6 million job opportunities versus 6 million jobs!
Elections brings about a mixed bag of issues as parties jostles for votes. It is therefore, important to highlight the importance of political communication both as a tool of information and misinformation.
As a tool of information political communication highlight key issues within the ambits of power dynamics. It becomes the strategy to communicate political parties’ approach to issues and policies they aspire to implement should they be in power. Unfortunately political communication is littered with trickery as some politicians finds scrupulous ways to attain power.
Central to electioneering is political parties’ manifestos which in a face value is supposed to reflect the party’s ideological inclination or even their position on the prevailing issues. A manifesto is defined as a public declaration of policies, aims and strategies that a party intend to follow should they get into power.
Reading through the different parties' manifesto is quite a daunting task. Some are written like a wish list which is about to be mailed to the North Pole to Santa, some are based on skewed facts whereas others are either exploiting the issues or are directly speaking to the needs of the people.
In its manifesto, the ANC claims that should they be elected in power they will provide 6 million job opportunities. Political communication is a jargon which needs to be explained and understood in context. What does 6 million job opportunities mean?
I do believe that this time around the ANC received a sound counsel which is a reflection of a clear understanding of the role of government and the role of the private sector in job creation. It is therefore, not an ambitious feat or a promise made in jest.
Within the mixed-market economy job creation is the responsibility of both the government and the private sector. Therefore, when the ANC says that it will create 6 million opportunities it takes into consideration their role as a ruling party in creating an environment that is conducive for economic growth and the role of the private sector as a beneficiary.
Job creation hinges on two key factors; the first one being government as an agency on employment and custodians of the infrastructure needed for economic growth; the second one being sound policies and the response of the markets/private sector to those policies.
Government as an employment agency is solely for the functioning of the state and enabling the environment for economic growth which then will enhance job creation.
Dwight Eisenhower who became the president of the United States of America after the Second World War, adopted a robust government led infrastructure development programme which culminated in the economic growth. This was a strategy to give an ailing economy a boost. The United States government under Obama adopted this approach after he was elected in office in 2008.
However, we must understand that government as an agency of employment is more of an intervention exercise than anything else and it is not sustainable as it depends on a vibrant tax pool which will provide the needed revenue.
The best that the government can do is to adopt policies which create an environment where the private sector can thrive. Therefore, when the ANC says that it will create 6 million job opportunities this should be understood within the context of government as the custodian of legislations governing the markets and the economy.
From this perspective, the ANC’s role is to lobby and implement policies that encourages new entrants into the markets, reduce the gridlock and bureaucracy in registering new companies and create a safe environment for SMME’s and innovative entrepreneurship. In promising the 6 million job opportunities, the ANC is talking about both the government intervention like the Extended Public Works Programmes, the National Infrastructure Plan and the Employment Tax Incentive etc.
It also talks about their strategy to roll out the necessary infrastructure that is needed for a growing economy. Through legislations and government intervention economic growth should receive a boost that it needs, and the private sector should play its role in creating decent and sustainable jobs. That is a standard practice in the economy like ours.
On the contrary DA has gone on a tangent criticizing the ANC for this position in their manifesto. They claim that they will and they can create 6 million real jobs. From a liberal capitalist leaning party they sounds more socialist than anything else. That is quite scary as their claim amount to deception. One ought to be afraid of a capitalist who tries hard to sound like a socialist.
Reading their manifesto one cannot help it, but wonder what informs such a bold stance. The fact is that you can forecast and project but you cannot in certain terms dictate the outcomes.
The approach outlined in their manifesto reflects the logic which I have explained above.
Following that approach, the things that you are certain about are those that you have control over. If you are in power you do have the authority and legitimacy to develop and adopt the policies that will inform your economic strategy.
How the markets and the economy will react is an issue of trial and error or hit and miss. It is therefore disingenuous to make a claim as if our economy is state-centric. Their claim that they can create 6 million jobs is an election ploy based on speculation instead of reality.
In their manifesto, they clearly reflect policies which are not different from that of the ANC except on their definition of decent jobs and labour laws which encourages job creation. From the political communication perspective this is misinformation and propaganda.
They have taken an issue which is close to the hearts of the people and tried to exploit it. Unfortunately they think that by making noises on issues of governance and discrediting the ruling party people will overlook the fallacy in their statements.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.