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Workers' Day should also focus on addressing high unemployment: John Steenhuisen

03 May 2022 - 14:00
DA leader John Steenhuisen says Workers' Day should be dedicated to addressing youth unemployment.
DA leader John Steenhuisen says Workers' Day should be dedicated to addressing youth unemployment.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

DA leader John Steenhuisen says the focus of Workers' Day should also be on addressing SA's high unemployment rate and discussing potential solutions to the crisis.

Speaking on the commemoration of May Day on Sunday, Steenhuisen called for job creation and support for businesses and investors. 

He said government needs to create an environment that will attract investment and allow existing businesses to either expand or keep their doors open by removing red tape, improving labour laws and ensuring ease of doing business. 

“Talk alone will not create jobs. Talk alone will not convince investors that SA is a viable and attractive investment option. The talk will not make it easier or safer to keep businesses operational in SA ...

“The people who create jobs, from the owners of large multinational corporations to small microenterprises, base their decisions on whether to start a new business on rational factors only, not on the words and sentiments of leaders,” he said.

Steenhuisen said shoddy service delivery and struggling Eskom were contributing factors to investor uncertainty. 

Stats SA painted a grim picture of the country's unemployment crisis. Its latest figures, released on March 30, revealed that the number of unemployed people increased by 278,000 to 7.9-million in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

The unemployment rate stood at 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 34.9% the quarter before - the highest since the report was established in 2008.

It revealed that youth unemployment (ages 15 to 34) stands at 66.5%. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa said during his state of the nation address in February that government was hard at work to tackle unemployment.

He said the Presidential Employment Stimulus programmes had been allocated billions to create and retain jobs.

The first two phases of the programme had supported more than 850,000 work opportunities, mainly benefiting women and young people. 


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