Powerless governance, load-shedding and South Africa’s soaring unemployment

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

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

The release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q1:2023 reveals a grim reality: South Africa’s unemployment crisis is not only persisting but intensifying.

The official unemployment rate has escalated to 32.9%, a 0.2 percentage point increase from the preceding quarter.

An analysis of these figures reveals that the ANC government’s inability to ensure a stable power supply is exacerbating this crisis. Even more alarming is the revelation that 3.7 million young people, accounting for 36.1% of the 15-24 age group, are not in employment, education, or training.

This is a ticking time bomb, threatening to explode with catastrophic social and economic consequences.

The ANC government’s failure to address this crisis leaves a generation in limbo and a nation on the brink of disaster.

In stark contrast to the national trend, the Western Cape, governed by the Democratic Alliance, has demonstrated, yet again, that effective governance can significantly impact employment rates. With an unemployment rate of 21.6% compared to the national average of 32.9%, the province is a lighthouse amidst a storm of national governmental failures.

Yet even this beacon of hope is dimming under the strain of constant load-shedding. 2023 has been characterized by unprecedented power cuts. This energy crisis is not merely an inconvenience; it is an economic guillotine. It disrupts production, erodes investor confidence, and stymies business growth, contributing directly to job shedding.

The longer the lights stay off, the more jobs we lose. As Minister Ramokgopa recently admitted, load-shedding led to the loss of over 650 000 jobs in 2022 alone. He forecasts that, at the current rate, we are set to lose 850,000 more.

When the Minister of Electricity can candidly confess to such staggering job losses, it does beg the question: How is his comrade, the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, faring with his grandiose pledge of creating two million jobs by 2024? A vow that now appears as hollow as the power grid in the midst of a blackout.

The ANC government’s failure to address the load-shedding crisis is an indictment of its governance. It’s more than just incompetence—it’s a betrayal of the trust South African citizens placed in them.

Every power cut signals a further retreat of the ANC’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens. The time has come for us to cut this Gordian Knot. In 2024 voters have the chance to choose the DA and end the ANC’s reign of darkness. South African voters, you hold the shears.