More jobs but quality poor, says Cosatu

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

Employment in South Africa may have increased at a faster pace in the past five years than at any point in the past 20 years, but the jobs created were not sustainable, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said yesterday.

Cosatu was responding to Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's Budget. Manuel said that during the past five years, employment had increased, adding more than 1,5 million jobs.

He said: "As we present a picture of where we are now, we must also tell South Africans and the world that our ship is stronger and we are better prepared than during previous episodes of global turmoil. It is time for neither gloom nor panic."

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said they agreed with Manuel that the economy had created jobs, but most of those jobs were inferior and not sustainable. Craven said building and construction as well as the retail sectors were at the forefront of job creation, but Cosatu was concerned about the quality of the jobs.

"We believe that the quality of these jobs is inferior because employees in those jobs are casual and are lowly paid," he said.

He said though the economy had been expanding over the years, it was not accommodating the number of job seekers who had been increasing.

Independent economist and analyst Mohau Pheko said she was concerned about Manuel's employment figures because in 1996 the government had promised to deliver 1,4 million jobs in five years.

"It is now ten years. Where are the jobs?" Pheko asked.