Minister Ebrahim Patel’s weak attempt to refute the DA’s success in turning around the Western Cape economy does not hold water when the facts are considered.
By every measure that matters the Western Cape is the best-run province in South Africa. Last year, the Presidency’s Department of Monitoring and Evaluation rated the province number one on governance, financial management, human resource management and people management.
The latest census numbers show that the Western Cape has the highest level of service delivery in the country. According to the Non-Financial Census of Municipalities (2012), the Western Cape also has the highest proportion of households receiving free basic water, free basic electricity and free basic sewerage and sanitation – debunking the myth that the DA does not deliver to the poor.
On jobs, in particular, the Western Cape has outshone the other provinces:
In the DA’s term of office, nearly one out of every four jobs created in the country came from the Western Cape (123 000 of 561 000 jobs created in the country). The province also created significantly more jobs than Gauteng – despite the fact that the Western Cape’s labour force is less than half the size of Gauteng’s.
The Western Cape has the lowest unemployment in the country (12% below the national average) and the lowest number of people who have given up looking for work.
In 2013, unemployment in South Africa grew by 121 000, whilst it shrank by 48 000 in the Western Cape.
The latest Labour Market Dynamics report from StatsSA shows that the Western Cape had the highest “transition rate” among youth – this measures the number of non-economically active youth who manage to get jobs.
Patel claims that the Western Cape is starting to lag behind Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal in terms of economic growth. The latest available figures from StatsSA (for 2012) puts the Western Cape at the head of the pack, with a growth rate of 3.2% (versus 2.9% for Gauteng and 2.8% for KwaZulu-Natal).
It is also deeply ironic that Minister Patel has tried to turn research published by the South African Reserve Bank, which confirms South Africa’s growth potential, into an attack on the DA. Here are the facts: in 2013 the Reserve Bank published a working paper, written by National Treasury researchers, that showed how a set of five economic reforms can boost growth to 8% and create 6 million jobs in the next 10 years.
The policy interventions proposed in the research all appear in the DA’s economic policy. There is thus solid research to confirm that policies like those put forward by the DA could lead to levels of growth and job creation we have not yet seen under ANC rule.
The Western Cape story can become the story of our country if South Africans vote for change on 7 May.
Tim Harris, Shadow Minister of Finance
Source : Democratic Alliance