Mdladlana’s plan to get people working

2010-05-08 08:35

The government is planning to broaden its employment service as one

of the measures intended to reduce the high levels of ­joblessness.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said: “We hope to ­table a

bill in Parliament and ­initiate discussions at the ­National Economic

Development and Labour Council by the end of this month.”

He said the bill seeks to make it law for labour department offices

to extend their services to the unemployed.

“We want businesses which are recruiting to come to our offices to

look at the register of the unemployed when they are filling vacancies. We

already have a database of people who are drawing

benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund,” he said.

Mdladlana’s comments came in the week that Statistics SA said that

171 000 people were pushed towards poverty as they

lost their jobs in the first three months of this year.

This figure pushed to 6.1 million the number of employable people who are on the streets. This number is nearly a

third of the country’s total workforce, which is estimated at 19 million people.

Last year, one million people were

left jobless by the recession. Economists say that job losses have emerged as

one of the blots on President Jacob Zuma’s first year in office.

They say creating jobs in an economy faced with rising input costs,

such as electricity and ­water, would be particularly ­difficult.

An economist, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “The

government needs to encourage business to make long-term investment decisions

that can lead to job creation. At the moment, Zuma appears to be caught up in

the battles within the divided ANC.

That is robbing the country of decisive leadership as the economy

emerges from the recession.”

Even though unemployment appears to be on the rise, Mdladlana said

the government would not consider relaxing some of the labour laws.

“There is no empirical evidence that supports the suggestion that

labour flexibility leads to increased employment,” he said.

Mdladlana said what appears to be a better option is a model that

links more closely the country’s macro-economic policy with its socioeconomic


“We need to have a discussion about the rand because its wild

fluctuation is causing problems for employment in the economy,” he said.

Another suggestion being considered by the labour department is

strengthening youth development programmes with role players, such as the

National Youth Development Agency and the Public Works Programme.

“Some of the jobs may be short-term but the skills acquired can be

a lifetime investment,” Mdladlana said.

An analyst said the ability of the informal sector to continue to

create jobs is questionable because when people

lose their jobs they also lose their ability to raise loans to start small


Statistics on employers in the informal sector show that many people who create jobs are those who start small

businesses after losing their jobs.

The government sponsored training lay-off intervention is achieving

mixed success.

Mdladlana said the only ­companies that were retraining their

employees were in the me­tals industry.

He said: “It appears that other companies see the recession as an

opportunity to restructure and retrench without considering retaining the


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.