DA lodges complaint with EU, UK trade offices and obtains legal advice over ANC’s latest job-killing race quotas

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
12 Nov 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that the ANC government has introduced a new set of race quotas that will further devastate the South African economy. These latest quotas target agricultural export businesses by making it illegal for farmers and businesses that do not meet strict racial BEE quotas to export their products to the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK).

In an act of unprovoked economic masochism, the ANC government is now imposing trade barriers on the very export businesses we desperately need to create more jobs. The government is wilfully and deliberately destroying jobs and livelihoods, and depriving business owners and workers of economic export opportunities – all in the furtherance of its perverse obsession with skin colour. Even worse, these new rules will deprive the country of valuable foreign currency inflows and lead to the dumping of export-quality fruits, vegetables and other products that, simply because the producers of these products are deemed by the ANC to have the “wrong” skin colour.

This amounts to nothing less than economic sabotage by the government against the many unemployed South African people.

On 31 October and 1 November, the ANC government published two new notices – notice 4020 and notice 4023 – in the government gazette. The notices set out the procedures for the application, administration and allocation of export permits for South African exporters to the EU under the Economic Partnership Agreement for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC-EU EPA TRQ), and to the UK under the Economic Partnership Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Southern African Customs Union Member States and Mozambique (SACUM-UK EPA). The notices unilaterally, and without any public consultation that the DA is aware of, introduce race quotas as a new barrier to agricultural exports to the EU and UK.

Under these new procedures, any South African agricultural exporter who wishes to obtain an export permit must comply with the amended agricultural BEE (AgriBEE) sector code, as well as the BEE Act. If an exporter does not conform to these provisions, through a certificate of compliance and annual reports to the regulatory council, it will be denied an export permit. This is the bureaucratic equivalent of imposing a pencil test on South African agricultural exporters.

The DA has already lodged a complaint with the EU Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the UK Secretary of State for the Department for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, over these job-killing race quotas. We will also be obtaining legal advice.

These quotas violate the rules of fair trade that underpin South Africa’s agreements with the EU and UK, both of which are explicitly premised upon protecting human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. Job-killing race quotas violate all three of these principles. In addition to calling on the EU and UK to pressure the South African government to rescind these discriminatory policies, the DA has requested that this violation be tabled before the European Parliament for review under the auspices of the Economic Partnership Agreements.

The economic consequences of these quotas will be devastating. The ANC is directly endangering the jobs and livelihoods of the 800 000 people employed in the agriculture sector, which accounts for over 2.4% of our country’s annual economic output. When we include value addition in the upstream, agriculture contributes over 10% to the economy.

Half of all agricultural products produced in South Africa are exported. In 2022, the country recorded US$12.8 billion in agricultural exports – of which 20% went to the EU and 4% went to the UK. Instead of empowering this sector to grow further and provide hundreds of thousands more people with access to jobs, the ANC is deliberately imposing as many obstacles as possible in the way of job creation. Over 4000 agriculture assistance extension officers are without jobs after a few months with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) because of failed race quota policies that have destroyed agriculture investments.

These race quotas for agricultural exports are clearly part of a deliberate ANC agenda to destroy jobs on the altar of race. They come after similar recent amendments to the Employment Equity and race quotas for access to water for agricultural use.

It is time for all South Africans to acknowledge that decades of ANC misrule and economic sabotage is the root cause why millions of South Africans – including millions of young people – cannot find work. The DA will continue to lead the fight against job-killing quotas. We have already gone to court to declare the race quotas imposed by the Employment Equity Act unconstitutional. We will similarly lead the fight against these perverse and destructive new export quotas.

But we need your help to rescue South Africa and protect your ability to earn a living. That is why we are calling on all South Africans who want fair access to jobs in a growing economy, to go out and register to vote DA on the weekend of 18 and 19 November. Visit your local polling station between 7 am and 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday next weekend to register for a new DA government that will provide fair access to jobs and unleash economic growth to create millions of new jobs.

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