South Africa’s big green job killing machine

Issued by Gwen Ngwenya MP – DA Member of the Finance Portfolio Committee
20 Nov 2018 in News

The following speech was delivered today in the National Assembly by DA Member of the Finance Committee, Gwen Ngwenya MP.

Insufficient jobs are being created in South Africa to absorb our labour force, and it is important that we explain how it is that the ANC – this big green job-killing machine – has systematically destroyed jobs in South Africa. The ANC machinery has deployed a two-pronged strategy to destroy jobs; and in turn to ensure that even if the majority are free from apartheid, they should never be free from the ANC.

  1. The first assault is on education and the educated

One of the well-known figures of the French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre, stated that “the secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” More crudely “keep them stupid, keep them subservient.” How else to describe the motive behind this government’s poor management of the education system? So poorly mismanaged that the average learner who reaches Grade 4 cannot read for comprehension.

If there should have been one job for the post-democratic government to get right it was this: to educate people. Instead of young people filled with knowledge and promise, we hear grim stories of young people dying in pit toilets, filled with excrement.

To add insult to injury, for those who do manage to escape the dismal education system unscathed, for them the ANC bestows constant vilification. The clever black narrative has often been repeated in the ranks of the ANC, and this year by the EFF when Floyd Shivambu said: “There are a lot of whites who get clever blacks to front.” Ndlozi too seemed to think I had to apologise for having a solid grip of the English language.

Jobs cannot be created and sustained in an environment where to be educated, to be articulate and, even worse, to question or follow a different path to the herd, is considered anti-black.

For many years my father was the principal at Vukuzakhe High School, a school in Umlazi township. My mother is a teacher too in Umlazi, at Zwelibanzi High School. Therefore, growing up I was aware of those two words: ‘Vukuzakhe’ (a meaningful translation would be to “wake up and build your own future”) and ‘Zwelibanzi’ (meaning “an expansive land”), but I never paid them much attention.

I am, however, profoundly aware of them today because unwittingly they best describe the party that I, and many like me, have placed our confidence in. We want to create a society that carries the attitude that “you can do it”. That education and hard work, not political connections, can take you far. And that ours is not a closed cabal of cadres but an open and expansive world filled with opportunity.

The ANC and the EFF despise clever blacks, because it is precisely the questioning, forward-looking South African who shuns and is embarrassed by ignorance. Those at home will know what it’s like to listen to a mumbling, incoherent minister and to wonder how it is that this person is paid millions while many sit at home without a job. It is the clever black who shuns the opportunity to lick the boots of politicians and eat the scraps that fall from their table, because they want to make it on their own merits.

The ANC and the EFF have it wrong: “clever blacks”, whether urban or rural, whether they have a university degree or not, have not forgotten where they come from, they are just determined not to remain stuck where they began.

  1. The second assault has been on the private sector, in particular, business owners

There is no shortage of legislation targeted at making the lives of those who operate in the private sector more difficult. In South Africa, we work according to the motto that “if it works, fix it.”

Illustratively, the private security industry employs close to half a million active officers, and yet the ANC saw it fit to introduce the Private Security Amendment Bill that threatens to bring the sector to its knees.

What conceivable reason is there to disrupt a sector that is in one shot providing jobs and filling the gaps left by SAPS? Like little children, our government must touch everything but unlike children, they don’t learn.

Just last week in the finance committee I was lambasted by an ANC MP for defending the interests of capitalists. Of course, we defend capitalists. The ANC would have South Africans believe that the only capitalists are the likes of the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers. That was the same thinking of the apartheid architects – to keep black South Africans along a separate inferior path.

The ANC continues that mantra today: “education” and “capitalism”, those things are for white people. An easy thing to say when you live off other people’s money. Too many politicians, unfortunately, get on handsomely with no qualifications or business acumen, that they forget how the other half lives.

The rest of South Africa depends on entrepreneurs in the private sector to identify opportunities, to take risks that will hopefully reward not only themselves but others who benefit from the jobs they create.

And those entrepreneurs, or to borrow from Herman Mashaba, those “capitalist crusaders” are everywhere: in Stellenbosch and in Sandton, yes, but we see them too on the streets of eMlazi and Soweto. Internet cafe capitalists, shisanyama capitalists, all no less worthy of the title “capitalist” than those operating in the cities and in the suburbs.

But instead of rolling out the red carpet for all entrepreneurs we trip them up in poor infrastructure, a sparsely skilled labour force, and half-baked policy ideas from early 20th century Russia and East Asia. A pea-brained combination of communist sympathies mixed with the narcissistic state, I beg your pardon, the ‘developmental’ state.

Our country is run by a big green job-killing machine. It’s killing the two things jobs cannot live without – education and business – by teaching its citizens that it is okay to hate both. Tell me how do jobs flourish if we hate clever blacks and private enterprise? The answer: they don’t.