Hon Chairperson, I will stick to English today. I was recently reminded by one of the very talented officials of the Department of Economic Development that, during the 2010 debate, I stated that the department should have been stillborn.
Whilst I rejoice in the obvious extensive talents of the officials of the department, the position of the DA remains unchanged. This view was reinforced when it was observed that Minister Trevor Manuel's National Planning Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Treasury, as well as local government, played little or no role at the recent economic development summit hosted by the department. This was particularly stark given the prominent role played in the summit by the Department of Labour and by various trade union organisations.
The International Monetary Fund, the IMF, indicated to us yesterday that the rate of economic growth of 6% per annum, as projected in the New Growth Path, will not be achieved in the short to medium term. This means that unless there is radical change in the way that South Africa does business, the five million jobs target will not be achieved. The hon Minister, I think, acknowledges this, because he has said that unless we change the way we do things, we will not get different outputs.
What then are the radical changes that are required? There is no doubt that continued and strident efforts need to be made with international trading partners to ensure that barriers, such as agricultural subsidies and others which prevent South African goods from being competitive, are removed. However, this is not under our direct control and is not likely to be a fast process.
The visitor from China, who recently addressed a Joint Sitting of Parliament, made the point that China had concentrated on economic growth rather than on issues such as job creation and had stepped out without a carefully crafted and lengthy plan. If I recall, he used the analogy of crossing a river which had rocks submerged under water and that they had to feel their way rock by rock.
Well, we need to start feeling for our own rocks, even if we occasionally misplace our feet. However, there are measures that are under our control. We need to do what hon Minister Gordhan said two days ago. "Action is needed," he said, or we continue on the warpath of endless debates.
There can be no doubt that our regulatory regime, particularly as it pertains to labour, needs to be relaxed. For example, it is simply unworkable to enforce national bargaining on plants when neither the industrialists nor their employees have any direct say in the bargaining process. Closed-shop arrangements, which may be the history of the hon Minister of Economic Development, are simply unworkable and are in direct conflict with the freedom of association enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The long-vaunted youth subsidy, or wage subsidy, must be introduced. A simple way of doing this would be to take the R1,2 billion budget allocated to the ANC Youth League in disguise - and here I refer to the National Youth Development Agency - and to allocate it to the youth wage subsidy. At least the money would not be wasted on debauched parties costing tens of millions of rands.
The hon Minister has not made any mention of productivity. The hon Winde made the point that we need to become more competitive. The hon Deputy Minister has acknowledged - I think, quite bravely - that our productivity levels need to be improved. We need to meet our competition internationally. Economic growth and the resultant spin-off of new jobs come with hard work. There is no short cut. The sooner the ANC cuts its unfortunate alliance with Cosatu and starts putting the interests of the unemployed ahead of those of the employed, the sooner there will be economic growth and the creation of jobs for the millions of our people who are unemployed and starving.
These are but a few of the interventions that are required. No justice can be done to a subject of this magnitude in a matter of just six minutes. In that respect, this debate cannot honestly be called a debate, and some may even refer to it as a farce. We have no choice, hon Chair. If we want a prosperous future for South Africa, we must implement the open opportunity society for all. I thank you. [Applause.]