Critics blame govt for high unemployment

Cape Town - Government economic policies are to blame for the rising unemployment rates in South Africa, economists said on Tuesday afternoon.

Reacting to Statistics South Africa’s release of the third quarter Quarterly labour force survey, Azar Jammine of Econometrix and Francois Stofberg of Efficient Group were critical of government policies.

“Government economic policies are clearly not working,” Jammine said. Despite this, there is still an inclination to encourage government intervention, he said.

The survey showed that unemployment rate in the third quarter of this year increased marginally by 0.5%, compared to the second quarter. This increased the unemployment rate to 25.5%.

Stofberg said there was little done to break what he termed structural unemployment, which has remained at around 25%.

Since 2008, government policy has not been alleviating unemployment, he said.

Globally, most jobs are created by the private sector. In South Africa, government policies have hampered private sector’s ability to create jobs, he said. “We have not given the private sector the opportunity to create jobs,” he said.

Stofberg blamed red tape, inefficiency and rigid labour policies for the private sector’s inability to create jobs. “Labour legislation has been detrimental to business growth in South Africa,” he said.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the country would only stop shedding jobs if it provided an incentive for the private sector to invest “so that we can grow the economy and create jobs for the millions of South Africans trapped in unemployment”.

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