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Johannesburg - The ANC has transformed South Africa over the last 20 years, Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura said on Wednesday evening.
At a panel discussion hosted by youth organisation Inkulufreeheid at Liliesleaf in Johannesburg, Makhura said: “In the past 20 years, the ANC (African National Congress) has established our track record in government.
“We have shown we are moving this country and Gauteng forward.”
Mmusi Maimane, the Democratic Alliance premier candidate for Gauteng, said: “What we've seen is that over two million South Africans can't find work in Gauteng.
“We argue quite strongly in that small business must thrive.”
He said the key to this was creating an enabling environment for business, while a way to kill small businesses was to toll the roads they used.
Dali Mpofu, the Economic Freedom Fighters' premier candidate in Gauteng, said Gauteng mirrored the inequality that existed across South Africa.
“Gauteng is a symbolisation of what is wrong with South Africa. We live in the most unequal country in the world.
“Gauteng is the most unequal province. We are fighting against the system as a whole... political freedom is a means to an end to economic freedom.”
He said the National Development Plan was flawed and “doomed to fail” and called for an interventionist state when it came to economic policy.
Maimane said 70 percent of the jobs created in the fourth quarter were created in the Western Cape, which is governed by the DA.
Makhura replied that “75 percent of those jobs are for whites”, to which Maimane said he should not tell “lies” on television.
Makhura, when asked about the ANC maintaining its majority in Gauteng following the May 7 general election, was confident the ruling party would remain in government.
“We are very confident that the overwhelming majority of people in Gauteng are going to vote for the ANC.”
The debate, at times rancorous with Mpofu, Maimane and Makhura raising their voices to speak over one another, then moved to public transport.
Makhura said, referring to the automotive sector and Mpofu's preference for state action in the economy, the government's intervention following the 2008 recession had saved jobs and could create others through the public transport sector.
“We are going to create 100 000 jobs. We are going to create 100 new SMEs (small medium enterprises),” he said.
Mpofu replied that the ANC had had 20 years to make promises.
He said the EFF wanted to put money back in the pockets of normal commuters.
“We are going to subsidise the taxi industry,” Mpofu said.
“Our people are living in squalor, abject poverty.”
Makhura later said government, working with automotive manufacturers, had helped keep jobs in the industry.”
“If it wasn't for the ANC government intervention, many businesses said they would have shut down,” he said.
A question posed to Maimane from an ANC member in the audience suggested that the DA's Gauteng caucus had collapsed under his leadership with councillors defecting to the ANC.
This was met by shouts of “bribes” from DA members in the audience.