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December 16, 2020

SAFTU statement on the Statistics South Africa third Quarterly Employment Survey

Information critical from the economist Duma Gqubule

Stats SA has two quarterly employment surveys. The QES is a survey of 21 000 non-agricultural formal enterprises. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a survey of 33 000 households. At the end of December 2019, the QES had a total employment count of 10.2 million people. The QLFS had an employment count of 16.4 million. The difference was 6.2 million people. Notable differences include the fact that the QES excludes people employed in: the informal sector (2.3 million in QLFS in December 2019); private households (1.3 million); and agriculture (0.9 million).  The QES also excludes 1.3 million own account workers, the self-employed who have not hired people during the survey period.

In the QES, there were almost 2.8 million people employed in community, social and personal services sector in December 2019. In the QLFS, the sector had  3.8 million people. Part of the difference is because the QLFS included 467 000 people employed in the informal sector. According to the QLFS, the community, social and personal services sector is the country’s largest employer. It accounted for 23.9% of total employment at the end of 2019. The public sector, with almost 2.5 million employees accounted for 15.1% of total employment. On a narrower measure that excludes SOCs, it accounted for about 12.8% of total employment. The public service accounts for 9.4% of total employment.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is appalled by the latest or third quarterly employment statistics 2020 report published by StatsSA that confirms out worse fears that unemployment continues to be a worsening nightmare of the black majority in particular its youth and women.

When SAFTU submitted its Section 77 notice it said:

South Africa finds itself at a precipice. The economic malaise currently being experienced places the nation at a point of no return. The levels of poverty, unemployment in particular amongst our youth and women, inequalities, corruption, crime and etc. has reached such proportions that the country can be plunged into another civil war and strife if nothing is done. Our schools, hospitals, public transport in particular rail, justice system, correctional services centres have become dysfunctional.

Indeed this is a point of no return! Those who blame this crisis on the coronavirus instead of 26 years of neoliberalism, austerity, mismanagement, corruption and crony capitalism are doing themselves a big disservice. This catastrophe has been unfolding for not just the past 26 years but for the 40 years of the evil system of apartheid and 400 years of colonialism and racialised capitalism.

The report published today show that there were 75 000 more jobs in comparison to the second quarter. The working class and indeed every South African knows exactly what happened in the second quarter which is a period that the worse of the lockdown and coronavirus had its worse impact on the economy. So the figure of 75 000 is nothing to write home about.

The figure telling a devastating story is that there are 616 000 less people employed in the economy than they were this time in 2019. Further the report indicates that 525 000 jobs have lost their jobs in past year. Not even the precarious jobs are safe anymore as the report show that 91 000 jobs were lost even in the inform sector. “Year-on-year, basic salary/wages decreased by R31,7 billion or (-4,8%) between September 2019 and September 2020. Year-on-year, bonus and overtime payments decreased by R12,2 billion or (-20,0%) between September 2019 and September 2020.”

The phenomena of the first two cades of “freedom and democracy” is that the rich is getting richer and the poor poorer.

All these statistics do not take into consideration the number of workers entering the labour market every year. They do not relate to the population growth at all. When you consider these other factors, unemployment in our country is far more worse than the picture painted by the third quarter report.

SAFTU reiterate its historic position that this situation will continue to worsen until the government and the ruling class takes its head off the sand and accept that everything they have done in the past 26 years has worsened the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

SAFTU has called for the twenty four hour general strike/ economic shut down on the day the government will be presenting the budget as part of the efforts to force the government and the bosses to abandon neoliberalism and austerity programmes.

SAFTU continue to demand:

  • that the entire economy be overhauled so that it is based on the meeting the basic needs of the working class.
  • Reverse the debilitating and self-destruction impact of private property relations!
  • Reorganise all economic life on the basis of a democratically planned economy!
  • Break up the monopolies!
  • Force firms to invest in the domestic productive economy!
  • Re-nationalise steel!
  • Re-nationalise petro-chemicals, oil and gas!
  • Promote appropriate R&D!
  • Re-establish the vast mineral wealth into society’s hands!
  • Reassert a Move to a non-racial, non-sexist, post-capitalist society!
  • Reverse the damages done by an elitist Black Economic Empowerment and empower the downtrodden of society!
  • Gain sovereignty of land, labour and minerals!
  • Revitalise the organic links between land, labour and minerals!
  • Expropriation Without Compensation should first apply to commercial mines
    and plantations!
  • Empower local communities!
  • Empower workers to take control!
  • Replace the current neoliberal macroeconomic framework!
  • Learn from three decades of failure!
  • SAFTU demands a change from monetary policy that has choked the economy!
  • Tax corporates and the rich! SAFTU insists on the reversal of corporate tax cuts, setting them to at least where they in 1994 which is 48%.
  • The debt/GDP ratio can rise if funds are well spent!
  • Demand patriotism by the wealthiest and prevent their economic sabotage! The introduction of a wealth tax on the top 0.1% is immediately required.