Andrew Louw MPL
DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
Note: These are remarks made by DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate, Andrew Louw MPL, during an engagement with the Kimberley Business Community to discuss the DA’s plans to grow the Northern Cape economy and create more jobs.
We all know and experience how difficult it can be to do business in this province.
The Northern Cape has one of the highest rates of unemployment and only achieved a growth rate of 2.7% last year. We all know that mining in this province is the main economic activity of the province, with agriculture, finance, real estate and business services all being important economic drivers too.
But the question on our minds is why has it become ever increasingly difficult to grow your business and pursue our goals and interests as business people in this province?
The answer I believe is two things, corruption and red-tape.
Ladies and gentlemen we have taken the unwanted crown as perhaps the most corrupt province in the country.
Where else in the country do you have two MEC’s, namely John Block and Alvin Botes, sitting before the courts facing serious charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering?
The ANC has come to accept and embrace corruption. The ANC of Jacob Zuma, in particular, has even begun to reward corruption. After-all why else would John Block once again be the Zuma ANC’s provincial number one?
Corruption is pure evil.
It is a cancer that takes opportunity and jobs from people who need them most. Whenever a crooked politician, like John Block, or an official digs into the public purse, money is taken away from creating a job, or delivering needed services.
Corruption has made good, honest and God-fearing people become the kind of people they would never be. Today we find ourselves being asked by crooked officials to grease their palms in order to get forms we are freely entitled to. The same crooked officials will then ask you for a bribe to “speed up” the processing of such forms.
The crooked officials in Jacob Zuma’s ANC government do what they do because they know their political masters are part of the corruption free-for-all.
But it’s time to draw the line in the sand, and say this is where it stops.
Corruption is not in the character of ordinary Northern Cape people. It has no place in our traditions. It has no hold over our hearts.
Secondly, the Northern Cape Provincial Government and its municipalities are notorious for the amount of laws and regulations they impose on business and individuals. These are a limit on our freedoms and often, if not always, additional costs that our business sector has to bear.
A prime example to cite is the Liquor Board. It requires a business to run through many steps in acquiring an operating licence; taking a business anything between 6 months to a year to acquire the licence.
Another area of government red-tape, or rather inefficiency, is in actual service delivery of basic services a business needs, and in administration.
The Sol Plaatje municipality is notorious for their ability to fail the residents in their areas. We all remember the water shutdown of 9 consecutive days this time last year, and the fiasco of on/off water restrictions following that.
We have seen this ever-increasingly arrogant municipality effectively boast about having a R1-billion debt, yet have no real plan to address it.
Such failures are simply unacceptable and come at additional costs for business. It is heart-breaking to see business people opt to set-up operations elsewhere, or inevitably reduce costs by hiring less people.
Whether it is corruption or government red-tape, both do not help our province with its serious unemployment problem.
The DA’s priority, and indeed my priority as your Premier, would be to cut corruption and create jobs.
To fight corruption the DA would:
- Limit political interference – there must be a clear separation between party and all three spheres of government in all three spheres of government;
- Improve accountability – this means holding public servants legally accountable for their actions. This would include the continuation of disciplinary proceedings. This would prevent officials from resigning and being appointed in another department in order to avoid previous charges;
- Take a stand against corruption & maladministration – the corrupt like John Block, would find they have no place in my administration. The DA would pass laws making it illegal for public servants to do business with the state. We would curb spending on perks for politicians; and
- Strengthen anti-corruption institutions – the Constitution makes adequate provision for corruption busting institutions. The DA would strengthen these.
Our plan is founded on growth and extending freedoms to people to be part of an inclusive economy.
Our plan and policy seeks to create an economy that grows at 8%.
The DA believes that to achieve an 8% growth rate, our government has to provide leadership, manage public money better, provide direct incentives for job creation and make sure that labour laws support job creation.
There is no way we can grow the economy unless we support small business.
This primarily entails relaxing red tape and regulations, and easing the tax burden on small business; more especially in economic hubs such as Kimberley. We plan to lend greater support to agriculture, mining, and SMME development in the province. Their growth is vital to our economy.
A key intervention to the South African economy would be to invest in knowledge. We simply need to give more people the education and skills they need to get a job.
Lastly, our policy seeks to see an increase in investment and savings, and to boost trade.
Part of our vision for the province in this regard is to ensure our road and rail infrastructure is well maintained, so that access is never an issue. Never again should a farmer struggle to get his produce to market, because our roads are in a terrible state.
An economy that grows at 8% can create nearly 6 million jobs by 2025.
This is the kind of preferred future the DA wants for South Africa and the Northern Cape.
It’s time to break the cycle of what happens today. The cancer of corruption and maladministration by Zuma’s ANC under John Block in the province, is not allowing business and the people of our province to prosper.
The DA has the political-will to help people in the Northern Cape access opportunity and prosperity. The people of the province have a clear choice in the upcoming election: a vote for the current situation, or a vote for the DA and the necessary economic growth and job creation for the people of the Northern Cape.