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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

We are governing the economy, that’s the bottom line – DA

The party plans to use its local government strength to drive SA's economic growth.

The Democratic Alliance is planning to use its strength in the four metros it governs to introduce a strategy where local governments drive the country’s economic growth.

This emerged as more than 2 000 delegates, comprising branches, councillors, MPLs and MPs, began to descend on the Tshwane events centre for the two-day congress that begins today.

This week, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party’s approach intends to place locally led growth at the heart of economic agenda.

In line with global trends, under the party’s rule, the cities would set the pace for economic growth.

“This strategy is a coherent fit with our principled belief in federalism – a closer government is a more accountable government,” Maimane said.

In this approach, the party would tap from its experience in the running of the metros of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane and, to a smaller extent, Nelson Mandela Bay.

These metro regions were responsible for 50% of South Africa’s GDP.

“The bottom line is this, the DA governs the economy,” Maimane said.

He said the DA would take resolutions that would create an environment for work and to ensure that nobody was left behind in the process.

Its approach would be to provide opportunities for each South African to live independently without depending on government for survival.

The DA is expected to take a resolution to prioritise youth unemployment, better healthcare, a favourable child support grant system and a watertight anticorruption strategy.

These include introducing a monthly jobseekers’ allowance of R150 for unemployed youth, aged 18-34, and rolling out job centres for young people to access opportunities.

They would resolve to create special teacher training colleges in each province and establish a national education inspectorate in order to improve teaching standards.

The congress would have to address issues surrounding land reform and the call for diverse representation at all party levels.

Political analyst Alexandra Leisegang believes this debate would strengthen the party. There is a general feeling among its senior members that the party is not facing a crisis in its policies on land reform and achieving an inclusive leadership.

Maimane said the congress resolution would ensure that its policies extended property ownership, attracted investment and created jobs.

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