DA committed to the eradication of poverty
Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) is observing International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Designated in 1993 by the United Nations as the day to raise awareness of the need for poverty eradication in all countries across the world, for the DA it also presents an opportunity for South Africans to acknowledge the struggle of the millions of people living in poverty in our country. It also serves as a reminder to further our efforts to ensure that they are lifted out of it.
In recognition of the need for fresh ideas aimed at tackling poverty, the DA has been engaged in a policy project designed to identify what South Africa needs to do in order to achieve an annual rate of 8% economic growth, tackle our unemployment crisis and, as a consequence, lift millions of our citizens out of poverty. We believe it is only by accelerating growth to this level that we will begin to achieve these goals.
We cannot seek solutions to the challenges we face unless we understand the problems that cause them. As such, the first phase of our project is a diagnostic assessment of the key challenges facing our economy today. Under the leadership of the DA’s Federal Chairperson, Dr Wilmot James, the first phase of the project has been completed and will be presented to the public in the coming week.
Where we govern we have shown that, through dedicated implementation of well-thought out policies, it is possible to ensure that our poorest citizens are afforded access to much needed services, thus improving the lives of those living under DA governments.
We have also engaged the national government on a number of policy proposals which we believe will go some way towards the alleviation of poverty in this country:
- Youth Wage Subsidy: The implementation of the Youth Wage Subsidy could create 178 000 jobs in three years at a cost of R28 000 each. Had the policy been implemented in April this year, it would already have benefited almost 200 000 young people and created more than 80 000 new jobs.
- Communal Tenure Private Members Bill: We have presented a legislative proposal to Parliament calling for legislation to be drafted allowing for private land ownership on communally owned land. Private land ownership has the potential to ensure that residents on communally owned land can live unencumbered on their land and leverage it to improve their livelihoods. This will ensure that poverty levels in rural areas are reduced.
- Zero VAT on textbooks: Reducing the rate of VAT on textbooks would ensure that more students have access to textbooks, and in turn increase the quality of graduates. Education is the key out of poverty.
- Every Rand Counts Campaign: We have monitored wasteful and fruitless expenditure by the government. We hope that by highlighting the misuse of public resources, government will be motivated to ensure that money is channelled towards programmes aimed at poverty eradication.
We can overcome poverty in South Africa. But this requires a government with the vision and the courage to implement policies that will achieve this. The DA aims to be at the forefront of this important process