A job is by far the most powerful motor for inclusion and enhanced human dignity but without economic growth, there can be no new jobs. The Growth Agenda: Jobs sets out a new growth strategy for the country which will enable mass employment.
South Africa’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the world. For most of the 25 years between 1975 and 2000, economic growth was lower than population growth, resulting in much too little growth in demand for labour, and increasing numbers of people in unemployment.
South Africa’s missing 6 million jobs lie behind the country’s most pressing problems: stubbornly high levels of poverty and inequality, our many social crises, and our increasingly tense and dysfunctional politics.
By driving up the costs and regulatory risks associated with employing people, the implementation of the decent work agenda has priced unskilled workers out of the labour market.
In the eyes of our policy-makers, work that is not ‘decent’ is worse than no work. The implication is that no wage is better than a low wage. The bottom line is this: South Africa needs accelerated growth that is urban-led, private sector-driven, enabled by a smart state, and targeted at mass employment.