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Minister of employment & Labour Thulas Nxesi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY
Minister of employment & Labour Thulas Nxesi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/BUSINESS DAY

In 2020 SA’s unemployment rate was 28.5%, making it supposedly the worst in the world. It even managed to outdo the hellhole of Gaza. Now it has risen to 34.9% (46.6% on the expanded definition).

We know chronic unemployment brings social disruption. This was the case in the Weimar Republic when unemployment was at 24%, before Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933. We’ve witnessed it in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng this year, and we must expect more of the same during 2022.

But this bleak prognosis hasn’t prevented employment & labour minister Thulas Nxesi from steering  his Employment Equity Amendment Bill through the House of Assembly. He is confident that by September 2022 all existing company employment equity arrangements will be replaced by five-year plans with draconian fines, being adamant that “employment equity self-regulation” hasn’t worked.

Employment preference, on whatever basis, didn’t work in the Republic of Ireland during  the 1930s to 1950s, or in Malaysia’s Bumiputera system.

Nxesi’s title must be changed to minister of unemployment. BEE has driven more than a generation of SA’s young and brightest to create jobs in other countries, while cultivating a destructive sense of entitlement and corruption among the ever-dwindling domestic workforce.

Nxesi simply doesn’t realise that he cannot increase employment and impose BEE simultaneously. As doubling down on his employment equity efforts will only push our unemployment numbers over 50%, Nxesi and the ANC have become living embodiments of Einstein’s insanity dictum.  

James Cunningham
Camps Bay

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