The African National Congress launched its 2019 General Elections on Saturday the 12th of January 2019 in KwaZulu Natal. As part of the hot air blown by its President, one of the most devastating promise, particularly for the unemployed youth, is a promise to create 275 000 jobs per year over the next 5 years. What this promise entails is that between 2019and 2014, the ANC wishes without a clear and concrete plan,to create only 1 375 000 jobs. The wish is part of the many wishes in previous ANC Manifestos, growth plans and policy confusion that defined the party since 1994.
Despite the fact that the job wish is insufficient and that it certainly will not change the unemployment crisis of more than 9 million unemployed people in South Africa, it also undermines another ANC policy confusion called the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP is a product of the National Planning Commission, which Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa was Deputy Chairperson of, and said its intention is to create 11 million jobs by 2030, which makes it 550 000 jobs per year. The target of 275 000 effectively displacing the accompanying commitments made around economic growth and development linked to job creation, and of course undermines plans around the reduction of poverty and inequalities.
It is a known fact that in a post-modern industrial and capitalist age, a job is the most primary means of access to basic livelihood. For a South Africa that is defined by black landlessness, heavy indebtedness and almost complete no ownership of the means of production, this fact is even more relevant. Without a job and recurrent interval income, many people would be living in absolute poverty and this includes the so called black middle class. A job brings some degree of dignity and respectability, and in many instances, the only way ordinary people gain access to food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare and general safety.
The wish to create 1 375 000 jobs between 2019 and 2024 is made against the fact acknowledged by the ANC President that when taking the expanded definition, the number of unemployed South Africans is more than 9 million people. It is a statistical and scientific fact that an absolute majority of the unemployed is young people. These are people who still have a lot of energy, will and determination to earn a wage in exchange of their labour power. The wish happens against the reality that joblessness is South Africa’s biggest crisis. Even when South Africa was growing at an average of 5% during Thabo Mbeki era, unemployment crisis was not resolved.
It is clear that the number of unemployment is likely to remain at 9 million in the next 5 years. The ANC only wishes to create 1 375 000 jobs over the same period. This means that a whopping 7 625 000 people will remain jobless. This is without taking into account that more and more young people will enter the labour market in search for jobs, creating a possibility that even in 5 years’ time, and if the ANC wins the 2019 elections, South Africa will still have more than 9 million unemployed people in 2024. Why should the ANC cling onto power even when it has made a public announcement that it cannot resolve the unemployment crisis?
The ANC’s wish to create only 1 375 000 jobs over 5 years does not take into account that some of the labour intensive sectors like the assemblage of automobiles have spent billions rebuilding their assembling plants into robotics in order to reduce their Labour Force. When BMW was replenishing itsplant in Rosslyn, the ANC Government issued a celebratory statement, welcoming the labour reducing robotics as a positive investment. There are still many factory belts, automobile assembling factories and production lines, which over the next 5 years, will be replaced by artificial intelligence, robotics and a variety of capital intensive industrial and manufacturing modes.
Now that the ANC has spectacularly illustrated that it does not have a believable and cogent plan to create jobs, it is safe to conclude that they collectively and individually carry no sophistication to understand the labour reduction potential of the the 4th industrial revolution. This therefore means that they will not be able to reposition the schooling system, the state and workplace to adapt to the massive technological changes defining the world now. Despite phrase mongering around 4th industrial revolution, there is absolutely nothing lucid from the manifesto that says how jobs in the revolutionizing manufacturing belts will be saved.
As a result, the ANC cannot and should be the future of South Africa because it has publicly admitted to its incapacity to create jobs. The massive joblessness that will come as a result of the ANC’s incapacity, incompetence and directionlessness will have a huge negative impact on South Africa’s social , economic and political stability. Massive joblessness is a primary ingredient of social and political implosion, and the ruling party does not know what to do with it.
In 1994, South Africa’s population was about 40 million and in 2019, the population has increased to 57 million. In its 2019 Manifesto, the ANC celebrates that 7 million jobs happened during the 25 years of population growth and of course due to increased demands for spaces in public sector, food retailers, trade of consumables, security, domestic services, etc. The ANC cannot however point to significant industrial and manufacturing employment created as a result of their industrial, trade or procurement policy. This is despite the fact that since 1994, the ANC has been promising millions of jobs to the people of South Africa.
