COSATU's response to the 1st Quarter unemployment statistics for 2018
15 May 2018
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted that South Africa's jobless rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in the first quarter of 2018, according to Statistics South Africa's Quarterly Labour Force Survey.
This report also pointed out that the expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, decreased to 35.7% in the fourth quarter, from 36.3% in the previous quarter.
This is another reminder of the failures of government’s Neoliberal policies of the last two decades that have leaned on “market forces” and have seen more people sliding into poverty.
The federation reiterates its position that unemployment problem in South Africa will not be addressed if the flawed structure of the South African economy is left intact.
We need to resolve the legacy of concentration and domination of the South African economy by a few monopolies. South Africa needs a politically governed redistribution of wealth and a deliberate effort to open more space for SA small firms to succeed and create jobs for the 9 million unemployed workers.
The South African government needs to reduce the costs of high administered prices like electricity, transport costs and also make sure that there is accessible cheap finance through a state bank.
While the president has appointed a panel to source for investment around the world, we remain worried by the continuing investment strike by big business in this country.
Their reasons for non-investment are disingenuous because the SA government has adopted policies that have allowed them to double and triple their profits over the last twenty four years.
COSATU is still disappointed to see that the current administration is continuing to be indecisive and retreat from some mandates of the ANC Polokwane, Mangaung and Nasrec Conferences.
Nothing will be done to solve unemployment, while government is still insisting on using the same macroeconomic policy framework that has failed to prioritise job creation and the transformation of the economy.
We reiterate our call for a decisive state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy, including through strategic nationalisation and state ownership.
The unemployment statistics are proof that economic growth is not enough to solve the triple crisis of unemployment, deepening poverty and inequality.
What matters is the quality of growth, we need growth that will optimally harness our resources and increase absorption of the labour force into productive employment and income generating activities. We need policies that will help improve the social welfare of the poor majority and promote a programme of transformation by the state.
COSATU hopes that government will wake up to what needs to be done in time to ensure the success of the soon to be held Presidential Jobs and Investment Summits. Failure to do this risks turning these summits into just another talk shops and clapping festivals with no tangible outcomes.
Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 15 May 2018