Initiate reform to grow economy

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It is understandable that many who vote ANC do so because they perceive it to be in their own best interest, whether it be to get a job in government or a contract by influence, ie get on the “gravy train”.

Or they believe the political propaganda put out by the party about service delivery and more jobs, despite their failure in the past few years as evidenced by the 3 000 protests by communities over the last four months, and the loss of jobs, particularly in mining.

But this is a short-sighted perspective as they need to look further down the road to see what the policies of the ANC will be doing to their future prospects and wellbeing. We all know that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world and that our unemployment rate is well into the 40 percent range.

There is only one way to change this and that is to grow the economy at a much faster rate, at some 6 percent to 8 percent, thereby creating more jobs. We are trundling along at a 2 percent rate and have no prospect of changing this, according to leading economist Azar Jammine.

He says that after the election, the ANC will “continue to muddle along in the same old way”; as they are caught in a bind with their coalition partners of Cosatu and the SA Communist Party who will not let them introduce reforms to allow the economy to grow by freeing up the labour laws and stimulating the economy with the introduction of the New Growth Path.

The effects of this can be seen from the unreasonable demands of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union for R12 500 a month as a living wage which is a reflection of their need to support 10 dependents each, due to the inability of the dependents to earn because of the lack of jobs caused by inept government policies.

According to Davie Roodt, a leading economist, the strike will result in a loss of 30 percent of all jobs in the platinum mining sector over the next five years. Is this in the best interest of the economy and is this creating more jobs for the unemployed?

ANC supporters must give serious consideration to their longer-term interests and whether the party’s policies will ever result in boosting the economy to create jobs for the 12 million out of work. Then decide is the ANC the best party on which to bestow the precious gift of their vote.

Howard Osborne

Ramsgate

Has ANC given up on job creation policy?

The DA is hopeful about South Africa’s future. We have made tremendous progress as a country in the last 20 years. We have created solid democratic institutions, the delivery of basic services has improved and we have expanded the social safety net for vulnerable citizens. With the right leadership and policies, we can address South Africa’s greatest challenge – namely job creation.

In his opinion piece on April 30, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Sidwell Medupe takes great exception to the DA’s Ayisafani advert in which we challenge the ANC on their jobs record. He claims that the ANC has a “good story” to tell about job creation, because they have spent “billions of rand towards job creation” under the presidency of Jacob Zuma.

Medupe seems to have misunderstood. There is universal agreement that the ANC government is good at spending money. What they are not so good at is creating an environment in which the economy can grow and jobs can be created. Here are facts:

n Since Zuma took office, the number of unemployed has increased by 1.4 million.

n We are not growing the economy fast enough to change this picture. Average growth during (former president) Thabo Mbeki was 4.23 percent. Last year growth dropped below 2 percent.

n The ANC tells us we are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis. Other middle-income economies like Peru, Malaysia and Chile have recovered to growth rates between 4 percent and 6 percent. Last year, China’s economy was set to grow by 7.8 percent, India’s by 5.6 percent. For some reason, ministers in our economic cluster (Treasury and Rob Davies) are congratulating Nigeria for overtaking South Africa as the biggest economy on the continent.

They achieved this on the back of a growth rate of 6.4 percent. The South African economy is not growing because we are facing massive skills shortages (because our education system does not prepare learners/students for the job market) and because the ANC government has an antagonistic relationship with investors – seeing them as enemies of its “national democratic revolution” rather than partners in building a growing economy that can create opportunities for more people.

n Under president Zuma, unemployment has increased from 30.4 percent to 34 percent (expanded definition) and from 23 percent to 24.1 percent (narrow definition).

The ANC’s manifesto shows that they have given up on creating real jobs. Theirs is centred on opportunities in the Expanded Public Works Programme – that are an important means of alleviating poverty and getting people onto the first rung of the jobs ladder, but they are not enough to be a game changer in the country’s long-term economic prospects.

Wilmot James

DA MP


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