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Dear Bra Jake - a Word on Jobs

02 May 2014, 11:43

Hey there Jacob, howya doin'? Hopefully nothing too strenuous, chillin' with your hoes at the firepool, or similar?

Ahead of the last election, you and the ANC made a promise of 5 million new jobs in our economy.

Considering the world had just experienced the financial crisis, and South Africa would feel it too, that promise took either a lot of balls, or a lot of stupidity. I'm pimping for the latter.

In the five years since, economic growth has stuttered to a crawl. The official unemployment rate has increased. You have failed dismally in your overall promise.

Yet, in that same period, South Africa's civil service has grown to 3 million. We have almost 50 national departments. Which means almost 50 ministers, almost 50 deputies, hundreds of directors general. Our country, for its population and economy, has the largest civil service in the world.

Not real jobs...

It goes without saying that a large number of your appointments are plain incompetent. Down the food chain, employees of these departments are no more qualified for their "work" than my dog.

Creation of new departments, and allocation of numbers of employees to be hired, is not job creation. It is not organic. It is eminently not sustainable.

Real jobs are jobs created by private enterprise. Businesses employ people to perform a function, due to the growth or expected propsects of a company.

Your administration has failed to create an environment which is conducive to the creation of real jobs by private enterprise. You crow about infrastructure investment, but the only jobs arising are at the parastatals, not at the private companies doing the actual work. Because your government makes it untenable to take on significant numbers of new people.

Your new cabinet...

As you ponder your government post May 7, I can already see your little brain working its way around the issue. In order to create even more civil service jobs, you would like to create some new ministries. I'm warning you Msholozi, don't do it, man.

Firstly, this uber Ministry of MacCommunications, designed to make you look good - kak idea. We've seen a painting of your tackle, and we've seen your misadventures paraded in the press publicly. You have how many wives, concubines and nippers running around the countryside? Your mates use our airbases? Your terminally ill buddy Schabir is playing golf and smashing journos with his 9-iron? Did you really think you could keep these under wraps?

You may have a shiny new Protection of State Info Bill/Act, but we have the internet. You may be able to wag your finger and get the SABC to run 70% good news stories, but the private media doesn't subscribe to your quotas.

And as for other ministries? I beg of you, don't do it, chum. Each new department will need a minister, and a deputy, and some senior managers, and thousands of minions to do their bidding. Not to mention a new building, complete with renovations and decor. And BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercs, and VIP policemen accompany them around Gauteng on the highways, pushing the law-abiding to the side. And consultants and tenders for all!

Have you considered the cost of these things? In one word: prohibitive.

Do us a favour. What you planned to spend on the Ministry of Traditional Healers or the Department of Days Ending with a Y, spend just half of that on eradicating bureaucracy. Make it easy for a businessman to hire people for a project, and then let them go when it is over, with a period of symbiosis in between. A fair day's wage for a fair day's work. Absolutely no need for a Minister of Small Business, and more red tape.

Do us another favour. Shut down or rationalise existing departments. What about that silly Ministry of Everybody Except Men? The people you trot out once a year, on Women's Day, and the rest of the time they do zilch. In the bin they go.

Ministration of State Security - can it. Absorb their functions into the departments of Defence and the Police. And, I mean, Mr Cwele, he wasn't any good at his job anyway, his wife was a drug runner!

Separate ministries for Basic and Higher Education? Seriously? Combine the two, share the resources, trim the dead wood. Bonus: spare us from having to look at Blade's phuza face.

Yes, I realise that you will shed a few jobs in the process. If those people are actually worth anything, they will be employable elsewhere. If not, then you were a douche for hiring them in the first place.

The money you save is going to be epic. And put to good use, making South Africa a better place to do real business, not civil service, is going to create real jobs.

If you love this country, you'll be brave, you'll do it.

Best regards (not really, I kinda wish you a nasty dose of VD most of the time),


PS: I know you may find this missive slightly offensive, please don't send Buti after me with his bodybags.

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