Mmusi Maimane: A job in every home is possible

DA leader Mmusi Maimane
DA leader Mmusi Maimane

The DA is confident that we can put a job in every home in South Africa. Our manifesto for this year’s election outlines action steps and reforms that can get our economy growing, attracting investment and producing jobs. Without doubt, economic growth that puts a job in every home is the quickest way to reduce poverty and inequality.

A job in every home is the DA’s top priority. Our track record shows we can achieve this. Between 2009 and last year, employment in the DA-run Western Cape grew by 19.8%, far ahead of Gauteng (7.5%) and KwaZulu-Natal (5.1%).

More than half of South Africa’s population lives below the poverty line – 30 million people. Ten million adults are without work, meaning that at least 20% of households do not have a single breadwinner. Where the DA governs, this number is less than half that – 9%.

On May 8, South Africans can choose between the corrupt, old, disorderly ANC and the honest, modern and orderly DA. If they choose the DA, we will strive to do for the whole country what we have delivered in the Western Cape, which accounted for half of net job creation in the past year (95 000 out of 188 000 jobs from the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter in 2018), and where broad unemployment (23%) is 14 percentage points lower than the national average (37%).

The DA has achieved this by focusing on providing everyone with access to opportunities. For example, the Western Cape has the highest percentage of households living within 30 minutes of a health facility, and we retain by far the most children in school between grades 10 and matric (64%), whereas no other province retains more than 50%. The Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality IV report showed that the Western Cape achieved 72.7% in advanced reading, compared with 36.1% nationally.

Putting a job in every home across the country requires real structural reform that can spur massive investment in our economy. The World Bank has made it clear that, without a radical shift in policy, unemployment will remain unnaturally high over the next decade (above 25% for narrow unemployment).

I cannot bear to think of another decade of high unemployment, poverty and inequality, but that is what we are facing unless we have the courage to choose real change on May 8.

The DA’s manifesto outlines reforms to attract investment, kick-start economic growth and, ultimately, put South Africa on a growth trajectory of 5% to 8%, in line with Botswana, Rwanda and Ethiopia. The DA would very soon put a job in every home. The ANC cannot bring these reforms because it will be blocked every time by unions, on whose support it relies.

A DA national government would introduce a Jobs Act to serve as an economic stimulus shock. The act will make special incentive offers open to foreign and local investors who meet a minimum employment threshold, including the right to repatriate profits in the case of international investments.

This is one of the biggest barriers to attracting foreign investment and is a vital incentive that our government will offer. Other reforms include guaranteeing private property rights and rejecting expropriation without compensation; overhauling our visa, exchange control and labour policies to attract skills, capital and tourists; providing a simplified, truly broad-based empowerment programme; exempting small businesses from certain labour and empowerment regulations; and scrapping the Mining Charter.

By making it a requirement for ballots to be held before strike action, among other measures, we will stop labour unions from damaging the economy and ensure they protect the real interests of their members rather than their own elites.

Our manifesto also outlines how a DA national government would act urgently to stabilise the economy and prevent government bankruptcy. Action steps include restructuring Eskom as per our cheaper energy Independent System and Market Operator Bill and allowing more competition in the energy market – including enabling cities to buy directly from producers; placing SAA in business rescue; privatising noncore state-owned enterprises; rejecting the National Health Insurance system and introducing our affordable universal health policy instead; and reducing the size of the public sector wage bill by slashing cadre deployment positions.

A quarter century into democracy, our society is still profoundly unequal.

A DA national government will introduce a simplified empowerment programme that is truly broad-based to replace the current programme, which simply enriches and re-enriches an ANC-connected elite.

This election is about our future. Let’s choose the South Africa we want to see. We need real change. We surely cannot use our vote to affirm that it is fine for our leaders to steal and destroy our economy, and to cling to policy that keeps unemployment unnaturally high, leaving millions reliant on social grants.

On May 8, use your vote to ensure a strong DA that can put a job in every home. Only the DA can build one South Africa for all.

  • Maimane is the leader of the DA
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