South African Needs a New Economic Direction

The unemployment figures released by StatsSA present a minor decrease in both the narrow and broad definition of unemployment, decreasing by 0.8% and 0.7% respectively.

ActionSA welcomes any positive change in unemployment faced by South Africans which remains a crisis at 45.5%, giving our country the unenviable title of having the highest sustained unemployment rate in the world.

We must be clear this change remains a short-term fluctuation that forms part of a decade long trend in increasing unemployment arising from the failed economic direction of successive national governments in South Africa.

Until such time as South Africa undergoes fundamental economic reforms, the trend of rising unemployment will persist and, soon, an increasing majority of South Africans will not know the dignity that comes from a job.

ActionSA has made its national policy development process a priority, because South Africans need a viable alternative economic blueprint for our country. Central to this blueprint must be the following key interventions:

  • A credible and coherent strategy for South Africa’s economy giving all stakeholders certainty of the direction of the country.
  • Industry specific and sub-strategies focussing on niche areas of our economy, including a focus on the rural economy and CBD revitalisation.
  • Arising from these strategies must be a re-prioritisation of the budget to shift funds towards infrastructure, education and safety and security.
  • Removal of tripartite alliance veto rights of economic policy – unions are a key stakeholder but have not been elected to determine economic policy for the country.
  • Relaxing of South Africa’s labour laws with the focus to make it easier to employ South Africans.
  • The overhaul of the South African education, with the inclusion of skill building around entrepreneurship, and the building of new universities, colleges, TVETs etc.
  • The review of all South African legislation to identify any red-tape and anti-growth legislation to the ease of doing business in South Africa.
  • Reduction of the debt-to-GDP to below 70%, targeting debt repayments to be brought under 6% of expenditure.
  • A comprehensive package of support offered to small businesses in South Africa, removing the cost of administrative compliance and providing support that incubates emerging businesses with access to finance, tax advice and other critical business tools.
  • Professionalising the civil service to ensure that, irrespective of who wins election, South Africans can count on professionals appointed into the civil service based on their ability and not their political allegiances.

ActionSA will facilitate this economic policy development process by convening experts from across the economic and business community in South Africa. We are confident that will arise from this is a new economic direction that every South African will be able to see and understand how it will take our country into an era of prosperity.

However, as a country, we must not fail to recognise the most fundmanetal truth – that no economic solution can take place under the ANC government. This means that for South Africans to prosper, for South Africans to gain employment and for our businesses to grow – the ANC must be consigned to the opposition benches in 2024.