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NCOP budget vote debate: Job creation and Labour – Hard work, better policy needed to pave the way for prosperity

"Opportunities are disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognise them." These are the wise words of the columnist Ann Landers and they are very relevant to South Africa. Hard work is what is needed to bring an end to millions' dependence on social grants and opportunities must be created for them to find jobs.

Thus, is would be expected that the government would focus on stimulating growth in small and medium enterprises seeing as these businesses play a significant role in job creation. It, however, does not happen. The government is not supposed to be the biggest provider of jobs in the country.

The relevant Minister, Thulas Nxesi, indicated that his focus will be on transformation instead of on job creation. The FF Plus is of the opinion that a holistic approach must be followed to ensure job security and financial progress.

Transformation targets and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) must be removed from government policy and legislation. That will encourage the private sector to appoint the best possible person for the job and that will, in turn, stimulate economic growth.

Youth unemployment is at an all-time high and according to Statistics South Africa (SSA), 55,2% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed while 31% of graduates do not have jobs. The reason for this is the policy that drives legislation like BEE and Affirmative Action (AA), which are extremely damaging to the economy and only benefit a small elite.

It seems as if the main focus is on the appointment of officials who act as watchdogs over employers, while rigid labour legislation, like the National Minimum Wage Act, puts employers under a lot of pressure and that inevitably leads to layoffs.

The Minister, however, argues that the Act did not cause extensive layoffs. He must take into account that the Act was only promulgated on the 1st of January this year and the effect still remains to be seen.
What is certain, though, is that in the first quarter of 2019 employment decreased with 237 000 and unemployment increased with 62 000 when compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 according to SSA.

Although the unemployment rate gradually increased over the last decade, it is the sharp decrease in formal employment that equals the biggest annual loss of jobs. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that legislation has brought about a decrease in job prospects on entry level.

Unless there is significant economic growth in the foreseeable future, the cost of labour will simply become too great a burden for small and medium enterprises. There are three solutions for this problem: mechanise, do the work yourself of close the business and invest in a country with better prospects.

The solution put forward by the FF Plus is fivefold: amend restrictive labour legislation, limit the powers of trade unions, abolish race-based legislation, create a wage subsidy for the youth that is not discriminatory and establish close cooperation between all the relevant departments, particularly the Department of Education so as to prepare the youth for entering the labour market.

The American politician David Bly said: "striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted". So, let the hard work begin in South Africa so that everyone can eat the fruit of their labour.

Contact number: 079 885 1135

 

 

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