Investment Solutions’ chief strategist Chris Hart says unemployment needs to be the top concern for every sphere of society to offset an inevitable recession; job creation needs to become the first and foremost concern for business, labour, government, political parties, NGOs and all supporting bodies and institutions.
“The economy is barely growing at this stage. Consumer demand is 70% of GDP and so far we haven’t lost jobs, but there is a jobs holocaust in the pipeline … jobs creation over the next year is going to be extremely difficult.”
The jobs pledge was launched by newly formed non-profit organisation Collaborative Stakeholder Movement (CSM) yesterday and can be signed on www.jobspledge.net. It calls for 14 191 200 jobs to be created in South Africa over the next 15 years – one job for every minute Nelson Mandela spent in jail.
Martin Humphries, the founder of CSM, said the aim was to ignite a nationwide commitment to reducing unemployment in the same spirit that people united behind the 2010 soccer World Cup.
The site seeks to list all active job creation projects and put corporates with money in touch with initiatives that may require funding, while also tracking the progress of jobs targets and giving awards for excellence in the fight against unemployment.
“It’s a rallying call for South Africa,” said Humphries. “We are asking for positive intervention for all aspects of society, both at the individual and the organisational level. We are targeting employers – and that is anybody that employs people. If you have a domestic worker, you are an employer.”
Hart said unemployment was a national emergency, with 48% of people between ages 24 and 35 unemployed – and this figure only includes those actively looking for work.
“It is in this age group where people are building careers. They building families. And there you’ve got about half of the population not participating in the economy. A normal figure would be closer to 18% or 19%,” said Hart. Hart says South Africa is making three mistakes.
One is the high incidence of labour unrest, which invariably leads to job losses. He suggests secret strike ballots will allow workers to vote on whether to go on strike without fear of intimidation.
Over-regulation is the second mistake, stifling job creation. Regulations were crafted to suit big business and were shoving small- and medium-sized businesses out of the economy, he says.
The third concern is high taxation, which makes it difficult for households to save.
“There is no other way to bring economic activity into existence other than by investment – and there’s no way of funding investment other than through saving.”