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Today, StatsSA confirmed that South Africa cannot endure another ANC term. Our rapidly deteriorating economic landscape is reflected in the 0.2% decrease in our gross domestic product (GDP) over the third quarter of 2023. A direct result of failed ANC policy.
In November, the Treasury estimated a growth rate of 0.8%, a target that, even though low and uninspiring, was evidently overly optimistic. This means that expected revenue, already revised downward in November, remains overstated and less money will be available for crucial expenditure on service delivery and social support.
Our economy will not grow at the projected 1.4% over the medium term, given the multitude of crises that beset every facet of the South African experience.
Crime and corruption, industrial scale mismanagement, an inefficient public procurement framework, the energy crisis, and deployed cadres have crippled our economy.
The ANC's approach to resolving the electricity crisis has proven grossly inadequate as load-shedding and widespread corruption in the energy sector continues to suppress economic activity, productivity, local- and international competitiveness, business confidence, and investment.
The ANC has also broken the logistics and transport sector, and its continued insistence on centralising operations has removed any hope of recovery. The DA does not have any confidence that Transnet’s recovery plan will address the structural issues that beleaguer the entity. Despite all the noise about injecting private sector expertise into the sector, there is no action to be seen. Any inertia to promptly engage in meaningful privatisation and open the market to private investment will condemn South Africa to a perpetual low-growth cycle.
The flailing growth prospects has compelled Treasury to introduce austerity measures, as announced in the mid-term budget policy statement. With an average annual GDP growth rate of 1.2% throughout the last 15 years, our economic performance has been lacklustre at best. GDP per capita has declined by around R3,000 over the same period. All the while citizens are told to be content with abhorrent state services that are supposed to ensure reliable water, electricity, education, health, transport, and safety. We also face a fast-approaching debt crisis, vastly diminished fiscal space, vanishing employment opportunities, and growing public disillusionment.
Instead of adopting ruthless and targeted growth focused reforms, Government is doubling down on destructive policies like expropriation without compensation and racialisation of our employment legislation. Such reckless policy missteps impact vulnerable South African households who are already reeling under a government-induced cost-of-living crisis directly.
The positive takeaway from today’s numbers is that South Africa’s private sector continues to display resilience despite the Government’s proclivity to crowd it out and reluctance to enact the requisite growth-friendly reforms. This a testament to the sector’s unrealised potential and what could be achieved with competent governance.
With each passing day, the irreparable damage to our economy and international standing because of the ANC’s governance failure grows more evident. Its tenure has been catastrophic. Only a DA government has the resolve to save our nation from this crisis. It’s high time for South Africans to abandon the party that has clearly abandoned them.
Issued by Dr Dion George MP - DA Shadow Minister of Finance