Parliament must urgently debate new, innovative ideas to revive our economy following recession

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
04 Sep 2018 in News

Today Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) has announced that South Africa’s economy is officially in recession, with GDP growth for Quarter 2 of 2018 down 0.7%, which follows a 2.6% contraction in Quarter 1 of 2018. This recession – the second in 2 years – is an explicit vote of no confidence in the ANC government, its economic policy direction, and its ability to create jobs and prosperity for all South Africans.

Today’s announcement marks a continuation of the past decade of economic decline brought about by previous ANC governments. There has been no fundamental change to the ANC’s approach to the economy. Corruption, policy incoherence, crumbling SOEs, lack of investment, and unstable governance continues to produce economic instability and rising unemployment. We cannot continue down the same path any longer.

There is hope for our country and its economy, and there exists an array of fresh, alternative ideas that if implemented can ignite growth and get our economy up and running again. It is for this reason I will today write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate of national importance in Parliament on this matter. This will allow a collaborative effort in which all sides of the House can present new, innovative ideas as to how we can reverse this persistent economic decline and get South Africa working again.

Crucially, the ANC’s mismanagement of the economy reaches well beyond just those who are unemployed. GDP per capita statistics show that actual household income has been in decline for the past 5 years.

The fact that household income has been in decline for past 5 years is what truly matters to ordinary South Africans trying to make ends meet and provide for themselves and their families. Despite shiny PR stunts and sumptuous talkshops, South Africans are getting poorer and poorer under the ANC government. This year alone, we’ve witnessed:

  • Unemployment reaching its highest level since the dawn of democracy – with almost 10 million jobless South Africans;
  • VAT increasing for the first time in 20 years – a direct financial assault on the poor, working and middle classes;
  • The highest income tax bracket increasing for the 3rd consecutive year;
  • Petrol prices sitting at well over R15 per litre, shooting up food and transport costs; and
  • The rand at a 27-month low – its weakest value since June 2016.

Our economy is currently on life-support as a direct result of a corrupt and failing ANC government which has no plan for our economy. We will never achieve a united, non-racial and prosperous nation without a growing economy which creates jobs, opportunity and wealth for all.

What South Africa now requires is leadership that understands our economy and appreciates that without a strong and thriving economy we will never address the injustices of our past. Where the DA governs, investment is increasing and jobs are being created because of our steadfast focus on clean, corruption-free and fiscally responsible governments that invest in local infrastructure.

The only hope for our country, for our economy and for the almost 10 million South Africans is to remove the ANC from government in 2019 and elect a new government that has real, workable solutions for the future.