25 Jun

UASA Media Release: 25 June 2024

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

The employment figures released by Stats SA today, are a shocking and devastating reality that everyday South Africans must comprehend and live with. How have we normalised massive job losses each quarter with no action plan in sight?

The disturbing figures recorded repeatedly leave no hope for the millions of unemployed as well as the youth striving to get higher education hoping to secure jobs?

The Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) indicate that total employment decreased by 67,000 or -0,6% quarter-on-quarter, from 10,731,000 in December 2023 to 10,664,000 in March 2024. This was due to decreases in the trade, community services, business services and mining sectors.

While manufacturing, transport and construction recorded increases, the lack of job creation remains the most significant setback for growth and development as the jobs gained cannot match the jobs lost. Total employment decreased by 74,000 or -0,7% year-on-year between March 2023 and March 2024.

We remind the government that the bottom line remains sustainability over temporary measures. South Africans need jobs that contribute to livelihoods and growth in the long run. We need fundamental investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and vocational training programmes that align with market needs, ensuring that young people are equipped with relevant skills.

As reported in the 2024 UASA South African Employment Report (SAER) presented by Prof Carel van Aardt from the Bureau of Market Research (BMR), there are many reasons for the weak employment growth performance in the agriculture and mining sectors.

According to the report, job creation will merely be a dream unless the government starts addressing challenges, including inter alia:

• Low gross sectoral value-added growth.
• Low levels of business confidence.
• A business-unfriendly environment.
• Very low investment due to political statements indicating possible future expropriation or nationalisation of businesses in these sectors.
• Very volatile trajectories in the prices and demand for agricultural and mining goods.
• Very high crime levels impacting both these sectors.

We cannot rely on temporary measures like short-term employment and the informal sector. We urge the new government to urgently address the unemployment crisis to sustain our economy. At this rate, with no solution at hand, we will soon be facing a national crisis as fellow citizens become desperate to survive.

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

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