Note to editors: The following is an extract from a speech delivered
today by the provincial chairperson of the Democratic Alliance Women
Network, Hon. Safiyia Stanfley, in the Freedom Day debate held today
in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.
Freedom without opportunity is not freedom at all. It is through the
freedom to work and accumulate wealth in the manner of our choosing
that we enjoy personal dignity, that we improve our lives and that we
provide for our loved ones.
Yet the freedom to work remains nothing but a dream for far too many
of our people – especially for women and for the youth. StatsSA draws
the conclusion that only 48% of women are active participants in the
Northern Cape economy. And at 45%, unemployment amongst women aged
fifteen to thirty-four in the Northern Cape is the third highest in
the country. We have heard a lot of rhetoric about twenty-two years of
freedom, but it is evident that freedom has failed. We are not free
when one in every five female-headed households in this province
report severe hunger. We are not free when every second youngster is
unemployed and we are definitely not free when women are being denied
the opportunity to participate in the economy.
How can the ANC-led government have the audacity to talk to our youth
about taking South Africa forward when it is through the poor
implementation of their ill-considered policies that generations are
being taken backward?
For freedom to work to become a reality in South Africa, we need to
implement five key policies which will create a competent state
providing financial, technical and structural support to
entrepreneurs, businesses and job seekers.
Firstly, we need to invest in integrated energy, transport and ICT
infrastructure to boost businesses. To support the level of
sustainable economic growth which allows for sustained job creation,
we need well-maintained roads infrastructure, a dependable supply of
affordable electricity and efficient ICT infrastructure.
Secondly, we need to empower individuals with quality education. In
the global knowledge economy, success depends on the quality of
education you receive – if you receive a high quality of education,
you are empowered to fulfil your full potential. But if you receive a
poor quality of education, you are destined to remain excluded from
opportunities and dependent on the state to survive. Perhaps this is
of little importance to a government which relies on food parcels for
Thirdly, we need to reform the labour regime to support job creation
and provide direct incentives like the Youth Wage Subsidy to encourage
the employment of young job seekers.
And lastly, we need to create a nation of entrepreneurs by making it
easier for South Africans to start and grow their own small
businesses. We have streamlined administrative processes in the
Western Cape and made it easier for informal vendors to enter the
It is the task of government to enable and to empower South Africans
to use their freedoms, including the freedom to work. For freedom is
not a favour from anyone, but a hard-won right which we are all
entitled to enjoy.
Provincial Chairperson for DAWN
084 919 4157