Senior DA leaders meet Upington business, professional and religious leaders

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

A delegation of national and provincial leaders from the Democratic Alliance, visited the City of Upington on Monday on an oversight tour to reveal its 8% Growth Plan for the economy, and to hear the concerns of local community members. The delegation met and heard concerns from residents of the business community, religious leaders and professional organizations. The delegation was made up of the DA’s Federal Chairperson, Wilmot James, the Western Cape Leader, Ivan Meyer, the Northern Cape Leader, Andrew Louw, and the Provincial Chairperson, Harold McGluwa.

The DA’s key agenda was to unveil its plans to grow the South African economy, through its ‘8% Growth Plan’, take up issues raised by the different community members, and unveil plans for taking over the Northern Cape in the upcoming 2014 General Elections.

The DA met with the local business community and employers organizations to discuss the challenges they face in doing business in the //KharaHais Municipality (Upington). Some of the challenges expressed by the business community centred on the lack of skilled local workers and the corrupt activities of the local municipality. Federal Chairperson, Wilmot James, presented the ‘8% Growth Plan’, and explained that it would combat the current hindrances to business of high regulation and poor competition. Our plan focuses on growing the economy and creating employment, and more importantly for the business community in Upington, would make liaising with municipal services smoother by cutting red tape and bureaucracy.

The 8% Growth Plan has five (5) priorities; firstly it is to be work intensive, whereby priority is given to sectors and industries which employ labour intensive growth and work practices. Secondly that it is inclusive, whereby the culture of economic insiders who have preferential access to state contracts and economic opportunity will be broken, with a focus on fostering an open and inclusive growth path which supports new entrepreneurs, SMME’s and young people who are the most desperate for opportunity The DA proposed introducing a Business Voucher Support Programme in Upington, and every municipality in South Africa. The 8% Growth Plan also calls for competitive growth, whereby the DA would introduce a ‘My Future Starts Now’ entrepreneurship competition in the Upington municipality to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. The strategic element of the plan would see the DA boost municipalities through upgrading public transport to connect people with economic opportunities. Lastly is to ensure sustainable growth, by ensuring that economic programmes in our municipalities are driven by business in partnership with functional and enabling municipalities.

The DA met with local religious leaders from various church denominations to discuss the role of religious leaders in South Africa’s future. Church leaders expressed the challenges they face in Upington, and revealed there is a growing problem of unemployment, poverty and social problems of alcoholism amongst the youth. As church leaders the big challenge they experience is their struggle to restore a sense of hope into the youth once again. DA Western Cape leader, Dr. Ivan Meyer, addressed the religious leaders and asked them to be one of the more dominant voices in leading the discourse about what South African leadership should be. More importantly, Dr. Meyer asked religious leaders to play a greater role in civil society.

The DA also met with local professionals in the education, health and correctional services sectors. Key to the address was to introduce the measures the DA’s 8% Growth Plan holds for them as professionals, and key to the success of our plan is education. DA Northern Cape leader, Andrew Louw, expressed that he was aware of the allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the Department of Education. Educators raised the challenge of having to deal with growing numbers of school drop-outs, who then because of their limited life opportunities, contribute to the social problems experienced in the Upington area. Western Cape leader, Dr. Ivan Meyer, explained that in the DA-run Western Cape, a host of initiatives had been addressed to reduce attrition in our schools, including providing one of the best managed school nutrition programmes, providing sports facilities and support programmes to all schools, and ensuring a text-book rich teaching environment.

The DA is committed to creating the Open Opportunity Society for All in the Northern Cape, and through our 8% Growth plan, expand economic growth and prosperity to all South Africans, not just the crony network of ANC insiders. I will be taking up many of the issues and grievances raised with us in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, and will be submitting parliamentary questions in due course.

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