Herman Mashaba weighs in on claims that South Africans are lazy

07 July 2020 - 10:42 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Herman Mashaba says South Africans know what can be done to fix the economy, 'but their voices have been ignored by politicians'.
Herman Mashaba says South Africans know what can be done to fix the economy, 'but their voices have been ignored by politicians'.
Image: File photo

The People’s Dialogue founder, Herman Mashaba, has defended South Africans from claims that they are “lazy”.

On Monday, the hashtag #SouthAfricansAreNotLazy topped the trending list after some drew at­ten­tion to jobs given to foreigners rather than to South Africans.

The hashtag evoked emotions on social media, and saw many South Africans taking the op­por­tu­nity to ad­ver­tise their busi­nesses.

Weighing in on the statement, Mashaba said South Africans need jobs and economic opportunities.

“South Africans know what can be done to fix the economy, but their voices have been ignored by politicians,” Mashaba said.

He said opportunities included introducing a new economic policy that should be implemented without “confusion and contradiction”.

“Government must relax our labour laws and allow for more people to be employed as this is the time when unemployment is expected to rise above over 50%,” said Mashaba. “Tax-free zones should be located in areas of high unemployment as part of a wide range of incentive programmes.”

Unemployment in SA

According to the Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the official unemployment rate rose to 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

The number of employed people decreased by 38,000 to 16.4 million and the number unemployed increased by 344,000 to 7.1 million in the first quarter.

The largest employment decreases were in the formal sector (50,000), followed by the agricultural sector with 21,000.

In his letter to the nation in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said SA was facing a “job loss tsunami” caused by the lockdown.

“For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead,” said Ramaphosa.

“We would urge that the difficult decisions to be taken are taken with care and with due regard to balancing the sustainability of companies and the livelihoods of workers. It is important that whatever is done is underpinned by ensuring a just transition to all concerned.

“The measures we put in place to protect local businesses during the lockdown in the form of loans, tax relief, debt restructuring, extended credit lines and retail rental exemptions are continuing to provide vital support. Temporary social assistance to poor households is gathering pace and providing vital relief. However, these measures can only go so far.”


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