Staunching job loss is beyond political parties

Job search/unemployment. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Job search/unemployment. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Apr 20, 2024


Durban — By its own admission, the government itself is partially responsible for the miserable employment numbers revealed in the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey.

A 32% unemployment rate, with high rates among the young, does not paint a pretty picture in any year, but could be disastrous for the ANC in an election year.

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said this week that government departments hindered job creation, but the problem goes further.

The ANC promises 2.5 million work opportunities from delivering public goods and services and a million more from increased support for small enterprises, entrepreneurs and co-operatives. Where have these initiatives been while the country sheds jobs?

The DA and EFF also promise job creation in their manifestos, but as Professor Pundy Pillay says, “none of the parties have been clear enough to provide evidence that they can solve the problem”.

We need a regulatory framework that is more friendly to those setting up businesses, rather than the current model which places obstacles at every step of the way.

There should also be better incentives in terms of tax breaks for businesses which create and retain jobs, and protection for those falling prey to the likes of construction mafias which bring major projects around the country to a halt.

The government should also arrest the corruption which bleeds the economy of billions which could be used in job-creating state-funded projects like bridges and roads, and ensure it gets value for money from such initiatives.

Another area deserving of support, and which has proven successful at creating jobs, is the informal economy.

Operators in this field should be provided with financial literacy and whatever other information they need to not just survive, but thrive.

Tapping into the experience of women in informal jobs, who often have no choice but to succeed, would be invaluable here.

In the education sector, the government should revive the trade schools which have largely fallen into disrepair, to produce the artisans the country so desperately needs.

Independent on Saturday