The latest economic indicators released yesterday by StatsSA show that South Africa is facing an economic crisis. Unemployment is rising and economic growth is dangerously slow.
I have this morning tabled a request for a debate on a matter of public importance (as per rule 103 of the National Assembly) to urgently discuss how we can defuse the ticking time-bomb of continued inequality and unemployment.
The figures released show that since President Jacob Zuma came to office, unemployment has skyrocketed from 31.7% in 2009, to 36.1% in 2015. This means that 2 million more South Africans are without work today than 6 years ago.
More troubling is that 65.5% of those without jobs are young people.
A job does not only provide a means of support, but also provides individuals with a sense of independence and dignity. Young people are being deprived of the opportunity to pursue a life they value as a result of the weak economy and skills-shortages caused by the failing education system.
In order to build a more equal and inclusive society, we need to fix the problems that constrain economic growth so that we can create jobs.
The 1.3% quarter-on-quarter GDP growth for the 1st quarter of 2015 falls far short of the 5% required to see a meaningful change in the structure of our economy and decrease inequality. This cannot be accepted while the African Economic Outlook for 2015 predicts that African economies will grow by 4.5% on average this year.
Economic policy uncertainty, the electricity crisis, failing infrastructure and corruption are killing our economy. Hard choices need to be made to rescue our economy and unlock the potential of the South African people.
A future South Africa based on freedom, fairness and opportunity for all is possible. Where the DA governs, we are swimming against the tide with both the Western Cape and Cape Town showing the lowest unemployment figures in SA.
It is vital that Parliament is given the opportunity to hold a frank debate about the real solutions that will benefit all our people across all our provinces.
As long as millions of us are deprived of opportunities and the dignity of employment, the DA will continue to fight for policies that will create real jobs that give all South Africans a chance to succeed in life.
Issued by Mmusi Maimane on behalf of DA, Mmusi Maimane is DA’s Federal and Parliamentary Leader