12/03/2014 – ACDP KZN Manifesto Launch: ACDP targets five key aspects in KwaZulu-Natal

ACDP KwaZulu-Natal

Provincial Leader: Jo-Ann Downs (MPL)

ACDP-KZN Manifesto Launch

 

 

ACDP targets five key aspects in KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

South Africa is fast approaching a tipping point, heading towards a crisis of poverty and inequality. A hope for a great future means the possibility of all South Africans achieving a decent standard of living. Instead, those living below the poverty line of  $1 per day went from 2 million in 1994 to 4 million in 2006. In KwaZulu-Natal 48.4% of our citizens are still living in poverty. In Durban alone this equates to 960 000 people.

 

A hope for a great future means access to education opportunities for all South Africans. In 2013, 58.5% of whites; 51% of Indians; 14.3% of coloureds and only 12% of blacks entered higher education. This continues the cycle of inequality.

 

A hope for a great future means increasing spending on infrastructure both to create job opportunities and to provide development such as water, sanitation, roads and electricity in disadvantaged areas. We should be spending 30% of GDP to boost the economy, but KZN has allocated only 13% of its budget to this.  A hope for a great future means every available cent should be spent to create opportunities for progress for the poor and disadvantaged, instead, more than R700 billion is estimated to have been flushed away on corruption.

 

3.7 million people in Kwazulu-Natal are receiving social grants, which is clearly unsustainable.

 

Even though KwaZulu-Natal contributes 16% of the National GDP, if we were progressing economically, it would be 19% and above in line with our population. The percentage of tax contribution by KZN at 12% shows us that jobs are lower paid in KwaZulu-Natal. The most recent stats show that 6.2% of the KZN population pays these taxes, which is less than half of Gauteng, just half of WC, and still lower than the Free State. Lower than the Free State, which is a small province.

Poverty in KZN is exacerbated by inflation in basic household items. The Consumer price index has increased by (2012/13 Financial Year):

–       8.4% for breads and cereals (a staple)

–       6.6% for oils and fats, 14.9% for Paraffin (cooking)

–       13.2% for electricity, added to 18% the previous year (services)

–       7.2% for water (services)

–       14.4% for public transport, with train travel going up 17.3% (transportation)

–       8.5% for education, 9.6% for tertiary education (Education)

 

Nationally, with realistic growth rates based on the last quarter of 2013, there will only be an average annual increase in employment of 1.5%. It is clear that unless the government takes drastic steps to prioritise economic growth, there will still be hundreds and thousands living in poverty.

 

So of the 960 000 people living in poverty in KZN, about 60 000 will be absorbed into the economy, and there will still be 900 000 people living in poverty in 2018. The Gini Coefficient, which speaks to inequality, for KZN is the highest in the country at 6.4%.

 

The biggest gap is between the unemployed and the employed. Our people living in dire conditions in both urban and rural areas are right to expect that they should have more opportunities and a chance to better themselves.

 

The ACDP in KwaZulu-Natal has focused on the following priority areas

 

Education

 

Education is the number one priority for the ACDP in KwaZulu-Natal. The standard of living is directly correlated to education, with all of those earning under R3 500 per month obtaining matric or lower.  

 

Education is the best predictor of social mobility. The failed experiment of outcomes based education; inadequate curricula, lack of sufficient training for teachers and under resourced schools has come home to roost preventing progress in our most vulnerable communities.

 

The ACDP will undertake a program to enhance teacher skills in critical areas such as math’s, literacy, business language, and hard skills.

 

KZN spending per pupil is the lowest in SA at R9 471. The ACDP would increase the spend per pupil in order to improve resources in rural schools, such as computer and science labs.

 

We would like to use the changes made by the authorities in Shanghai to improve their education system and reduce inequalities.

In Shanghai specific interventions were done in underperforming schools, such as incentives to good teachers and principles to relocate to poorer areas. Another thing that put Shanghai on the top for their school system is that they took an active role in convincing citizens to value education, above all else.

 

Families need to put education above consumerism. Investing in education instead of materialism. The Shanghai system included changing mindsets about success at school. They put across the message that it is not about pure intelligence, but success has a lot more to do with hard work, and that children could succeed if they worked hard, even in the absence of other factors.

 

Parents are the one of the most important links in the chain. The Shanghai system included parents in the education process. In South Africa, this becomes very complex. We have so many parents who were not given access to an equal education, and many children that don’t have parents. Many who are uneducated themselves? How are they going to spend time with their children, helping them with their homework? This is an area ACDP will address. We must bridge that gap through after school engagement with children at risk, as well as adult education in school syllabi. Imagine if there were discussion groups/tutoring sessions for parents, so that they could help their children after school hours?