In 1994, the ANC Elections Manifesto said, “The millions of people without jobs will be at the top of the ANC government`s agenda. In establishing a dynamic and growing economy we will employ various means to create more jobs and opportunities“. This was obviously not achieved and perhaps they can be forgiven for they knew not what they were saying or going to do.
In 1999, the ANC Elections Manifesto said, “An ANC government will immediately start a national public works programme which will address community needs and create jobs. Through this programme alone we will aim to provide employment and training for about 2.5-million people over the next ten years, building roads and providing water, electricity, schools, clinics, housing and meeting other needs”. This did too not happen.
In 2004, the ANC Elections Manifesto said, “the ANC will reduce unemployment by half through new jobs, skills development, assistance to small businesses, opportunities for self-employment and sustainable community livelihoods”. Because the unemployed population in 2004 was about 5 million people, halving meant the creation of minimum of 2.5 million jobs for the 5-year period and it did not happen.
In 2009, the ANC Elections Manifesto said, “the ANC will Make the creation of decent work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods, the primary focus of our economic policies. We will make maximum use of all the means at the disposal of the ANC government, to achieve this. This objective should be reflected in the orientation and programme of development finance institutions and regulatory bodies, through government procurement and public incentive rules, in industrial, trade, competition, labour market and other policies”. This did not happen, instead procurement was not used as an instrument for job creation, but an instrument to create a Gupta criminal syndicate that devoured the State for selfish purposes.
In 2014, the ANC Elections Manifesto said, “the ANC will Consolidate the public works programme, creating 6 million work opportunities by 2019. Many of which will be of a long duration”. Furthermore, the 2014 Manifesto said, “As a contribution to boosting local manufacturing and creating jobs at home, the state will be directed to progressively implement the target of buying at least 75% of its goods and services from South African producers. The state’s buying power will support small enterprises, co-operatives and broad-based black economic empowerment“. Despite the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Submission that the laws that govern State procurement should be amended, the ANC in Parliament and Government refused. Of course, the wish of 6 million work opportunities by 2019 was an unscientific hogwash with no plan and political will to realize.
All of the wishes of the ANC on jobs did not happen in as much as the lousy and uninspiring wish to create 275 000 jobs per year will not happen, save for the population growth which will be more than 60 million in 2024. In the 25 years of its management of the State on behalf of the capitalist class, only 7 million jobs happened, and these were largely due to the increase of South Africa’s population by more than 15 million people and the expansion of the state. The dynamic nature through which a growing population absorbs a fraction of its population as workers is almost always a permanent feature of growing population, but the complexity of creating jobs, expanding industry and revenue base needs a logically superior government and the ANC is not. In the 25 years since 1995, South Africa had an average of 280 000 jobs per year, and always maintained crisis levels of unemployment. So the ANC’s wish of 275 000 jobs is even a reduction of jobs that were, in anyway, largely happening as a fraction of a growing population.
Overall, majority of the 16 million South Africans that have jobs in 2019 cannot claim to have decent jobs because it is largely underpaid domestic workers, farm workers, mine workers, security guards, petrol attendants, public servants and variety of other low paying jobs In its 25 year rule the ANC Government has not been able to create quality decentjobs particularly in the manufacturing and self-employmentsectors. The attempt to create jobs in the manufacturing sector through the industrial zones and special economic zones produced less than 20 000 jobs in the entire period of the ANC’s mismanagement of the State despite massive industrial subsidies and tax incentives given to mostly foreign and multinational investors.
What the ANC Manifesto basically says is that the Centenarian organization is too old to could bring about cogent, believable and implementable plan to create jobs for millions of unemployed people, in particular youth. The ANC has demonstrated and publicly announced on the 12th of January 2019 that it is has no solution to the crisis levels of unemployment, which in our age, is the major contributor to high levels of poverty, and starvation.
We will patiently and consistently demonstrate to young people who might be fooled to believe that the ANC can create jobs that it is not going to happen in their lifetime. It is only the Economic Freedom Fighters, as part of its cardinal pillars that will create sustainable and quality jobs for all. This jobs plan will be unveiled on the 2nd of February 2019 in Soshanguve when the EFF launches its programme of action, the People’s Manifesto for the next 5 years. Forward to Creation of Quality Jobs for All! Viva The EFF Viva!
Floyd Shivambu is the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Deputy President.