Khalid Sayed - The ANC’s commitment to economic empowerment in the Western Cape

The pressing issue of poverty in the Western Cape cannot be divorced from economic empowerment and job creation, writes ANC Western Cape spokesperson Khalid Sayed.

The pressing issue of poverty in the Western Cape cannot be divorced from economic empowerment and job creation, writes ANC Western Cape spokesperson Khalid Sayed.

Published May 13, 2024


By Khalid Sayed

On the April 27, we celebrated 30 years of democracy in South Africa. We salute all who fought consistently for our democracy and honour the many who lost their lives in the process. The democratically elected ANC government in 1994 knew that undoing the deeply entrenched years of injustice and inequality forced on Black people in this country was a mammoth task. The formalisation of 46 years of apartheid rule and undoing its legacy could reasonably not happen overnight. It is for this reason, that over the past 30 years, our ANC government has focused on socio-economic transformation aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.

Unfortunately, the Western Cape led by the DA has taken a different path. They have not walked their talk about socio-economic development and most definitely not on ensuring equality and justice for all. This province has remained and is known as the last bastion of apartheid.

Over the past 15 years, the situation has worsened to the point that the province is a “tale of two cities”. The visual starkness of the two cities is so glaring that no citizen, across all demographic profiles can deny its existence.

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Echoing the profound words of Nelson Mandela in 2005, overcoming poverty is not just an act of charity—it's about protecting a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.

The pressing issue of poverty in the Western Cape cannot be divorced from economic empowerment and job creation. These are critical avenues through which we can affirm human dignity and uplift our communities. This understanding guides the ANC's strategy to fundamentally alter our economic landscape and secure a prosperous future for all.

Economic growth is not an abstract goal; it is a vital tool for improving lives. By bolstering our economy, we create more jobs, raise income levels, and provide our people with the opportunities they need to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty. However, we know the challenge goes beyond merely creating jobs, which is why our economic growth policies and plans address the stark income inequality and unequal distribution of resources that lie at the root of poverty. These are not just economic issues; they are moral imperatives.

The ANC’s approach to these challenges is holistic and long-term. We are committed to making shared, sustainable economic growth and job creation a reality. Our national manifesto outlines clear measurable plans in this regard, including the creation of 10 million jobs, through various initiatives, during the 7th administration. Specifically, in the Western Cape, a vote for the ANC is vote for our province to meet and, if possible exceed our contribution to this national target.

To address these issues at their core, we have devised a three-pronged strategy:

● We aim to reduce bureaucratic red tape and provide robust support systems for SMMEs to thrive and become role-players in the mainstream economy. This includes setting up a provincial SMME inter- departmental one-stop support system to streamline processes and aid business growth.

● Strategic investment into and partnerships with the agro-processing, manufacturing, oceans economy, finance and business services and tourism sectors will spur economic growth. We will facilitate transformation in these sectors, ensuring they are inclusive and representative of our diverse population. We will also facilitate advancing agro-processing, increasing beneficiation, establishing industry and community partnerships and the release of land suitable for industrial use.

● We will implement the national minimum wage across all sectors, including for farm workers. Our top priorities include engaging with the private sector on access to incentives for up-skilling their workers, ensuring their work-place policies and procedures protect and uphold the rights of workers, and to encourage them to offer share options and other such initiatives to their workers.

Our economic development plan extends beyond economic metrics. It is premised on the fundamental human right to dignity, a decent life, justice and equality. We will forge strong partnerships across all sectors of society—from local businesses to international investors—to do more together for economic growth benefits everyone, particularly the underprivileged.

A vote for the ANC nationally and in the Western Cape is a vote for shared economic growth, justice and quality. It’s a vote to turn the tide on poverty and inequality. A vote for the ANC in the Western Cape is a vote to do more together to honour Mandela’s legacy and reclaim our right to dignity and equality.

* Khalid Sayed is a Member of the Western Cape Legislature and ANC Provincial Spokesperson.

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL or Independent Media.