Nothing to celebrate on Workers' Day for far too many of us
The Times Editorial: As politicians travelled across the country yesterday to celebrate the rights of workers, they might have wanted to take a lengthy moment to reflect on those who have nothing to celebrate at all - the 25.9% of South Africans who are unemployed .
And while the government and Cosatu might be congratulating each other on their agreement on e-tolling last week, they might also want to find common ground around creating jobs.
Celebrating Workers' Day is not just about the vexing problems of labour brokers, whom Cosatu regard as a dark spot on South Africa's employment landscape.
Far more serious is the fact that, while there are many government efforts aimed at creating jobs, a quarter of those who should be working are jobless.
Worse still, 70% of South Africans between 25 and 34 are unemployed.
And however much we want to attribute the high unemployment figures to the continued global economic crisis, it is important that the government entities tasked with creating jobs start pulling in the right direction.
In 2010, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan boldly announced the creation of a R9-billion jobs fund over three years.
The process of calling for proposals and disbursing the funds has been lacklustre and uninspiring at best.
So, too, has the dawdling around the government-initiated programmes to create jobs for young people.
In an article in the Sunday Times last month, Gordhan urged South Africans to help create employment conditions and to believe in a future devoid of constant gloom and paranoia.
But, until there is a sense that job creation is indeed a pivotal aspect of President Jacob Zuma's administration - and not just lip service to a disappointed electorate - the gloom will continue, irrespective of the exhortations our leaders make about the rights of workers.