Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS
Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS

Of the 39.5-million South Africans between 15 and 64, the reality is that just 14.9-million have jobs.

Is it any wonder, in this context, that so few South Africans believe in the legitimacy of the business sector, or care about fiscal restraint? Is it any wonder that craven politicians can hawk nakedly populist policies of redistribution to a population of which just a quarter is employed?

Officially, SA’s unemployment rate hit a record 34.4% this week when Stats SA released its quarterly labour force survey for the three months to June. But this number excludes 3.3-million discouraged job seekers, and 13.5-million others who’re not economically active for one reason or another.

If that sounds horrific, it’s because it is. Just seven years ago, in 2014, that unemployment rate was 10 percentage points better at 24.3%. Economists warned at the time that, sooner or later, the country would have to pay the price for the ruinous Zuma years — and now we are. More specifically, the country’s youth are bearing the brunt: of those between 15 and 24, more than 64% are without work.

It only rubs salt into the wound that this week, the man who brought you this debacle — former president Jacob Zuma — was openly soliciting for donations to pay his legal fees. Has he not stolen enough of the country’s future?

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