Job losses

2009-05-07 00:00

In its Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2009, Statistics SA has reported that 2 300 jobs have been lost daily in this country and that KwaZulu-Natal has been the hardest hit of all nine provinces. This is a frightening report not only because of the bald figures conveyed but also because they represent a conservative estimate. There are differing ways of measuring unemployment and some would argue that its levels are higher than those given by Statistics SA.

Whatever the exact truth, the situation is clearly critical. Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel has been at pains to say that the country will be in technical recession only after two successive quarters of negative growth. The thousands who are losing their jobs are not interested in such quibbles. For them recession is a stark practical reality with all its concomitant hardship.

An article in yesterday’s issue of this newspaper drew a close parallel between poverty and mental depression. The Mental Health and Poverty Project at the University of Cape Town has been studying this connection and arguing the case for more access to mental health services in poverty-stricken communities. Such access is currently extremely limited, especially in rural areas. Given the actuality of serious job losses in a society where unemployment has already been at an unacceptably high level, the implications for the physical, mental and emotional health of the nation are serious. So, too, is the likelihood that criminality will be an attractive option in desperate circumstances.

The new governments about to be inaugurated at national and provincial levels face a massive challenge to meet this dire situation with positive efforts to create jobs. Public works programmes on a large scale are one possibility. These are expensive but so too is an expanding provision of social welfare. A job — even a lowly one — has a more humanising influence than dependency on a government hand-out. Meeting the challenges entailed in an anxious time of economic recession will be the most immediate task for the government and other players in this post-election period.

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.