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ANC says it is making progress on unemployment though jobs for youth remain a concern

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
ANC chairperson of economic development Mmamoloko Kubayi.
ANC chairperson of economic development Mmamoloko Kubayi.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Tangible progress is being made to address the issue of unemployment, according to ANC chairperson of economic development Mmamoloko Kubayi.

Kubayi was reacting to Stats SA's Quarterly Labour Force Survey covering the second quarter of the year, that showed a slight 0.6% drop of unemployment.

Unemployment decreased to 33.9% in the second quarter from 34.5% recorded in the first quarter.  

Kubayi said the ANC was encouraged by the figures while noting the rate of unemployment was still “unacceptably high”.

“Although both unemployment and employment increased among the youth, there was a net decrease in youth unemployment rate by 1.3 percentage points in the second quarter. However, youth unemployment remains a big concern. We will ensure that the ANC-led administration sustains this progress across all sectors of our economy,” she said.

Kubayi said the ANC would continue to mobilise society around an infrastructure-led recovery with new investments in energy; water and sanitation; roads and bridges; human settlements; health and education; digital infrastructure and public transport.

“To achieve significant job creation multipliers, the emphasis will be on localisation, including maximising the use of South African materials and construction companies as well as labour-intensive method.”

According to Stats SA, the increase in employment equates to 648,000 new jobs created during this period with the biggest job gains recorded in community and social services (276,000), trade (169,000), finance (128,000) and construction (104,000).

However, former statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla criticised the government saying it hadn't shown any will to deal with high youth unemployment. 

Despite this positive news, unemployment of youth (aged 15 to 34) increased by 2% (or 92,000) to 4.8-million from the first quarter.

Lehohla said this was indicative of a government that has failed.

“There are fewer young people employed today compared to 2008. When you look at this you realise the situation is deteriorating so rapidly. A young person today is more desperate. From 2001-2008 there was an increase in the employment of young people with two million less employed compared to 2008.

“This changed around 2018 and at the very least government should have kept the figures the same instead of the drop. 

On Wednesday trade unions took to the streets in several parts of the country to highlight the plight of the high cost of living and job losses.

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