LETTER: There is no appetite for reform
That minimum wages are proposed at all, let alone silly exemptions, shows there is no enthusiasm for structural policy reform in the government
Michael Bagraim (Minimum wage mockery, November 8) is quite correct that the proposed minimum wage exemption regulations make a mockery of labour legislation. But they also make a mockery of the government’s stated job-creation ambitions.
Whereas 1.9-million people were recorded as unemployed in 1994, the number in the third quarter of 2018 was 6.2-million. The labour force absorption rate for black people is just over 40%. SA’s rate of unemployment is four to five times higher than that of countries such as Chile (7.1%), the Philippines (5.4%), Poland (5.7%) and Bulgaria (5.6%). For black people aged 25 to 34, the unemployment rate is just shy of 50%, when the comparative figure for whites is below 7%.
That minimum wages are proposed at all, let alone these silly exemptions, goes to what we wrote earlier this week on these pages: there is as yet no enthusiasm for structural policy reform in the government. Don’t be fooled by the “optimism” and “positive sentiment” punted by organised business — it is fluff built around gimmicks such as stimulus packages, sovereign wealth funds and investment conferences.
The problem is that policymakers are still imprisoned by leftist and racial nationalist dogma. Until that changes, the prospects for much-improved economic and social indicators are virtually nil.
CEO, Institute of Race Relations