QLFS: Planned national strike a kick in the teeth for the jobless as unemployment crisis persists

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Employment and Labour
23 Aug 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

Tomorrow’s planned national strike by labour federations Cosatu and Saftu is a massive kick in the teeth for unemployed South Africans, who now number over 11.5 million.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q2: 2022, released today, the number of unemployed people (excluding 3.568 million discouraged jobseekers) has increased by 132 000 to 8 million since Q1: 2022. The DA welcomes the fact that the official unemployment rate decreased by 0.6 of a percentage point to 33.9% – largely because of shifts in the ‘not economically active’ category – but the scale of the jobs crisis remains monumental. It poses the single greatest threat to peace and stability in South Africa.

The latest QLFS underscores the need for South Africa to make job-creation its number one priority so that we can draw more people into the economy, obliterate the division between economic ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, and begin to reduce poverty.

However, while government should be focusing on an extensive programme of labour market reform (so that the private sector can be freed up to employ predominantly low-skilled workers at scale), it has become obsessed with the idea that a basic income grant is the panacea for all our ills.

Meanwhile, organised labour cannot see the wood for the trees.

Trade unions are more interested in protecting the narrow interests of their own members than in fighting for the unemployed to enter the labour market.

Tomorrow, in a counterproductive act of mind-blowing foolishness , Cosatu and Saftu plan to bring the economy to a standstill in order to highlight the country’s socio-economic crisis. This is a bit like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, except that that unions seem hell-bent on gouging everyone else’s eyes out at the same time and disabling them.

You don’t alleviate a crisis by aggravating it.

Bizarrely, the strike – which will culminate in the handover of a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling on him to address loadshedding and rising food and fuel prices – is being organised by one of the ANC’s own tripartite alliance partners.

Cosatu doesn’t seem to grasp the futility of its actions. If the trade union were really serious about addressing the cost-of-living crisis (which has been fuelled by the ruling party’s corruption and incompetence), it would ditch the ANC, not plead with its abuser to change their ways.

Tomorrow’s planned strike action will only serve to sink the economy further, and – as ever – the unemployed will bear the brunt of the consequences.