 

The ACDP would promote a dialogue about appropriate education streams between practical and academic courses. Our matriculants need to leave school with marketable skills and a working understanding of entrepreneurship.

 

In addition we need to ensure that disadvantaged schools have access to the tools they need for proper education. There is much more detail that the ACDP would like to put on the table, such as finding what works in poorer African countries and adapting them to South Africa’s needs, as some of them have proved that they can provide valuable skills and a good education even under tight financial constraints. In a modern economy students need to graduate from school computer literate. This is one area where we fall short and fail our youth.

 

 

Rehabilitating education to meet our needs in the economy is going to take time. We will start by providing specific interventions aimed at specific schools. Only 29% of the pupils that wrote maths (a low number to begin with) achieved a 40% and above pass rate. Maths is the basic pre-requisite for most of the skills needed in the job market.

The only province that did worse than KZN is the Eastern Cape. It is a grave indictment on KZN. Our level of management should translate into better results. A poor basic education also affects University performance, with 20% of students attaining their bachelor’s degree at UKZN, 23% at DUT, 19% at MUT, and 14% at UZ. This is a huge waste of money and resources. It also leaves those who did not attain a degree in limbo.

 

The ACDP would begin by immediately making more bursaries available for tertiary education to those that qualify in order to enhance our skills base. It is also critical that we improve our qualification rate. We have to assist universities to bridge the education gap by providing funding, ring fenced for this purpose.

 

The saddest number of all is that 33% of “Student age” (15-24 years) youth in KZN aren’t in any education, training or employment, which is the second highest level in South Africa. When we break this down on a gender level, it is 27.7% of males and 38.6% of females. These are the youth that have very little chance of improving their lives. This is exactly where we need intervention to address youth unemployment and provide skills and training and that is what the ACDP will do.

 

The second step would be to dismantle the unworkable and unwieldy SITA systems and in conjunction with business, re-launch trade skills and new innovation courses to bring our workforce up to global standards. It is vital that education and business intersect to produce the skills we so badly need to grow the economy and improve living conditions.

 

We need to start our children in formal schooling at a much younger age, as is done in most economically successful countries. Grade R should start at the age of 4. Research has shown that students in poor schools do as well as students in richer schools where the hours of learning are the same and where early childhood education is on a par. Only a quarter of KZN children under 4 attend ECD facilities whilst facilities are provided, parents need to be educated on the importance of ECD to lifetime learning

 

Our children deserve hope for a great future.

 

Economy

 

The second major crisis, directly linked to education, is South Africa’s lack-luster economy. It is common cause that our economy has to grow by 5% or above in order to absorb the unemployed. It is also common cause that unemployment, particularly amongst our youth, has reached crisis proportions.

 

Most economies that perform above the expected rate are heavily involved in innovation, and entrepreneurship promoting small business. It is of extreme concern that in other African countries, 70% of the youth see entrepreneurship as an opportunity whereas only 39% of South African youth see entrepreneurship as an opportunity. This means that small business in South Africa is struggling. Yet this is where the greatest opportunities lie.

 

One of the areas the ACDP will focus on is the informal sector, which showed a 6.6% increase in employment, as opposed to the 1.3% in the formal sector in the last financial year. These are groups of entrepreneurs most of them survivalist businesses that with training and assistance could grow into the formal sector.

 

The ACDP proposes to reduce red tape in owning and operating a small business and in considering a dual economy with businesses operating under a certain threshold, not being bound by all the legal requirements of larger businesses. In South Africa, small businesses are being driven out of the picture by labour legislation, licensing requirements, taxes and other red tape. Value on innovation and entrepreneurship has to be started in school. This is where our poor science results really affect the economy as science teaches innovation and critical thinking.

 

Government and unions have no place governing together. Organised labour exists to protect workers interests, and workers interests do not always coincide with the interests of the unemployed.

 

Government’s job is to create an environment where business can thrive and people are protected.

 

An ACDP government will expand infrastructure development and public works programmes, as this is one of the few legitimate avenues for government to actually create jobs. Despite the much-vaunted Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), only 17% of the GDP is being spent on infrastructure nationally, and only 13% of KZN’s most recent Budget is allocated to this. This creates bottlenecks in the economy, as well as reducing the opportunity to create jobs. The ACDP would push this expenditure towards the 30% mark, needed to kick-start the economy.

