Real job opportunities for South Africa’s future

Employment and Labour Minister, TW Nxesi, engaged with the community of Mitchell’s Plain last year. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Employment and Labour Minister, TW Nxesi, engaged with the community of Mitchell’s Plain last year. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Published Apr 18, 2024


For the the past few months, I have been outlining very carefully the destructive policies of the current ANC government.

These destructive policies have been very strongly felt in the world of employment and in particular in the Department of Employment and Labour. I have analysed how the policies from the very top have poisoned the economy and in particular job creation in South Africa.

One particular nasty and quite frankly pernicious scheme is the one put together by Premier Panyaza Lesufi hand in glove with his co-conspirator the Minister of Employment and Labour.

This scheme is known as Nasi iSpani which translates into “Here is a job” in isiZulu.

This is supposed to be a mass youth employment programme which kicked off by employing 300 people in Gauteng. In particular, these people were employed in the Department of Social Development.

These people were very excited in that, at last, they had found a job. But the latest reports show that these 300 employees “have in fact not been paid”. They were employed first in February 2024 and as of April 2024, no payment was forthcoming.

The story gets a lot worse in that the Labour Ministry has now earmarked more than R8 billion to this scheme for similar jobs in the future.

We’ve also been told that it will cost approximately R250 000 to create each job. These jobs are not permanent and are certainly not functional.

The whole scheme, I believe, is specifically designed to show the electorate that our government under the very bad management of the ANC can create “job opportunities”.

In essence, this is just a charade to fool the voters who need to be told about what will happen to the 300 young people who didn’t receive their salaries since February. One wonders where the R8bn will go.

Unlike this disgusting story above, I have hope for the future as we move away from the hideous government that we currently have. It is common cause that our government after June 1, 2024, will be a coalition government. It is also now common knowledge that one of the biggest issues facing South Africa is the fact that we are the worst off in the world when it comes to job creation.

Unemployment is a far bigger disaster than the Covid-19 pandemic. The good citizens and hopefully the active voters of South Africa are all very keenly aware that we require our government to be responsive and to fully understand how job creation actually works. Throughout the world economists and governments have shown that it is the private sector that needs to be encouraged to create jobs.

For the first time in 30 years since the advent of our democracy, I believe that the people will speak up very loudly and clearly that this new coalition government must and will ensure that the private sector is given what it needs and wants to have jobs under this new dispensation.

Regardless of the final make-up of that coalition government, it is strongly felt that it cannot be “business as usual”. The government will not be able to pay lip service to the electorate. The government will be answerable to those various political parties and to the electorate if jobs are not being created by the private sector.

It is therefore in everyone’s interest to ensure that there is proper oversight in the changes to our Labour legislation and in particular to the regulations hampering the business community. I have a strong belief that this multi-party government will be under enormous pressure to deliver.

This pressure will result in very strong moves to restructure the entire administration. This restructuring will be monitored and reported upon after the first100 days in government. I’m extremely excited about the simple changes that can be made to our labour legislation resulting in ecstatic encouragement to the business community.

First and foremost, the small businesses will be removed from the yoke of the bargaining council system. Secondly, small businesses will receive help, advice and guidance from the Labour Department as opposed to punishment. Third, small businesses will get access to capital enabling them to create their own jobs as opposed to spending R8bn trying to create “job opportunities” by a broken, incompetent government.

I deal with employers daily. These employers have reported to me that they are starting to feel the excitement of the future, post the elections. Every single business is telling me that they are willing to take the risk and to hold on to their employees instead of retrenching them and to wait for this new exciting future of doing business in South Africa. We have a good country with much wealth and a young population.

* Michael Bagraim is a veteran labour lawyer, and a Democratic Alliance MP.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

Do you have something on your mind; or want to comment on the big stories of the day? We would love to hear from you. Please send your letters to [email protected].

All letters to be considered for publication, must contain full names, addresses and contact details (not for publication)