We need to talk about job creation today

By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature:

I recently sat in on the social cluster of the Worker’s Parliament.  The issues raised were no different to those of millions of other employed people and there are many avenues in which to take up these grievances.

What we need to talk about today is unemployment and how KZN plans to create jobs.

The ANC-led government is in no position to create the 5 million jobs that it promised last year. In fact, unemployment is experiencing ongoing growth and in KZN only 31.5% of people are employed.  This leaves a staggering 68.5% – or more than 7 million people – in our province who do not have jobs. A DA government in KZN would create almost 2 million jobs in a short span of time.

 

The freezing of KZN government posts means no one else will be employed by the province until the moratorium is lifted.  What this means for health in particular, is that the almost 10,000 critical posts will never be completely filled.  Given the staff shortages it is no wonder that so many people sue the department.  Overall working conditions and decisions such as these have a terrible effect, not only in the working environment but more so on service delivery.

I have no doubt that those who speak after me may stand here and offer excuses and even a defence for such decisions.  These mean nothing on the ground.

Instead of doing that, concede that your promises will, at best, amount to the creation of a few temporary jobs on state projects – if and when the province starts employing again – and that at worst they will amount to nothing more than the same propaganda in the run up to next year’s elections.

 

By now, it should have dawned upon the ANC that it cannot carry on with such pretences.  People have become very impatient and the agitation is brewing onto the streets.

Today, what we need to speak about, in addition to 5 million new jobs, is what DA leader Mmusi Maimane has called for and in his words: “We need 1 million new entrepreneurs”.

Government’s responsibility is to create the environment to do this.  We need to grow our economy at between 5 to 8%.  Not the 1.3% q/q[1] that we sit with.

Opportunity does not start with a job, but with an education.

Let me be the first today to say that the shocking apartheid regime systematically executed a campaign of ‘miseducation’ centred round the black child.  More recently, the ANC have allowed South Africa’s education to become amongst the worst in the world.

The question is -what opportunity is there to properly redress the needs of people to become employable through proper education?

After education there has to be a comprehensive apprentice and internship programme which, amongst other things, the DA is ready to implement the day we set foot in the union buildings.

The DA has long advocated the Youth Wage Subsidy.  The ANC’s watered-down version, the Employment Tax Incentive, is not enough.  Ask yourselves – what impact has this had on unemployment?

The Youth Wage Subsidy on its own is not the panacea.  It will need the addition of what the DA refers to as an Opportunity Voucher Scheme. This will allow eligible people to access funding to start business or further their education.

The DA would establish Opportunity centres to ensure that current ‘red tape’ is cut along with opportunity Cards for SMME’s to have access to business support and training to do business better.

Tenders would be broken up and awarded to multiple company owners.  Not the same ones over and over again under different names.  Government’s current narrow focus on procurement as a tool for stimulating SMME’s has led to low levels of entrepreneurship and continues only to benefit the connected few.

The DA would ensure that cross border trade and tourism is easier.  Africa and the world are still waiting for us.  This can’t be achieved if we still have investor uncertainty.

 

This ANC led government has shown the people of South Africa just how incapable it is of doing this and more.

In the meantime, the DA will continue to work in Parliament to build the kind of inclusive economy that expands opportunities to all South Africans. We believe that a South Africa built on the values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for all is still well within our reach.

Worker’s parliament has shown us how willing and hard working South Africans are.

To quote Mmusi Maimane – “All it needs now is the right government.”

The DA will be that government.