Nxesi’s empty job promise: Another cynical attempt to scapegoat foreign nationals

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour
13 Jul 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

The pledge by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, to create 2 million new jobs before 2024 is nothing more than an electioneering ploy. It is an empty promise, made with all of his fingers crossed behind his back, except for his index finger, which is pointed cynically in the direction of foreign nationals.

Having sniffed the wind of anti-immigrant sentiment, Minister Nxesi has now jumped on the xenophobic bandwagon; he is trying to blame South Africa’s sky-high unemployment rate on foreign workers. But the fact is that 12 million South Africans are out of work – and we are rapidly approaching joblessness levels of 50 percent – not because of Zimbabwean waiters or Malawian truck drivers, but because the ANC has wrecked the economy.

Until the government embarks on a comprehensive programme of structural reforms – including an overhaul of rigid labour legislation – we will never be able to achieve the labour-absorbing economic growth our country needs.

Minister Nxesi said of his job target, ‘Whether or not that is achievable, I don’t know’. This pathetic admission would be laughable were the ANC not so utterly destructive. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the ANC led us to our fiery destination long ago. The wonder is that anyone still takes the government’s promises seriously. The National Development Plan (NDP) promised an unemployment rate of 14 percent by 2020: it envisaged that 18.9 million people would have jobs by then. Instead, as of the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey, we have fewer than 15 million in employment, and an official unemployment rate of 34.5 percent (45.5 percent on the expanded definition).

The NDP’s 2030 targets – 6 percent unemployment and 23.8 million people with jobs – are so unreachable as to be preposterous. Now Minister Nxesi has thrown his oar in with another promise which he knows will never be realised on his watch.

Instead of scapegoating foreign nationals for the horrific state of unemployment, Minister Nxesi and his government should get out of the way. They need to allow the private sector to get on with it and create jobs.