South Africa - Durban - 25 March 2020 - A total of R30 billion has been allocated to a special National Disaster Benefit Fund, which will pay Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits for up to three months to qualifying workers whose income has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that in addition to existing measures - which had placed a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, and the sale of alcohol after 18:00, the country would go into lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday 26 March . Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).
South Africa - Durban - 25 March 2020 - A total of R30 billion has been allocated to a special National Disaster Benefit Fund, which will pay Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits for up to three months to qualifying workers whose income has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that in addition to existing measures - which had placed a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, and the sale of alcohol after 18:00, the country would go into lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday 26 March . Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).

Covid-19 puts at least 1.5 million South African jobs at risk

By Miyelani Mkhabela Time of article published Mar 28, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG – The employment rate in South Africa remained unchanged at 42.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 from 42.4 percent in the third quarter. The number of employed persons in South Africa decreased to 10 142 000 in the third quarter of 2019 from 10 172 000 in the second quarter of 2019.

An estimated 15 to 25 percent from the number of employed persons, calculating to 1 521 300 to 2 535 50, mainly in the tourism and hospitality, retail sector, mining and manufacturing industries. We need a national identity that will guide how we do things as South Africans. 

The SA Reserve Bank's 100 basis point cut, reasonable inflation at 4.5 and the coronavirus impact fund, with the commitment by philanthropists and business of about R14 billion, with all combined, good as it may be perceived, the amount is very small to respond to the challenges. Small businesses will collapse after this crisis and that’s a sign that we are not united in purpose. 

The gross domestic product (GDP) in South Africa was worth $350 billion in 2019, according to official data from the World Bank and projections from Trading Economics. The GDP value of South Africa represents 0.29 percent of the world economy. “We forecast that the South African economy will grow by 0.9 percent and inflation will average 4.5 percent in 2020,” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in a televised budget speech from Parliament in Cape Town. 

The South African economy grew by 1.3 percent in 2017 and 0.8 percent in 2018. The World Bank projects 2019 growth at 1.3 percent, accelerating further to 1.7 percent in 2020, which was all not achieved in 2019 and 2020, the recession will impact much on an economy and 2020, coronavirus pandemic will lockdown the economy to even contract with about  2 percent and we project a GDP growth of 1.4 percent for 2021,  that can possible accelerates further to 1.7 percent when South Africa reviews its unprogressive economic structure.

South Africa stands at a cracked bridge of groaning youth that is experiencing about 60 percent unemployment, which is not sustainable and demands the nation to solve this crisis, which is our future complexity.

About 25 million jobs could be lost globally due to the coronavirus, UN labour organization estimates. The ILO had a "high" unemployment estimate of 24.7 million and a "low" estimate of 5.3 million. It calculated that there could be as many as 35 million more people in working poverty around the world than before the pre-coronavirus estimate for 2020.

What can employers do?

Efficient social dialogue at all levels is essential for quick and effective action. Workers’ organisations can play an important role in participating in decision making and policies responses to the Covid-19 crisis. They can contribute to the prevention and protection of workers by giving reliable information. Workers' organisations can promote solidarity and non-discrimination/stigmatisation of workers and sick persons.

What can workers do?

Efficient social dialogue at all levels is essential for quick and effective action. Workers’ organisations can play an important role in participating in decision making and policies responses to the crisis on Covid-19. They can contribute to the prevention and protection of workers by giving reliable information. Workers' organisations can promote solidarity and non-discrimination/stigmatisation of workers and sick persons.

The Department of Small Business Development, Mining and Tourism needs unique systems to assist small businesses that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak, SEFA funded small businesses are a very small figure to have such as a benchmark for small businesses, they are businesses that has been funded by shareholders and families, that will need to be rescued during this catastrophic period.

Financing programmes for SMEs must be a full assessment of businesses however, the government never had a customer relations management system or an EGov for small businesses to help in screening SMEs. Support for entrepreneurs and businesses must be proactively available through a wide range of South African SME support programmes, they must be accessible and have professional mentors that are linked to such businesses to avoid business challenges of close down and collapse after this coronavirus outbreak. 

The impact of small business development is unfortunately not showing the results that match the press conferences and budget announcements since the department was established. The department used to finance conference producers instead of supporting small businesses directly, summit or conferences can be arranged, and entrepreneurs could only attend those initiatives, which you can give five people a business card that never develops to be a business transaction.

We do copy programmes as a nation but we fail to customize them and make them suitable for our environment, departments of small business development just achieved lower than expected and we hope the current support to small businesses reach them, other than finance or products be tailored and changed before reaching the beneficiaries. Our sectors are failing because of poor discipline. Looking at all nations that are successful, their biggest  character is discipline. We were supposed to respond to this Coronavirus outbreak with strength if we remained disciplined and have a clear understanding of where we are coming from as a nation. We have dropped a ball, a beautiful nation has allowed every character to blend it and we are unable to align to the national vision, our mission statement is disrupted, from politics to business, nothing is working. 

We must change and reflect in the beauty of South Africa, we were never united as a nation, as a historian, I can clearly make you understand, we need to decide, to work together or we opt for alternatives.  But the structure of the economy must be changed, so in the future, more people donate other than two people. The South African racial Gini coefficient is terrible, we cannot approach it and this is the discussion that leaders are not ready to discuss. Let’s talk about the dominance of race in our business south Africa and why listed companies are white and micro enterprises are black, 25 years after democracy. We need to review all things from pension funds to small businesses. The propositions to expand the economy will come from facing our weaknesses of a very racial society, that has lead to the racialization of trade unions ad their pension funds. 

