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Maimane blasts ANC’s lack of plan to address youth unemployment in NMB

Maimane blasts ANC’s lack of plan to address youth unemployment in NMB

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, took renewed aim at the African National Congress (ANC) for allegedly having no plan in place to reduce youth unemployment in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Delivering the keynote speech at a youth campaign rally held at the Ernst Swanepoel Hall in Despatch on Thursday, Maimane, accompanied by the party’s Mayoral Candidate Athol Trollip and Youth Leader Yusuf Cassim, said the ruling party has proven time and again it is unable to keep its promises, and that South Africans, especially the youth, have had enough.

“While 129 000 jobs were lost in total in the last quarter, a staggering 142 000 were lost in the 15-34 year-old category. In other words, whatever marginal gains were made in the older categories were completely wiped out by youth job losses,” Maimane said.

“The biggest threat to the future of our country is unemployment, and specifically youth unemployment. Two-thirds of unemployed South Africans are under 35 years old. If we don’t reverse this trend fast, it will tear our nation apart”.

He stated that no one could truly consider themselves to free if unable to find a job when “those who are politically connected” are benefitting from tenders.

“Our freedom must be a chapter of job creation. We have many young people who have creative ideas on how to start businesses and make difference in this municipality; the only thing they ask for in return, is a government that will provide support so that their business can flourish,” he said.

Joking that some should start working on their business proposals, Maimane said the youth must use the power of their vote to send government a clear message that it has failed to tackle corruption and rectify everyday problems despite numerous pledges to do so.

“A million young South Africans have registered to vote for the first time in these elections. And if we have learnt anything from young South Africans in the past year, it is that they will not be taken for granted,” he said.

Taking a swipe at President Jacob Zuma’s bloated cabinet, Maimane said the extra funds could have been invested into improving the lives of young people instead of paying the salaries of yet more ministers.

“If [late former President Nelson] Mandela could run a government with 34 ministers, why does Jacob Zuma need 74? Every second person in Parliament is a cabinet minister. We will half this, take the money and give it to students so that they can go to college and still have money for food and money for text books,” he said claps and cheers.

Referring to the controversial upgrades at the President’s Nkandla homestead, Maimane said the determination of Treasury to have him pay back R7.8-million of the R246-million spent on non-essential security items, is unheard of and wronging.

“You cannot be expected to pay back R7.8-million for just under R250-million on five items. He must pay [everything back]. We are not blessers,” Maimane said to wide-spread laughter.

“The ANC is so corrupt they cannot even look South Africans in the eyes anymore. We cannot be led by a President who fires a performing Finance Minister, who spends R9-million on cars for his wives and who pays more for two nuclear power stations than what India paid for six”.

Concluding his speech by laying into the ANC for trying to “separate us like the Apartheid government did”, Maimane said the tradition of the Eastern Cape as birth place of some of the country’s most revered struggle icons has lived on in the DA, and that he remains confident the party would take control of the Metro after the elections.