DA puts uncaring ANC on terms over cost of living crisis

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
27 Oct 2023 in News

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Shadow Minister of Finance, Dr Dion George MP, at the DA’s cost-of-living protest at the office of Minister Encoch Godongwana in Pretoria today.

Fellow democrats!

A year ago, we were here.

We came to hand a memorandum to the Minister of Finance before the mid-year budget. We came here because South African families are going hungry and cannot afford to put enough food on the table.

We came here to ask government to do its job and we gave them a way to do it.

We asked government to help hungry South Africans. We asked the Minister to remove VAT on more food. That would mean that families across South Africa could put more food on their tables. And it is easy to do.

There is more than enough money to cut VAT if this corrupt government stopped stealing your money; stopped wasting your money on never ending bailouts to state owned entreprises; stopped paying millionaire managers who add no value and stopped paying for blue light brigades for ministers who think they are more important than the people they were elected to serve.

South Africa is a rich country and nobody should go hungry. Yet millions are starving.

And Government does nothing about it.

Our economy is on its knees because the ANC government made the wrong policy choices. It placed an incompetent, incapable and corrupt government at the centre instead of encouraging the development of a strong and vibrant, enterprising economy.

The ANC government has mismanaged our money; crushed economic growth; driven workers out of jobs; and caused unemployment and poverty. They have failed and all South Africans are getting poorer.

It is the job of government to protect South Africans from the cost-of-living crisis. Government can fix this problem, but it won’t, because it doesn’t care.

Cabinet mandated the Economic Cluster to develop an action plan to curb food prices and enhance food security and accessibility, yet there is no plan. There will never be any plan from this broken government.

Government did nothing and the cost of living crisis is getting worse. People are starving while government Ministers look after their own pockets. And they look after the pockets of their cronies and friends who feast on your money that they steal through corruption.

This crisis is caused by government and harms our society:

Millions suffer the agony and indignity of hunger.

41% of households struggle to put enough food on the table.

12 million people go to bed hungry every night.

30% of children below age 5 are stunted in their development.

Millions of hungry school children are unable to concentrate and learn.

Increased malnutrition is leading to reduced productivity, obesity, disease and impaired teenage brain development.

Increased risk of social instability and riots causing infrastructure damage, business closures, disinvestment, job losses, loss of tax revenue and interrupted service delivery.

Increased risk of death from starvation. Our people are starving.

But don’t lose hope Democrats, because the DA has a plan and we will fix this when we govern South Africa next year.

We will.

Slash fuel taxes and levies to decrease the cost of transport. This will also decrease the cost of food because the high cost of transporting food is pushing up food prices.

We will

Drop VAT on more items purchased by the poorest 50% of households, such as bone-in-chicken, beef, tinned beans, wheat flour, margarine, peanut butter, baby food, tea, coffee and soup powder.

Immediate and decisive action is required to counter the mounting cost of living crisis, but government won’t repond.

That is why, today, we are back here and we demand that the Minister must act.

We know you don’t care, Minister, because you do nothing while people are starving. You should be ashamed!

I have a memorandum for the Minister. The memorandum clearly sets out what the Minister can do immediately to relieve the hunger of millions.

All he needs to do is table a Money Bill, which is a specific type of legislation focused on financial matters like taxation and public spending. Only the Minister of Finance has the constitutional authority to introduce such a bill and he can do this on Wednesday when he presents the mid-year budget.

The DA will not rest until South Africans get the concrete changes we need. We stand firm in our resolve. We will alleviate the hardship that this uncaring government has inflicted.

We have asked the government that does not care to do its job. Now we are telling you. The election is coming and the people are going to do to you what you have done to them. They will abandon you.

They will vote for a party that does care enough to keep coming back to demand action to fight hunger and to rescue South Africa.

That party is the DA!

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za