Despite the promise of a R150 billion injection into job creation in South Africa by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan yesterday there remains an urgent need for deeper engagement on unemployment by government, organised labour, business, as well as the most affected group – the unemployed.
This is according to Richard Pike, Loane Sharp and Ted Black, authors of The New Divide, a book which scrutinises the root causes of the pending unemployment crisis and is being launched in Johannesburg today.
South Africa currently has six million unemployed citizens.
In The New Divide, we are warned that if the unemployment situation remains unchecked, official unemployment figures could rise to ten million over the next five years, and 16 million over the next decade.
The book, sponsored by Adcorp Holdings, points out that for every worker in South Africa today, there are three job-seekers.
Says Adcorp Chief Executive, Richard Pike: “To deal with the challenges this country faces, Minister Gordhan called on South Africans to work differently and to do extraordinary things. He called for new ideas and bold efforts from government, business and labour alike.
“In The New Divide we have pulled no punches, challenging government, business and labour to include unemployed South Africans in a critical dialogue that is long overdue.
“All stakeholders must consider a different approach to tackling unemployment. After all, the way we are doing things now is clearly not working.”
The book emphasises the need to make the poor productive and asks the question: if job-creation wins votes then why are our leaders not collaborating to calm the fears of six million jobless people?
In yesterday’s budget speech, Gordhan anticipates that there will be steady employment gains of some 2% a year, while government has committed to creating 5 million jobs in ten years.
In 'The New Divide', challenges that threaten to impede these goals are outlined:
- Increasingly high minimum wages keeping the unemployed out of work;
- Too few learners graduating from high school or taking up tertiary education;
- A deepening skills shortage;
- Over-regulation entrenching an inflexible cost of labour;
- South Africa becoming less competitive as a nation;
- No person, ministry or department responsible for reducing unemployment; and
- Lack of leadership.
However, the authors present recommendations and offer solutions, referring to the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup as proof that South Africa can achieve great things.
Adds Pike: “We have presented a set of comprehensive tactics that if implemented, will address the unemployment crisis in South Africa.”
The New Divide is dedicated to Dr van Zyl Slabbert, who was Chairman of Adcorp Holdings from 1994 – 2009.
Loane Sharp is a Labour Market Analyst at Adcorp Holdings and Ted Black is an executive mentor and coach and writes regularly for the business media.
More about the book 'The New Divide'
For more information contact:
Alex van Essche at Meropa Communications
Tel (011) 506 7300 or (082) 321 1167
On behalf of:
Adcorp Holdings, Group Marketing Manager, Mandy Jones