Hon House Chair, the focus of the ruling party and most of its energies are hell-bent on defending and protecting Number One. In defending the indefensible, one must question just what the ruling party's ideology is. Is the National Development Plan, NDP, bold enough? The NDP fails to make the policy shifts essential for increased investment, growth and jobs.
I wish to proffer the following. We need to boldly go for growth. The cure for poverty is to allow people to earn money. The key is to remove the barriers that stop poor people from earning poor by removing the impediments employers face in hiring them. We need to liberalise our economy. Rather than obliging the poor to rely on the failing state for some alleviation of their plight, let them use the only asset they have, namely their labour.
The little growth of under 2% that we have is not creating job absorption. We have 5,1 million people who are unemployed. Of this number 1,5 million people have been looking for a job for the last five years. This really tells a story - and not a good story. Liberalise our labour market.
To deny anyone the opportunity to earn a living is one of the worst violations of their human rights. With the stagnant economy and declining tax revenue, fiscal space has all but vanished. The national debt of R1,3 trillion, which costs R100 billion to service annually, means that we are in a precarious position in terms of trying to avoid a downgrade.
The next downgrade will confer junk status on our sovereign bonds. The present government took that debt from 28% of gross domestic product, GDP, in 2008, to 47% at present.
We have to reform our education. The growing demand for both private schooling and places in suburban government schools tell us that many parents know that government is incapable of fixing the township schools.
Privatise our state-owned entities, SOEs, because government has no business being in business. It is in conflict with their role as regulators. It is also unfair competition because they can offload their losses onto the taxpayer, which real business cannot do. Government must create an environment for business to want to invest in our economy and in our country.
If we want to drive the private sector and unleash its energies, we have to unshackle it. Like restriction of free speech and other political freedoms, economic restrictions in the form of regulation should be kept to the minimum. We need property ownership certainty, unlike uncertainty. Stop the corruption of employment equity and black economic empowerment, BEE. I thank you. [Time expired.]