The Democratic Alliance (DA) said yesterday that it is time that the President Jacob Zuma looks directly into the growing unemployment crisis.
The latest STATS SA second quarter labour force survey reveals that the unemployment rate has increased to 25.5% as per the narrow definition of unemployment.
When accounting for all those that have given up on looking for work, the rate is as high as 35.6%. The total number of South Africans that cannot find work has now increased to 7 573 000 people.
That is roughly the same number of people as everyone residing in North West Province and Mpumalanga combined.
There is no question about it: unemployment is a national crisis. We need urgent and clear action by our President to deal with it.
The problem is that all we hear from President Zuma on this issue is commitment to implement the NDP, but no real action on it.
The question must be asked: what is the Zuma ANC doing to implement the NDP, and therefore grow the economy, and create jobs, today? The unfortunate answer is: Not much, and certainly nothing that is working.
The extent of the crisis is made clear when one looks at what is happening in the mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Those three sectors shed thousands of jobs in the last three months, largely because of prolonged strikes and an anti-NDP policy environment – an ANC made problem: mining lost 5 000 jobs, agriculture lost 39 000 jobs and manufacturing lost 60 000 jobs.
These are the labour-intensive industries that are supposed to help us dent the unemployment rate. Instead, and because of bad economic policies, they are shrinking at a rapid pace.
The status quo is no longer good enough. Weak talk about the NDP will not help. President Zuma must address the national unemployment crisis with clear solutions now.
The DA has on numerous occasions put solutions on the table: Cut corruption, reform the labour market, invest in better skills development, put more money into the youth wage subsidy, sign better trade deals, create investment zones and many more.
President Zuma must address this crisis directly and put real and immediate solutions on the table. If he is unable to do so, he can no longer be entrusted in the position in which Parliament has elected him to.