Hon SJ Nkomo MP
In these challenging times of deepening economic crisis, slow economic growth, and with the related socio-economic issues of poverty, quality education, health, lack of adequate housing, basic services and high crime rates, curbing unemployment must be regarded as our most urgent and pressing priority.
Unemployment is at the root of most socio-economic ills that plague South Africa today, with general unemployment at approximately 25% and youth unemployment nearing the 50% mark. This is a crisis and one that cannot be mitigated by simply stating that we are in the midst of a global economic downturn.
The National Youth Policy seeks to address the issue of youth unemployment through its object to place the economy on a “labour-absorbing growth path” and to “support youth absorption into employment” and has stated that it will achieve this through public employment schemes, expanded public works programmes, and internships in government departments, municipalities, and state-owned companies. This must be supported and provided with additional impetus.
Honourable Chairperson, South Africa has also been economically underperforming when measured against the performance of its peers, with below par economic growth and higher rising debt ratios.
This under performance can be attributed to factors which are largely of our own creation: Labour unrest, complex and prohibitive regulatory frameworks, taxes that target capital formation and investment viability, the energy crisis and the ever present corruption, ineptitude and incompetence which are commonplace throughout many of our public services departments today. These factors create a super storm of barriers to our economic growth and development.
In order to generate economic growth we should be looking at firstly at reducing the ever increasing burden of government and ways in which to make necessary government spending more effective and efficient as inefficient expenditure only lowers the economic multipliers.
SMME’s are another excellent key to unlocking growth and creating employment.
Our laws and regulatory frameworks must be aligned and supportive to the creation of business environments conducive to the financing, start-up and running of such enterprises. South Africa must be moved away from a dependency and welfare mind set, rather to one of entrepreneurship, self-help and self-reliance.
We remain of the view that political freedom must now be translated into opportunities and access to economic and socially sustainable livelihoods for all.
The National Development Plan must not ‘lock out’ new entrants to the job market but rather endeavour and be supportive of the impetus to introduce active labour market policies, whereby large scale absorption of young people and women may be brought into economic activity.
We support this budget Vote.
I thank you.
Hon SJ Nkomo, MP, on 076 553 1240
IFP Media, Parliament