16 May

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UASA Media Release: 16 May 2023

Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:

Today, Stats SA released its employment numbers for the first quarter of 2023, showing an increase of 258 000 jobs gained. This brings the number of employed persons in South Africa to 16.2 million, while the official unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 32.9%.
Discouraged job-seekers decreased by 87 000 in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in a net decrease of 296 000 in the economically inactive population.

Sadly, the numbers mean that a hefty 7.9 million people are unemployed, idling at home and actively looking for a job, while our economy is choked by major negative factors like load-shedding, inflation, and worsening infrastructure that threaten economic production and sustainability.

Over the weekend, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa projected that the current load-shedding rate would result in over 850 000 lost jobs this year, sounding like the death penalty to our economy and the livelihood of workers.

Last year, 650 000 jobs were lost due to load-shedding alone, Ramokgopa said, which amounts to a shocking 1.5 million jobs lost over two years – a number that the rate of job creation can’t balance. According to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), load- shedding is estimated to wipe two percentage points from the GDP in 2023.

Countless, fruitless call-outs have been made to the government to rectify the situation. Still, government fails to produce even the bare minimum of service delivery. The industries the nation relies upon to create jobs crumble in front of our eyes. Any dreams of a technology-powered future are nipped in the bud without a continuous and sustainable supply of electricity. The cherry on the cake is that Ramokgopa seems not to have achieved anything to better the electricity supply after a few months in office.

Life is becoming so expensive that most South Africans operate in mere survival mode.

• Amidst all the challenges, UASA is proud to be an innovative contributor towards solutions for the country’s economic and unemployment challenges. This Friday (19 May 2023), UASA, in partnership with the Bureau of Market Research, introduces an Employment Index. A review is done on job creation and GDP-employment linkages, looking at possible ways to address unemployment, improve the quality of labour supply and optimise compensation growth in South Africa.

UASA calls on policymakers, unions, employers, marketers, economists and business owners to be part of the solution. Join us as we address economic challenges in search of efficient ways to tackle unemployment.

Zoom registration link:

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.


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