 

The best opportunity we have in KwaZulu-Natal is to focus heavily on tourism. The job creation possibilities are almost boundless. We have everything in one province. We have mountain climbing, hiking ecology, history, flora and fauna all found in the Drakensburg world heritage site. We have culture, diversity and fantastic beaches with a warm sea in Durban. We have the big five, deep sea diving and adventure fishing on the North coast. We have another world heritage site at St Lucia/Isimangaliso Wetland Park, which is of great ecological significance. We should be attracting international tourists. KwaZulu-Natal is seriously under marketed and the ACDP plans to extensively boost the tourist industry.

 

 

Health

 

The third crisis is in health. The ACDP acknowledges the improvement in access to health for all people. Unfortunately we will not meet our millennium development goals (MDG 2015) for maternal deaths and infant mortality.

 

Whilst we also acknowledge that the life expectancy has gone up slightly, it is still very low considering the development and access to healthcare in the country. We can only attribute this to HIV/Aids and poor pre- and post-natal care.

 

ACDP says this is mainly because 37.7% of all KZN deaths are attributed to HIV/Aids. We have not won this war. We have made ARVs accessible and available but that does not mean we must stop efforts to educate, prevent and treat.

 

There are 21 070 children living in “child-headed households”, the majority of which, do not get social services by a qualified social worker. The traditional leaders provide a safety net in some cases, but once again it is the poor, especially the rural poor who battle through a lifetime disadvantage. The ACDP will focus on ensuring that orphans get the help they need including psychosocial care and practical support.

 

KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of orphans in the country, at 7.1% being double orphans, and 15.1% being paternal orphans. The country average is 4.7%.  This is also due to high death rates from HIV/Aids.

 

 

The ACDP believes that we need to continue and expand our efforts to prevent new infections with education. We need to be honest with ourselves and with the people we serve, that although ARVs prolong life in the short term, people are still dying and they are dying at a high rate. Unlike the DA we do not see Thabo Mbeki as a hero. His Aids denialism cost hundreds of thousands of lives and put the fight against HIV/Aids back 10 years. KwaZulu-Natal would be a very different place if we had addressed the issue, as we should have, when we should have!

 

Local Government

 

The fourth major issue is the failure of local government, especially in disadvantaged areas, to provide reasonable services to our people. Clean drinking water to every household is a right and not a privilege. Whilst many more people have access to water than in 1994, there are still too many people that do not have water to their household, sewerage, sanitation, garbage removal, public transport or electricity.

 

It is in this arena where there is the greatest impact on the day-to-day lives of our people. The health crises linked to not having decent water, the physical and financial outlay on just getting to a shop, fetching water, a clinic, a home affairs office to conduct day to day business is costing millions upon millions of man hours which could be spent on Agriculture, Education, leisure or other productive activities.

 

An ACDP government would have a municipal training programme that would ensure that all municipal officials are qualified and have to pass a quality assessment exam to ensure that municipalities are properly resourced. In addition, municipalities at a district level   should share scarce skills such as engineering, town planning, local economic development, financial officers, with incentives for these scarce skills to either travel to or reside in rural areas. This is one arena where education can be started at a school level and progress made through work experience and tertiary education in order to improve our municipalities in service delivery.

 

Municipalities are not coping with rapid urbanization mainly consisting of youth, particularly small municipalities. For Example, Harding, which was a stop over for trucks, has grown to a population of over 500 000.  This is exactly where infrastructure spending should take place. Infrastructure spending, especially in small towns unblocks economic potential, provides jobs, and delivers services.

 

One example is the Hibiscus coast route, which used to be a prime family tourist destination. It has been negatively affected by infrastructure problems and lack of economic foresight. They could benefit from niche marketing, such as that done by the Midlands Meander. Issues like failing water supply at peak holiday season has put off many domestic tourists. Some of the small towns here are struggling and we need to regain that lost opportunity to create jobs in the area.

 

The major issue is the inability of small towns to absorb increasing urban migration and the inability to provide the necessary infrastructure. MIG grants have been misspent or underspent creating economic bottlenecks.

 

Women, Children and Crime

 

If we use the treatment of children in SA as an indicator of where we will be in 20 years time, it is a hard truth to swallow. Sexual crimes against children have increased by 8% since 2005/6. Sometimes, an increase in these crime stats may be a positive trend. It means more people are choosing to report. We have not yet reached that stage, when the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) report that 1.7 million (52%) crimes are not reported, mainly serious crimes like rape and highjacking.

