COSATU statement on the unemployment numbers
The unemployment statistics continue to worsen regardless of growth rates post the relaxation of the hard lock down levels since the second quarter of 2020. This goes to the heart of the non-employment generating growth trajectory of the country that must be addressed through the reconstruction of the South African economy.
The South African economy is currently vulnerable due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the potential of lock out from the rest of the world. South Africa is vulnerable to Covid-19 variants because of low levels of vaccine uptakes by members of society.
Further lockdowns in response to rising Covid-19 numbers are likely to worsen unemployment numbers, and this will result higher unemployment statistics in the near future.
The only way to protect lives, over and above, the non-pharmaceutical measures is to ramp up the vaccine drive to achieve community immunity. Vaccination becomes a tool not only to save lives but also to save livelihoods and jobs.
The immediate measures of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction plan have not yielded the employment numbers necessary to reduce the level of unemployment. This is because localization and manufacturing initiatives are yet to be realized. The manufacturing sector remains a key component and the backbone of any industrialized economy.
Business and government must come together to realize the commitments for local manufacturing at a rate and scale that can absorb labour and drastically drive down the unemployment rate.
The misguided trajectory of the Reserve bank to raise the repo rate is the Achilles heel of an ailing economy. COSATU has reiterated its disappointed by the South African Reserve Bank’s decision to increase the repo rate by 25 basis points
The Reserve Bank’s monetary policy is a critical instrument for development and the reserve bank should align its policy to broader economic development. Its mandate cannot just be limited, only, to keeping inflation under control, but it also needs to focus on supporting economic growth and job creation too.
Energy security is at the heart of economic performance and thus job creation. Eskom’s debt and load shedding problems cannot be wished away. This requires all major role players and stakeholders to strategies and come up with a turnaround plan that will see Eskom turning the tide on energy insecurity.
Loadshedding costs the country billions in revenue each day and as a result worsens unemployment levels. The proposals to increase Eskom’s energy generation are a step in the right direction but it will amount to nothing if the dept crises continues to be an albatross around the neck of the power utility.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794