Unemployed People of South Africa Unite for Your Rights

Xolile Mpini

Thu Nov 25 2021 22:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Are our members of Parliament not ashamed that our country has the largest percentage of unemployed people in the world? Are they happy to know that SA also has the largest percentage of unemployed people? And to add to that, the number of young people who are not being educated is increasing. The only way to stop this creeping national paralysis is to get the nation working. And the best way to do that is with JSEC.

The solution to our unemployment is for decisions about our jobs to be in our hands. We, the Langeberg Unemployed Forum (LUF), call on Parliament to turn into law, the Job Seekers Exemption Certificate (JSEC) that we have asked for. Labour laws that stop the unemployed from getting jobs are not friends of the unemployed. We are not saying that Parliament must scrap the laws that give special benefits to people who already have jobs. All we say is take the shackles off the unemployed and give us the freedom to make our own decisions about which job to take or not to take.

We understand that people who already have jobs will fight very hard, together with their unions, to keep all their labour privileges. We do not want to touch those. But we do want Parliament to open the doors for us to make deals about jobs, especially with small businesses. Stats SA in their June report said that there are 14.9 million employed people in SA. And the unemployed, if you add in what they call “discouraged work seekers”, come to a total of 11.9 million. The bad truth is that the toral number of jobless people is catching up on the number who have jobs.

Are our members of Parliament not ashamed that our country has the largest percentage of unemployed people in the world? Are they happy to know that SA also has the largest percentage of unemployed people? And to add to that, the number of young people who are not being educated is increasing. The only way to stop this creeping national paralysis is to get the nation working. And the best way to do that is with JSEC.

I will repeat for those who do not know. The Job Seekers Exemption Certificate will be easy to bring into law. What it will mean is:
1. Anyone who has been unemployed for six months or more will qualify for JSEC.
2. They will apply at a place that is close to them (like a Municipal Office). There they will sign an affidavit about the time they have been unemployed.
3. The JSEC will be issued to them immediately.
4. They can then start looking for jobs and signing employment agreements with employers
5. There must be a signed agreement and the employer must have a copy of the JSEC to show to Labour Inspectors.
6. The JSEC must be valid for two years to give the holder enough time to build a solid working life.
7. Anyone who does not want a JSEC need not apply – it is meant for the people who want it.

LUF cannot guarantee that JSEC will be signed into law by Parliament. We do think it will make a very big difference if it does become law. It will harm no one and be good for everyone. As a starter we are asking all political parties to design the best JSEC law for putting it in place and putting it to work to change the lives of all unemployed South Africans for the better. But not only them, to change everyone’s lives for the better.

Our LUF members always remind ourselves that their best friends are the owners of small businesses, the homeowners and everyone who would like to have an assistant but does not have one now. They probably don’t even think about it, but it could have something to do with labour laws, including the minimum wage. When JSEC is put in place, it will help every unemployed person and every small business, because it will make possible what is now not possible.

In our complaint to the Human Rights Commission, we explained how minimum wages destroy jobs. We explained how the wages between the cities and the country towns are different. People in the cities earn more than people in the country and their living expenses are higher. Putting in place a standard minimum wage in the whole country means that there will be job losses out in the country before than in the cities. But there will be job losses in the cities, only fewer.

We estimate that JSEC will reduce unemployment in SA by half in two years if it is properly implemented. We ask members of Parliament to take up that challenge. Implement JSEC in the way it is described and the change for the better will be huge. What is stopping you?