South Africa’s Epidemic –Unemployment

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An increase in the unemployment rate was expected due to the novel pandemic. Experts have predicted that it could take anything from 5 to 10 years before the country’s economy could fully recover. One must ask themselves, what does it mean, for South Africa, to have a fully recovered economy when the youth unemployment rates have always been above average – causing concern over the country’s education system being practical enough to remedy the issue. Stats SA released a report for the third quarter of the year stating that the unemployment rate has risen to a staggering 30.8% – with the broader definition (which includes discouraged work-seekers) at 43.1%.

While quarter two statistics were directly related to the ramifications of the lockdown, quarter three begs the question that many ask – could the numbers be higher considering that job seekers technically do not have any jobs to look and apply for? Considering the previous term’s number of 23.3 %, according to Trading Economics, this number is the highest jobless rate since quarterly data became available in 2008 – 6.5 million people are unemployed.  Stats SA calculates the unemployment rate by using the number of persons who are employed and unemployed while excluding discouraged work-seekers. It also suggested that the increase in number is since more people joined the search for unemployment, indicating a decrease in disgruntled work seekers.

Stats SA also stated that 9 out of 10 graduates are still receiving a full paycheque. This may present itself as good news, but considering the reality of most South African’s only have matric as their highest form of education, these numbers cause more worry. The largest employment decreases were observed in the formal sector, which accounts for 71.1% of total employment, with 1.2m jobs lost. The informal sector came second at 640 000 jobs, the private households third with 311 000 jobs and the agricultural industry with 66 000 jobs. It is also interesting to note that the unemployment amongst black individuals was recorded as the highest amongst other races. This could be attributed to them being the largest race in the country, and also the race most plagued by low education, poverty and the effects of Apartheid having ramifications on them. The fears concerning state wage cuts and state entities bleeding out millions remain a considerable problem which continues to plague the country. With state entities such as Eskom and SAA facing a financial crisis, the long-term effects that the corruption amongst government officials has will most likely affect many with blue-collar jobs.

While looking at the unemployment rate, inequality will also be a sponge to be on the lookout for. Considering the strong possibility that the country’s citizens might see an increase in tax next year, affordability is most likely to increase, which in turn lead to a decrease in spending for consumers. This may affect business owners, even more, leaving them with lower profit margins, which will lead to more employee layoffs or business closures.

While the hopes of job creation may look bleak, South African’s are known to preserver. They remain hopeful in the challenging conditions, similarly to the of the Aloe Forex plant Finance Minister Tito Mboweni compares the economy too. With the increase in economic activity under level 5, the hope that more discouraged job seekers will actively seek employment with the hope of lowering the unemployment rate. Yet the barriers to employment for many still exist. Lack of education, race and ethnicity, privileges such as cars and transport, work experience and the adequate resources such as data and cell phones, needed to look for jobs and submit CV’s all contribute to the greater plague of unemployment. According to Ed Stoddard, Investment is also crucial for job creation, but with the way things are currently going, those who stand at the robots and street corners looking for jobs may be there for a long time.

Training Solutions

Training solutions and youth empowerment are needed more now than ever. As with Tusanang’s service offering, we believe providing opportunities for every individual in South Africa to move forward in their career, grow with the organisation, and most importantly, in their personal development. With South Africans at the centre of our hearts, we strive to reinforce employment and empower workforce growth throughout the country and work alongside clients with the same principle at mind. By empowering those in the workplace with skills development, employees enable them to advance in their careers – giving them a competitive edge in the job market which has proved to be strenuous.

Please send us an email to for more information and to get started on training solutions and skills development.

Amu mathebula

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