The most important part of the summit’s deliberations is on the topic of unemployment and yet the unemployed. File Photo: IOL
JOHANNESBURG – Since it’s inception, the Jobs Summit has been a carefully designed platform to accommodate and define the interests of the Nedlac partners made up of representatives from government, business, trade unions and the community.

The most important part of the summit’s deliberations is on the topic of unemployment and yet the unemployed, as a distinct sector and real beneficiaries of jobs, are always never encouraged to be part of these deliberations.

Everyone represented at the summit jostles to speak on their behalf – albeit with no mandate to do so.

An important summit such as this should quickly ascertain if there was any effort made in Nedlac to invite unemployed organisations to be an important part of these deliberations.

Resolution after resolution of the summit since its inception in 1998 have defied this logic – and prefer to marginalise unemployed organisations.

A careful exploration could reveal that there are indeed structures of the unemployed on the ground, however, disorganised they may seem, but there are.

And a simple invitation extended to them could have gone a long way – and been a gesture of hope for this marginalised sector.

With all the resources invested year-after-year on this event, what have been the benefits to both the unemployed and their continuous state of desperation?

Is there anything to reveal a measurable impact to reduce unemployment? This year’s summit has, as with all the previous ones, come and gone. And to the special delegates it would be yet another memorable event to share their pleasure.

To someone who is unfortunately unemployed in both our cities and rural areas, it is yet another desperate day of survival.

Plaatjie Mashego is director of the Unemployment Secretariat and author of an unpublished paper, Designed unemployment in Gauteng, 2009.