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SACP: Ramaphosa’s assertion on job-creation fatally flawed

Andisiwe Makinana Political correspondent
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address on Thursday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address on Thursday.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

The SA Communist Party (SACP) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to re-examine his assertion that the state does not create employment.

The party, a member of a tripartite alliance with the ANC and Cosatu, distanced itself from the assertion, characterising it as neoliberal and fatally flawed.

“Besides the fact that the ‘We’ is definitely not inclusive, but in fact refers to the category of individuals who believe in that fatally flawed assertion, it is important to build a capable developmental state with organic capacity to serve the people diligently and capably,” SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said in a statement.

While the SACP acknowledged there was significant private sector employment in SA, it said workers found work in profit-driven private sector companies only so long as their labour increases capital for accumulation by the owners.

“This is one reason the private sector has also created and increased unemployment through retrenchments in pursuit of profitability and profit maximisation.

“It is also one reason inequality, both wealth and income inequality, is systemic under capitalist relations of production,” said Mashilo.

“Except [for] wages, to the capitalist employers a cost they seek to curtail, workers receive nothing from the value that their labour creates in the process of production,” he said.

Mashilo said it was a fact that there is a vast tract of the private sector whose business analytically alert South Africans can either trace to the state or which serves as an extension of the public sector through state procurement, tenders, contracts and so on.

“There are just so many private sector firms performing or depending on work contractually awarded to them by the state, state institutions, other public entities and the government in all spheres.”

This, he said, comprises work not only performed in the private sector and delivered as products or services to the state for payment, but work performed in the public sector by private sector firms.

He said the state, including the government in all spheres, was an employer of note in SA, an underdeveloped country characterised by uneven development and noticeable deindustrialisation under the macroeconomic policy enforced since 1996 as well as its continuing legacy.

State employment is not only in public service and administration but also in public entities such as Eskom, Transnet and development finance institutions among others.

“By turning around public entities, dealing with corruption and expanding the publicly owned sector, the state can make a more direct contribution to employment creation and build an advance to the right to work for all,” said Mashilo.

Ramaphosa drew applause and criticism from his audience on Thursday night when he spoke about job-creation and who creates jobs.

“We have been taking extraordinary measures to enable businesses to grow and create jobs alongside expanded public employment and social protection.

“We all know that government does not create jobs. Business creates jobs,” he said.

Around 80% of all the people employed in SA are employed in the private sector, said the president.

“The key task of government is to create the conditions that will enable the private sector — both big and small — to emerge, to grow, to access new markets, to create new products, and to hire more employees,” he said.

The DA praised Ramaphosa for this assessment.


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