Steps need to be taken to prevent jobshedding

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Chief Whip in the Eastern Cape Legislature

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the resilience of the private sector in the Eastern Cape for the 41 000 jobs created under extremely adverse conditions in the last quarter.

It is, however, incumbent on the provincial government to develop a clear action plan to avoid job losses and prevent Eskom’s deepening power cuts from wiping out these recent gains.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for January to March 2023 shows that unemployment in the province decreased slightly to 40%.

However, unless serious steps are taken, the reprieve could be short-lived. The SA Reserve Bank has indicated that loadshedding could result in 850,000 or more job losses nationwide. The loadshedding crisis could also wipe out as much as two percent of the country’s GDP this year.

This is devastating news for a province that still has the highest unemployment levels in the country.

People cannot afford to lose their jobs during a cost-of-living crisis that is wiping out wealth, forcing people into poverty, hunger, and hardship. Unless bold measures are taken, there is a very real possibility of civil unrest.

We need a clear plan of action to bring new power producers online, decouple local municipalities from their reliance on Eskom, and find innovative new ways to provide support to the SMME sector, one of the largest job creation sectors in the province.

Rather than address the power crisis head-on, the ANC has opted to institute draconian legislation that will effectively deny people employment opportunities based on the colour of their skin.

The new Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEA) regulations, published for comment over the weekend, will effectively force business owners to engage in rigid racial profiling or limit employment to below 50, to avoid such prescriptive legislation.

This legislation has no place in a non-racial society. Businesses should be free to appoint individuals based on merit, not racial classifications and quotas.