SA breaks a record – for high unemployment

This week, Stats SA is expected to report that unemployment has jumped to just under 35% – or one in every three. So says Bloomberg news agency, noting the Q2 figure would put SA at the bottom of a table of 83 countries it monitors closely.

Covid-19 is only part of the problem, although the strict lockdown led to at least 2m women losing jobs in April alone, a study by the University of Stellenbosch, and others, found. An inferior education system, inflexible labour laws that deter employers from taking on permanent employees and challenges getting to work are among the other reasons.

SA’s public servants, however, are sitting pretty. As the OECD recently reminded us, the government wage bill, at 12% of GDP, is large by world standards, with systematic above-inflation increases contributing to this cost. Add to this picture the many corruption scandals involving tainted, and politically connected, government employees and it’s not surprising many taxpayers are fed up with the performance of the ruling ANC.

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