National Planning Commission on Jobs: Handling of labour legislation reform will test Commission's power
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the National Planning Commission's acknowledgement of the "unintended negative consequences" that South Africa's strict labour laws have had on the country's levels of unemployment. The DA has, for several years now, been suggesting that the implications of such regulation are contributing to our country's serious unemployment problem.
While the DA recognizes the importance of protecting worker's basic rights, it also believes that our country's labour legislation needs to undergo certain reforms to stimulate economic growth and job creation, thereby helping to tackle high levels of unemployment.
As a first step, the NPC should advise the Zuma administration to scrap the labour laws currently being considered by Parliament. These laws seek to further tighten regulations, and in the process exacerbating the "unintended negative consequences" to which the NPC refers. Secondly, the NPC should seriously consider the labour reforms repeatedly put forward by the DA.
By cutting red tape, and making the hiring of employees easier and more cost-effective, government can incentivize employment. Coupled with the appropriate interventions to stimulate employment - such as the DA's wage subsidy proposal or Minister Gordhan's jobs grant- significant employment growth becomes much more achievable.
The DA will be advocating for these reforms during the period of public consultation that will follow the presentation made to Parliament yesterday by the political head of the National Planning Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel. Having identified the "unintended negative consequences" of existing labour legislation, the DA hopes that the NPC will now consider in earnest ways to address this state of affairs.
Given the political influence wielded by COSATU, who oppose such reforms despite the negative implications for employment creation, this will be an important litmus test of the NPC's power, and the Zuma administration's commitment to placing the needs of our people above internal alliance politics.
Statement issued by George Boinamo MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Labour, June 10 2011
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