The catastrophe of unemployment is so urgent to address, that we will not be standing on the rooftops telling this very stubborn government, we told you so!
Today, on the eve of yet another important day in the economic calendar of South Africa, StatsSA issued a report telling us what we already know: the crisis is getting worse by the day, year in and year out.
The myth that President Cyril Ramaphosa can fix the economy is now exploded, as unemployment has now reached 10.3 million of our abled bodied South Africans. They are desperate to get jobs but cannot. A staggering 38,8% of our people are unemployed, and a frightening numbers of our youth – 58% of those between ages of 15 – 24 – are out of work.
Between December 2008 – the lowest rate of unemployment this century – and September 2019, unemployment worsened from 28,7% to 38.5%. Since Ramaphosa took over as in February 2018, unemployment worsened from 9.2 million (36,3%) to today’s 10.3 million.
Only a mere 1 million jobs were created in the formal sector between 2008 and 2019. In the same period, the labour force grew by a 5.9 million people or 600 000 every year.
In many countries, statistics like this lead to civil war, or at minimum, the government will fall and millions occupy the streets to demand change. We have seen similar protests the last two months – against economic injustice and deficient governance – in Santiago, Quito, Lima, La Paz, Port au Prince, Algiers, Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad, Amsterdam, Moscow, Hong Kong and Jakarta.
South Africa is ripe for revolt. All over Africa there have been growing protests against injustices, economic and political.
Confronted with the evidence of government’s incompetence in solving unemployment, the patience of South Africans is running out. We will join the people of Algeria and Sudan who this year demanded that bad governments step down – and won!
Tomorrow the Minister of Finance will read the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. He will repeat the same things that have been said by even apartheid Finance Ministers, about the need to tighten our belts, since at least 1990. Nothing will change!
As the crisis deepens we are calling on every member of parliament to answer these questions:
- Which country in the world developed by removing protective tariffs – need to prevent destruction of our textiles, clothing, footwear, appliances, electronics and other basic industries – faster than even prescribed by the World Trade Organisation, as South Africa did in 1994?
- Which country in the world allowed all its mines to be owned by foreign multinational corporations, and to transfer vast resources to the former colonies as well as new exploiters from China and India?
- Which country adopted a fiscal policy that saw a cut in the corporate tax rate by 50% (from 56% in 1994 to 28% today) and still found resources to develop?
- Which country adopted monetary policy that saw the removal of exchange controls at time it needed resources to develop the productive sectors of the economy?
- Which country facing the same levels of poverty and unemployment chose to introduced monetary policy based on an obsession with keeping the inflation rate between 3-6%, which can only be maintained through maintaining interests rates of more than 8% in the international markets (higher than even Venezuela pays), thus making the cost of money unaffordable to households and SMMES? Which country allows a situation where the monied can just put their money in the financial markets and earn a profit of 3-4% in real terms, just lying next to their swimming pools?
- Which country in the world succeeds in developing, when a small minority of the former oppressors maintains a lion’s share of land – even a quarter century after our liberation?
- Which country in the world allows aggressive tax dodging schemes and illicit cash outflows that see the economy losing R170-350 billion annually (according to the most recent studies)?
- Which country allows outsourcing fraud estimated by Treasury officials, at 35-40% of our procurement budget (i.e., around R300 billion)?
SAFTU is flabbergasted that this is allowed to continue. SAFTU calls on its members to stand ready to wage war to confront a situation that now witnesses poor and working people’s standards of living continue to deteriorate, leaving us even worse off than during the apartheid era when it comes to poverty, inequality and unemployment.