Unemployment a growing emergency - Herman Mashaba

ActionSA leader says newly-elected local govts have a mammoth task ahead

Unemployment a growing emergency demanding urgent action 

1 December 2021

The growing unemployment rate announced by StatSA is an indication of a growing crisis that demands urgent action. StatsSA revealed yesterday, that there are  1.2 million net jobs lost, pushing the expanded unemployment rate up by 2.2 percentage points to 46.6%. Yesterday’s announcement, coming as it does whilst President Ramaphosa is galavanting across the continent, only further confirms that South Africa is in a jobs emergency.

This announcement is also the first indication of the economic destruction caused by the violence and looting which took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal in July of this year. Indeed, the Statistician-General exposed the fact that half of the survey’s respondents in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal indicated that the unrest in those provinces discouraged them from seeking work.

Whilst voters correctly demonstrated their resolve to enforce accountability by voting for parties other than the ANC in last month’s election, it is an indictment on the governing party that there has been seemingly no progress on the purported investigation into the alleged “12 instigators” South Africans were made to believe were behind the destruction.

One thing is for sure, newly elected local governments, particularly the coalition governments currently being finalised in the Gauteng Metros have a mammoth task ahead – to ensure that they quickly become centres of opportunity and job creation, where especially young people can move from lecture halls and other places of education, straight into workplaces.

Everyday, the leadership of these municipalities, and other leaders at large must ensure that every decision they take will work towards the ultimate aim of finally conquering this huge challenge. They must ensure that they remove red tape, making it easier for businesses to succeed, modernise our administrations, and support entrepreneurs so that the private sector can flourish and create more job opportunities.

ActionSA will fight to ensure that capital projects, such as the Inner City Rejuvenation project, are revived. In the recent past, this very project in Johannesburg established a blueprint that can be replicated in every South African city.

My administration took 154 derelict and abandoned buildings and offered them to the private sector. In Johannesburg alone, this produced plans for 14 500 affordable accommodations, 21 000 construction sector jobs, and R32 billion in investment.

Ultimately, the jobs crisis can be undone, but it takes decisive leadership – not leadership by task team. It also requires that government, business, labour, and all social partners work together to ensure it is defeated. ActionSA will ensure that governments place job creation at the centre of their agenda.

It is telling that the one sector which survived the jobs collapse was Financial Services. One takeaway from this is the increased financialisation of our economy and, conversely, the increasing de-industrialisation. South Africa needs to reverse this.

As a still developing country, we need to revitalise the job-intensive manufacturing sector by fixing Eskom and ensuring reliable electrical supply in order to re-start our now abandoned factories across the country.

The Private Sector should be incentivised to take over abandoned industrial areas closed down by COSATU over the last 27 years of our democracy. South Africa used to be one of the most advanced manufacturing countries in the world during the 70’s and 80”s. These factories are spread across our country in places like Babalegi, Ga-Rankuwa, Mogwase, Qwa-Qwa, Ekandustria, and many others.

I grew up in our country in which people who did not work were those who did not want to work. Today, far too many of our young people grow up with relatives who have never worked a day in their lives, and they themselves now face the reality of seeing their chances of securing employment dwindling every day. This cannot be acceptable any longer.

The ANC has shown, time and time again, that it is unable to defeat unemployment. Its many business-unfriendly policies are a strain on the economy. Their rent-seeking communist comrades in COSATU and the SACP ensure that no one else can be employed, by effectively exercising undemocratic veto powers over reforms. In governments involving ActionSA, no trade union will have veto powers over our economic policies. ActionSA will not allow that.

As we work to create conditions conducive to job creation in the local governments in which ActionSA is involved, we will stop at nothing to campaign to ensure that the second jab is applied to the virus that is the ANC in 2024. The voters agreed with our message in this local election, and we are confident they will do the same, in larger numbers, in 2024.

The solutions to the crisis are ready, at hand, and can be executed with haste. Everywhere that ActionSA is involved, we will ensure that they are, indeed, executed without delay.

Issued by Herman Mashaba, President, ActionSA, 1 December 2021