COSATU statement on the latest unemployment figures

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the latest quarterly employment statistics that shows that unemployment has increased by 0,1percentage points from 32.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 32,6% in the first quarter of 2021.These numbers reflect the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the Neoliberal macroeconomic framework that government has so devotedly embraced.

The government’s misguided austerity strategy that is geared towards containing public-debt and reducing budget deficit, instead of achieving structural economic transformation through diversifying and building the productive capacity of the economy is destroying jobs and the economy.

This austerity centred fiscal framework accompanied by ongoing electricity cuts has plunged the economy into deep stagnation.

Going forward we can look forward to an economic depression and a rising unemployment rate if there is no paradigm shift away from the Neoliberal macroeconomic framework.

Sadly , this has seen the Youth Unemployment Rate in South Africa increasing to 63.30 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from 63.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The Federation also wants government to address the legacy of concentration and domination of the South African economy by a few monopolies. The latest acquisition of Pick n Pay pharmacies by the Clicks Group is a sign that these high levels of concentration are not lessening.

There is little space for SA small firms to succeed and create jobs for millions of unemployed workers because the economy is dominated by cartels. This is in addition to high administered prices such electricity, transport costs, non- availability of cheap finance, and contractionary macroeconomic policies stifle the impact of industrial policy. 

COSATU also reiterates its position that in addition to targeting employment, the Reserve Bank should align its policy to industrial development, introduce foreign exchange controls, and impose quantitative controls on commercial banks to ensure that a quarter of their loans go to priority sectors that drive the growth path and create jobs on a larger scale.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794