 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) reported an almost 20% increase of deaths in police custody, 220% increase in assault by police, 76% increase in cases of cops accused of rape in it’s annual report ’13. Just yesterday, someone asked our offices what they should do, as a 15year old said a ‘cop’ raped her. They went to a different police station to report, and have also lodged a complaint with IPID. Gone are the days when our children could blindly trust the SAPS. The SAPS need to institute more monitoring of remote/rural police stations, more effective disciplinary procedures, and more accessibility of a complaints division with a broader scope than the IPID. The ACDP will put these management tools in place.

 

Whilst our sexual crimes showed a 1.5% increase nationally, and a 1% increase in KZN specifically (from 3 666 to 3 855), we can’t be sure if we can trust this figure, when NGO’s say 88% of these crimes go unreported.

 

Murder is an absolute crime, it doesn’t go unreported to the level that child abuse and rape does. It can therefore be used as an indicator of how we are doing in terms of crime. Unfortunately, the 2012/13 National crime stats show a 4.2% increase in murders and attempted murders, bringing us to 4.5x the global average. In KZN, we have had a 6% increase (from 3 422 to 3 629). Only 15-20% of these are due to robberies and other non-personal circumstances. The rest are interpersonal. This means we need to address the violence problem in the home. We need to address this on a family, school and neighbourhood level. It would appear that South Africans resort to violence to solve problems, and this is causing our high murder rate. Couple this with low self-esteem, lack of respect for the dignity of children and gender-inequality and you begin to understand why our rape and child abuse rates are so high.

 

As an indicator of organised crime, we can use hijacking. In KZN there has been an increase of 9% (2 229 to 2 427) in car jacking (5.4% nationally), and truck jacking by 28%, although the sample size is small for trucks (64 to 82) (14.9% nationally).

 

One of the crimes that increasing rapidly, and where KZN is the worst province, is Driving under the influence. This has increased by 17.4% (12 867 to 15 112). This is a crime where police intervention actually increases the figures. KZN is known for it’s zero tolerance policy, yet drivers still get behind the wheel, and cause carnage on our roads. If you follow and inform pig spotter and pig spotter “ZN” of roadblocks and speed traps, you are aiding and abetting those that break traffic rules, speed, and drive under the influence, resulting in deaths on our roads. We support the intense police presence on our roads, but it is clearly not enough of deterrence. We need more education programs. The recently enacted liquor laws in KwaZulu-Natal exacerbate these crimes.

 

Durban Central is the 3rd worst precinct in terms of highest crime stats (28 624 reported), in SA. Although Cape Town and Mitchell’s plain are higher, we need to address this if we want to grow our economy and boost tourism. Inanda is 2nd in the country for highest murder rate (190 cases) (behind Nyanga – Western Cape). Durban central is 1st for sexual crimes (576 reported) and Inanda (417), Umlazi (396), and Plessislaer (325) also make it onto the top 10 list. Durban central, is 1st in SA for DUI’s at 1 111, however this is due to intensive road blocking during holiday seasons.

 

 Corruption

 

The final major crisis in South Africa is corruption, creating massive backlogs and lack of progress. Corruption is a poison, which has completely robbed the poor of the possibility of advancement. High-level government officials, including the President and members of his cabinet and provincial governments, are leading it. Businesses are equally complicit including tenderpreneurs, the big companies involved in collusion and price fixing and those who evade tax.

 

The ACDP has often been ridiculed because of our Christian values. In fact those values are exactly what is needed in South Africa today.

The values of honesty, integrity and hard work are what voters in South Africa are longing to see in government. The values that include leaders being unselfish and serving the people instead of greedy rent seekers. The values of frugal stewardship of resources instead of spending millions and millions on parties, “security “ cars and overseas trips. The injunction to neither give or receive a bribe. Are these not the very values that South Africa most needs?

 

The concept of servant leadership where people enter politics to serve and not to rule. To give and not to take, to be unselfish rather than self-seeking, surely these are values needed in society today.

The ACDP has absolutely no tolerance toward corruption and it is for this reason that we ask the electorate to consider us as a legitimate alternative. Our public office bearers have performed their duties to the absolute highest standard of work ethic, integrity, and conviction of values. We ask the voters to consider lending us their vote in this election so that we can put South Africa back on track to being the democracy that we have all dreamed of, fought and longed for.

 

We may have our freedom, but we do not have the moral authority that people like Madiba brought us. The ACDP’s values are not merely religious standards, but are the standards to which every government should aspire in serving its people.

 

We are asking the people of Kwazulu-Natal to vote for us for the hope of a great future.

 

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