COSATU statement on the latest unemployment figures

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the latest quarterly employment statistics that shows that the unemployment rate rose by 7,5 percentage points to 30,8%, the highest figure on record. COSATU’s expanded definition of unemployment shows that the rate of unemployment is sitting at 54%

These statistics remind us of the inequities of a capitalist system that grinds millions of people down to dust.

This continues to validate our position that the task of fundamental transformation of our economy, the creation of decent work and the provision of basic services to the majority of our people cannot be left to the market forces.

These are the numbers that are to be expected when a government continues to adopt regressive and contractionary policies that only focus on cutting social expenditure and weakening the capacity of the state.

Even the International Monetary Fund conceded that austerity measures hurt demand and worsen unemployment, while at the same time admitting that capital controls are a viable, and sometimes the only, option to deal with the volatility of capital flows.

These numbers are not going to be changed without an activist government that is capable and willing to intervene effectively to transform economic relations.

The South African government needs to take seriously the situation where new technologies are imposed with no regard for the local economy ,and with no consideration for the misery it brings to those who are pushed aside by it.

This economic stagnation and persistent high unemployment is an indication of the failure of leadership and policymaking and it is a recipe for social unrest and the collapse of asocial order.

There is still strong resistance to policies and strategies aimed at eradicating the apartheid legacy of inequality and underdevelopment.

COSATU still insists on the need for an alignment of the macroeconomic policies, in particular, the monetary policy with the industrial policy and other objectives. Government needs to develop capacity for state-led coordination between the productive economy, education and skills training, infrastructure development and environmental sustainability.

The government needs to increase employment using activities in the social economy, especially cooperatives and other activities in the not-for-profit sector.

The silence of the government and the banks on collapse of the Loan Guarantee Scheme is a tragedy.Government and business have ,literally, walked away from one of the few potential sources of relief and stimuli for the economy.

The Federation hopes that the government will act with the necessary speed to honour its commitments under the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. On the 3rd Investment Summit, we want to hear about plans to end the investment strike and create jobs.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson) Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794