The myth of job creation, plus 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

05 August 2022 - 06:30
High unemployment means many South Africans have no idea where their next meal will come from. File photo.
Image: 123rf High unemployment means many South Africans have no idea where their next meal will come from. File photo.

Unemployment, in its broadest definition, stands at 46%. I have no statistics to support this, but I suspect millions of South Africans wake up every morning and have no idea whether they will have a meal that day, writes Piet Croucamp in this week’s edition of Vrye Weekblad

Sometimes I torture myself by conjuring up the reality of our poverty. I see a baby crying with hunger and a desperate mother with no way to comfort her child. I imagine that is my child. It’s the only way I can get a realistic grip on SA’s poverty.

I remember seeing a journalist interviewing a 30-something black man on television a few years ago. His words were: “Mam, I want a job in my lifetime.” My brain went mute. 

In 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mike Schussler showed me data that said even if the economy grows at 3% or 4%, half of all 19-year-olds would probably never find a job in the formal economy. That haunts me.

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What has the ANC done to the economy and our people? Why do we, in this modern reality, listen to the political tirades of a Communist Party? Do ministers like Ebrahim Patel (trade, industry and competition), Gwede Mantashe (energy) and Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (small business development) not understand that centralism and populism come at a terrible price?  Why do they think South Africa has the highest unemployment figure in the world?

Work cannot be created in a patronage system where cadres, followers and apparatchiks give each other work (or create work for each other). Almost every minister, mayor or executive of a state-owned enterprise will kick off their term of office by appointing a slew of confidantes in vacant posts and positions.

Yes, this is job creation, but in a healthy economy job opportunities are rooted in the valued-add of a surplus of (expected) profits. We can stigmatise the concept of the owner of capital, but we should not stop an entrepreneur from doing what they do. Without profit, there is no incentive to create jobs.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

>> Browse the full August 5 edition

STATE CAPTURE SEASON 2 | The latest scary story is that the ANC won’t let go of power if it loses the elections in 2024. Max du Preez tries to catch the ghost. 

FOLLOW THE MONEY | Power network analyses always bring new insights into political and socioeconomic scenarios. It is the case again with the power plays in the ANC, writes Quinton Adams.

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | The far-left liberablist Max du Preez writes about white men and the strange world of rightwing Afrikaners, Helen Zille, who has no time for people who litter, and the new coalition czar Corné Mulder.

THE BEST OF NON-FICTION | From a Russian in the Anglo-Boer War to a book about the ANC in exile and the fight against rhino poaching, here is our choice of the best non-fiction books you should read right now.

THE FACTS OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING ELSE | There are many things he could say about his late mother, but what Tinus Horn remembers best are her wonderful stories.