While the president prepares for his last parliamentary grilling for 2016, economists are looking to government to turn around more than a decade’s worth of rising unemployment.
StatsSA’s latest labour force report shows unemployment has risen to 27.1% or 5.9 million people. The current situation can be ascribed to government’s labour policies, the politicisation on South Africa’s labour unions; but also to a challenging global economy.
“We need to look at the education level, the kind of education we have and whether it speaks to the sectors we have in South Africa,” said economist Thabi Leoka.
While there has been growth in the financial sector, the mining sector lost an additional 9 000 jobs in the third quarter of 2016.
Experts don’t believe we’ve seen the worst yet, and some fear the introduction of the national minimum wage could lead to further job losses.
Meanwhile, labour analysts have painted a bleak picture, saying the situation could get worse, especially if the national minimum wage is introduced.
“With inflation there’ll be a massive demand for that minimum wage to increase year-on-year. There’ll come a point when it will deter employers from hiring,” said Gavin Brown, and independent analyst.
One of the country’s foremost labour experts, Michal Bagraim also believes the worst is yet to come.
“We’re going to see massive retrenchments over this next year. I think we’re going to be really sad to have started debating things such as a minimum wage,” Bagraim told EWN.