06/06/2017 13:24 SAST | Updated 06/06/2017 13:24 SAST

DA's Mmusi Maimane Says Zuma’s ANC Has Dumped Our Economy Into Recession

Today Stats SA has announced that South Africa’s economy is officially in recession, with GDP growth for Quarter 1 of 2017 down 0.7 percent.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.

Today Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has announced that the country's economy is officially in recession, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of this year down by 0.7 percent, following a 0.3 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of last year. It is the ANC that has led us to this point of economic collapse, where we have a "junk" economy in recession and where 9.3 million South Africans are without work - the highest unemployment rate in more than 14 years.

It is a toxic combination of policy uncertainty and grand corruption that has led us to this point. Indeed, the ANC has allowed the state to be captured for the benefit of a small group of connected individuals while the majority of South Africans are left in poverty and without hope.

This recession – the second in eight years – follows the recent decision by two international rating agencies to downgrade our sovereign rating to "junk status". Moreover, just last week, our country's unemployment hit a 14-year high, with 9.3 million South Africans without a job. The official unemployment rate has gone up to 27.7 percent - this is the highest level since March 2003.

The sectors hardest hit were the trade, catering and accommodation industry, which decreased by 5.9 percent, and manufacturing, which decreased by 3.7 percent. Without growth in these vital sectors, the gap between the "haves and the "have nots" will continue to grow, and the poor will be without the opportunity to better their lives.

The high growth sectors of our economy – such as manufacturing and tourism - ought to be stimulated with an array of policy interventions to facilitate growth. The government has failed dismally in this regard.

What South Africa now requires is leadership that understands our economy and what it requires to grow, and appreciates that without a strong and thriving economy we will never address the injustices of our past.

Our economy is now in tatters as a direct result of an ANC government that is corrupt to the core and has no plan for our economy. We will never achieve a united, non-racial and prosperous nation without a growing economy that creates jobs, opportunity and wealth for all.

The only hope for our country, for our economy and for 9.3 million South Africans is to remove the ANC from government in 2019.