Chairperson, it is beyond question that South Africa's economy must diversify, and that it must be restructured; and the state can and must play a significant role in actively effecting this restructuring to make this country a fairer place in which to live, work, and raise a family.
That the DA supports this principle is an absolute given. That is why we support true broad-based empowerment, and why we have had such success where we do govern in creating jobs and tackling social inequality.
However, it is six years into this administration and the great injustice that still defines the South African economy is not getting better, Chairperson, in fact, it is getting much, much worse. Since this government came into office - and the hon Fubbs will do well to remember these figures - 1,6 million more South Africans are unemployed. That is 730 more South Africans for every single day that the ANC is in government, hon Fubbs. There is nothing decisive or bold about that, except that it is decisively making South Africa poorer.
The gross domestic product, GDP, growth has gone down in every single one of the years that this government has been in office and the number of people living in absolute poverty has jumped to 10,9 million. This is the highest number since 1994.
Therefore, given this government's performance thus far, let us examine the complete absurdity of their argument today, as presented by Ms Fubbs.
They would have us believe that our current malady is all someone else's fault, or the global economy's fault and that if the government could just have a little bit more control with which to browbeat the economy, then things would start to work, the economy would start to grow and jobs would start to be created. However, this argument collapses under the sheer weight of economic mismanagement under the ANC.
In truth, every single one of the obstacles to growth in South Africa is brought about by this government - by the ANC. They quote the very high- sounding quotes from the ANC's conference about removing everything that retards growth in South Africa. Well, hon Fubbs, it is the ANC that is the biggest obstacle to growth in South Africa today. [Applause.]
Whether it be the electricity supply, red tape, building a capable state, reforming the labour environment, stopping corruption, reforming education, you name it, these are all areas where the government has full control already. However, it does not play the leading role it claims to play.
The ANC-led government has proven time and time again that it cannot get the basics right.
The President, speaking here last week, tried to make the argument that economic growth is a matter of fate. And I wonder whether his ANC colleagues here today, the Ministers, agree with him. He says we cannot grow as fast as our peers because we are bigger and more developed.
So, basically, if we follow his logic, there is nothing that the government can do to change our growth directory. We grow as fast or slow as economic fate allows. Now, I strongly disagree with that view, and I am sure that the economics Ministers, present here, would too.
Economic growth is a consequence of the policy decisions and actions that government takes on a day-to-day basis. Growth is fostered by sound policy and good leadership. That is why Peru, Turkey, Chile, Thailand - all countries with similar-sized economies to ours, are all growing faster than us. We are, in fact, growing more slowly than some highly developed countries like the US and the UK.
It is no accident, Chairperson, that where the DA governs, the economy is growing and jobs are being created. That is not fate; it is the consequence of proper planning, sound leadership and policy decisions that support innovation and entrepreneurship.
A DA-led government will never shy away from its responsibility to act in the economy to address the awful legacy of apartheid. The difference is that we get it right.
Now, last week - yes, I am coming to you, hon Minister Davis - the Minister of economic destruction, Minister Patel, tried to tarnish our record in government with some statistical gymnastics that would have made an Olympian athlete proud.
His key manipulation was to rely on the narrow definition of unemployment, by which definition he would have as believe that Limpopo has the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa. It should be immediately clear to every sensible hon member in this House why that argument is completely laughable.
No, Minister, the results of DA economic policy are there for all to see - an economy growing considerably faster than the national economy; the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa; and the lowest income inequality in South Africa. These are all facts.
Tomorrow in this House this government will tell us why we all need to tighten our belts and cough up with extra taxes because economic fate is conspiring against us. There will be talk of challenges and there will be a great deal of blame-shifting.
However, these excuses are wearing thin on the public, hon members. Every South African knows that the extra tax that they will be forced to pay after tomorrow is to patch up the gaping fiscal holes left by the failure of this government to grow the economy; to pay up for the luxury and corruption of one man; and to cover up the wholesale destruction of jobs that this government has wrought in South Africa since it came into office in 2009. Thank you very much. [Applause.]