Jobs summit won't solve jobs crisis.
October 2018 could have gone down in history as the month that South Africa finally tackled its jobs crisis head on. President Ramaphosa held his Jobs Summit and got to appoint a new finance minister. The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement is still two weeks away and yet it is already clear that our jobs crisis is here to stay.
Quite frankly, the Jobs Summit was “lipstick on a pig”. No matter how much Ramaphosa dresses up his approach to the jobs crisis, it doesn’t change the reality. He is clearly not prepared to take the necessary steps to tackle South Africa’s single biggest problem, our unnaturally, cruelly high unemployment rate. Why? Because ANC unity is a higher priority. Our unemployment level of 37.2% has such horrific social consequences that it could justifiably be called a crime against humanity. But it can only be tackled by facing up to certain ANC-aligned interest groups and rejecting failed ANC ideology. Ramaphosa is not prepared to do that.
Earlier this year, Ramaphosa said the summit would: "need to take extraordinary measures to create jobs on a scale that we have never before seen in this country". He knows as well as I do that only sweeping systemic changes will turn the tide of unemployment.
Our labour market must be liberalised, with small business exempted from regulation that makes it so difficult and unattractive for them to hire more staff. BEE in its current, corrupt guise, and the Mining Charter, must be scrapped. SADTU’s stranglehold on our basic education system must be released. Eskom must be split up and metros and municipalities allowed to buy power directly from independent power producers. Non-productive SOEs must be sold or shut down. Our bloated public sector wage bill must be reduced to free up resources for spending on essential infrastructure and social services. Tourists must be given 30-day visas on arrival. And an independent National Director of Public Prosecutions must be appointed to start to jail corrupt politicians.