State must fight increasing slide into poverty

Despite the relatively rapid growth of our economy, many poor South Africans are getting poorer. The government should begin to take steps to end this slide into poverty.

Despite the relatively rapid growth of our economy, many poor South Africans are getting poorer. The government should begin to take steps to end this slide into poverty.

About 21million of the 47 million people in South Africa - that is some 43percent of our population - live on less than R3000 a year. Unemployment, which conservatively measured stands at 26percent, is among the highest in the world.

It is mostly those aged between 15 and 24 that are suffering. In this group, unemployment runs at about 50percent. One third of those unemployed have been without work for more than two years. Against this background, the increased price of bread will hit many people hard.

The government needs to look at our teaching system which does not contribute to entrepreneurship and initiative. Small businesses need to be freed from red tape and financing for small businesses needs to become more than lip service. On top of that, our productivity needs to be improved so as to compare more favourably with the rest of the world.

With rising food and electricity prices and municipal charges, inflation is likely to be a problem for the government later in the year. Practical steps need to be taken early in the year to boost economic growth and help more people escape poverty.

Hermène Koorts, DA MPL, Johannesburg

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