Prior to last week’s State of The Nation Address, the presidential office published and distributed a document called “Building a Society that Works”.
This document claims the Presidential Employment Stimulus that’s funded by the fiscus created one million jobs. This Presidential Employment Stimulus is funded by the South African taxpayer and implemented by various participating governmental departments.
We are not told how much expenditure went into this Presidential Employment Stimulus and we are not told whether it is, in fact, sustainable. I had a careful look at this and in line with the promises made by our previous three presidents and now Ramaphosa, it is clear the following statement is true “lies, damn lies and statistics”.
In essence, if one has a careful look at the presidential promises over the past 15 years coupled with the current promise, it is clear to everyone who has been following this that these programmes cost more than the benefit we receive from the minute results.
It does bear repeating we probably have the worst unemployment in the world and our statistics show we are about 40% unemployed and in the youth category over 75% unemployment.
What is laughable but in reality sad is that when Ramaphosa speaks it is very seldom backed up by facts. What our president is good at doing is putting together task teams, investigations and specially packaged ideas which cost an absolute fortune. The Presidential Employment Stimulus, which was established in October 2020, had good aims such as the creation of jobs and the strengthening of livelihood.
However, subsequently, Ramaphosa told the nation the government does not create jobs but should try and create an environment for the private sector to create jobs. The creation of a functional environment, especially in the labour law field, would cost the government almost nothing and would have immediate results. All of us are aware that even before we went into Covid-19 lockdown, the country was economically on its knees and job creation was at an all-time low.
Straight after Covid-19, we were faced with an international economic slump and the closure of businesses that could not survive the dysfunctional and useless lockdowns imposed by our government’s panic. The international slump and the closure of businesses added to the unemployment queue which is probably now the worst we have seen in the last 50 years.
The few who had survived these knocks and still remained in a job were then faced with daily blackouts because of theft and incompetence at Eskom. The so-called load shedding looks like it might even be the “final nail in the coffin”.
As a labour lawyer, I have noted there are very few job opportunities coupled with ongoing retrenchments across the spectrum.
People are being dismissed for operational requirements from big and small businesses. However, our government boasts “since its launch in October 2020, over a million people, have benefited from jobs and livelihood support opportunities from the Employment Stimulus”. This boast is not even backed by their own figures. The quarterly reviews of the employment situation show that since October 2020, we have lost more and more jobs. Where are these million people? I know for instance the government likes to count that even a job of one day as a job. They used to call it a “job opportunity”.
Unfortunately, a short-term job which is poorly paid and not coupled with any training doesn’t really count as job creation. It certainly isn’t livelihood support opportunities.
* Michael Bagraim.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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