Today, the DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise requesting an urgent debate of National Importance to discuss the current review by the United States Government of our Generalised System of Preference (GSP) eligibility due to the unwillingness of President Cyril Ramaphosa to send back to Parliament the fatally flawed Copyright Amendment Bill.
On 12 June 2019, we wrote to the President requesting that he send the Copyright Amendment Bill back to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry for amendments and further consideration.
We warned then, should the President sign the Bill in its current form, it will lead to a jobs bloodbath and will cost the economy approximately R12 billion in exports to the United States following threats to institute a review on South Africa’s eligibility to partake in the United States GSP.
To date, he has ignored our letter and failed to respond.
The Bill has now sat on the President’s desk for more than six months, creating uncertainty in the creative industry, with the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) successfully lobbying the US government to reconsider South Africa’s preferential trade access, thereby threatening billions of rand in exports as well as jobs.
Make no mistake, this dithering by the President will have profound economic consequences for our battered economy that now has record unemployment at 29%.
This also could not come at a worse time in the same week as President Ramaphosa’s Investment Conference where we should be attracting investment, not losing it.
If the President is unwilling to show the United States that we take their concerns seriously, then Parliament must step in and do so.