Load shedding equals job shedding

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour
05 Feb 2023 in News

Note to Editors: Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The Democratic Alliance is deeply troubled by the ANC government’s hapless handling of the load shedding crisis, and the disastrous impact this is having on the South African economy. The ongoing energy shortfall is destroying businesses and industries, hindering economic growth, and ramping up unemployment.

The DA can today reveal the devastating impact of load shedding on South Africa’s labour market. Approximately 581 988 potential job opportunities have been squandered in the past two years alone. This serves as a reminder of the immense challenges faced by our workforce and the urgent need for decisive action to halt the jobs bloodbath.

According to PwC’s ‘Economic Outlook for South Africa in 2023’ report, the country had the potential to achieve a robust growth rate of 7% in both 2021 and 2022, but was hamstrung by load shedding. The actual growth figures fell far short at 4.9% and 2.5% respectively, resulting in a significant loss of potential job opportunities for the citizens of South Africa.

The relationship between economic growth and employment is well-established. One cannot exist without the other. If companies are unable to grow and do not see their sales improving, they will not increase their capacity to produce more goods.

Of course, the exact number of jobs generated per 1% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) varies depending on various factors such as the industries in question, government policies, and macroeconomic variables. However, no ANC policy —monetary, fiscal, or structural — can undo the damage caused by load shedding.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that a 1% increase in South Africa’s GDP would result in a 0.6% increase in employment. Based on this correlation, it can be estimated that had the South African economy realised its potential growth rate of 7% in 2021, an additional 189 297 jobs could have been created throughout the year. If the economy had continued to grow at 7% in 2022, an additional 392 362 jobs could have been generated. This totals approximately 581 988 missed job opportunities over the past two years.

The ANC government’s failure to address the load shedding crisis constitutes a gross injustice to the people of South Africa. The ANC has effectively deprived hundreds of thousands of individuals of a means to generate an income. The ANC’s foot-dragging and incompetence with regard to load shedding demonstrates just how little this government cares for the welfare of its citizens. The longer the lights stay off, the more jobs we lose. It is time, therefore, to unplug the ANC from the Union Buildings, and switch off its power at the polls.