6 May, 2013 14:58

Unemployment rises in South Africa.

The biggest crisis facing this country is unemployment, and today’s data suggest we are heading backwards in tacking it. The politicians come up with grand plans and strategies for boosting the economy and growth. And yet…..I despair. Statistics South Africa announced this morning that our army of unemployed swelled by 100 000 in the first quarter of this year, rising to a scary 4.6 million jobless. Loading…The official unemployment level is up to 25.2% from 24.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. But, of course, that headline number seriously understates the true numbers of unemployed……

Expert views

Nedbank’s Economic Unit: The unemployment rate is likely to remain high in the short term as firms will remain cautious of expanding capacity and employing more people in the current challenging economic and labour environment. Employment is likely to be driven mainly by the public sector as it rolls out its infrastructure programme. The increase in the unemployment rate adds to other evidence that the local economy is struggling to pick up. The Reserve Bank is likely to continue striking a balance between the weak economy and upside risk to the inflation outlook by keeping rates steady this year and well into 2014.

Ian Cruickshanks, Independent Economist and Analyst: Today’s data confirms the present losing battle against the current jobless growth phase. This negative development is likely to lead to increased demands for government social grants, raising pressure on already overstretched government expenditure and pushing up the Budget deficit, while increasing the risk that global ratings agencies might consider further SA sovereign credit downgrades. Until the South African labour force agrees to limit wage demands to rising productivity in addition to cost of living increases, employers will be reluctant to hire potential employees, maintaining the social burden on already stretched government resources while slowing infrastructure development. In the current scenario, South Africa remains trapped in an ongoing low growth phase.

DA Shadow Minister of Finance Tim Harris: When discouraged work-seekers are taken into account the broad unemployment rate has increased to a staggering 38%. This means that there are 1.2 million more South Africans unemployed today than there were on the day Jacob Zuma became president.The situation is simply unacceptable and a clear indication that the ANC is failing the poor and unemployed. President Zuma pays lip service to reducing unemployment in South Africa, but fails to follow through with his commitments.


We are facing a major crisis. Sustained unemployment will stoke social unrest, and threaten the stability of the country. And every one of those unemployed people faces poverty, a dent to their self-confidence and represents a resource which is lost to the nation. Job creation must be moved to the top of the political agenda, and with it a recognition that bureaucratic red tape, which stifles enterprise, is not the way forward.

Tweet of the Day

The QI Elves (@qikipedia)What does the Pink Panther say when he steps on an ant? Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant…

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