South Africa is a better place today, but more needs to be done

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Note: The following address was made to Anthony Benadie to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature during the debate on 2012 Development Indicators Report as released by the National Government

The 2012 Performance Development Indicators as released by the Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Honourable Collins Chabane on 20 August 2013, provides key information on South Africa and government’s progress since 1994, reflecting both the achievements and the challenges facing our country.

When considering this extensive report two critical aspects must be highlighted:

  • There is no doubt that South Africa is a better place today than before 1994, and the aspects of our progress as a nation must be recognised, however,
  • It would be irresponsible for anyone to disregard the challenges and problems facing our country by not taking them seriously.

While the report details progress made in the education, health, infrastructure and access to basic services sectors, these analyses are made largely on the condition of access and not quality of service.

While South Africa has progressed since 1994, the people of our country deserve more than merely to live, they deserve a good life, a good education, quality health care and a decent job.

The Economy

Despite a 6% GDP target, our struggling economy only grew at 2,5%. This means fewer opportunities and fewer jobs, with Minister Chabane pointing out that continued labour unrest and strikes has had a direct impact on investment uncertainty and slow growth.

Government debt now stands at 32% of our overall GDP. It is sad that while our country is in extreme debt, the ANC government continues to waste millions of rand on luxuries for politicians and the well-connected.

The report also clearly shows the impact of President Jacob Zuma’s presidency:

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into South Africa’s economy has decreased from R100,291 billion before President  Zuma was elected to R1,673 billion in 2012;
  • The number of discouraged work-seekers in South Africa, those people who have given up any hope of finding a job, has increased by 1,139 million in the period since President Zuma took office – more than 68% of those being young people under the age of 35, yet government is still dragging its feet on implementing the Youth Wage Subsidy.

Poverty and Unemployment

Unemployment remains South Africa’s key economic challenge. According to the report, 36% of South Africans are unemployed. This is a crisis. It is clear that the ANC’s current job creation strategy is failing, largely due to corruption and the ANC ‘jobs for pals’ practice.

Income inequality remains a serious challenge. The Gini Coefficient, which measures the gap in income between the poor and rich is still very big. In this measurement, 0 equates to ‘no inequality’ and 1 equates to ‘total inequality’. Under the ANC, inequality in Mpumalanga is increasing and now stands at 0,69, simply because we are not creating jobs.

So too, under the ANC 62% of all people in Mpumalanga live below the poverty line and have to survive on less than R577 per month. In contrast, under the DA-led Western Cape government, only 30% of residents live below the poverty line.

The minister’s report confirms that where the DA governs, poverty is less, more jobs are created and life is better for everyone.

Social Cohesion

The most telling sections of the report, is the ones dealing with social cohesion.

According to the report:

  • 88% of South Africans are Proudly South African: We love our country!
  • Yet, under the ANC, only 58% of South Africans are confident of a happy future in South Africa.
  • 81 % of South Africans identify themselves as African or South African. This amplifies that we are a nation that knows who we are and we are proud of it and most importantly, only 8% of South Africans identify themselves by race.
  • However, the report shows that race relations in our country have hit an all-time low, with only 39% of all South Africans believing that race relations are increasing. This is a severe plunge from the 75% in 2000.

Race relations are being worsened by the ANC. ANC arrogance and their constant obsession with keeping South Africans racially divided is having a devastating effect. It is clear that the ANC knows that their only chance of hanging onto political power is by racially dividing South Africa. Every word by the ANC, every sitting of this house is marred by ANC’s racially driven agenda. No doubt, that Election 2014 will be the ANC’s most racist campaign to date.

Honourable Speaker, the report is clear. South Africa is a better place today than before 1994. But, while the ANC remains obsessed with the past, our nation’s people are concerned with the future. While progress has been made, real change has been too slow.

South Africans know who they are, they are proud of who they are, they are sick of corruption and they are ready to work. They need jobs. South Africans want to stand together as One Nation with One Future, united in our diversity.