Durban – South Africa should have a city-led economic development programme to boost GDP growth, according to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
“If our metros grow at higher gross domestic product levels, we can pull up the national aggregate. We also need to reform municipal funding,” he said on Wednesday at the annual conference of the South African Property Owners’ Association (Sapoa) in Durban.
“Cities must be enabled to make it easier for people to do business, and property ownership is a very important subject to engage in.”
Maimane said that because about 53% of South Africans live in poverty or near the poverty line, bold decisions on reform must be taken.
“One of the bold decisions must be on political reform. It cannot be that South Africans go to the ballot box to express race or history. Coalitions are the way forward and will determine what our future will look like,” he said.
“We need to safeguard our Constitution. It is aptly capacitated for us to achieve meaningful land reform and address social injustices. Furthermore, we must have a market-based economy.”
State capture and cadre deployment
The DA leader said that state capture is a product of cadre deployment, where administrations are run on patronage systems.
“We need to have a more aggressive programme to eradicate corruption across all sectors of government,” said Maimane.
“We need economic reforms. We need to be bold and strong. If we do not reform our economy, increasing unemployment and property will raise the question of who will end up being able to afford to purchase property.”
He said the country's future depends on whether South Africans will have the certainty that they can own property.
“If we ensure private property rights, then we can ensure that land transfer is done equitably,” he said.
“Market-based expropriation is not sufficient. What begins as corruption ends up being an abuse of power and resources. It happens in the private and public sectors. That is why we have to ensure more efficient accountability.”
Political analyst and radio host Eusebius McKaiser said that, going into the 2019 elections, one of the most important debates will be on land. Sapoa president Peter Levett said the association acknowledges and supports the need for transformation in the property industry.
Ever-increasing municipal rates is one of the big concerns for Sapoa members, he said.
- Fin24 is a guest of Sapoa at its annual conference.