The recent unemployment data released by Stats SA that shows that the economy has shed close to 50,000 jobs in the last quarter, and almost 60,000 in the past year poses a significant, real and immediate challenge for the ANC led government. The upcoming ANC policy conference will have to come out with real and practical solutions to the ever-growing crisis of unemployment.
COSATU is not surprised by these numbers because there is no economy that can be expected to grow when gross earnings are also down more than 3 percent quarter on quarter. South African incomes are shrinking and the workers are highly indebted meaning that they have no money to spend on the economy. It is unfortunate that during this time of economic crisis there is a vacuum of leadership and policy incoherence on the side of an important and significant role player and social partner, our government.
The federation has been calling for a jobs summit to be convened to discuss retrenchments and employment creation long before the economy went into a technical recession. The Jobs Summit will help us develop a jobs plan for the country and not hope and wait for a miracle to help us with unemployment.
We also continue to argue that we need a to build the state’s capacity, restructure its organs and redefine its role in the economy. The state needs to actively participate and intervene in the economy if we are to address the inequality , deepening poverty and unemployment.
COSATU is going to the ANC National Policy Conference to contest the neoliberal policy framework that has left the economy of our country in the hands of the few monopolies and also left more than 9 million people unemployed. Part of what we want to see is the push for a review of the fiscal and monetary policies that have compromised the fiscal sovereignty of our country. We need a clear and firm policy on exchange control that will help regulate the inflow and outflow of money in South Africa.
The South African state must also develop its extractive capacity, which means that the state must have capacity to extract social surplus, mobilize national resources, in order to fund social and economic development. Extractive capacity includes, but is not limited to the mobilization of national saving for development; quantitative regulation of credit allocation by the financial sector; and a progressive tax and levy system amongst others.
The federation continues to argue that the long term unemployment problem in South Africa can only be resolved if we work to address the flawed structure of the South African economy. We are also going to continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with big business and work to find ways of encouraging them to unlock the available resources and cancel the ongoing investment strike.
This jobs crisis calls for an activist government that will deliver on the promise of making sure that every cent spent by government creates jobs, and that will also have a hands on approach in the economy.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
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