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SOWETAN | Jobs pledge must be genuine

At the weekend the ANC, which launched its election manifesto in Durban, promised to create 2.5-million “job opportunities” over the next five years.
At the weekend the ANC, which launched its election manifesto in Durban, promised to create 2.5-million “job opportunities” over the next five years.
Image: ROGAN WARD

Jobs, jobs, jobs – the election season is now in full swing, with the unemployment crisis fast becoming one of the key issues that the battle for votes will be fought over.

Job creation is one of the easiest of promises made by political parties during elections, and yet it has proven equally extremely hard to achieve over the years.

At the weekend the ANC, which launched its election manifesto in Durban, promised to create 2.5-million “job opportunities” over the next five years.  The DA said it has a plan to create 2-million jobs while the EFF also says it has a plan to create millions of jobs.

Ahead of the last election, the rate of unemployment stood at 27.6% and today it is at 32.1% – according to the latest Stats SA quarterly labour force survey.  Youth unemployment is estimated at 44.3% with 4.7-million young people not in jobs. Compounding this of course is also the high number of unemployed graduates.

These figures make for a depressing read and the high rate of unemployment, especially among the youth, has also seen an increase in other social ills such as crime, gender-based violence and drug abuse. This does not bode well for the future, so it is not surprising that with elections on the horizon, political parties are screaming job creation from left to right.

But it cannot be that we hear the same song being sung every election time and more excuses after the polls. If politicians want your vote, you must hold them accountable for their promises and demand a realistic and detailed job-creation plan.

Voters must also start learning how to distinguish between genuine promises and lies by refusing to be fed idealistic hope that will provide no practical solutions to tackle the unemployment crisis. If a promise is too good to be true, it is probably a lie.

The lack of decent job opportunities has driven a high number of young people into despair, fuelling urban migration and putting a strain on already congested cities like Johannesburg. Unemployment has also caused many other problems, making young people more vulnerable to exploitation.

Politicians will therefore do everything in their power to influence our perception of what they are going to do with campaign slogans and rhetoric. We must therefore all demand that they fulfil their promises once elected.


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