The Economy

The DA’s Plan to Unleash Enterprise, Grow the Economy and Create Jobs

I am delighted to present the DA’s plan to create two million new jobs in South Africa during the 2024-2029 term. Its wide-ranging recommendations have been modelled and costed, so when we say we can create two million new jobs, we have the calculations to back it up.

John Steenhuisen, DA Leader

Our Key Economic Priorities:

  1. Launching a Start-Up Nation: Where Small Business Takes Flight
  2. Saving and Spending Better
  3. Stopping Interference with the Reserve Bank
  4. Getting South Africans Working
  5. Creating Growth. Not Oligopolies
  6. Enhancing South Africa’s Global Competitiveness
  7. Being Pro-Market, Not Pro-Business

The DA will begin by enhancing the ease of doing business, which can create between 350 000 and 400 000 new jobs in the first full year after implementation. These initiatives involve setting up a comprehensive Business Starter Toolkit and increasing entrepreneurs’ access to finance through mechanisms such as promoting micro-lending by banks to support small businesses.

Our fiscal policy reforms can create between 350 000 and 450 000 jobs. We aim to stimulate economic expansion by incorporating measures such as introducing a fiscal rule within our current expenditure framework, eliminating regressive race-based policies, and transforming the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) into a Job Seekers Grant. These policy reforms aim to attract essential investment and foster a labour-friendly environment that promotes job creation.

For the DA, labour policy reform forms an integral part of our policy package, and we are confident that our growth-enhancing policies will translate into jobs. We can only create employment by generating labour-absorptive economic growth, which emphasises creating a high number of employment opportunities relative to investment. It is not just about expanding the economy but also about maximising the labour force’s participation.

A DA-led government aims to create more jobs for our youth by introducing a Youth Employment Opportunity Certificate as a part of our labour policy reforms. The certificate will empower young people to break free from the constraints of the minimum wage, giving them better chances of finding jobs. As a part of our labour reforms, we aim to leave the existing minimum wage in place without increasing it further. South Africa’s minimum wage is 148 percent of our median wage, the highest of the 30 countries reviewed in our policy paper. A minimum wage of this size serves as a deterrent to employment.

Furthermore, we aim to broaden the collective bargaining system to enhance the representation of bargaining parties and exempt small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) from the administrative extension of bargaining council agreements. These agreements frequently overlook the financial viability of smaller entities. Exempting SMMEs from these obligations will make it cheaper and easier for them to hire people while allowing for company-level flexibility. Implementing these labour reforms will result in the creation of between 700 000 and 1 000 000 jobs.

A DA-led government aims to create a better balance between the unions and employers. Holding unions accountable when their members threaten other workers or destroy property will increase investment. Productivity will increase, driving up demand for labour.

Our industrial policy reforms can create between 400 000 and 500 000 jobs. We aim to achieve this by addressing the foundational elements of the policy pyramid—including safety and security, infrastructure, human capital, and the regulatory environment—rather than prioritising specific sectors at the top of the pyramid.

Implementing our trade policy reforms will create 100 000 and 150 000 jobs. For example, implementing preferential trade agreements (PTAs) focused only on agricultural goods with the Far East would dramatically increase exports to those regions. South Africa is already a competitive producer of fruit, nuts, and berries. Signing PTAs focusing on these goods would result in significant gains in a very labour-intensive sector of the economy.

Improving the use of our existing trade agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and SACU-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (SACU-EU EPA), will help attract more companies into the export net, which will consequently help them grow. As the rest of the world’s economic growth occurs, these companies will experience even further growth.

DA jobs numbers graph

View a summary of our policy here.

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