CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane shared his thoughts on how the ANC views the South African economy on Wednesday evening
Maimane made his comments during a debate on ways to mitigate the economic recession in Parliament.
He noted that the choice we as South Africans face is simple and asked, "what world do we want to live in?"
According to Maimane, there are two options available to us:
"One is the world of the ANC, and the other is the world of the DA. Each of these choices will lead us towards a distinct future."
The DA leader also argued that economists have described the ANC’s world as a pre-1990 universe, for him this is a world in which the Berlin Wall is yet to come down.
"In their world, the State is everything and must do everything. In their world, SOE’s – no matter how badly run – are the answer. In their world, citizens can’t be trusted to control their own destiny or own their own land. The state knows what’s best for you. In the other world – that of the DA and many others who share our view – people hold the power over their own lives. In our world, citizens have agency. They can own their land, run their businesses, build their wealth. In our world, more often than not, the state must get out of the way of enterprise and progress. Our world is one of inclusion and growth."
9.6 million out of work
Maimane refused to go into the extent of SA's economic distress.
He did highlight the fact that 9.6 million people cannot find work and Real per capita income has been dropping for the past five years.
The DA leader also reiterated the fact that our national debt has ballooned to R3 trillion a nd we now face the threat of a further sovereign rating downgrade.
"Anyone still denying that South Africa is in the midst of a severe economic crisis has no business standing up here on this podium today debating solutions. Parliament should ask why we find ourselves here, and what we should do to fix it. One analyst described our situation this week as “death by a thousand cuts”, referring to the many factors that came together to paralyse our growth and bleed our fiscus dry. And this is largely true."
He then spoke about the cost of corruption. According to the DA SA has lost as much as R100 billion due to corruption.
Maimane said: "Yes, the crisis at Sars has also led to a huge under-collection of around R50 billion. Yes, the never-ending bailouts of our poorly-run State-Owned Enterprises continue to divert tens of billions of Rands away from other crucial budget items each year. Yes, our ever-expanding public sector wage bill along with our massive cabinet place a drain on our fiscus that we simply cannot afford. Yes, populist policies such as Expropriation Without Compensation, the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and the proposed NHI are a recipe for economic disaster. All of these things played a part in bringing our economy to its knees."
"All of these issues pale in comparison to the biggest cause of them all, the economic elephant in the room that still goes unmentioned in so much of the analysis. What lies at the very heart of our country’s crisis is the ANC. The fact is this: The ANC doesn’t accept responsibility for causing this recession, and it has no plan to get us out of recession. This administration is only seven months old, but it is already stumbling around in the dark looking for excuses, instead of facing up to hard truths."
There is no plan
The DA leader went on to add that the ANC has no plan and according to him no firm direction.
"You can come here today and attack the DA’s plan to rescue the economy, but we have a plan. And where we govern, this plan is working. In Johannesburg, the government of Mayor Mashaba has already attracted more than R6 billion in investment since taking over in 2016. In Tshwane, Mayor Msimanga’s government has tripled investment in the metro. 75% of new jobs added in the past year were created in the DA-run Western Cape. We all know that South Africa has a big problem. And it is a problem that won’t be solved with a stimulus package or an investment conference. The root of our problem is an ANC that has no shared, positive vision for our future, never mind the ability to lead us there.
Maimane believes that South Africa has been left behind by the rest of the world – and by our African neighbours.
For him, the rest of the world has surged forward with innovative and dynamic economies, while we are retreating back to a time of state-led economies.
"While the rest of the world embraces inclusive economic growth as the instrument to lift people out of poverty, we can’t look beyond redistributing what’s already there. Our government is so obsessed with control, it cannot see how it is suffocating enterprise and strangling small business. It honestly believes that every state failure just needs another state programme to fix it. You cannot grow like this. This has to change."
Stop the blame game
He argued that we firstly, need to stop blaming the Global Financial Crisis, as that was ten years ago. The world has moved on.
"Stop blaming Jacob Zuma, as is fashionable these days. Jacob Zuma didn’t cause this mess, he only exploited it because he was allowed to. The blame lies squarely at the feet of the failed ANC, collectively. And if the ANC government can’t swap its outdated worldview for one better suited to the 21st century, then we must swap the ANC government for one that can take this country forward. That is the DA."
-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE