The Census 2022 report released last week has given the ANC more reasons to boast about what its government achieved, but job creation is none of them. In fact, one has to read economist Mushtak Parker’s “Right on the money” column to understand how the static adult unemployment rate – at 33.5% in 2022 and projected at 32.8% in 2023 and 2024 remains the elephant in the room for the country’s economic growth.
Worse still are the figures for youth unemployment, which Parker laments as one of the highest in the world.
No government would take comfort from these statistics, especially when most of the affected citizens are ANC voters. Out of the population of 62 million in South Africa, the black African population constituted the largest proportion accounting for 81.4%, according to Census 2022.
The stark contrast is that this is the same population group that experiences a high unemployment rate at 36.8%. Joblessness was a mere 7.4% among their white counterparts, whose population declined to 7.3%, in 2022 from 8.9% in 2011. Similar trends can be observed in the land ownership patterns, where whites own more than 70% of the country’s land.
This crisis appears to not have yet sunk in among the ANC cadres who, in the coming months, will criss-cross the country, visiting our communities to tell desperate South Africans about how much they have done to change their lives. No doubt that a lot of ground has been covered since the ANC took power, but when a majority of its voters are jobless and landless, there is nothing to celebrate.
Of course it would be unreasonable to expect any government to eradicate the damage caused by colonialism and apartheid in nearly 30 years. However, the ANC’s lack of political will in addressing the most basic issues overshadow almost every good that has come out of its rule.
Stealing and mismanaging billions of rand from the public purse does not only betray voters, but (looks like) spitting in the face of the overwhelmed taxpayer. The story of having millions of people relying on social grants cannot be cause for celebration for a country that is largely held back by corruption and incompetence.
Perhaps expecting the same ANC to resolve these problems is a big ask, especially when the party’s own renewal process has been a failure.