NEWS & ANALYSIS

Growing unemployment result of ANC govt's economic policy – Anton Alberts

FF Plus MP says if issues are not addressed, the economy will keep going downhill

Growing unemployment the result of ANC government’s economic policy

15 May 2018

In 1994, 3,7 million people in South Africa were unemployed. The ANC’s motto was: “Work, work, work”. Today, 9,4 million people are unemployed and they are blaming Apartheid. The only conclusion one can draw is that there is something seriously amiss with the ANC government’s economic policy.

South Africa’s labour force is young and internationally, such a demographic dividend is associated with economic growth. Domestically, however, the opposite is happening as there is a threatening revolution due to growing unemployment and a future void of hope and expectation.

The problem is, of course, that the government’s economic policy on the one hand and its policies that are essential for economic growth, like education, on the other hand are on the wrong track and will soon crash into the oncoming train called reality.

Let us consider a few things in this regard:

1.       The existing labour policy is aimed at simply redistributing existing positions and allowing trade unions to demand unrealistic salary increases, particularly in the public service. Redistribution is done by means of Affirmative Action (AA) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) while fewer and fewer jobs are available. It is simply not sustainable.

2.       Implementing a minimum wage is meaningful in an ideal world with strong economic growth and lots of jobs. In our world, however, it is economic suicide and workers will ultimately pay the highest price. Businesses will not create new positions and will reduce the number of existing positions.

3.       The most important prerequisite for economic growth and job creation, aside from private property, is good quality secondary education. Unfortunately, the state of affairs in South Africa is shocking – as can be gleaned from our international ranking for mathematics and science. It means that matriculants can only be employed as lower-level workers. Most of these jobs are in the agricultural and mining industry – two sectors that are among the easiest to mechanise. Mechanisation is indeed taking place and thus job opportunities are lost.

4.       A popular buzz word often used when talking about economic growth is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is considered to be a good way to bring about economic growth in South Africa. The reality, however, is that it will have the opposite effect. It will not only replace basic employment, but it may also pose a threat to high-level jobs in the medical, financial and legal industries. It means that we will have to reconsider the economic and labour debate for the future.

5.       Lastly, investments from the domestic and international markets are needed to create more jobs, but the uncertainty brought about by expropriation without compensation is having a detrimental effect on investment. This policy will damage the country’s economy greatly.

If these issues are not addressed, the economy will keep going downhill and job opportunities will vanish into thin air.

Issued by Anton Alberts, FF Plus chairperson and parliamentary spokesperson: Labour, 15 May 2018