QLFS: Fewer pointless cabinet committees and more jobs: Western Cape leads the way

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

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

The persistence of South Africa’s sky-high unemployment rate – reiterated by the release today of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q4 of 2022 – won’t be tackled until the ANC is ejected from the Union Buildings, and the DA becomes the governing party.

The DA-run Western Cape can proudly boast a quarter-on-quarter increase of 167 000 jobs (a rise of 6.9 percent), while gains in ANC-run provinces are either far more modest or non-existent.

The fact is that instead of being able to establish an environment conducive to job creation, all the ANC can do is establish yet another talk-shop. Its impact on employment is likely to be inversely proportional to the amount of hot air that it generates.

The Minister of Employment and Labour’s big idea, announced during the recent debate on the State of the Nation Address, is the establishment of an “Employment Creation Coordination Committee” to be chaired by the Deputy President.

The outcomes of this initiative are sure to be as successful as those of the “energy war room” chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza.

Meanwhile, load-shedding and the economic fallout of South Africa’s recent “greylisting” (coupled with the consequences of the ANC’s other failed economic policies) will continue to drive up unemployment and exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis.

Today’s QLFS reveals that the number of unemployed people increased by 28 000 to 7.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, while the number of discouraged jobseekers decreased by 151 000 to 3.36 million. The official unemployment rate declined by 0.2 of a percentage point from 32.9% in Q3:2022 to 32.7% in Q4:2022. According to the expanded definition of unemployment, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 42.6% in Q4:2022 compared to Q3:2022.

These marginal improvements are welcome, but they are hardly cause for celebration. Of particular concern is that there were 10.2 million young people aged 15-24 years in Q4:2022 who were not in employment, education or training (the so-called ‘NEETs’).

Joblessness poses the single greatest threat to our social fabric, and the ANC government doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

The 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.

Instead, the Minister of Employment and Labour is unilaterally imposing above-inflation minimum wage increases and convening meaningless committees. All the while unemployment continues to cast a sinister shadow over the nation.