Source: The Democratic Alliance
Title: DA: Zille: Address by the leader of the DA, on Workers Day, Port Elizabeth
Fellow South Africans, Today we celebrate Workers’ Day. We have come a long way since the days of state-sanctioned worker exploitation – our Bill of Rights guarantees workers the rights they were denied under apartheid. And we have travelled a great distance since the days of the colour bar – when the colour of your skin determined what job you were allowed to do. It is now your constitutional right to choose your trade, occupation and profession freely. There is certainly a great deal to celebrate on this Workers’ Day. But, in celebrating the attainment of workers' rights, we must remember those who have never been given the chance to work. We must not forget the plight of the millions of young people that have never had a job. Their struggle is South Africa’s struggle. If we cannot find ways to boost employment we will never become the nation envisaged in the Freedom Charter. A job is the only sustainable way out of poverty. It is a step on the ladder towards dignity and prosperity. That is why job creation is the DA's number one priority. All our policies in the places we govern -- whether it's a province, a city or a town -- are designed to make it easier to get a job and easier to create a job. In a few weeks time, South Africans will vote for the party they wish to govern their local municipality. The choice they make will determine the standards of service delivery they receive over the next five years. This choice will also determine whether jobs will be created where they live. Cities and towns are the engines of a growing economy and job creation. When international companies invest in our towns and cities, they create jobs. When local entrepreneurs start their own businesses, they create jobs. And so we must create conditions that attract investment and jobs wherever we govern. Nobody wants to invest in a place where the administration is corrupt. They want to make sure the money they pay in rates in taxes is ploughed back into service delivery and infrastructure development, not politicians’ pockets. That is why the DA governs transparently. We open up our tender processes so everyone can see who gets what and for what reasons. Where we govern, councillors and officials disclose their financial interests. And nobody wants to invest where there are no basic services or infrastructure. Without electricity, clean water, decent sanitation and well-maintained roads, businesses cannot function and jobs cannot be created. That is why the DA makes sure that people who can afford to pay rates and taxes do pay. We use the money to expand access to basic services, to prevent crime and to maintain and develop infrastructure. And we make sure that the poor have access to free basic services so that they stand a chance of moving off the thr first rung of the poverty ladder. Job creation is not complicated. Just by getting the basics of government right, we can grow our economy and create jobs for hundreds and thousands of people. In Midvaal, where the DA governs, we have created hundreds of permanent jobs by attracting international companies like Heineken and Ferro Rocher. We did it by reducing crime, investing in infrastructure and delivering basic services. And take Cape Town, for example. There we recently won an award from the national government for creating more job opportunities through our expanded public works programme than any other municipality in the country. Last year, the National Treasury praised Cape Town for creating 10,000 permanent jobs and 16,300 temporary jobs -- more than any other metro in the country. In the next financial year, the City of Cape Town will invest R5 million in a programme to assist entrepreneurs and small firms grow their businesses and create jobs. The City is also developing a fibre-optic network to improve the city's broadband infrastructure. And, today, our mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille will announce the details of a City-wide apprenticeship to give on the job training to young jobseekers. There is so much we can do to improve peoples' job prospects. And it starts by getting the basics of government right. So, as we celebrate Workers’ Day, let us be mindful of those who have never had the opportunity to work. And let us remember that the choices we make will determine whether our people can get jobs and overcome poverty in the future.