The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Access to Jobs, Geordin Hill-Lewis MP.
Endless column inches and hours of debate in this House have been devoted to the question of how to get the economy growing so that it can create enough jobs to bring down unemployment.
Despite all of this attention, the problem has only got worse.
It has got worse because we have a government and a President that has no plan for how to fix the economy, beyond talk-shop conferences and photo-op summits.
And it has got worse because we have a government and a President incapable of implementing real economic reforms, because his party has outsourced policy making to the EFF.
According to Stats SA there are now 9.7 million unemployed South Africans. That’s one-and-a-half million more than the 8.2 million South Africans who voted for the ANC in the last election.
If every unemployed person votes for the party that is best able to grow the economy and create jobs, this government will fall next year, as it should.
But let’s not labour under the misapprehension that the ANC even wants to fix this problem. It does not.
A population of unemployed people must rely on the government, and to the ANC, that means they must rely on them. They are kept in a dependency trap.
If you think that is too cynical even for the ANC, just wait until you see for yourself the hideous underbelly of how the ANC actively manipulates desperate people who need to feed their families.
We have focused a lot on how grand corruption – state capture, Nkandla, VBS and now Bosasa – undermine growth and destroy jobs.
But the truth of the lived reality of poor people at the hands of this venal party is even more shocking than who is paying the President’s son.
The truth is this: Even those jobs that are available, are only available to those who are prepared to pay the ANC.
And what is the currency of ANC jobs manipulation?
Cash, votes and sexual favours.
Imagine a young matriculant excited to apply for an internship at the local Emfuleni Municipality in Gauteng, offered a starting salary of R7000. But soon told that to get the job, she needs to sleep with local ANC officials, who are funding this sex-for-jobs ring – disguised as an internship programme – by siphoning money from the council’s disaster management fund.
Imagine studying to be a nurse, optimistic and idealistic. But then being told that you will have to pay R2000 of your salary every month to the human resources director of the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, also in Gauteng, to get a job.
And only months into your job, being told that money is not enough. He wants more.
And then, the provincial government in Gauteng saying it could not do anything about it because “no official complaint had been received”.
No such callous government deserves to stay in office in that province.
Or the ANC Councillor in Itsoseng in the North West, Morutse Molefe, charging people R100 for an EPWP job.
Or the Councillor in Roodepan who made anyone wanting an EPWP job first show him their ANC membership card.
Or the Eastern Cape government’s refusal to release a report into a massive cash-for-jobs scandal in the province, because it implicated too many senior ANC politicians and officials.
There are literally hundreds of these examples. Viewed as isolated incidents they are sad and shocking.
But viewed together, they paint a horrific picture of an endemic practice in the ANC and its governments, that is tacitly accepted and endorsed by protecting the guilty.
Venal, corrupt, lecherous and predatory.
This is the ugly truth about the ANC, and we’re going to make sure everyone knows who is responsible.
We are calling on every person who has been denied fair access to a job by an ANC councillor or official to write to the DA, contact our offices or your local DA representative.
We will bring every example here and make the ANC account for it.
And let’s see what they do.
Will they change the EPWP job allocation system to a randomised, fair system that shuts the door on corruption, like we have done in our governments?
Will they act strongly against the perpetrators?
Will they start by apologising to the country for what has happened so far?
Voters in Gauteng will be waiting to hear the answer.