An unemployed South African man holds a self-made advertising board offering his services at a traffic intersection in Cape Town. Photo: EPA

JOHANNESBURG – The Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) has taken the decision to turn down its invitation and not participate in the upcoming Jobs Summit. 

Instead, the organisation said it would be staging a demonstration outside the venue of the Summit at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

"In this we join and are aligned with the scepticism of Cosatu in relation to the Summit and Saftu, which has also decided not to participate in this sham Summit. The demonstration will express a rejection of what can only be a facade of a Jobs Summit. It is clear that the Summit will not address the issue of unemployment or the wave of retrenchments sweeping South Africa, but will be an attempt to get working class people to submit to a set of proposals that will only worsen their living conditions"

"It will not be about providing decent work for all at a living wage, nor will it address immediate issues through measures such as living Income Grants," said the AoU in a statement. 

According to the AoU, the summit will focus on its time-worn path of attempting to boost investor confidence.

"The results of which we see manifest in today’s unemployment rate of 27.2 percent, which grossly understates the true extent of the problem but still remains the highest in the country’s history and is only rising. Decades of ANC-led neoliberal policies have made clear that growth simply does not equate to more jobs, furthermore such an approach undermines the conditions of those in employment,making the lives of all working class people increasingly precarious and volatile," said the AoU in a statement. 

The demands those involved will rally behind include:

  • A living income grant
  • Retrench bosses, not workers
  • 1 million climate jobs