DA stands firm on jobs plan
Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko speaks to the M&G about her party's Growth Plan and Jobs Campaign for South Africa.
The plan has been attacked by critics in the ANC and the tripartite alliance.
Charles Molele: Critics claim the plan is a nonstarter that makes grandiose promises it cannot meet.
Lindiwe Mazibuko: There is a lot of potential in the South African economy – fantastic natural resources and a booming tourism industry – and we can start to grow at the same rate as Brazil, Turkey, Mexico and Angola. The 8% economic growth is a bit of a stretch, but it is attainable – it is not a jobless growth. We will create jobs.
We believe in growing the economy to enable more people to enter the formal economy. At the moment we have restrictive policies that favour people who already have jobs and individuals and businesses who are already on the inside.
How does the DA plan to create one million jobs a year, and in which sectors of the economy?
We did not promise to create a million jobs. We believe in growing the economy in order to enable more people to enter the formal economy.
You propose a youth wage subsidy in your campaign. The labour movement is fiercely opposed to the subsidy, because it believes it will result in labour broking and the exploitation of workers.
The labour movement has not produced a shred of evidence on this. This is one group that is playing politics. Our proposal is backed by research from the Harvard Group and the treasury, which estimated that more than 400 000 jobs would be created. The government has done these calculations and they are backed up by data and research. Young people will benefit. Cosatu has not produced any research to back its claims. They are just flexing their muscles ahead of the ANC's elective conference.
Has the DA done any research to establish how many youths support the proposed subsidy?
Yes. We have done surveys, but I can't give you the numbers.
Do you believe that to implement the subsidy the government needs to relax labour laws?
Yes. We have a situation in South Africa where unemployed people cannot enter the economy and participate in it because of our restrictive labour laws. These protectionist measures have led to a situation where young workers are unemployed and locked out. The government needs to regulate, but we don't believe in protecting those who are already working, particularly in a developing economy like ours.
Would this not result in terrible working conditions?
Absolutely not ... a responsible government needs to regulate, but what the ANC is doing is to regulate to prevent people from being employed because they are under pressure from Cosatu.
With its growth plan and jobs campaign the DA is clearly gearing up for the national elections in 2014.
We are presenting an offer to South Africans. The ANC held its policy conference and presented their mishmash of economic policy proposals. The ANC is too divided to present a unified plan because of factions and ideological battles. It is also concerned with personality and succession politics. In the DA we have a unified plan.