Five months after its inception, Build One South Africa has unveiled 10 key policy proposals, including nuclear energy, a basic income grant, tax holidays and free WiFi, and announced its provincial leaders, giving the party a national footprint ahead of the 2024 general elections.
As South Africa’s unemployment stats sit at 32.9%, the new kid on the block, Build One South Africa (Bosa), led by Mmusi Maimane, says there is a dire need for the immediate creation of Township Special Economic Zones (TSEZs) and the implementation of a basic income grant.
Maimane addressed members of the media in Johannesburg on Thursday where he unveiled his party’s 10-point plan ahead of the 2024 general elections. He lambasted the failures of the current administration of government, slamming a number of social ills including corruption, record levels of unemployment, the energy crisis and crises in policing, education and healthcare.
The TSEZs, if implemented, would bring townships closer to mainstream economic opportunities and according to Maimane would be funded from the sale of listed shares owned by the government’s Industrial Development Corporation, currently valued at more than R100-billion.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“Government doesn’t need to own shares in big companies. Rather, township economies need to be stimulated and funded to uplift communities, create new jobs and wealth for disadvantaged citizens,” said Maimane.
Also on the cards is a basic income grant, which Maimane says should be “an unconditional cash grant” paid to young South Africans. In 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government was looking at introducing a universal basic income grant (UBIG).
There have been numerous suggestions about the amount at which a UBIG should be set. Researchers from the Institute for Economic Justice have outlined a set of options, ranging from the food poverty line of R585 per month to the initial starting level of the national minimum wage of R3,500 per month.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Yes, we can afford a Universal Basic Income Guarantee”
Another priority outlined by Maimane is a temporary tax holiday for first-time employees who are graduates. He also hinted at grants for the unemployed wishing to start businesses.
Electoral Act amendment
Maimane also deliberated on the amendment of the Electoral Act which would enable citizens to directly elect their public representatives at local, provincial and national levels and to hold them accountable.
Parliament’s National Council of Provinces in November 2022 passed the Electoral Amendment Bill that makes narrow, technical changes so independents can contest national and provincial polls, with a crucial tweak — an electoral reform consultation panel — that may yet allow for possible broader reform after 2024.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Electoral reform arrested – with political kick for touch after 2024 polls”
Bosa’s other priorities include:
- Implementing a student performance grant for a C-grade or higher in the critical subject basket (science, technology, economics, accounting and maths) to incentivise young people to obtain critical skills for school-leaving success.
- Introducing a school voucher programme that returns the power back to the learner’s parents to decide which school a child attends. This would be added to improved payment packages for excellent teachers and the curtailing of over-powerful teacher unions.
- Voluntary national civilian service, buttressed by an expanded public works programme.
- Localising policing to communities through the formation of small regional and municipal police forces with a strong volunteer component and the additional authority to deputise private security providers with peace-officer status.
- Universal access to broadband, WiFi and telecommunication services in all townships, rural and peri-urban towns so that, for example, telemedicine can be implemented.
- Introducing sustainable nuclear energy via five 4,000MW to 5,000MW nuclear power stations built over the next 10+ years. Finding international technology available from power suppliers in the US, Europe, China and Russia.
The party also welcomed into its ranks eight provincial leaders, effectively giving it a footprint in all of SA’s provinces.
The provincial leaders are:
- Timothy Maluleke — Limpopo
- Nozipho Mbatha — Gauteng
- Bigboy Moagi — North West
- Ntokozo Biyela — KwaZulu-Natal
- Maxhoba Buwa — Eastern Cape
- Vusumuzi Shongwe — Mpumalanga
- Mudzuli Rakhivhane — Western Cape
- Roger Solomons — Northern Cape
Of the eight new leaders, two are women and six are men. In terms of racial composition, seven are black African and one is coloured. All are under the age of 55, with the youngest just 28 years old, a composition which Maimane said was of importance.
“Our provincial leadership illustrates that Bosa is not a home for recycled or disgruntled politicians. We have been disciplined in not attracting or recruiting that low-hanging fruit. If we claim to be different, it cannot be business as usual. We must actually look and feel different,” said Maimane.
The leadership will embark on a national tour over the coming months, ahead of the 2024 general elections, with the intention of engaging with communities about the kind of leadership they want. DM