More than two decades into the country’s democracy‚ the project of building a prosperous and inclusive economy has ground to a halt‚ because the people entrusted with this project have shifted their attention to other things‚ says Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
“They have turned their attention to ways of helping themselves to the money meant for the people. They have turned their attention to fighting off the factions that threaten their grip on power and wealth. And they have completely forgotten about the people‚” Maimane said.
The result was growing poverty‚ growing unemployment and growing anger‚ the DA leader said in a Heritage Day speech at the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Sunday.
“Today‚ 55% of South Africans live below the poverty line. That’s more than 30 million of our people.
“Today‚ more than 9.3 million South Africans can’t find work‚ most of whom are under the age of 35.
“Today‚ South Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world.
“Today‚ South Africa has among the highest income inequality in the world.
“That is our shared heritage. And it is the duty of each and every one of us to change this – to ensure that this does not become the heritage of our children too‚” Maimane stated.
“It is our duty to build an economy that is truly inclusive. Not the fig leaf of ownership that the current BEE model has provided.
“Because if you strip away the wealthy cronies who got rich thanks to their ANC connections‚ you’re not left with a lot of black ownership of our economy. I mean real economic empowerment for ordinary South Africans‚” the DA leader added.