ANC policies deprive South Africans of opportunity as unemployment skyrockets

Issued by Michael Bagraim MP – DA Shadow Minister of Employment and Labour
20 Feb 2024 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Michael Bagraim MP.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for Q4:2023, released today, underscores the intractable nature of South Africa’s unemployment crisis under continued ANC governance.

The national unemployment rate increased to at 32.1 %. More concerning, as per the expanded definition, unemployment still hovers above 41%.

A deeper analysis of the data reveals that young people aged between 15 and 24 years old are overwhelmingly locked out of opportunity: 69.1% of them are unable to contribute meaningfully to the economy. This translates to 2.46 million aspiring young South Africans that have been left in the lurch by the ANC.

By failing to relax labour market regulations and improve the quality of our education system the ANC has failed to fix the structural barriers that stunt South Africa’s growth and hinder job-creation. The ruling party’s insistence on engineering social outcomes have ensured that millions of South Africans remain destitute and out of work. Small businesses remain hampered by red tape, and the automatic extensions of collective bargaining agreements to small and new firms are jobs-killers.

Through the Employment Equity Amendment Act and its associated race-based regulations, the ANC has become increasingly aggressive in its insistence on enforcing racial quotas in the labour market despite very well knowing that racial quotas deter investment, sap growth, and destroy jobs.

In stark contrast to the national trend, the DA-led Western Cape has demonstrated, once again, that good governance can grow the economy and lift South Africans out of poverty. The Western Cape’s unemployment rate now sits at 20.3%. This achievement could be replicated throughout South Africa with a capable government and a private sector freed from the dead hand of overregulation.

So long as the ANC remains in power, the status quo will remain. Only a DA-led Government can turn this situation around.

Excessive regulations price young people out of the job market and prevent them from gaining crucial experience. The DA will empower workers with the freedom to make their own choices about certain labor provisions. This choice would allow them to build experience and ultimately create lives of meaning. The notion that people would rather stay at home and rely on government assistance is a harmful misconception.

The DA will additionally convert the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD Grant) into a Job Seekers Grant. This would require recipients to actively seek work opportunities and provide evidence to the Department of Social Development if they continue receiving the grant.

Moreover, the DA will remove race-based employment legislation and instead focus on poverty as the proxy for empowerment programs. Fixating on race, as the ANC does, will continue to prevent the realisation of a truly merit-based society where success is determined on an even playing field.

We will replace the existing BBBEE system with one aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which many businesses have already embraced. This will transform the public procurement system into a tool for achieving the SDGs. Unlike the current approach which discourages investment, our focus on social impact will attract it. Since black South Africans are disproportionately affected by the deprivations tracked by the SDGs, they will be the primary beneficiaries of improvements in these areas.

South Africans can either have a ruling party that is up to the task of running a modern economy and forging an environment conducive to job creation, or it can have the ANC back in power in 2024. It cannot have both. That is the lesson to be drawn going into this year’s national and provincial elections.

In a few months’ time, at the ballot box, South Africans will have the opportunity to rescue and free the country from never-ending unemployment bought about by the ANC.

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