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If there ever was a time that government had to demonstrate just who or what constitutes national priority, it has to be now. The renewal of our eligibility to duty free access of goods into the American market under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) presented us with this defining moment.

Five benchmarks stood as the ultimate test; May 15 the deadline and thousands of job losses the most undesirable consequence if we failed.
It goes without saying that May 15, 2014 has come and gone and so too will all the jobs that depended on government meeting this deadline with positive results.

The thousands of families who are dependents of the workers in the textile industry that benefitted from AGOA may as well be registered as vulnerable members of our society who will look to the State to feed and clothe them.
As per the norm, the State will, in turn, look to tax the rest of us to meet this demand. But we are already too highly taxed to afford another cent off our earnings, just as much as government cannot afford to create vacancies and increase the unmanageable wage bill either.

So what was the grand plan in letting AGOA slip from our hands, because there was certainly no panic about it? Government has not been saying why it won’t meet the demands except to say ‘it is still working on them’.
On any given day, we would be the first to say the country should not allow itself to be dictated to but the reasons for putting up such a defence when we have a Constitution that provides what is needed to qualify for AGOA, must be clearly explained.

Ultimately it all boils down to two things. One; for the first time in the history of Cabinet, we had ministers in office who were highly incompetent to a point of costing thousands of people their jobs. Two; there never was any intention to meet the demands in the first place, because retaining the status quo supersedes the livelihood of thousands of citizens or even the Constitution.

In the absence of any definitive and convincing explanation on why we failed to act on each of the benchmarks in time to meet the deadline, we can safely conclude that the textile jobs were of no use to this government.

Comments (1 posted):

Sabelo Dlaminio on 19/05/2014 23:51:50
Our PM here is letting down the Tinkhundla system, he wants to see it fail,detested by us who still have hope it is the best..I wonder which of the partie he holds membership or he wants history as the last PM of the system...

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