SAMWU Reaction to Unemployment Figures
15 May 2019
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is disappointed and concerned by Quarterly Labour Force Survey statistics which have revealed that unemployment has grown by 62 000 to 6.2 million or 27.6% of the country’s population. This while a further 3 million people have given up on looking for employment as they believe there are just no prospects of them being employed.
Of great concern to us is that economy has not grown by more than 2% since 2013 and as such more jobs are likely to be lost unless there is serious economic growth recorded in the coming years. We therefore urge the incoming government to live up to the promise made to the electorate that the economy will grow by 5% a year in order to ensure that the much needed jobs are retained and more are created.
South African voters have been promised that 275 000 jobs will be created a year by the 6th administration. Workers and citizens are anxious and want to see the realisation of this promise and many more others. Surely voters will hold government accountable if it fails to live up to this promise as the country cannot afford anymore job losses and unemployment particularly among the youth.
We call on the private sector and government to play their part in ensuring that youth are employed and absorbed into the labour market. The tendencies of awarding youth learnerships and not absorbing them when their contracts expire should end. We on the same note welcome government’s commitment to relax work experience requirements, we believe that this will assist in reducing the country’s high unemployment levels among the young.
Despite the country’s high levels of unemployment, municipalities have failed to fill vacancies which exists. They technically have played a role in ensuring that many more South Africans remain unemployed and thus in poverty and starvation. Currently there are over 45 000 funded vacancies in municipalities which remain unfilled.
Instead of filling vacancies, municipalities have resorted to using Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) to deliver services. This has compromised the quality of service delivered by municipalities while on the other hand relegating EPWP workers to poverty and starvation as this programme does not fundamentally change the lives of these workers but rather exploit them as it is precarious in nature.
Municipalities have further preoccupied themselves with creating and filling executive vacancies which do not add value to service delivery as these are high paying posts which the remuneration thereof could have been used to employ more workers who are focused on service delivery.
We therefore call on municipalities to, in the interest of service delivery and playing a developmental role, fill all funded vacancies. We further call on National Treasury to ensure that municipalities are prioritised in the upcoming budget. Municipalities should receive a fairer equitable share which should allow them to employ more people and deliver quality services to South Africans.
Issued by Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer, SAMWU, 15 May 2019