Mbeki claims that under the ANC government the number of employed people is increasing

Donwald Pressly

Donwald Pressly

It is only during the "democratic revolution" that South Africa has begun to reverse the trend of a growing unemployed class of workers and the shrinkage of the working class, South African President Thabo Mbeki said in his Internet column, ANC Today.

He was writing ahead of the May Day holiday and noted that the work of the "national democratic revolution" was the liberation of "our workers from racial oppression and the attendant super-exploitation as well as the triple oppression of the women workers" inherited from the colonial and apartheid eras.

Mbeki argued that under his African National Congress (ANC) government the number of employed people had been increasing at a rate of about 500000 a year in the past three years, amounting to 1,5million.

"Thus the number of employed people increased from 12,3million in September 2005 to 12,8million in September 2006."

The number of unemployed people dropped from 4,4million to 4,3million during this time while there was also a decline in the number of people who were not economically active, which fell from 12,9million to 12,8million.

The latest quarterly employment statistics survey showed there were around 750000 more jobs in the formal economy than previously estimated by Statistics South Africa.

"This confirms an observation we have made repeatedly that our official statistics continue to underestimate the size and rate of growth of our economy."

In order to fully comprehend what was happening to the economy, including the issue of employment, South Africans would have to make a serious effort to understand the informal sector - the so-called grey economy. While there were currently an estimated 2,1million businesses in South Africa, only 600000 of these were in the formal sector.

Mbeki, who noted the importance of sectoral determinations of minimum wages in a number of fields, emphasised the growth in gross earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural business sector between the quarters ended September 2006 and December 2006.

"According to the December 2006 Quarterly Employment Statistics (QES) survey, gross earnings paid to employees during the quarter ended December 2006 (October 2006 to December 2006) amounted to 220,5 billion. This represents a quarterly increase of 20,8billion or 10,4percent compared with the quarter ended September 2006," he added - I-Net Bridge