Unemployment rate. Picture: Twitter
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni must present bold proposals to halt and reverse the unemployment crisis by cutting the bloated public sector wage bill to save R168 billion over the next three years.
This is Democratic Alliance (DA) finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis’ proposal to the minister ahead of his medium-term budget speech today.
Cutting government jobs would keep the budget deficit, and national debt, at stable rates, helping growth.
“With over 10 million South Africans looking for work or having given up looking for work, the DA expects [Mboweni] to present bold proposals that would stop and reverse the escalating unemployment crisis and return our economy to growth,” he said yesterday.
Hill-Lewis was responding to Statistics SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2019, which showed that the unemployment rate has worsened to 29.1%, the highest level in more than 11 years.
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke released the results of the survey in Pretoria yesterday, saying the unemployment rate increased 0.1 of a percentage point from the previous quarter to 29.1%.
Declines in employment were recorded in four sectors, with the manufacturing sector shedding most jobs at 30,000, followed by construction with 24,000 job losses, then trade with 21,000 jobs shed and 18,000 jobs lost in the utilities sector in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the second quarter of the same year.
Young people continue to bear the brunt of joblessness, with 40.4% of the 20.4 million young people between the ages of 15 and 34 idle and not in any form of employment, education or training – an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point compared to the second quarter of 2019.
Hill-Lewis said these record unemployment figures show that all of the lip service paid to reform by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government did not count for much.
The number of discouraged work seekers increased by 44,000 while the number of those who were not active in the labour market for other reasons declined by 35,000, resulting in a net increase of 9,000 in the number of those who were not economically active.
Freedom Front Plus spokesperson on labour Heloise Jordaan said SA’s unemployment rate was an absolute disaster.
She said the ANC could not continue to govern with millions of people jobless, hungry, poor and without the most basic services, like water and power supply, while the ruling party danced to the tune of the trade unions.
The survey, however, showed that it was not all doom and gloom, with an increase of 62,000 in the number of people in employment in the third quarter of the year.
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