“Our economic growth is lagging behind compared with fellow growing countries; unemployment is rampant, especially among the youth,” African Christian Democratic Party representative Jo-Ann Downs said at an election debate with other political party leaders in Johannesburg.
The elimination of subsidies in agriculture had led to 600,000 job losses in the sector, she said.
“At least 90 percent of the unemployed are unskilled black people. That is a huge problem.”
The lack of broadband and infrastructure roll-out had also cost the country economic growth, she said.
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said unions should not dictate economic policies.
“We are not against unions. I was once in the forefront of protecting workers’ rights many years ago,” Buthelezi said.
“But despite the value of unions, they cannot dictate economic policy. Strike action is costing the country more than we are able to pay and is discouraging new business,” Buthelezi said.