It will take 50 years to deliver the 1 million jobs President Ramaphosa promised

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
30 May 2018 in News

The following remarks were delivered today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, during a visit to what used to be the biggest labour centre in the country. The Leader was joined by the DA Leader in Gauteng, John Moodey

Today I visited the Johannesburg Labour Centre, once the largest Labour Centre in South Africa, but now closed for nearly three years.

When the DA did an oversight visit here in January 2016, there was nothing to oversee as the Centre was closed due to “health and safety” risks. While we were assured this was being addressed urgently, it’s been over two years since then and the doors of opportunity remain shut to work seekers. The building is still dilapidated and falling apart.

But while labour centres continue to fall apart across the country, the DA remain resolute in our belief in City-led economic growth. Increasing the rollout of Khuphuka Training and Development Centres nationally, reducing the size of and streamlining government and implementing a year civilian service for school leavers would be a positive step in this direction.

President Ramaphosa plans to pilot the new Youth Employment Service (YES) programme in existing Labour Centres. He should abort this plan. If he presses ahead, it will ruin the potential of a good programme in labour centres that are utterly dysfunctional.

The fact is that the President’s target of 1 million jobs in three years through the YES will not be achieved, and it certainly will not be achieved using the dysfunctional Labour Centres. If the performance of the current Labour Centres continues, it will take fifty (50) years to achieve the 1 million jobs target.

Replies by the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, to DA Parliamentary Questions have only last week revealed that the number of work seekers that were successfully placed through the country’s 22 active Labour Centres was slashed in half from 40 000 in 2015/16 to 20 000 in the last year. At the rate of only 20 000 successful placements a year, it will take 50 years to place 1 million work seekers.

And only half of 40 self-help desks that the Department committed to having set up in labour centres by two months ago were actually installed.

So in light of the failure by Labour Centres to deliver on their stated goals, I was stumped to learn in the Minister’s replies that the YES programme recently launched by President Ramaphosa will be piloted in these same Centres.

And to add fuel to the fire, the National Minimum Wage Bill that was passed yesterday in the House was widely reported on as ‘historic.’ But the only thing historic about the Bill will be the over 750 000 jobs that used to exist but will soon be exiled to the pages of history as a result of big government and big labour that have put the interests of 9.5 million unemployed South Africans stone last.

Comparatively, under the DA-led government in Johannesburg, employment has increased by a total of  91 000 jobs from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of this year. 11 034 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) opportunities were created from the beginning of July 2017 to the end of March 2018. This means that one DA-led government in one Metro has outperformed all of the 22 Labour Centres across South Africa in getting unemployed people into work.

Nothing demonstrates the DA difference more succinctly than this.