Neva Makgetla advocates a radical economic transformation of SA’s labour markets (“We should try to flood labour market with skilled people”, October 16). It is a position also adopted by Adam Habib in his recent book Rebels and Rage.
This “flooding labour markets” proposal is breathtaking and of deep concern. Makgetla says it will help reduce economic inequality. In the unlikely event that this occurs, the cost will be even slower rates of economic growth than at present, and a risk that poverty will increase. Implementation would be a nightmare.
SA’s whole education and training system aims at increasing access to the skills premiums Makgetla wishes to eliminate. What incentive will there be for people to upgrade and/or acquire skills if there is a diminishing reward over and above that available to relatively unskilled workers?
Makgetla identifies barriers to foreign skilled workers entering SA’s labour markets. She is correct in suggesting that these be eliminated where they inhibit economic growth. But if skills premiums are progressively reduced, what would attract foreign workers to SA in the first place?
Perhaps Makgetla and Habib might embark on a speaking tour of South African universities to inform students that they should not earn relatively better incomes on account of their qualifications upon graduation. The student reactions would be, to say the least, interesting.
Dr Doug Blackmur, Flamingo Vlei
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