We need to decide who to follow, who is ready to transform this economy as young people, South Africa has about R42 trillion to R50 trillion worth of mineral resources, as a global leading producer of platinum, vanadium, vermiculite, manganese and chromium, we cannot fail our people by committing R14 billion for the Coronavirus impact fund. Our politicians mustn’t be enjoying to stay at Waterfront restaurants and forget our people, we need to reflect on where we come from and where we are going as a nation.

The president must lead the nation with a vision that’s clear, we need to see projections of dealing with the three ills of unemployment, poverty and inequality. We need a clear target on how mining and manufacturing industries can be used to swallow the 60 percent unemployed youth. The president needs to give guidelines as to how black asset managers will be allocated funds in the next remaining four years of his five-year term. The young people must hold the politician accountable, unless, they will retire on welfare, receiving grants from seven people who are wealthier than even listed companies alone. The ANC is in the majority, they must use the power given by the people and stop playing for 25 years. 

We need to see progress and all ANC MPs must reflect on what they need to do for the people. Things must be different when the people are governing and our people mustn’t sleep without food in their stomach. We are not racial, but the system linked with the South African race is the one that must be changed. The system of apartheid needs to be uprooted and we start to imagine a rainbow nation. We want to live in an economy that has equal opportunities for all people. When that fails, the polite government will be changed, before it’s too late. We will do that to have a better life for our all people. No one must get PR for donating for a national catastrophe like coronavirus, we must all respect the nation and the speeches must have that respect for our society at large. 

South Africa has enough resources and we are capable to create jobs to swallow the 10 million unemployed population. We only need a leader that is willing to know our history and our projected future of a less 5 percent unemployment rate. We need a leader that will implement the resolutions of the ruling party to achieve what’s agreed upon and the promises as made to all. 

The route to above three percent GDP growth can be achieved through our mining, agriculture and manufacturing sector, prioritising trade relations with African nations to assist in developing a continent, not only South Africa. South Africa will never develop in isolation, a shared continental economic development will make the continent more attractive and resilient. We need reflective leadership and maturity from South Africans to have a united Africa vision. The ANC must reconsider developing a continent. SADC citizens and their leaders are directly or indirectly living in South Africa, with West African people love living in South Africa.

Having all African nations in South Africa gives us a huge opportunity to understand the African cultures and also collaborate with them to establish businesses in their markets with entrepreneurs we know and partly understand. We need to come out of this Coronavirus outbreak with a strategic plan and implementation that’s clear for our nation. It’s time to think and reflect what can be achieved by our people when given a chance and trained to be entrepreneurs and great business leaders. 

The rules and regulations of doing business must change to proactively benefits South African indigenous people. The transformation has been a gospel song since 2002 when the BEE commission was established and 17 years later, we cannot show blacklisted companies and resilient businesses to withstand economic and natural disasters. 

What needs to be done?

Nation-building is a normative concept that means different things to different people and nation-building programs are those in which dysfunctional or unstable or "failed states" or economies are given assistance in the development of governmental infrastructure, civil society, dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as economic assistance, in order to increase stability and expand when that nation has capacity from resources base to do so. 

To succeed, Fukuyama says, a national identity must be forged from within. That will mean, in the context of South Africa, making our mineral resources work in building the nation. Our competitive advantage are the resources and a potential agricultural sector, we need to quickly develop a long term plan for the priority sectors while we adapt to the changing industrial revolutions. For now, focusing on industrial revolution without sectors to exploit, we will see ourselves as a consuming economy in the next 15 years, industrial revolution must be tightly linked to sectors, not just talking elements of 4IR as AI and robotics. We need a plan of mining, human centered approach and a reasonable modernization and mechanization, to have a sustainable future. 

Building a new nation can only be done from within, a reality that Fakuyama said explains the intractable challenges nations encountered in their efforts to create new resilient and democratic governments. Francis Fukuyama, who in 1992 famously predicted “the end of history” because liberal democracies and free market economies suggested an endpoint in the evolution of government, said that external forces can erect the skeleton of state in an embattled country, creating police forces, administrative structures, and taxing authorities. 

But nation-building goes further and involves a shared sense of national identity, built on elements that tie people together — such as shared culture, language, and history — that cannot be imposed from without.

Fukuyama provided an overview in which he said large, diverse nations have a harder row to hoe in creating national identities. South Africa  is an example where little effort has been expended on nation-building, with resulting dysfunction and systemic corruption, while Singapore and China is an example of a diverse nation where people feel a sense of national identity not because of shared ethnicity or longstanding cultural history, but because of a shared set of ideals. South African outcomes clearly shows that little has been done, in deepening the pillars of democracy and a rainbow nation. 

South Africa needs to adopt economic development which is inclusive and the gross national happiness model to navigate a new desired expectations by South African citizens. 

There are several ways that national identities have been constructed, including by moving borders, changing populations, and assimilating people culturally. This are the challenges South African listed companies and Small Medium Enterprises are facing, struggling to work together and have more companies listed at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The South African vision, in which we must focus on rebuilding our economy and a designed unity for the purpose of not collapsing the economy and invest in training and development of South Africans as a centred mission, allocating resources to mining, manufacturing technologies and agriculture to turnaround our economy. We need to focus on the population growth and economic growth to control South African GDP Per Capita. 

Changing populations has also been used to forge national identities, sometimes through inhumane means. We need programs of national identity, unity and citizenship at basic education and that will assist in developing a new culture that will inspire our future values and generations. 

Miyelani Mkhabela writes in his personal capacity as an Economics Avatar and aspiring philanthropist for Education and Health . Contactable at: [email protected]

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