CAPE TOWN, May
15, (Xinhua/GNA) - The stubbornly high unemployment in South Africa is like
"a ticking time bomb" that would spell calamity for the country, the
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has warned.
to see the government place massively reducing unemployment at the heart of all
government programs, from national to provinces to municipalities to
state-owned enterprises (SOEs), said COSATU, the country's largest union
federation with more than 3 million members.
Tuesday, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released its Quarterly Labor Force
Survey for the first quarter of 2019, which shows that the country's
unemployment has risen by 0.5 percentage points to 27.6 percent compared to the
fourth quarter of 2018.
The increase in
the unemployment rate is a result of decline of 237,000 in the number of people
in employment and an increase of 62,000 in the number of people who were
unemployed between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019,
according to the survey.
This came on
the heels of the Spectator Index in January which revealed that South Africa is
the country with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, with about
52.8 percent of young people unemployed. Spectator Index is a weekly British
magazine on politics, culture and current affairs.
calamitous for the country because it means millions of young people will be
dependent on the state for their well-being and that of their families,"
COSATU national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.
leaders and the government entrusted with managing the economy should hang
their heads in shame because the inequities of their favored economic system
has condemned thousands of South Africans to lives of brute survival and
hopelessness, said Pamla.
needs an economic development model that will dismantle the current colonial
and apartheid economic and social policy paradigm that is unsustainable, Pamla
an economic trajectory that will ensure that there is a proper redistribution
of income and that more people are allowed to participate in the economy,"
The last two
decades have shown that all of this cannot be left at the hands of the market
and the notion that foreign direct investment (FDI) is everything, Pamla said.
COSATU has been
critical of the regressive and contractionary policies pursued by the
says these policies only focus on cutting social expenditure and weaken the
capacity of the state.
deceleration of fiscal spending since 2014 and now the outright reduction of
spending plunged the economy into the doldrums in an environment of depressed
private sector investment and household spending, according to COSATU.
cannot keep applying the same macroeconomic framework that led the country to
this current position and still go on with the rhetoric about the centrality of
job creation and the transformation of the economy, Pamla said.
that this unemployment report will jolt the government and business into
action," he said.
Tuesday, the South African government vowed to tackle rising unemployment
through a series of interventions.
The high rate
of unemployment is a serious concern to the government, but there are a number
of interventions that are being implemented to revive and stimulate economic
growth, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.
are being taken including rebuilding investor confidence, ending corruption,
restoring good governance and strengthening critical public institutions, she
requires all sectors of society to work together to address this challenge,
Africans must join hands and make an extraordinary effort to overcome the
economic challenges we face," she said.
hosted the Jobs Summit in October which brought together government, business,
labor and community organizations to seek solutions to the country's
Jobs Summit, the government, labor, business and the community sector have
agreed on concrete interventions to boost employment.
that these interventions will create an additional 275,000 direct jobs a year.