Replacing white workers through EEAB won’t work – IRR

Institute says jobs are not like lucky packets that can be simply traded around

Replacing white workers through EEB won’t work

8 April 2022

According to Radical Economic Transformation (RET) ideology, if there are more white people in desirable roles than the general proportion of white people in society then this is evidence of “hoarding” that must be stopped through social engineering by force.

The IRR opposes the Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEB) as one such effort at social engineering, since it would impose discretionary nationwide race quotas and reintroduce the kind of pre-disqualification racial criteria that were recently struck down by the Constitutional Court.

But for the sake of debate, it is worth considering what benefit could possibly be achieved if a Minister really had the power to redistribute jobs from one race to another with the flourish of a pen.

The national unemployment rate is 46.2% (all unemployment rates on the expanded definition), while the black unemployment rate is 50.7%, with 11 175 000 working-age black South Africans being unemployed, according to Stats SA.

According to every poll commissioned by the IRR in the last decade, unemployment is considered the number one problem in South Africa.

Some 14.5 million South Africans are employed, of whom almost 1.8 million are white. That means that although 7.1% of the working-age population is white, 12.3% of all employed people are white. According to RET ideology, this means that white people are “hoarding” jobs and are over-represented by 5.2 basis points.

If 711 000 white people were removed from work by the government and those jobs were all “redistributed” to black people, then 7.1% of the active workforce would be white and 80% would be black. However, this procedure would only transfer 711 000 jobs to the black unemployment queue, which includes 11 175 000 South Africans. There would still be 10 464 000 unemployed black South Africans.

As a proportion this means that taking jobs from white people until demographic representivity is achieved would notionally reduce black unemployment from 50.7% to 47.5%.

Since this is clearly insufficient it is worth calculating what would happen if all white people were deprived of jobs, which were then handed to black people. It would mean that 9 382 000 black people would remain jobless, an unemployment rate of 42.5%, twice as high as any other constitutional democracy on earth.

Said Gabriel Crouse: “Of course jobs are not like lucky packets that can be simply traded around, and the tragic fact is that the more the government tries to redistribute jobs like trinkets, the longer it makes the unemployment line. But it is worth noting that even if the immodest proposal of magically transferring all jobs without harming the economy was capable of being followed through, this would not solve the problem of mass unemployment in South Africa.”

It took tenacity to fight against white supremacy and hoarding in the 1970s and 1980s, but the RET ideology falsely claims that “white hoarding” remains the predominant cause of unemployment in South Africa.

Stats SA not only shows this to be false in employment numbers but also in terms of income. Since 2015 the top 10% of white earners got 10% of national income while the top 10% of black earners got 25% of national income. These are the groups that will be least damaged by EEB, which most immediately threatens the working class and the unemployed.

Issued by Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns, 8 April 2022