – is probably misplaced,
given his preference for greater state intervention. He recently tweeted his
support for 40% state ownership of mines, state ownership of land and a state
only have to look at the VBS saga to see how a state bank would end up.
General Kimi Makwetu pointed out this week that irregular spending (corruption)
in national and provincial governments amounted to R45bn in each of the past
two financial years. R45bn is the equivalent of a million jobs at R45 000 per
year. I'm not advocating for more public sector jobs, but it gives one an idea
of the cost of corruption.
real reform, jobs summits are a joke. Our economy is going to remain stagnant
and unemployment is going to keep growing until South Africa rejects the ANC's
outdated ideology and embraces the DA's liberal approach based on market
sensibilities, the rule of law and a lean, capable state.
quarters of all jobs created in the past year were created in the DA-governed
Western Cape, despite a crippling drought in the area. That amounts to 123 000
new jobs created while during that same period 124 000 jobs were destroyed in
Gauteng, the country's biggest provincial economy. The DA is the Jobs Party,
and voters can help solve the jobs crisis by voting for us in 2019.
- Maimane is leader of the Democratic Alliance.
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