PRESS RELEASE: Give us back our freedom to make our own decisions about our own lives, say the unemployed

Xolile Mpini

Sun Jun 06 2021 22:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Shocking stats reveal that 75% of young South Africans are unemployed


Give us back our freedom to make our own decisions about our own lives, say the unemployed

Shocking stats reveal that 75% of young South Africans are unemployed

Our Langeberg Unemployed Forum note the stats on unemployment released by Stats SA that tells us that three out of every four young people are unemployed. At the same time, we discover that according to the International Labour Organisation this is the highest level of youth unemployment in the world.
The further shocking news is that there is an unemployment rate of 43.2% of the potential workforce, and that the 74.7% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age that do not have jobs form part of that total. It is no longer a shock to the unemployed people to hear about increased unemployment in South Africa. It is what they have come to expect.

What the unemployed do not expect is that the government of the country and its political parties in Parliament have come to treat this mass unemployment as a normal part of life in this country. Even worse, when the minimum wage, for instance, gets jacked up to a higher level there are no protests from any members of Parliament. Whereas our organisation knows that the increased minimum wage means fewer jobs, especially for young people, there are no objections from members of Parliament.

And then there is an organisation that is set up by the Constitution called the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that is supposed to protect the rights of the people when government tramples on the rights that are listed in the Bill of Rights. But this organisation does not listen to the complaints of the unemployed. They seem to believe that their job is to punish people who call other people bad names not to protect the Constitutional rights of the unemployed who are made jobless by bad laws.

We recently protested peacefully at the offices of the SAHRC about their neglect of the rights of the unemployed. And across the road at Parliament. Our protests were ignored. Do the unemployed have to take such an organisation to court to force it to do its real job of protecting the unemployed from being abused and made unemployed by bad laws.

We have come to expect that government will do nothing about unemployment, no matter how bad it gets. Unemployment does not happen by accident. It happens when the employers are prevented from employing and the unemployed are not allowed to make their own decisions about conditions of employment and level of wages. It is that simple. Take away these blocks on employment and mass unemployment will disappear.

Members of Parliament and the SAHRC will probably say that those laws are there to protect you from exploitation. Our answer to that argument is that we would be better off working for an employer who is trying to exploit us than starving at home doing nothing.

As usual it is only a few days since the unemployment figures were breaking news. It has lasted for a few days, as usual, and there were speakers lined up to analyse the unemployment stats and thereafter nothing has happened, and nothing will happen.

A government that claims to care about the unemployed should have stopped everything else to deal decisively with the crisis of unemployment - it cannot be business as usual.
We have been calling on this government to create a special dispensation for the unemployed people, a dispensation that will allow them to knock on doors, speak to potential employers and make arrangements with them, an approach that is not allowed by the labour laws.

It is because the unemployed and the employers are not allowed to bargain over jobs that there are so many unemployed people in the country. It is in the area of the basic conditions of employment and on the amount of the wages, that the unemployed people must have the right to bargain with potential employers.

No one should have the right to tell an unemployed person at what price they can sell their labour. We are in the middle of a crisis of unemployment and the unemployed people are crying for freedom. Give them back their freedom, we say, so that they can make their own decisions about their own lives and the lives of their families.

CEO Xolile Mpini

Phumeza Vicani
Vuyo Mrubata
Enest Selani