DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File picture: ANA

Johannesburg - Mismanagement and bad policy are responsible for the current recession in South Africa, not global forces, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

The economy went into a recession for the first time in almost a decade. This remained an express vote of no confidence in the African National Congress government, its economic policies, and ability to create access to jobs for all South Africans, Maimane told journalists in Johannesburg after the DA's two-day Federal Council meeting - the last for 2018.

"This is our first recession since 2009 and the fifth consecutive year that the people of South Africa have been getting poorer. South Africa is now the weakest and only one of the world’s biggest economies in recession and while the rest of the continent is growing at three percent, with Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal growing at above seven percent, we are shrinking at -0.7 percent negative growth. Global forces did not cause this recession. Mismanagement of the economy and bad policy did," he said.

"South Africans are poorer because of an inefficient, captured, and corrupt ANC government’s mismanagement of the economy. Fuel now sits at over R16 per litre, VAT has increased for the first time in 20 years, sugar is up, income tax has increased by more than the past three years, and almost 10 million South Africans are unemployed."

This economic mismanagement had starved the country of productive investment and global investors were losing appetite in South Africa as a stable and sound investment location. They were not married to any one country and would explore elsewhere as long as basic fundamentals like the rule of law and protection of property rights were perceived to be up for grabs in South Africa," Msimane said.

The heinous heist at VBS Mutual Bank was yet another reminder of the coalition of corruption formed by the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters. "ANC politicians, politically connected businesspersons and their associates’ theft of almost R2 billion from VBS bank accounts" was an unconscionable crime against the poor, vulnerable, and elderly in the country.

It was crucial that the Hawks investigate these transactions so that "these looters and thieves can be held accountable to the law, and so that we can properly ascertain whether money stolen from VBS has been flowing to politicians and to political parties", he said.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC and EFF coalesced to unseat the coalition government that had begun to make tangible differences in the lives of the people who live in that metro.

"The coalition that has been formed by the ANC and EFF is the biggest threat facing our people right now. These political parties have given up on building a non-racial country as was envisioned by [former president] Nelson Mandela.

"They seek to divide us on the basis of race in an effort to create a distraction from their failing governments or looting sprees. They defied the will of the people and through back-door deals removed a government that was doing what it was elected to do which is to serve.

"Federal Council adjourned its final meeting for the year united behind the party’s vision of One South Africa for All. We know that despite our differences there is more that unites than divides us.

"It is now clear that South Africans only have two choices in these upcoming elections. They can either vote for the ANC/EFF coalition of corruption or the DA offer for change that builds one South Africa for all," Maimane said.

African News Agency (ANA)