Economic minister is economically illiterate: DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that the Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s plan for the state to hire workers on infrastructure “maintenance” projects will not stop the job-shedding in South Africa.

Last week, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey revealed that the number of people who were unemployed increased by 321,000 from 4.9 million to 5.2 million in the first six months of 2015.

“The mining and manufacturing sectors are haemorrhaging jobs apace,” said Michael Cardo, shadow minister of economic development.

“Yet the best Minister Patel can do in the face of this bloodbath is to suggest that every government department should employ more people to maintain roads, water infrastructure, schools and hospitals.”

Following a Cabinet Lekgotla on Friday (31 July), Patel said: “When you fix roads and potholes, and [ensure] that broken windows at schools and doors at hospitals are fixed quickly and efficiently, you create an enormous number of jobs”.

“This kind of statist sophistry only serves to trumpet the Minister’s economic illiteracy. If he thinks fixing potholes is going to create millions of jobs, he is delusional,” Cardo said.

“Minister Patel wants to use public money to create jobs artificially. Instead, his government should be empowering the private sector to create real jobs so that there is more public money to be spent on state services,” the shadow minister said.

“More urgently, it needs to come up with a serious plan to stem the jobs bloodbath, instead of tinkering at the edges with potholes and broken windows.”

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Economic minister is economically illiterate: DA